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Re: Yosemite National Park Announces The Launch Of A Pilot Daily Lottery For Camp 4 Campground

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avatar Yosemite National Park Announces The Launch Of A Pilot Daily Lottery For Camp 4 Campground
April 17, 2019 10:13AM
Camp 4 daily lottery to go into effect beginning on Tuesday, May 21, 2019


Yosemite National Park announces that a new pilot lottery program for Camp 4 Campground will launch on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. This daily lottery system will be operated through Recreation.gov and will help improve the visitor experience at Camp 4 Campground.

Camp 4 Campground is a walk-in campground and the only first-come, first-served campground in Yosemite Valley. Visitor demands for a camping space at Camp 4 have been increasing over the past decade and the current registration system no longer serves the public and meets the needs of current campers. Under the current system, campers have to line up and wait for a first-come, first-served camping space to open. In order to wait for one of the available spaces to open up, campers line up all day, and sometime the night before, with the hopes of getting a camping space. This system is inefficient and has contributed to wildlife issues due to improper food storage, out of bounds camping, and conflicts between campers.

To help resolve these issues, Yosemite National Park is going to test a new pilot program from late May to early September, using a daily lottery system similar to the Half Dome daily lottery. Visitors interested in staying at Camp 4 will enter a daily lottery managed by www.recreation.gov. The lottery opens at 12:01 am pacific time the day before your intended arrival date. The lottery is open until 4:00 pm pacific time. The lottery automatically matches applicants with the number of open camping spaces. All people who enter the daily lottery will be notified by email on the results of their lottery application.

This new pilot program will run through the busy summer season and will be evaluated fall 2019. For more information on Camp 4 Campground, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camp4.htm. For information in general on camping in Yosemite National Park, please visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camping.htm.
Another daily lottery, and even better, managed by www.recreation.gov. ...sigh... a nebulous Yosemite history.
Looking forward to the anticipated interactions with the (always understanding) climbing community.
What possibly could go wrong?
Any one familiar with the background on the issues there? I figured it's just too well known now.
I don't know for a fact, but I suspect you're right. The internet has made information available for little cost, bringing news of - and spectacular photos from - places like Yosemite and Zion NPs to a much wider audience than was the case 30 and even 20 years ago, when you had to make a greater effort (at least get to the public library to look at some travel books) and had less information available (you only saw the photos in the travel books); that process sped up with the spread of smartphones (and, as Chick-On and friends have come to realize, the posting of photos in fora like this one). But the parks themselves, of course, haven't gotten bigger, so there's increased demand for scarce resources. That includes campgrounds in or near prime locations like Yosemite Valley and Zion Canyon; it explains the surge in popularity of February viewing of Horsetail Falls close to sunset. So I'm not surprised to hear that NPS is testing a lottery system to replace FCFS for Camp 4.
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Not quite The Geezer, but getting there
I don't know for a fact, but I suspect you're right. The internet has made information available for little cost, bringing news of - and spectacular photos from - places like Yosemite and Zion NPs to a much wider audience than was the case 30 and even 20 years ago, when you had to make a greater effort (at least get to the public library to look at some travel books) and had less information available (you only saw the photos in the travel books); that process sped up with the spread of smartphones (and, as Chick-On and friends have come to realize, the posting of photos in fora like this one). But the parks themselves, of course, haven't gotten bigger, so there's increased demand for scarce resources. That includes campgrounds in or near prime locations like Yosemite Valley and Zion Canyon; it explains the surge in popularity of February viewing of Horsetail Falls close to sunset. So I'm not surprised to hear that NPS is testing a lottery system to replace FCFS for Camp 4.

So basically the trope that Instagram is the fault of all/most of the increased use in the parks. A convenient scapegoat.

While I must admit that Instagram may have some influence, there are far greater influences, namely the population and the economy. If you look at the trend line of population and the trend line of visitation to national parks they are very similar. There are some ups and downs to park visitation but those can be largely explained by the economy. Of course there are some other factors as well, but the trend between population and visitation is clear.

There are some spikes for events like Horsetail Falls. But that is much more noticeable, going from practically 0 to a few thousand in a few years. Imagine a few extra thousand people in the valley in the summer. Definitely noticeable, but not in the way Horsetail Falls is and arguably maybe has already happened.
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chulavista
Any one familiar with the background on the issues there? I figured it's just too well known now.

The press release summed it up pretty well, people camping out in line with the associated problems of trash, food storage, etc. I bet there were people just camping there saying they were 'waiting' in line. The lines were getting too long, both in duration and actual length. The permit stations for wilderness permits moved up their FCFS time from 7:30 am to 11 am for similar issues of pretty much camping in line.

I think one other issue that this helps solve was one of the major complaints about Camp 4. If you wanted to get a FCFS spot in the valley, you pretty much had to be there early the morning of or hope there was still space when you came. So either you had to find a place to camp nearby, get up super early and wait around or have a backup plan if you didn't get a site. This made it more complicated and less enjoyable to get a site. If you lived more than a few hours away, making a last minute trip was difficult as you might drive 4 hours only to find the campground full and have to turn around and go somewhere else or even back home, not to mention people coming from further away. A benefit with the new system is that you can get a spot the night before, know you have place and then drive at your convenience and plan the rest of your trip or if you know you don't have a spot, plan an alternative trip and not have to waste your time trying to get an unavailable spot.
Compounding the issue is to legally disperse camp outside the park boundaries, one must drive 20 to 30 miles. Another issue is the park historically has tended to avoid confronting the climbing community about illegally camping on the sly by just parking along roads then wandering off short distances into forest. If they clamped down on that by simply requiring anyone parking overnight at trailheads or along roadside pullouts have some permit on their dash, they would find a greater problem. In the summer it is huge at the Tuolumne Meadows Cathedral Lakes trailhead. What needs to be done is provide a larger minor fee parking lot with port-o-potties outside the valley say at Foresta or El Portal for those that can sleep fully inside their vehicles without any gear or furniture outside and not usable by large RVs. And then there is the Backpacking Camp near Happy Isles where many park but are not actually backpacking where like dash permits would work if the park was serious.



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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2019 10:20AM by DavidSenesac.
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