Yosemite National Park ends controversial reservation system

Park officials announced on Tuesday that the controversial crowd control policies introduced during the first two years of the pandemic and continued for a third year due to construction will not be in effect next year. The reservation requirement covered the park’s peak season, when Yosemite was historically one of the most visited sites in the National Park Service.

While the reservation system succeeded in limiting numbers in years when park staff and services went down due to the coronavirus, it became a pain point for last-minute travelers unable to access and gateway communities dependent on tourist traffic. Others liked the program because it took away much of Yosemite’s notorious congestion.

However, the repeal of the policy doesn’t necessarily mean reservations are gone for good.

Park officials say the suspension of the program provides an opportunity to see how the turnout is in the post-COVID world, take stock of the discontinued reservation system, survey the public and decide how to handle crowds in the future. are managed. Reservations had been discussed long before the coronavirus as a long-term means of dealing with queues at entrance stations, overcrowded parking lots and congested roads, especially in Yosemite Valley.

“We want to build on what we’ve learned over the past three summers about managed access,” said Yosemite spokesperson Scott Gediman. “Ultimately, our goal is to come up with a plan that supports an excellent visitor experience and protects park resources.”

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