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Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System

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avatar Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 07, 2011 05:09PM
http://www.homeofyosemite.com/index.php/component/blog/comments?pid=121

Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System

New Policies Implemented to Ensure Equity and Fairness to Park Visitors

Yosemite National Park announces three changes to the way in which visitors make camping reservations for campgrounds operated by the National Park Service (NPS) in the park. These changes are being implemented in an effort to thwart and discourage misuse of the camping reservation system that all visitors currently use when making campground reservations within Yosemite National Park.

The first change will require all visitors checking into a campsite in the park to show identification upon arrival at the Campground Reservation Office. Currently, campers do not need to present any form of identification to secure their reserved campsite. However, this new identification policy is being implemented to make sure that the person who arrves at the campground office is the same person who made the campground reservation. This new procedure will commence for all check-ins beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

Also starting tomorrow, campground reservation holders will no longer be able to change the name of the person on the campground reservation. Previously, the original name on the reservation could be changed online on the reservation contractor's website. This would not change any components of the existing reservation. However, this change precludes the ability to change the name on a reservation once the reservation is made. There is a
$10 cancellation fee for any reservation that is cancelled. Further, the same reservation under a different name is not guaranteed.

The final change to the campground reservation system will be implemented later this summer. This alteration will change the way in which cancelled reservations are released back into the system. Currently, once a reservation is cancelled, the campsite is put back online to be purchased. However, under the newly implemented system, the campsites that become available can only be reserved by calling the campground reservation phone
number. There is no date available for this change.

All campsites reserved in Yosemite National Park are reserved through a contractor, Active Works. The website is www.recreation.gov. They can also be reached at 1-877-444-6777. The park is implementing these changes to ensure equity and fairness for visitors wishing to make a campsite reservation within Yosemite National Park.
By: Yosemite Manager On Tuesday, 07 June 2011
How about that?
very nice

Now, let's do the same for the Half Dome permits. No transfers and you have to pick up the permits in person.
That is awesome! Thank you to superintendent Neubacher for making the much-needed change. Here's another source backing the story:

http://www.news10.net/news/world/141008/5/Yosemite-changes-campground-reservation-policy

LOL @ these scumbag scalpers having to eat their reservations.
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 07, 2011 06:33PM
The best part is, that they now get charged for cancelling their reservation.
That way these scalpers can get at least half their money back but what will really be interesting is to see how many sites now become open since the greater percentage of these cancellations will be those who got them to resell -

and the park will be ahead too since they will net out more cancellation fee revenue and will most assuredly have someone retake the unreserved campsite - If cancelled sites will not be released into the system until later in the year though, how will campsites be resold until they insitute the new policy?
Quote
sactown23
The best part is, that they now get charged for cancelling their reservation.

The $10 cancellation fee has been in effect for a few years now. And if you call in and for example lop one day off your reservation they have also been charging $10.
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 07, 2011 05:54PM
Cool.

Hopefully they fix the Half Dome "system" as well.
It'll be interesting to see how many scalpers still try to sell their reservations. Part of me says you deserve what you get as a buyer in an illegal trade, but the sellers are a much greater evil and shouldn't be able to still profit from this. I'm sure many of us have been writing the superintendent to get this change implemented, and that had to have had an effect.
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 07, 2011 08:45PM
Quote
mbear
It'll be interesting to see how many scalpers still try to sell their reservations. Part of me says you deserve what you get as a buyer in an illegal trade, but the sellers are a much greater evil and shouldn't be able to still profit from this. I'm sure many of us have been writing the superintendent to get this change implemented, and that had to have had an effect.

Selling reservations that can't be used might really bite them in the ass. The word fraud comes to mind.
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 07, 2011 06:06PM
Bravissimo!
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 07, 2011 06:19PM
I'm surprised this hasn't been posted to Craigslist.
I'm pretty sure all the scalpers would have it removed ASAP. It's not hard to log into 50 proxy servers with different IP addresses to remove 1 posting.
Besides, there appears to be a window until tomorrow morning where they can still be legally transferred. No need to alert everyone until it can no longer be done.
Hallelujah! Some long awaited and welcome changes. So what does happen with reservations where the name
was changed prior to tomorrow morning? Are they grandfathered in with the name change?
I know some families who did this to help out a sister /brother/ mom & dad. Wondering if they'll still honor a reservation
if the name was changed prior to 6/8/11?
Just to see what happens, I posted the announcement here:
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/for/2427422005.html
We'll see if the scalpers flag it.
(You guys, don't flag it, okay?)
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 07, 2011 07:13PM
Quote
QITNL
Just to see what happens, I posted the announcement here:
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/for/2427422005.html
We'll see if the scalpers flag it.
(You guys, don't flag it, okay?)

