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Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Waning Gibbous (97% of Full)


Re: Is it just me?

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avatar Is it just me?
September 02, 2008 09:47AM
i have to admit i got irritated yesterday as i drove up to the 120 entry to pay for a new yearly season pass ($40.00).. as usual, the right lane is for "cash only" people, so i drove to the left lane to use my credit card to purchase the new pass (which i do yearly).... as i handed the card to the woman, i kindly told her i'd like a new season pass, she took my card, looked at it, then quickly handed it back and said "cash only"... i said "well, i know the other line is cash only, so that's why i came here (to use a credit card)"... she said, "no, it's too busy today to do cards, so we're only accepting cash!"... i was ticked but didn't say anything and gave her the cash... i was later thinking that ....

1. no where on the website did it say cash only on Labor Day.
2. what if i had no cash, she'd HAVE to accept my card. i could have insisted.

then when i was leaving the park to go home, the car ahead of me lost their pay stub to get out of the park (i could hear the whole conversation with the driver and the cashier, the SAME lady i dealt with earlier).... she said "you can't find it? do you remember how much you paid for it?", he said "yeah , $20.00"... so she let him go..

here she was a butt head to me, but nice to him. lolol i kid you not, i was very very nice to her, but she was a jerk towards me... "why i outta...!". lolol
Re: Is it just me?
September 02, 2008 10:26AM
They seem to change their rules on a whim.
avatar Re: Is it just me?
September 02, 2008 01:57PM
If their communications are down, they won't accept credit cards at all.
Re: Is it just me?
September 02, 2008 06:00PM
Heck you can't even get a straight answer from these people, much less a correct one. Here's an example. Some guy asks me how to get someplace so I tell him. He then goes to the visitor center and asks a "ranger" how just to make sure. Gets completely wrong information and ends up getting lost. I run into his family the next day at the store and he can't figure out why the ranger didn't know.
avatar Re: Is it just me?
September 03, 2008 02:34AM
I'm curious if these "rangers" are seasonal. I've noticed a shift in attitudes around Labor Day as well.

But I will say I did find one at the northern toll booth to the Lava Beds National Monument a couple weeks ago. I hadn't realized there was a $10 fee (there wasn't last time I was there) and found myself with only $4 while exiting. She took the $4, but if I hadn't had that...they don't have a way to take credit/debit, maybe they would take a check?
avatar Re: Is it just me?
September 03, 2008 04:15AM
Wait till you show up at the gate and find out that you didn't have a reservation and they turn you away.

The problem is that these parks tell you that they don't have enough money to run them, all while they spend their money marketing the parks in overseas tourist magazines to a more affluent tourist market.

If no one came they wouldn’t need as much money to run them.

But instead, because of their successful marketing, Yosemite is probably going to exceed four million visitors this year, and is expected to exceed six million in ten years, mainly because of the foreign tourist market.

What will they charge when visitation in Yosemite reaches eight million in the mid 2020s, presuming that congress continues to not allocate enough money to run the park, as is expected?

"Fee Demo" gave the park the right to charge whatever they want to charge, or need to, but without having to get approvals from congress or anyone when they feel it's time to raise the gate fees. As their costs go up, so will the gate fees.

A balance would be to require reservations on busy weekends for at least 25% of the visitors, once they reach a particular number of visitors. They don't want to do that. The believe they can accommodate them, because as you may have noticed, they have been investing Yosemite Fund money enlarging paved walkways at Lower Falls and places like Wawona Tunnel to ensure that they can "accommodate all who want to come", a favorite slogan of the park in the past.

By restricting visitation, they could mitigate the financial part of their management responsibility, so that they wouldn't need charge you for their excessive work to handle the masses that come there and overwhelm the park's resources.

The park talks about how they are going to comply with the court's mandate to establish a User Carrying Capacity, much to their chagrin. They talk about establishing head count limits within the park, in various individual spots along the river, as if they would want to force the redistribution of visitors from one location within the park to another, if one area reached an imposed limit. They would rather do that than restrict the flow of visitors at the gate, because as they have said, they "don't want to turn people away", and, they "want to accommodate all who want to come".

These are the problems moving forward. It will be interesting to see how they handle it.

It’s why they removed the campgrounds, as the former Dir. of the National Parks, Fran Mainella was quoted as saying, those old campgrounds can accommodate more day trippers if they aren’t used as campgrounds, accommodating a set number of visitors.

The Park Service has big plans for Yosemite, and it’s going to change as they ramp things up in the future. When Dave Mihalic was once asked if he felt the park could handle ten million people a year, his reply was “we can accommodate all who want to come”, as if that was a good answer. He later denied the statement, but I now one of the people who were at that meeting who recalls the statement.

