Yosemite Summertime Reservations Plan Postponed

Yosemite Summertime Reservations Plan Postponed

It was supposedly official…for the first time in Yosemite’s 107 year history, you would need a reservation to visit the park this summer. Park Supt. B.J. Griffin, in a February news conference, said she originally wanted the reservation system to be effective in the 1998 season but the flood damage and the now limited valley parking have jump started those plans. In her words: “We’ll be doing this on an emergency basis. I think people will understand.”

The plan has now officially been postponed for one year. Apparently many people did not understand…especially residents and merchants in the park’s so-called gateway communities along the Highway 120, 140 & 41 corridors who fear such a reservation plan would hurt tourist trade.

Indeed, an e-mail poll on this Yosemite/Gold Country web site, was decidedly against such a summertime reservation system: An e-mail respondent from Belgium indicated he had second thoughts about bringing his family here this summer if he couldn’t get into the park. A concerned man in Singapore suggested the plan be at least delayed to see what affect the new, more costly entrance fees have on this summer’s crowds. A concerned worker at the Oakhurst-based Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau e-mailed that she was angry that we even discussed the summer reservation system because in her words: “we have been deluged with calls from visitors terrified of the reservation system and numerous tour operators calling the lodging properties canceling their tours…” Those comments were typical of dozens.

Last summer, Yosemite had to close off entrance gates 7 times when income traffic outmatched Yosemite parking spaces with would-be visitors having to wait hours until entrances would reopen. Supt. Griffin says with overcrowding like that there is, in her words: “still overwhelming support for a vehicle reservation system” and the park intends to implement such a plan by May of 1998.


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