Can't flag it. The ad is already gone.
You shouldn't have a reply address if you don't want it flagged.
Yeah, but I did want to get the message to see how long it took to get flagged.
Test results are in: Posted at 6:38 PM, flagged and removed at 7:02.
That took 24 minutes, not bad!
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 07, 2011 07:20PM
Do the reasons for flagging show up? In other words, the first scalper ad I decided to flag, I spent about two seconds deciding that "prohibited" was the right reason. Did I waste those two seconds of my life?
Yes, clicking "Prohibited" on a scalper's ad is probably the right thing to do. No, the reasons for flagging do not show up in the email I received from craigslist. Here is their generic response:
---
Your posting has been flagged for removal.

Approximately 98% of postings removed are in violation of craigslist posting guidelines.

Please make sure you are abiding by all posted site rules, including our terms of use:

http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use.html

If you need help figuring out why your posting was flagged, try asking in our flag help forum: http://forums.craigslist.org/?forumID=3. Include posting title, body, category, city, how often posted, any images, HTML markup, etc.

If your posting was wrongly flagged down (2% of flagged ads are) please accept our apologies and feel free to repost.

Sorry for the hassle, and thanks for your understanding.
---

I sent the note below to Craigslist via their Contact page. I checked the box indicating this regards "law enforcement."
Worth a shot, I'll let you know if I hear back from them.

---
Hi -

It's not your fault, but a lot of scalpers have been re-selling Yosemite campsite and Half Dome reservations here. This is probably somewhat illegal, but certainly highly unethical. Some of us have taken up flagging the ads as that's the only recourse we have. But this is like playing whack-a-mole.

Today there was an important change in the reservation process. I tried to post this, but my information was flagged and removed within 24 minutes. I imagine I was flagged by the scalpers.

Yosemite Changes Campground Reservations
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/for/2427422005.html

The new system makes it much harder for scalpers to resell their permits. Nonetheless, I'm sure they will continue to do so. Those who purchase these permits will be denied their campsites - there will be a lot of angry customers.

It would be a benefit to these buyers if you could put the information in my post somewhere that they could see it - somewhere sticky - in a manner whereby it cannot be flagged and removed.
---
Quote
QITNL
Yeah, but I did want to get the message to see how long it took to get flagged.
Test results are in: Posted at 6:38 PM, flagged and removed at 7:02.
That took 24 minutes, not bad!

The thing is, it takes about 10-15 minutes to actually appear on craigslist after you post it. So, in essence, once the scalper sees the ad, he can remove it instantaneously through the proxy method that they use
Yes, I understand that, and I'm not going to waste my time posting the info on Craigslist again.

I only needed it as proof-of-concept for the sticky PSA that I'm suggesting Craigslist should run. They don't like to meddle, but it may be in their own interest as far as the matter is concerned.

In any case, soon some pissed off "customers" will come crawling out of the woods and word will get around.
Bad thing is they can still buy the canceled reservations online. Only when they have to call the campground reservation phone will things really be taken care of. Now if we can get the park to do this with the Half Dome permits. Then I'll really be jumping up and down with joy.
This is awesome news. At first I feared that the changes implemented would be too loose to cause any real change, but as long as these proposed changes are enforced they should really fix the bulk of the current issue.

Now as others said- time to do something similar for the Half Dome permits.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/dqniel/
And it is 10:00 pm PST and the recreation.gov website is now down......

Our Apologies...
This Website will be
Back Soon
This website is currently unavailable while we make upgrades to improve our service to you.

That was fast! I guess they are busy making changes smiling smiley
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 08, 2011 08:50AM
I was waiting for something specifically on the Yosemite website.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/parknews/recgovchanges.htm

I never heard of "Active Works". As far as I recall, the contractor is still ReserveAmerica.
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 08, 2011 08:55AM
Quote
y_p_w
I never heard of "Active Works". As far as I recall, the contractor is still ReserveAmerica.

http://www.reserveamerica.com/marketing.do?goto=/marketingHTML/index.html
OK - I need a little help understanding the second change to policy as stated above - anyone out there help me on this?