It all boils down to how much can Yosemite handle. From their view, it can handle a lot more than it’s handling now. A lot more. Wait and see.
Re: Is it just me?
September 03, 2008 04:08AM
One of the rangers who was working the Hodgdon Meadow kiosk a few weeks ago did not treat me great either. He asked if I knew all the bear regulations, and I told him I did. He then seemed to get annoyed with me and said "why don't you recite them then?!". I was sort of taken aback, as I was not at all giving him attitude, so I just started rambling off some of the rules. He stopped me part way through and said "alright, alright, it's just sometimes when I ask people they have no idea". That's fine, and I'm sure more people are a jerk to him then he is to others, but I hadn't done anything up to that point to rile him up, IMO. And later, when we asked to change sites, he made it seem like I was asking for a kidney, although he reluctantly did it.
Re: Is it just me?
September 03, 2008 05:43AM
So you're saying for each campsite they get rid of, they can get a lot more day visitors and more money? Interesting argument. That would explain why they don't have enough money for the campgrounds because they aren't profitable. So you're saying they just want to stuff people into the park for the day so they can collect more money from entrance fees. Pretty sad.
avatar Re: Is it just me?
September 03, 2008 06:49AM
To answer your question, yes. They would not agree to that, but that's how I see it. They had a viable plan for the campgrounds in 1980, but no money to implement it. The park service said they would relook at that plan when creating the Yosemite Valley Plan, and adhere to it. But, a year before the flood, the park service made the statement that they'd like to remove all the campgrounds north of the river, but the public wouldn't let them. This, at the same time they were talking about removing all the cars from the park and instituting a valley wide shuttle system, and a huge parking lot near the El Cap meadow, to accommodate a 22 bay shuttle bus depot. It was their plan, and still is sort of, to do such a thing, in order to make Yosemite Valley into a conveyor belt experience for those who want a three hour tour. The flood came. The park service and friends stood in the flooded Rivers campground and were quoted as saying that nature had done what the public would never have allowed them to do, by damaging the campgrounds.

The park service went to congress, and asked for money to replace the flooded campgrounds. They got about 200 million from congress to do exactly that, and for other flood related repairs, but, when they got done, they hadn't replaced the campgrounds. When asked by congress about that, they said that their plan was to restore the campgrounds BACK TO NATURE, not to replace them, which is not true at all.

Congress never asked for the money back, but there are many who believe they should.

In the Yosemite Valley Plan there were scoping studies for the campgrounds but non for the RETURN of the Rivers and part of Lower Pine campground that were flooded. That subject was off the table.

The finished, or approved "record of decision" for their Yosemite Valley Plan targets and authorizes North Pines Campground for removal.

http://www.yosemitevalleycampers.org is a place to read more about that.

The current park superintendant, Mike Tollefson, said he's "currently" decided not to take it out. But, with all the new sewer lines going into the other campgrounds next year, North Pines gets no new lines. Mike Tollefson is retiring. That leaves an opening for a new Super, and we don't know what that person will want to do. But, we do know that he or she will have full authority to remove North Pines if they want to because it's part of the record of decision.

When Fran Mainella said that at the congressional hearing held in Yosemite Valley in 2002, I was there. I heard her say it. I can dig up the exact quote if you'd like.

It is their goal to encourage hotels and motels outside the park, tour industry shuttles into the park, and whatever, all on the backs of campers who have lost over half of their campsites.

I was all for the 1980 GMP plan to remove 200 of the over 800 sites, by pulling them away from the river where they would be in a flood zone, and away from each other, creating a more natural camping experience with less crowding. But, now that they closed these entire campgrounds, and reduced the number of campsites to closer to 400 sites, it is impossible to separate what are left, because there is no campground real estate to do so. So, that is why you have congested campgrounds.

They can make more money and provide a canned Yosemite experience to more people by utilizing the conveyor belt three hour tour to foreign tourists, and that's fine with them. I was amazed that Fran Mainella even admitted it, articulating it in almost those exact terms. It's all about "accommodating all who want to come", as Dave Mihalic used to often say, and how they "don't want to turn people away", as Mike Tollefson has said. It's actually more than that, it's about milking our National Parks as cash cows, and Yosemite is the biggest cash cow they have.

We'll see who they bring in here to replace Tollefson, but I can guarantee you, it will be a lock step Park Service lifer, who knows which side of the bread his butter is on.

Post Edited (09-03-08 13:55)

Re: Is it just me?
September 04, 2008 03:45AM
Forrestranger: it's definitely not you!!

