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Upper Pines Campground Host

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avatar Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 10, 2009 03:48PM
Rangers dealt with big crowds and numerous incidents over the Memorial Day weekend. There was heavy traffic throughout the park on all three days. Lines at entrance stations throughout the park began forming as early as 7 a.m. and continued until late in the afternoon. Complicating operations was a phone outage throughout much of the Mather District due to lightening and thunderstorm activity earlier in the week. Significant incidents included:
  • Firefighters actively suppressed the Cottonwood Fire while monitoring other lightning-caused fires in the park.
  • There were five incidents that required the use of air ambulances, including the medevac of a 60-year-old woman with loss of consciousness at Olmsted Point on May 23rd. She suffered a facture of her cervical spine in a ground-level fall.
  • Tuolumne rangers responded to a motorcycle crash on May 24th in which the operator suffered a lower leg fracture and dislocated shoulder.
The park’s dispatch center received 1,539 telephone calls during the holiday weekend, while rangers dealt with 568 incidents, 242 vehicle stops, 15 medical assistance calls, and 16 motor vehicle accidents.
Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 10, 2009 07:33PM
I just don't understand, when it's common knowledge how insanely crowded Yosemite can be on a Memorial Day weekend, why people still come in droves? I understand it's a 3-day weekend, but come on, I'm sure most people could get one Friday or Monday off work to come some other weekend...that's what I do!

And it's only a few weeks until summer vacation for kids, so it's not like it's the only chance to bring the kids for a long weekend...
Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 10, 2009 07:43PM
Probably because it's the peak of the waterfall season, and the heat of the summer hasn't arrived, and they can't go on a weekday because the kids are still in school. I'm guessing that Labor Day weekend isn't nearly as crowded as Memorial Day weekend.
Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 10, 2009 08:32PM
Quote
cthenn
I just don't understand, when it's common knowledge how insanely crowded Yosemite can be on a Memorial Day weekend, why people still come in droves? I understand it's a 3-day weekend, but come on, I'm sure most people could get one Friday or Monday off work to come some other weekend...that's what I do!

And it's only a few weeks until summer vacation for kids, so it's not like it's the only chance to bring the kids for a long weekend...

I think it might be a somewhat different crowd that goes at those times (just a guess, not having ever been there on that weekend, expecting it to stay that way 8^).

I was at Upper Pines the week before Mem Day this year, and noticed a bit of a change the last night. When I got there earlier in the week, it was mostly tents, and folks that seemed to be gone during the day. That Wednesday I noticed that though the campground was "full" about 2/3 of the sites were empty. And there was a relatively noisy motor home group not far away, though not all that bad. I asked the ranger the next morning why so many empty sites, and she said they'd reserved for the weekend and just would have one or two from their large groups come in midweek. (which is when I realized it was the holiday weekend coming up).

So I think the folks at the campground, at least, are probably more of the 'group camp/big meal/night fire/party and visit' types than you'd get on normal times. That's a major generalization and of course doesn't apply to everyone there, but I do think they go with a different purpose, otherwise as you said, "why go then?".

When I was leaving the campground, one of the hosts remarked that he'd rather be most anywhere but Yosemite on the coming weekend. Can't say I blame him, me too.



Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 13, 2009 01:54PM
Quote
Sierrafan
Quote
cthenn
I just don't understand, when it's common knowledge how insanely crowded Yosemite can be on a Memorial Day weekend, why people still come in droves? I understand it's a 3-day weekend, but come on, I'm sure most people could get one Friday or Monday off work to come some other weekend...that's what I do!

And it's only a few weeks until summer vacation for kids, so it's not like it's the only chance to bring the kids for a long weekend...

I think it might be a somewhat different crowd that goes at those times (just a guess, not having ever been there on that weekend, expecting it to stay that way 8^).

I was at Upper Pines the week before Mem Day this year, and noticed a bit of a change the last night. When I got there earlier in the week, it was mostly tents, and folks that seemed to be gone during the day. That Wednesday I noticed that though the campground was "full" about 2/3 of the sites were empty. And there was a relatively noisy motor home group not far away, though not all that bad. I asked the ranger the next morning why so many empty sites, and she said they'd reserved for the weekend and just would have one or two from their large groups come in midweek. (which is when I realized it was the holiday weekend coming up).

I was checking some other NPS campgrounds. At least at Yellowstone, Xanterra handles reservations at campgrounds and their policies there are to cancel the reservation should a campsite not be occupied by 10 AM on the second day. Of course for a large group I'd imagine that they might have their buddies "squat" on their sites and/or check-in, but I'm not sure how legal that would be. At least on the NRRS there are rules on how many days can be reserved by one person in Yosemite, and I would thinking having a friend check in would not be kosher if they're also checking in for numerous sites.

Last year I was a bit late getting to Mazama Campground (also Xanterra run) at Crater Lake where I had two nights reservations. I couldn't use the first night, but I called and asked about the second night. I was told that I would have a site available (they were assigned as site types and not in advance) for me no matter how late I arrived.
avatar Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 13, 2009 02:47PM
Maybe they should start checking ID for those with reservations? That'd help with the scalping at least.
avatar Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 13, 2009 04:26PM
Quote
eeek
Maybe they should start checking ID for those with reservations? That'd help with the scalping at least.