Also starting tomorrow, campground reservation holders will no longer be able to change the name of the person on the campground reservation.[/b] - OK, this is pretty straight ahead, the reservations are now non-transferable

Previously, the original name on the reservation could be changed online on the reservation contractor's website. - This is the way it was

This would not change any components of the existing reservation. - I'm assuming that this means all remaining parts of the reservation remain intact - address, campsite #, etc.

However, this change precludes the ability to change the name on a reservation once the reservation is made. - Isn't this just reiterating that the reservations are non-transferable? - Why even make the statement?

There is a $10 cancellation fee for any reservation that is cancelled. - No change here.

Further, the same reservation under a different name is not guaranteed. - This one confuses me - how could the different name even exist if the reservation can no longer have a name change - Is this only pertaining to reservations where the name was changed before 6/8 - which means that transferred names for current reservations through 6/8 will not be honored?

Anybody have any ideas what they mean by this?
Quote
SoCalCPA
Further, the same reservation under a different name is not guaranteed. - This one confuses me - how could the different name even exist if the reservation can no longer have a name change - Is this only pertaining to reservations where the name was changed before 6/8 - which means that transferred names for current reservations through 6/8 will not be honored?

Anybody have any ideas what they mean by this?

From what I understand, I think what they are referring to is that campground reservations, like half dome permits, allow alternate names on the reservations. So, if you arrive and your name is an alternate, it may not be honored, as scalpers have been known to switch out their names on the primary occupant section in order to limit their exposure and have been substituting other names onto the primary occupant section for other reservations. Identity theft in a sense, but it's been happening.
I just checked my own reservations but there wasn't any field to enter for alternate names - Unless, this is now the new system and any fields for the alternate names were deleted - I didn't remember seeing anything for alternate names when I signed up before - There must be another procedure to get there that I am unaware of
You're correct, there never was a place to enter an alternate name on a camping reservation prior to today.
What you could do was change all the details for the actual reservation holder, name, address, phone and e-mail.
Once changed, the information of the person who originally made the reservation did not show on the reservation.
You used to be able to change the reservation details, which included a different name. You could chose your name or "other". If you chose other, you could put a different name down, contact info, and an email address for updates to the reservation (in case of fires, advisories, closures, etc.).

For example, in an existing reservation under "Change Reservation", my reservation now shows, "No primary occupant changes allowed for this reservation." It still shows my name with an option for "other", but you can no longer change it (you could last night before 10:00 pm).

That function is now gone and all you can change is primary equipment, number of people, number of cars and primary occupant profile. I was looking at it last night before the change as I am camping with my sister and worried if she arrives before I do the day of check in. I honestly don't know what is going to happen as there are not always people at the kiosk to check you in, let alone check names against reservations. They tend to man the kiosks only between 10-4 and sparingly. More so in Upper Pines as it is more crowded than where I usually stay in North Pines.
Existing changes are fine.

"There is a $10 cancellation fee for any reservation that is cancelled. Further, the same reservation under a different name is not guaranteed." This means that you can cancel a reservation then immediately try to rebook it, but there's no guarantee you'll succeed.
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 08, 2011 11:55AM
Quote
rje
Existing changes are fine.

"There is a $10 cancellation fee for any reservation that is cancelled. Further, the same reservation under a different name is not guaranteed." This means that you can cancel a reservation then immediately try to rebook it, but there's no guarantee you'll succeed.


That was my interpretation of the wording also.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/08/2011 11:57AM by szalkowski.
But if the initial reservation is cancelled, how could this be the "same reservation" since rebooking would be a brand new reservation under a new name
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 08, 2011 12:25PM
Quote
SoCalCPA
But if the initial reservation is cancelled, how could this be the "same reservation" since rebooking would be a brand new reservation under a new name

Same as in same site and same date.
I'm confused by it as well. I phoned the reservations number this morning, and spoke with someone in customer service.
Apparently, they are just learning about the changes as well, but I was told that any existing reservations where the name
was changed prior to 6/8/11 are grandfathered in, and will be honored with the name change. That is what I was told anyway,
but don't take my relating this as absolute fact!
I think there was a lot of this that went on between family members helping other family members out (not scalpers), so
there would be a big uproar if they all of a sudden made it retroactive on the name change.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/08/2011 09:49AM by PineCone.
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 08, 2011 12:52PM
Quote
eeek
This guy is in for a surprise:

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/tix/2428732361.html

Was that the loser selling the TM group site?
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 08, 2011 02:14PM
Quote
mbear
Quote
eeek
This guy is in for a surprise:

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/tix/2428732361.html

Was that the loser selling the TM group site?

