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Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist

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People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 06:04PM
It's for real, its illegal, and it's not cool!

Scalpers are buying up campsites, sometimes using computer programs to reserve sites before they come available, They then turn around and sell the campsites for exorbitant amounts on craigslist and other places.

Not happy about this. Not one bit...

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KABC) -- Scalpers are making it harder for families to visit one of California's most beautiful places - Yosemite National Park.

Officials say they've seen a huge increase in the number of people scalping reservations for campsites. A park spokesman said officials are becoming more aggressive as they try to curb scalpers.

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The reservations usually sell for $20 a night, but they're being resold on sites like Craigslist for five times the face value. The nation's third-most visited park has only 900 reserved campsites available at any given time.

Scalpers are also selling permits to climb Yosemite's famous Half Dome, which the park essentially issues for free.

Officials say it appears that some scalpers may have devised ways of jumping the reservation queue, possibly through automated computer programs that can instantly snag cancellations.

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/state&id=8080424
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 06:44PM
Reservation bots. Similar to 'sniping' on Ebay. I'm not sure if it's still possible on Ebay, but programs for quicker-than-humanly-possible bids were rampant, and a similar program would work just fine for stealing reservations if security measures aren't put into place.


The individuals doing this are, in a word, sad.
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 07:01PM
Although scalping is not cool and sad, it is technically not illegal federally and in the state of California.
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 19, 2011 06:59AM
Quote
Wicket
Although scalping is not cool and sad, it is technically not illegal federally and in the state of California.

Yosemite is not California, it is federal property. On the website when you book it has the disclaimer that reselling or transferring of reservations is prohibited, so it can be enforced.
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 07:46PM
This shows a dire need for more campgrounds. Yosemite has 900. Yellowstone has over 2,000.
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 07:52PM
Quote
Dave
This shows a dire need for more campgrounds. Yosemite has 900. Yellowstone has over 2,000.

Not trying to kick off the great "The Parks should be accomodating" vs. "The Parks should be undeveloped" debate but, to be fair, we should note that Yellowstone is approximately 3 times the size of Yosemite (roughly 9000 sq km vs just over 3000) so, by area, Yosemite actually has MORE campgrounds than Yellowstone.

--David
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 07:56PM
Quote
DavidK42
Quote
Dave
This shows a dire need for more campgrounds. Yosemite has 900. Yellowstone has over 2,000.

Not trying to kick off the great "The Parks should be accomodating" vs. "The Parks should be undeveloped" debate but, to be fair, we should note that Yellowstone is approximately 3 times the size of Yosemite (roughly 9000 sq km vs just over 3000) so, by area, Yosemite actually has MORE campgrounds than Yellowstone.

--David

I think you could put every Yosemite campsite in the Old Faithful parking lot.
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 09:03PM
Quote
DavidK42
Not trying to kick off the great "The Parks should be accomodating" vs. "The Parks should be undeveloped" debate but, to be fair, we should note that Yellowstone is approximately 3 times the size of Yosemite (roughly 9000 sq km vs just over 3000) so, by area, Yosemite actually has MORE campgrounds than Yellowstone.
Yosemite has fewer camp sites - and they want to take out more. The sites don't have to be inside the park itself. There's quite a bit of open land near the park. Every morning going to work on the bus I can see several great places for a campground - in already disturbed areas.
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 19, 2011 01:13AM
Also, there's a greater need for campsites in Yosemite than Yellowstone, because Yosemite is a lot closer to very major population centers than Yellowstone, hence there are far greater numbers of people that would like to camp in Yosemite during weekends and most other days of the year, especially in the summer.

What the Park Service also needs to remember is one of the main reasons why Yosemite Valley was initially set aside in 1864 in the first place. So it could remain in public hands (and not become private holdings via homesteading) so all (from all walks of life) could enjoy Yosemite not just for sightseeing, but also as a grand place to enjoy the great outdoors. In other words, an outdoor recreational park. Yosemite wasn't set aside just so the wilderness could be preserved (though that is extremely important mandate for Yosemite too), but also as a place where people could escape to and get back to nature and reinvigorate their souls.
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 08:02PM
Quote
Dave
This shows a dire need for more campgrounds. Yosemite has 900. Yellowstone has over 2,000.

