Some US National Parks have historical bans on paddling while others have a rich culture of paddling as one of the most coveted modes for users to experience the park. Grand Canyon is one example with a long history of paddlers being a valid user group. While Yellowstone has severe limitations on where one can put a boat in the water.
Yosemite National Park is renowned for its soaring cliffs and bold rock climbs, but is also a treasure for any paddler, offering a range of difficulties from a meandering class 1 family float all the way up to raging class V expert terrain.
I’ve been visiting Yosemite for two decades, mostly to climb the huge granite faces. Oftentimes while looking down from a ledge high above, I’ve wondered what it would be like to float through the Valley on the Merced River.
With great efforts from American Whitewater and a new perspective from the National Park Service, paddling is now allowed in Yosemite for the first time in a very long time, and hopefully is the start of a new norm for all the other National Parks as a wonderful, low impact way to enjoy our national treasures.
Here is a little video about my culmination of a dream to paddle through Yosemite Valley. The water was on the low side due to the drought conditions California is facing this year, but I still had an amazing personal adventure. I encourage you all to get out there and enjoy these treasures.