No, he just wanted to swap dates with someone.
The only thing I don't get is this: "under the newly implemented system, the campsites that become available can only be reserved by calling the campground reservation phone
number. There is no date available for this change."

So we have to call every day looking for sites, instead of using the computer?
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 09, 2011 05:17PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
The only thing I don't get is this: "under the newly implemented system, the campsites that become available can only be reserved by calling the campground reservation phone
number. There is no date available for this change."

So we have to call every day looking for sites, instead of using the computer?


My interpretation is that the computer system is still in place for the cancelled campsite reservations but will be replaced by the phone system at some future, to-be-determined date.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2011 05:21PM by szalkowski.
Quote
hotrod4x5
The only thing I don't get is this: "under the newly implemented system, the campsites that become available can only be reserved by calling the campground reservation phone
number. There is no date available for this change."

So we have to call every day looking for sites, instead of using the computer?

Yeah, I don't like that idea either. I think that came from some postings that said that the scalpers have a computer program that snatches up sites that are canceled, immediately. In the last month myself and another person I know have had to cancel sites and I monitored them and they were still available on the website 1/2 hr. later or more, so I don't think that idea of the scalpers snatching up canceled campsites right away was valid. From what I'm seeing the scalpers pretty much only go for weekend sites, 5 months ahead of time. I think the idea of using the capcatcha (sp?) system was probably a better idea than this new system. When families try 5 months ahead of time to try to get sites it's basically try to get sites first and then we'll figure out who's going to be in which site later. This new system is going to be tough on that kind of planning.

Currrently canceled sites still go back on the reservation system immediately.
It may turn out that if the scalpers butt out campsite will be more available say for 30 minutes instead of 1 minute..



Old Dude
Quote
mtn man
Quote
hotrod4x5
The only thing I don't get is this: "under the newly implemented system, the campsites that become available can only be reserved by calling the campground reservation phone
number. There is no date available for this change."

So we have to call every day looking for sites, instead of using the computer?

Yeah, I don't like that idea either. I think that came from some postings that said that the scalpers have a computer program that snatches up sites that are canceled, immediately. In the last month myself and another person I know have had to cancel sites and I monitored them and they were still available on the website 1/2 hr. later or more, so I don't think that idea of the scalpers snatching up canceled campsites right away was valid. From what I'm seeing the scalpers pretty much only go for weekend sites, 5 months ahead of time. I think the idea of using the capcatcha (sp?) system was probably a better idea than this new system. When families try 5 months ahead of time to try to get sites it's basically try to get sites first and then we'll figure out who's going to be in which site later. This new system is going to be tough on that kind of planning.

Currrently canceled sites still go back on the reservation system immediately.

I don't know if the scalpers do it for the campsites, but the individual I spoke to on the phone from Yosemite said they do it for the half dome permits.
Quote
mtn man
Quote
hotrod4x5
The only thing I don't get is this: "under the newly implemented system, the campsites that become available can only be reserved by calling the campground reservation phone
number. There is no date available for this change."

So we have to call every day looking for sites, instead of using the computer?

Yeah, I don't like that idea either. I think that came from some postings that said that the scalpers have a computer program that snatches up sites that are canceled, immediately. In the last month myself and another person I know have had to cancel sites and I monitored them and they were still available on the website 1/2 hr. later or more, so I don't think that idea of the scalpers snatching up canceled campsites right away was valid. From what I'm seeing the scalpers pretty much only go for weekend sites, 5 months ahead of time. I think the idea of using the capcatcha (sp?) system was probably a better idea than this new system. When families try 5 months ahead of time to try to get sites it's basically try to get sites first and then we'll figure out who's going to be in which site later. This new system is going to be tough on that kind of planning.

Currrently canceled sites still go back on the reservation system immediately.

I can understand why they would want the cancelled reservations to be available via phone only. That would be to prevent scalpers from selling their reservations, then quickly canceling it under their name, and quickly reserving it again in the name of the buyer of their campground reservation.

Ideally, what I hope the Park Service implements in the upcoming months, as outlined by this announcement, is that when a campground reservation is canceled, it doesn't become available for rebooking until the next business day (or two). And when it does become available to be reserved again, that it would be listed ONLINE as available, but with a notation that one would need TO PHONE ReserveAmerica to book it.

