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Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
#57911 08/16/20 10:00 AM
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Let’s face it. The whole idea of making visitation of Yosemite by reservation only as a means of crowd control is something that has been tossed around for DECADES. But the sheer unpopularity of this whole idea with the general public has kept this idea from becoming a reality. However, Covid has recently given this rather old idea some sense of legitimacy. Now that those forces within the NPS who favor entry by reservation have had the opportunity to establish an unpopular system that wouldn’t fly before, is it likely that the current ticketed entry into Yosemite is now here to stay?

Last edited by StorminMatt; 08/16/20 10:01 AM.
Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
StorminMatt #57913 08/16/20 11:30 AM
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When we have a finite resource like Yosemite (or Inyo National Forest, or whatever), and a growing demand to use it, our choices are to restrict access or to let the masses destroy it. I miss the days when there were no quotas anywhere, but I would rather deal with quotas than with the alternative.

Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
bobpickering #57914 08/16/20 12:00 PM
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There are quite a few problems with quotas for Yosemite as a whole. First of all, they are inherently unfair. Remember that crowding at Yosemite is less a Yosemite problem than a Yosemite Valley problem. It is unfair to punish someone who wants to hike to, say, Parker Pass with a strict quota just because the Mist Trail resembles a New York City sidewalk.

Another problem with quotas is that they tend to favor unsafe behavior. For instance, it has been documented that, as a percentage of visitors, Half Dome quotas have made Half Dome MORE dangerous rather than less. The problem here is that quotas encourage people to hike when they probably shouldn’t. For instance, people are less inclined to turn around in bad weather if they know they can’t just come back next week. Similarly, someone might just go ahead and climb Half Dome with an overuse injury that would probably be 100% better with a couple of weeks more rest. The bottom line? Scarcity of opportunity causes people to not want to give up their chance to hike, regardless of the risks.

Finally, a quota for Yosemite would erode public support for Yosemite National Park, and national parks as a whole. Remember that a BIG part of people’s love for national parks is the idea that they are something that belongs to everyone in the country and can be visited at any time. When people KNOW that they can’t just visit their parks when they want, they don’t want their tax dollars going to support it. This is not such a problem for such things as Whitney and Half Dome (which relatively few people hike compared to the population at large). But if you start putting limits on visitorship of the park as a whole, people will cease to see Yosemite as something worth supporting.

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Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
StorminMatt #57915 08/16/20 12:31 PM
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As I said, I would rather deal with quotas than with the alternative. You have presented a really poor argument for the alternative. Maybe you should elaborate on YOUR solution to overcrowding.

Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
bobpickering #57917 08/16/20 02:30 PM
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At the very least, any entrance quotas to Yosemite should be restricted to the valley. Of course, that doesn’t deal with the fact that quotas would basically DESTROY Yosemite by essentially defunding it. It’s admittedly one of those things where you are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. You can add quotas to reduce crowding. But that comes as GREAT expense. If you make the outdoor experience difficult and inconvenient to attain, People will lose interest in the outdoors, move onto other things, and see the environment less and less as something to care about.

On the other hand, allowing Yosemite Valley to be hyper crowded DOES have its benefits. Like it or hate it, having a place in the mountains like Yosemite Valley for people to crowd to means that there are plenty of other places (both inside and outside Yosemite) where people can find more solitude and unspoiled wilderness. And THAT may be the best way of all to reduce crowding.

Last edited by StorminMatt; 08/16/20 02:36 PM.
Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
StorminMatt #57918 08/16/20 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by StorminMatt
Let’s face it. The whole idea of making visitation of Yosemite by reservation only as a means of crowd control is something that has been tossed around for DECADES. But the sheer unpopularity of this whole idea with the general public has kept this idea from becoming a reality. However, Covid has recently given this rather old idea some sense of legitimacy. Now that those forces within the NPS who favor entry by reservation have had the opportunity to establish an unpopular system that wouldn’t fly before, is it likely that the current ticketed entry into Yosemite is now here to stay?