I know that lots of people like to camp in Yosemite, but it certainly seems like the campgrounds are very rough on the valley and certainly represent a big part of the bear problem. I would vote for a better allocation/reservation system. In many ways, there may never be enough campsites to please everyone. Given the uniqueness of Yosemite Valley, a case can be made for FEWER sites.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 08:48PM
Quote
Dave
This shows a dire need for more campgrounds. Yosemite has 900. Yellowstone has over 2,000.

A quick cut and pastey:

Yosemite :
- 1410 campsites
- 1169 square miles

Yellowstone:
- 2177 campsites
- 3472 square miles

Around Yose there are also a myriad of sites outside the park.



Chick-on is looking at you!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/18/2011 09:00PM by chick-on.
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 08:51PM
Quote
chick-on
Yosemite :
- 1410 campsites
- 1169 square feet

Those are extremely small sites.
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 09:37PM
Quote
chick-on
Quote
Dave
This shows a dire need for more campgrounds. Yosemite has 900. Yellowstone has over 2,000.

A quick cut and pastey:

Yosemite :
- 1410 campsites
- 1169 square miles

Yellowstone:
- 2177 campsites
- 3472 square miles

Around Yose there are also a myriad of sites outside the park.

Yellowstone is surrounded by Forest Service land. They've got lots of campgrounds in the area, including the Soda Butte campground where a grizzly sow with cubs engaged in a predatory attack last year. Then there are the campgrounds in and around Grand Teton NP, including that largest campground in NPS (Gros Venture).
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 09:03PM
Quote
Dave
This shows a dire need for more campgrounds. Yosemite has 900. Yellowstone has over 2,000.

Let's put up an elevator to the top of Half Dome, set up a campground up there, and sell spots for $1,000 per person. All proceeds would be needed to pay for liability insurance for the project, everyone would be trying to fight for sites, and it would radically reduce the impact to the wooded campsites.
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 18, 2011 08:12PM
I enjoy backpacking and the peace i get with that. But i have kids ages 6,5, and 2. Every year we go to yosemite for one week in the summer. It is their big week outdoors that they look forward to every year. However, I have a large trailer that only fits into two spots in lower pines. One is great on the river, but i have never ever been able to get that spot. I fight over one other spot every year that sucks, but its a spot. I then have to fight with work to get the time off. It is frustrating. The whole selling of campsites drives me nuts. There is a guy on the SF Bay Area craigslist that is selling tons of sites, he re-lists them everyday and is asking over $100 a night. My neighbor read this news article today on the reselling of campsites. He came over to ask me how it works, because after seeing the article he wanted to reserve some sites and resell them. I convinved him it was a horrible idea, but i bet there are others just like him.
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 19, 2011 01:26AM
A straight-forward solution would be to prohibit the reselling of the campsite reservations, making it clear that they are non-transferable, and then to add some real teeth to this prohibition, make it a federal crime, punishable with a large fine, for anyone to offer for sale these campsite reservations.

I'm sure legislation could be put forth in Congress that would make selling these campsite reservations a federal crime.

It would be so easy to find and prosecute the violators, that the Craig's List selling of the Yosemite Campsites would dry up very quickly once the heavy fines started to be levied on the sellers.
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 19, 2011 07:02AM
It is prohibited, it's right on the page when you book. I have been working with the Park Service when I come across ones that are identifiable but the bots taking out all the sites is the biggest issue. Get rid of their ability to make all the reservations over the average guy and you take away their east profit.
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 19, 2011 10:58AM
But until it becomes a federal crime to do so, which it currently is not, telling people not to do so as part of their agreement is pretty toothless.

