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Controversy swirls over Yosemite’s historic bridges

Saturday, July 7, 2012

At Yosemite, where O’Shaughnessy Dam keeps the entire Hetch Hetchy Valley floor buried beneath a reservoir in order to provide San Francisco its water, controversy churns anew . . . over whether to take out a couple of historic bridges that environmentalists say have constricted the natural flow of the Merced River. Among them: 80-year-old Stoneman Bridge (above), the most photographed span in the park.

From the AP:

. . . The 205-foot bridge is slated for possible removal under proposed plans for restoring the natural flow of the Merced River. As a federally designated "Wild and Scenic River," some say its course should be shaped only by nature as it meanders through the valley - and bridge abutments alter that course.

The future of the roughly 80-year-old Stoneman and two other spandrel arch bridges has pitted environmentalists, who want the river to flow freely, against historic preservationists who say these early examples of the rustic park architectural style are too culturally important to destroy.

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