I, for one, am happy that these limitations have been imposed. I well remember when you could enter Yosemite Valley, without concern about needing 5 hours to simply "make the loop". In my opinion the crowded conditions of recent years spoiled the experience for everyone. I much prefer the less crowded experience, even if it does imply limited choices for dates, and requires more advanced planning. I can deal with that much better than the alternative. Also, there are many alternative destinations within the Sierra's that provide a very comparable experience. I will be exploring a few areas of Yosemite next week that I have not been to in the past. For me, it was not difficult to secure the necessary day pass, as I planned this over one month ago. Had I not been able to secure the permit, there are lots of other options nearby. Mammoth Lakes offers access to the many magnificent hikes: Lake Ediza, Garnet Lake, 1000 Island Lake, Minaret Lake, explore the Minaret Mines, Duck Lake, Deer Lakes, Mammoth Crest, Gaylor Peak, Mt. Dana (although within Yosemite Park, these last two destination are accessible by parking outside the park, and hiking in)....... and on, and on, and on.......

I'm with Bob on this issue.

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Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
John Sims #57919 08/16/20 07:01 PM
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John, you mention Mammoth and Dana. Unfortunately for most west siders, since Yosemite is the shortest way to get to those places, having a quota on the road just to pass through makes visiting those other places so much more difficult that I can no longer to. I am strongly opposed to restricting pass-through traffic.

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Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
Steve C #57920 08/16/20 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve C
John, you mention Mammoth and Dana. Unfortunately for most west siders, since Yosemite is the shortest way to get to those places, having a quota on the road just to pass through makes visiting those other places so much more difficult that I can no longer to. I am strongly opposed to restricting pass-through traffic.

Good point. As I said, they shouldn’t apply this to the whole
park just to solve a valley problem. If they MUST limit visitors in the valley, they should set up a checkpoint beyond the store/gas station at the HWY 120 turn.

Then again, my REAL concern here is whether entry restrictions will be made permanent. I know that they say on the Yosemite website that this is purely a TEMPORARY health measure due to Covid-19. But I also know that the idea of limiting visitorship at Yosemite dates back to at least the 80s. My concern is that those forces in the NPS in favor of this look at Covid-19 as an opportunity to get what they want.

Last edited by StorminMatt; 08/16/20 08:20 PM.
Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
Steve C #57921 08/16/20 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve C
John, you mention Mammoth and Dana. Unfortunately for most west siders, since Yosemite is the shortest way to get to those places, having a quota on the road just to pass through makes visiting those other places so much more difficult that I can no longer to. I am strongly opposed to restricting pass-through traffic.

Of course you are right, that it takes longer to get to parts of the East side from the West side without hwy 120. According to Google Maps: For me (coming from Sunnyvale), going via hwy 108 adds less than 10 minutes. For you (Fresno), it does add more, but only ~ 30 minutes. For the occasional trips, I do not mind the delay when considered against the smaller crowds when I do visit Yosemite. It is not just the valley that is impacted by the crowds. The valley is the worst, but hwy 120 is also overcrowded without the permits.

Of course if I were making this trip on a weekly basis (or even monthly) I might be in full agreement with you. However, the objective is to limit crowd size, personal contact, and the spreading of Covid 19, so I hope I would still fall on the side of limiting entry. I would not like to think that my "selfishness or sense of entitlement" had led to the death of anyone, especially a family member or friend.

Hwy 108 goes through Stanislaus National Forest, which includes several 11K peaks, and many miles of trails. Might have to check that area out:-)

Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
John Sims #57922 08/17/20 07:45 AM
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Getting to Lee Vining via Sonora Pass takes at least an hour more. I'm not sure of Google Maps' calculations, but the speed on the 108 is way lower than any speed limit dictates.

Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
John Sims #57950 08/21/20 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by John Sims
Of course if I were making this trip on a weekly basis (or even monthly) I might be in full agreement with you. However, the objective is to limit crowd size, personal contact, and the spreading of Covid 19, so I hope I would still fall on the side of limiting entry. I would not like to think that my "selfishness or sense of entitlement" had led to the death of anyone, especially a family member or friend.

My issue with ticketed entry is NOT that this is being done to reduce transmission of Covid. It is that the pandemic is possibly being used as a reason to start a permanent reservation system that is NOT going to go away when the pandemic is no longer a threat. As I said, the idea of entry reservations has been tossed around for at least 30 years, but has always been canned because it is a fundamentally unpopular idea. However, I fear that the NPS is using Covid to get their ‘foot in the door’ (so to speak).

Last edited by StorminMatt; 08/21/20 02:33 PM.
Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
StorminMatt #57951 08/21/20 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by StorminMatt
My issue with ticketed entry is NOT that this is being done to reduce transmission of Covid. It is that the pandemic is possibly being used as a reason to start a permanent reservation system that is NOT going to go away when the pandemic is no longer a threat. As I said, the idea of entry reservations has been tossed around for at least 30 years, but has always been canned because it is a fundamentally unpopular idea. However, I fear that the NPS is using Covid to get their ‘foot in the door’ (so to speak).

Maybe they have discussed it for years, but the reservation system enabled by Recreation.gov has just now become feasible. I am betting that we will continue to see some form of it from now on.

Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
Steve C #57952 08/21/20 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve C
Maybe they have discussed it for years, but the reservation system enabled by Recreation.gov has just now become feasible. I am betting that we will continue to see some form of it from now on.

Possession is 9/10ths of the law. It’s done. I agree with Bob

Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
Harvey Lankford #57953 08/21/20 06:37 PM
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So far, there is no indication on the Yosemite website that they are going to make ALL entry into the park reservation only once Covid goes away. But as we know, this means nothing. Regardless, if they DO go back to allowing entry without reservations, it sounds like there are going to be LOTS of pissed people on this board. And honestly, I didn’t expect ticketed entry to have so many fans. Then again, this IS the internet.

Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
Steve C #57978 08/26/20 03:23 AM
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Out of interest, as a foreigner/outsider in this and therefore not aware of some of the cultural sensitivity...

Why isn't price used more as a tool for demand control? On the one hand we have an underfunded park service, and on the other, massive demand for the resource.

I'm not talking about further restrictions, but would releasing some small extra capacity at a (very) high fee more than compensate for the extra resource damage involved?

Or does this kind of stuff just result in a further funding cut, so it no longer becomes incremental and it just becomes part of the overall revenue?

Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
britonwhit(ney) #57982 08/26/20 08:23 AM
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Increasing the price would indeed reduce the demand. The people unable to afford the higher price would obviously be the poor, many of whom are minorities. Some might favor keeping minorities out of our parks. I do not.

Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
britonwhit(ney) #57986 08/26/20 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by britonwhit(ney)
Out of interest, as a foreigner/outsider in this and therefore not aware of some of the cultural sensitivity...

Why isn't price used more as a tool for demand control?

For more info/background on the US National Parks you might want to check out the Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks: https://kenburns.com/films/national-parks/

They were/are intended for use by "the people", so limiting attendance via price would not at all be in keeping with the original concept/intention. I feel the same as Bob on this issue.

Re: Is ticketed entry at Yosemite here to stay?
StorminMatt #58003 08/29/20 08:41 AM
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I'm opposed to restricting mid-week traffic and strongly opposed to restricting pass-through traffic.

The restrictions on the more crowded weekend days should be simple and should not require a reservation. For example, license plates ending in even numbers would not be allowed in on Fridays and Sundays (except for pass-through traffic), while license plates ending in letters or odd numbers would not be allowed in on Saturdays and Mondays. Another option for those days would be having something similar to the Devils Postpile restrictions - cars are allowed in before 7 AM and after 7 PM, but not in between those times.

Last edited by Big Pine; 08/29/20 08:43 AM.
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