Make it a federal crime with a minimum $500 fine for each campsite listed for resale, and then it's make it practical for 1) the feds to go after these scalpers, and 2) makes it hard, if not impossible, for these scalpers to blatantly resell the campsite reservations on internet sites like Craig's List.
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 20, 2011 06:01AM
Good luck with that, in the mean time a bunch of us are scouting Craigslist and flagging the posts and reporting the ones that list enough information. The amount on there has already went way down, just have to stay on it. I think it added about 5 minutes to my morning routine.
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 20, 2011 09:53AM
I'm game to help the grass roots enforcement.

We should each take a local Craigs list to check. I'll take the San Luis Obispo Craigs list.

SLO is clear!
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 20, 2011 12:46PM
To what email address to you send your complaints to about people selling their Yosemite Reservations on Craig's List (and other sites)?

And have you checked to see if the campsites of the violations that you have reported have become available (at least temporarily) on recreation.gov?
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 20, 2011 07:45PM
Quote
plawrence
To what email address to you send your complaints to about people selling their Yosemite Reservations on Craig's List (and other sites)?

And have you checked to see if the campsites of the violations that you have reported have become available (at least temporarily) on recreation.gov?

All ads on Craigslist can be flagged.
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 20, 2011 08:19PM
Quote
y_p_w
All ads on Craigslist can be flagged.

But how many flags does it take to get the ad removed?
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 24, 2011 02:38PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
y_p_w
All ads on Craigslist can be flagged.

But how many flags does it take to get the ad removed?

Just one if it's clearly against the law. I know a lot of discriminatory housing ads get pulled quickly. There are quite a few ads that specify a preference for a specific race, religion, economic status, or age, which is clearly illegal. The only things that are OK are preferences for gender with shared housing.

You flag on, it gets in a queue, and someone looks at it and determines if it meets the criteria for deletion. I don't think it's a matter of how many people have flagged the same ad. I would think that all flagged ads get looked at.
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
May 08, 2011 11:33PM
That hasn't been my experience with Craigslist. It's my understanding it is an automated system that requires a certain number of flags from unique IP addresses before it gets taken down. At least that is how it is for forum posts, and I doubt the ads are any different. They run on a skeleton staff.

And illegal doesn't have any bearing on CL ads. It how many years for anyone to get the adult site shut down?
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 20, 2011 06:21PM
I'm thinking that if you expressed an interest to any Craiglist entry you should be able to get all the specifics. Am I wrong on this? I haven't used it so I don't know.



Old Dude
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
May 06, 2011 12:24AM
I'm in this group. There're a couple of die-hard posters who are clearly scalpers. How can one person have 8+ sets of 4 Half Dome permits? That's ridiculous.

How can someone have "several weekends in May" in Upper and Lower Pines? As we've seen in other threads, clearly this person is using some kind of bot to reserve multiple spaces with the intent to sell.

I emailed a couple of them, just for kicks, and they're charging $80 a night for a campsite and over $100 for a Half Dome permit!
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 20, 2011 08:04PM
As mentioned above, why don't they make reservations and permits non-transferable?

When you make the reservation, you give your name, which must match the name on your credit card, and that name is associated with the reservation and printed on the permit. When you arrive, you must show your ID to demonstrate that you are the person who made and paid for the reservation.

Would that not go a long way to preventing scalping?
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 22, 2011 09:25AM
Recreation.gov (The Yosemite camping reservations site) has contact with Craigslist regarding this problem so just give the Craigslist info via email to Recreation.gov and they'll contact Craigslist and have them remove the ad and then Recreation.gov will actually cancel the reservation.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/25/2011 10:23AM by mtn man.
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
April 24, 2011 02:15PM
Headline News, a nationwide TV news network, just did a segment on people scalping Yosemite camping sites on Craigslist.
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
May 06, 2011 01:44PM
From a person in the know...

