Park Service officials looking for ways to cut the crowds in Yosemite

Nine years after creating a plan to limit crowds in Yosemite Valley, National Park Service officials are starting over again.

Fresno will be the first stop in a tour of cities from Sacramento to Pasadena where officials will seek public comment about protecting wildlife and banks of the Merced River from crowds. The Fresno meeting will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at outdoor-sports retailer REI, 7810 N. Blackstone Ave.

A federal judge ordered the new plan two years ago, agreeing with environmentalists that the National Park Service needs to put a firm limit on how many people can visit the Merced and adjoining areas.

Environmental activists say the limit is needed because millions of people each year pass through Yosemite Valley, where the Merced is the main waterway. The plan also will help shape future road and construction projects in the valley.

People from all over the globe have followed this legal fight, and more than 10,000 people commented on the first plan.

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