That way one wouldn't have to waste the time of the agents at ReserveAmerica by constantly calling in to see if a campsite is available. Instead people could still search on the Recreation.gov website, and if a campsite becomes available, only then phone into ReserveAmerica to book the campsite that a person had previously reserved.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2011 09:23AM by plawrence.
I had a site in upper pines for June 10 and June 11 that I canceled. Right after canceling the reservation, I monitored it on recreation.gov. The site did not last more than 1 minute exactly before it was swept up.
Being near the bay area, I would think there are people who legitimately want to camp in Yosemite who have the skills to create automated programs to snag a reservation.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2011 08:51AM by mbear.
I wish I knew how to do that. I still need one more site in upper pines and my trip is coming up in a couple of weeks. All I can do is check every 30 minutes or so.
One other restriction I would like to see the Park Service add is that a person can only have one campsite (or a set of campsites -- if multiple campsites are needed) reserved for the same dates at a time. In other words, if someone reserves a campsite (or sites) at a Yosemite campground for a trip in May, they won't be allowed to reserve another campsite in Yosemite until AFTER their May trip. I think this would also open up a lot more campsites to more people overall, and prevent people from preemptively booking multiple dates five months ahead of time, then only canceling later on when their vacation plans get finalized.

People will need to think ahead exactly what week they would want to go to visit Yosemite, and then only reserve the campsites for that week. I think right now, many people will reserve a campsite for May, June, July, August ahead of time, and only at a later date cancel (or resale) the dates they decide not to use.
The system is already set up so you can only have one week in a specific campground (and I believe the valley). If you reserve one week and try to add another, the current system will not allow you to add another reservation. While trying to plan my visit this summer, I reserved what I could and when additional dates became available I added them. You would have to cancel existing reservations before adding new ones (if you had three days and found a full week in the same area for example). The workaround for this (which I am sure most people have figured out) is that you can create multiple accounts each with its own email address. I personally have four different yahoo addresses that I use for different things (spam, personal, business, school) and I don't believe there is a limit on the number of accounts you can create (how scalpers are able to do what they do).

You can have multiple reservations for the same week though (like two campsites for your group). I don't believe the system limits that. You are only allowed two reservations in your cart at a time though, so pretty hard to get one reservation, or even two, but can't imagine three or more unless you are using multiple people, multiple computers, and multiple accounts.
The way though to prevent multiple reservations through multiple email accounts would simple require the person making the reservations to enter the ID number of the identification card they will be using when arriving at the campground -- be it their Driver License No., or their Passport No..

Of course, people could still have other family members make reservations too, but it will still help limit the number of reservations any one person could hold at the same time.
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 10, 2011 01:03PM
The following article claims that if there's no name match made (ostensibly at the campground office) that the reservation can be repurchased at the standard price. I don't know how accurate that is, because nobody was quoted and I haven't heard any other source about what the NPS plans to do with mismatched reservations. If this is the case, I don't know if it serves part of the purpose of new policy, which is to dissuade people from repurchasing reservations from scalpers. I would suggest that if they're going to release campsites, that they specifically lock out the person who specifically went through a scalper.

Yosemite tries to outsmart reservation scalpers
http://overheadbin.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/06/09/6822704-yosemite-tries-to-outsmart-reservation-scalpers

Quote

That won't be the case any longer if Yosemite’s new reservation system, rolled out June 8, is effective. Now arriving campers must show identification to prove that they are the same person who made the original reservation.

When the names don’t match, the reservation will be canceled. The unlucky camper will have to forfeit the money spent on the scalped reservation, but the park will allow the reservation to be re-purchased for the original $20 price.
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Announces Changes to the Campground Reservation System
June 10, 2011 01:06PM
I'm also wondering how this is going to affect that large "nonprofit group" that secured dozens of sites.

Perhaps they've already made the name change, although the current policy does seem to state that the original reserver must be the one checking in with ID. If they have to have one original reserver for every campsite, it's going to make things difficult for them.
Quote
y_p_w
I'm also wondering how this is going to affect that large "nonprofit group" that secured dozens of sites.

Perhaps they've already made the name change, although the current policy does seem to state that the original reserver must be the one checking in with ID. If they have to have one original reserver for every campsite, it's going to make things difficult for them.

I don't think this new policy will impacts groups like that one which secure the campsites up to a year in advance as is allowed for organized "tour groups". If you have an organized group, I think the Park Service will allow you to reserve individual campsites for your event up to a year in advance. But you can't to that online. You need to call ReserveAmerica's phone number for group sales, IIRC.
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