Yosemite National Park Requiring Reservations for Visits Amid Pandemic

by Madison Miller

In order to get into Yosemite National Park soon, outdoor-enthusiasts are going to need a lot of patience and a reservation.

As of right now, the parks monitored under the national reservation currently include Acadia, Cape Hatteras, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky, Olympic, Rocky Mountain, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Zion, and Yosemite.

It is incredibly important to do research regarding the availability and guidelines in place for whatever national park you are trying to visit. Even if it doesn’t have reservations, there are likely other forms of COVID-19 related restrictions or guidelines.

Enjoying the national parks is a luxury during these times, but NPS is making sure that people and the parks are still staying safe. More and more people have been visiting national parks around the nation in unprecedented numbers.

Yosemite Requires Reservations

During the month of February, Yosemite is requiring all-day visitors to make reservations. From Feb. 8 to Feb. 28 you will not be allowed in without a reservation. The reservations opened yesterday at 8 a.m. As of right now, most of the weekend dates are marked as “not yet released.” More dates will open up down the line, but the spots are expected to go quickly.

Those hoping to visit are advised to make sure to be online right at 8 a.m. to get tickets here. Pass holders must also get reservations.

The reservations are free but do have a $2 handling fee. The $35 per car fee that allows seven days of entry is still applicable as well. Those looking to use the lodge or campground that have a reservation won’t need a day-use permit.

With COVID-19, the soothing and calming essence of Yellowstone is certainly worth a reservation. There are also some of the greatest sights to see at this national park.

Many outdoor-enthusiasts go to Yosemite in hopes of seeing the Firefall. This is when, under absolutely perfect conditions, the sun will set and look like orange lava flowing down Horsetail Fall. Several photographers have captured the effect in the past.

Besides the Firefall, there’s a lot of other natural glories to see as well. There’s Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Glacier Point, El Capitan, and Vernal Falls. Whether hiking, camping, or climbing, or anything in between, Yosemite has a lot to offer.

Tourism Issues in National Parks

The national park just opened again yesterday after a series of windstorms and snowstorms had caused substantial damage in the park. Large sequoias had fallen from high winds.

NPS said that 4,009,438 visitors to Yosemite National Park in 2018 spent $495,245,000 in communities near the park. It had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $624,129,000

Like most of the national parks, Yosemite faces issues that come with being a popular tourist hot spot. Take Yellowstone, for example, which has had a lot of issues arise recently.

In the past large numbers of tourists in the area have also caused a lot of problems. Back in 2016, The Guardian reported that there were more than 52,000 resource violations in 2015.

This included breaking thermal features, interacting with protected wildlife, and going to the bathroom in the park. One instance even made national news. A man had strayed 225 yards from the designated path (something very prohibited) and ended up falling to his death in Yellowstone’s Norris geyser basin.

Now with increasing tourists, it will continue to be essential for visitors to understand the rules at Yellowstone, as well as all other parks, and why they are in place.

“You can still see predator and prey activity here. Wildfires still rage. These big processes – predation, wildfires, migration – are still active in Yellowstone. Sure, there are places to buy an ice cream cone in Yellowstone. But there are many more places, just 200 or 300 yards into the wilderness, where you very quickly realize you’re a guest in a grizzly bear’s house,” Park Ranger Charissa Reid told The Guardian.

H/T: LA Times