I had an encounter with the same ranger on Monday morning. It's not the rules or the system - it's that ranger.

We have used the annual pass for the last four or five years. It is very rare to be asked to show ID with it.

She asked for ID, which I provided. I commented that we are rarely asked for it. She argued with me that it is *always* requested. That's BS. I would accept that *she* always asks for it, but I know for a fact that 90% of the time, no ID is requested.

She has her own set of rules.
Re: Is it just me?
September 04, 2008 03:55AM
It seems like it is just this Ranger as I have used my pass on both the Tioga Road(120) and south entrance(41) and they didn't even take it. I showed it to them and they said "thanks" and that was that.

Bob Nicholas
avatar Re: Is it just me?
September 04, 2008 04:27AM
RobE wrote:

> Forrestranger: it's definitely not you!!
> I had an encounter with the same ranger on Monday morning.
> It's not the rules or the system - it's that ranger.
> We have used the annual pass for the last four or five years.
> It is very rare to be asked to show ID with it.
> She asked for ID, which I provided. I commented that we are
> rarely asked for it. She argued with me that it is *always*
> requested. That's BS. I would accept that *she* always asks
> for it, but I know for a fact that 90% of the time, no ID is
> requested.
> She has her own set of rules.

It's policy now. I bought my federal pass this year and every single time I didn't proactively produce my ID, I was asked for it. That included two entrance stations at Olympic NP, three entrance stations at Mt Rainier NP, and the (Forest Service) Johnston Ridge Observatory at Mt St Helens. The ranger at Mt St Helens was complaining to a volunteer about how many passes (primarily bought from NPS areas) he's seen that weren't signed. My pass wasn't signed and the first time I tried to use it I was handed a permanent market to sign it before proceeding.

However - I don't recall any exit at any of those places where we were asked to show a pass or receipt on the way out. I've had to do that at Yosemite.

BTW - my pass got messed up. I signed it then had my wife sign the other signature window with a fine-tipped Sharpie. I put it in my pocket before heading for the Columbia River Gorge, since I wasn't sure if there might be fee areas. Turns out I didn't need it. My pocket got wet during the day (various reasons from water spray to condensation on the outside of a soft-sided cooler). Half of the pass number on the front was obliterated. The signatures both rubbed off. The barcode on the back is sufficiently rubbed (maybe the edge can be machine readable) although the numbers can be made out (some digits got heavily rubbed off but you can still tell what they are). I've never had a problem with credit cards that went through the washing machine, but just a little mositure and some mechanical action messed up my America the Beautiful pass. That same ranger at Mt St Helens was telling that volunteer that people didn't sign them because they thought it would rub off, and that a permanent marker should be used. At the very least he indicated that the signature could be covered with tape after signing. I'm thinking maybe the barcode and number might need some protection.

Re: Is it just me?
September 04, 2008 08:45AM
RobE wrote:
> She asked for ID, which I provided. I commented that we are
> rarely asked for it. She argued with me that it is *always*
> requested. That's BS. I would accept that *she* always asks
> for it, but I know for a fact that 90% of the time, no ID is
> requested.
> She has her own set of rules.

I've been asked a time or two, but only when I forgot to hand them my license with the pass. The lady at the kiosk wasn't entirely wrong...it's supposed to be always presented with the pass...says so with the info when you get the pass.

I don't mind it at all; you know that if they don't do that, people will be passing them around to friends to avoid the entrance fee, so what's wrong with handing them the signed pass and license to begin with? I guess you could say that means they don't trust you, but they don't know you, and how many people pass through those stations? All are "trustworthy", no doubt...8^)

I'm sure the ones that don't ask are supposed to. The pass is a bargain for anyone who goes a lot, but if it cuts into revenues by being abused, they'd have to make up for it somewhere.

Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Is it just me?
September 04, 2008 09:27AM
I've never been asked for ID with a pass at Yosemite. But it seems like every other National Park asks.

avatar Re: Is it just me?
September 04, 2008 04:52AM
Been to Yosemite 15 times this year with the All Parks Pass.
Never been asked for ID.

Expected to be asked at Kings Canyon last week.
Wasn't asked for ID there either.

I fully expect to be asked tomorrow at 120 entrance now though.

The knowledge of the person at the entrance station varies.
I will never ask them any questions again because the
one time I did they gave me the wrong answer which caused me to
have to drive all the way to the Valley Wilderness Station.
(it was self-registration time at 120 but Valley was staffed)
avatar Re: Is it just me?
September 04, 2008 12:21PM
I've been asked once or twice. We went just last weekend and weren't asked.

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