Back to the cancellation policies, I believe that Xanterra's policy is to cancel if they aren't contacted before the deadline, but it sounds as if they charge for the first night (they require a deposit), and they charge a cancellation fee, and don't charge for the remainder (doesn't sound like they charge in advance like the NRRS). At that time they probably make the site available for walk-ins.

I haven't had to check-in anywhere in a while; I checked in a Fallen Leaf Lake in Tahoe back in May 2007. Other campgrounds I've stayed at the campground hosts didn't do much more than check to see if the sites were occupied. The NPS seems to have limited funds to do this or actual check-in. Are they requiring check-in at the Pines campgrounds now?
avatar Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 13, 2009 04:43PM
Quote
y_p_w
Are they requiring check-in at the Pines campgrounds now?

Last time I stayed at Upper Pines they did want me to check-in. They even left me a nasty note about it. But those volunteers that run the booth never seemed to bother actually being there...not even during the times listed on the stupid nasty note. Frankly I think they should either do their jobs or should be replaced. They take a good number of campsites and don't seem to give much back.
Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 13, 2009 05:11PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
y_p_w
Are they requiring check-in at the Pines campgrounds now?

Last time I stayed at Upper Pines they did want me to check-in. They even left me a nasty note about it. But those volunteers that run the booth never seemed to bother actually being there...not even during the times listed on the stupid nasty note. Frankly I think they should either do their jobs or should be replaced. They take a good number of campsites and don't seem to give much back.

Mabye a seasonal thing, or arriving late in the day? The times I go to Upper Pines there is nearly always someone there at the kiosk (autumn-winter-spring). For at least the last few years, check-in has supposedly been required, getting a car pass, a bear warning to initial, and a list of rules/regs.

Re the late check-in...that's the policy at Yosemite also, though it's now 12 noon instead of 10AM, the second day. I don't know how all those people worked it before Memorial Day (or why they made reservations for Wednesday night they weren't going to use), whether by some special arrangement, or if they called in. I had to miss the first day of my reservation once, and called in to the campground office, which is what you're supposed to do to avoid the whole reservation being cancelled.

I'm all for the checking ID thing. I hate to see scalpers profiting from reservations they took away from somebody who legitimately wanted to stay there. They're supposed to check for anybody with a discount pass, wouldn't be much harder to check that the ID matches the reservation for everyone.



Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 13, 2009 05:44PM
Quote
Sierrafan
Mabye a seasonal thing, or arriving late in the day?

Late April at 5:30 PM.
avatar Upper Pines Campground Host
June 13, 2009 06:04PM
avatar Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 10, 2009 07:49PM
The two times I've hiked to the top of Half Dome, I went on Wednesdays in mid-June, and didn't hit the trial till 8 a.m., and knowing how many times I stop for photos, I don't arrive at the glovepile till around 4 or so and hardly anyone's there. Better for me since I like to BS with people on the trail, talk to them while they're on their way down, and in this time of the year, the waterfalls are still flowing just fine (great in 2005, my last time up) and after a short stay on the top you can hike back to the Curry area by dark.
avatar Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 11, 2009 08:15AM
Tee-o-ga Road was open.
Do people realize just how much there is out there besides the Valley?
No crowds... almost complete solitude... It's quite simple...
avatar Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 11, 2009 10:29AM
Quote
bill-e-g
Tee-o-ga Road was open.
Do people realize just how much there is out there besides the Valley?
No crowds... almost complete solitude... It's quite simple...

Back in the early'70's when I first discovered Yosemite (while in the Navy and stationed at NAS Moffet) most of us had nothing but 2-day weekends for a mad dash beginning late Friday afternoon. The Valley, Mist trail, and Glacier Point were about all we could squeeze in including 2 overnights, one outside the park before the mad dash return late Sunday afternoon. Tioga Road/Tuolumne Meadows was just a remote place on the map we did not have time to explore and knew nothing about. Besides, who wanted to waste a valuable weekend making a long extra drive on winding roads to a flat place called Tuolumne Meadows? Ignorance was bliss. We just had no concept of what we were missing.

I suspect many folks confined to weekend forays who drive great distances just to reach the gates want to concentrate on the traditional Valley area views they are familiar with. The entire Tioga Road experience as a primary destination is an acquired one. It is not easily combined with the Valley, etc. on one weekend and folks have to discover this on their own. For me, it was not until I was married and living in the Sierra that my wife and I finally did the Tioga Road area as a sole destination.

Jim
Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 13, 2009 01:05PM
My first visit to Yosemite was in springtime of a heavy snow year, and I stayed in the Valley/Glacier Point area the entire time. Couldn't even make it to Taft point because the trail was covered in deep snow. But I looked from every vantage point at this mysterious High Country with the mystique only heightened by the fact that the Tioga Rd was still closed. I made a point to come back 2 years later and spend a night in TM and then 3 nights in Vogelsang followed by several day hikes around TM. I think we should all just be happy that those fools confine themselves to the Valley.
avatar Re: Memorial Day Brings Crowds, Multiple Incidents
June 13, 2009 01:09PM
Quote
Ryno98
I think we should all just be happy that those fools confine themselves to the Valley.

Indeed!
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