In light of Yosemite's centennial, it seems urgent to me to criticize the agency responsible for the park's protection--the National Park Service. I live in Foresta, the once peaceful community on the western edge of Yosemite that burned in the August fire. My home was one of the few spared. My neighbors whose homes were burned are now engaged in a struggle with the NPS over the right to rebuild. The agency is threatening us with condemnation in the aftermath of the fire. Forestans have been harassed for decades by the NPS, because it wants to add our small holdings to its own.
In its response to the A-Rock fire, the NPS management was incompetent and inept, if not criminally negligent. This is not a criticism of on-the-line firefighters. Other agencies were turned away until the NPS had clearly lost control of the fire. The NPS was quite lackadaisical in protecting Foresta; the cynical idea is abroad that it was in their interest to allow this "in-holding" to burn.
The NPS has proved incompetent to manage and protect this park.
ANN ABBOTT MATTESON