An investigation into the matter is being stifled by a Yosemite NP mid-level manager who wants nothing done about this situation. If you want this to be seriously addressed, send your complaints to the following people:

Don_Neubacher@nps.gov (Yosemite NP Superintendent)

Scott_Wanek@nps.gov (NPS Pacific West Regional Chief Ranger)

Lane_Baker@nps.gov (NPS Chief of Law Enforcement, Security, & Emergency Services)

Steve_Shackelton@nps.gov (NPS Associate Director, Visitor and Resource Protection)

Jon_Jarvis@nps.gov (Director, National Park Service)

Then write a complaint to the DOI's Inspector General's Office:

http://www.doioig.gov/hotline
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
May 08, 2011 10:20PM
I go through the San Francisco Craigslist regularly and flag posts every week. Tonight, a person offers the following: "Available are Yosemite campsites for the weekends of Friday May 13 and May 20 (2 to 4 nights). The campgrounds are all on the valley floor either in Upper Pines or Lower Pines campground. There is a six persons limit per campsite, but I have multiple sites if you have a large group interested in camping, either tents, RV, or trailer, great for groups or just a few people." http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/for/2370148653.html

I flagged it on Craigslist and I hope it gets removed quickly. So wish there was a serious penalty.
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
May 08, 2011 10:56PM
Quote
frogmom
I go through the San Francisco Craigslist regularly and flag posts every week. Tonight, a person offers the following: "Available are Yosemite campsites for the weekends of Friday May 13 and May 20 (2 to 4 nights). The campgrounds are all on the valley floor either in Upper Pines or Lower Pines campground. There is a six persons limit per campsite, but I have multiple sites if you have a large group interested in camping, either tents, RV, or trailer, great for groups or just a few people." http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/for/2370148653.html

I flagged it on Craigslist and I hope it gets removed quickly. So wish there was a serious penalty.


I flagged that same item on Craiglist this morning along with about six or so others. I found in Los Angeles a person selling Half Dome permit for $60.00. It drives me crazy. I sent emails on the NPS and Recreation.gov asking if Craigslist scapling is illegal and asked what can be done to stop it. I sent a sample Craigslist item similar to the one your talking about frogmom. I'm wondering what responses I will get. I must admit that I have not sent emails to list of people Pika gave but I am going to tomorrow.
avatar Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
May 08, 2011 11:24PM
I do as well.

I've sent a number of emails to the folks at Recreation.gov. I'm getting the same stock responses from them. I emailed a couple of the posters, just to see what kind of response I got. I passed their email info along to the NPS folks.

I've taken to including @yosemiteNPS on my twitter complaints and I've even tweeted CraigNewmark, who suggested I email him more details. Not like he's actually going to do something about it, but he might make it easier for them to get flagged off faster. Who knows.

The "Happy Camping/Trails" posts make me nuts. They have to be from the same person. They all have the same style, same photos, same sign-off. And they have 8+ sets of 4 Half Dome permits, plus campsites all through May and June, plus campsites for July 4th weekend, AND Labor Day weekend. That's a side business, not someone trying to unload an extra pass/reservation they can't use. I emailed them just for kicks, and their response came from a unique email name, so I did a quick Google search and came up with someone on a RV forum, also handing out "extra" Yosemite campsites. When one of the other forum members pointed out that there are lots of Yosemite scalpers, they responded by saying, "Seems they've learned about supply and demand."

I was trying to figure out what made me so upset about this whole thing. I think the part that cheeses me off so much is that it just makes it that much harder for regular people to get a campsite/permit. It's always been a challenge, but these people sucking up 10+ reservations each in one fell swoop is just wrong. I wouldn't have a problem with someone having a last-minute change of plans offering their reservation up for the initial cost, but people who make it their source of income to hike the price up 4x is like stealing from the general public. None of that extra money goes into improving the park. It just goes to line their pockets.
Re: People Scalping Yosemite campsites on Craigslist
May 09, 2011 08:18AM
That person is running the same ads in many different craiglist locations. I've gone through, L.A., Orange County, etc. Craigslists and keep flagging them but the seller just re-lists the same ad the next day. Notified the reservation website and did get a response that they are on to this and thanked me for bringing it to their attention. I'm going to keep flagging this guys ads and urge everyone to do the same (by flagging I mean click on"prohibited"winking smiley.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2011 08:21AM by mtn man.
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