Project goal: Facilitate forward-looking discussions about enhancing visitor experiences throughout Yosemite Village and ensuring the long-term relevance and best use of the historic village’s structures and services.

Why this work matters: In Yosemite Village, on the north side of Yosemite Valley, visitors can browse exhibits and artwork at the Yosemite Museum, peek inside traditional umachas, explore photography at The Ansel Adams Gallery, shop at a Yosemite Conservancy bookstore, catch films and live theater shows, pick up wilderness permits and bear-proof canisters, and much more.

Getting to and around the village, however, can be a confusing process. Many buildings are far from parking areas or difficult to locate. In recent years, park officials have been taking steps to make that process easier, most notably by launching the ongoing Conservancy-supported project to create a new Welcome Center with key visitor resources and services. The new center, which will be located near a popular parking area at the village’s south end, will vastly improve the arrival experience for millions of Valley visitors each year — and it is propelling a parallel opportunity to examine and improve the broader Yosemite Village area.  

Anticipating that the Welcome Center will draw foot traffic to one end of the village, the park is considering key questions: What shifts would make it easier for people to navigate the rest of the village and take advantage of educational and cultural activities, shopping, and other amenities not housed at the new center? How can village-wide transportation options, pedestrian paths and wayfinding improve? Could some village structures be used in a different way?

How your support helped: Your 2020 support kick-started a holistic planning effort focused on making the experience of spending time in Yosemite Village more enjoyable, efficient and fruitful. This grant funded a series of discussions to identify needs, opportunities and next steps for ensuring the cohesion and lasting relevance of the entire village and its important services, especially as the Welcome Center takes shape.

Project partner: Yosemite National Park.