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Popular Yosemite Attraction To Require Reservations Next Year

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Yosemite, CA — Yosemite National Park announces that reservations will be needed to enter the park the last three weekends of February next year, during the Horsetail Fall event.

The popular event attracts thousands of visitors to the park as the falls create the illusion of the water being on fire. Park officials relay that the surge in visitation has led to full parking lots, parking overflowing into traffic lanes, pedestrian-vehicle conflicts causing safety issues, and damage to natural and cultural resources. Those reasons led to the park implementing this reservation system, which will go on sale at Recreation.gov on January 13, 2023. Each reservation will be valid for seven days, and further details related to the reservations for the event and campgrounds can be viewed here. 

Yosemite National Park Horsetail Fall
Photo taken by Christine Fey

“Yosemite’s primary focus is to ensure visitors are not only fully welcomed into the park, but they get a world-class experience,” said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Cicely Muldoon. “This is a bustling park, and providing for and managing visitation has become increasingly complex due to growth in day-use visitation and changes in how visitors enjoy the park.”

The park is also turning to the public for feedback by initiating a public comment period for a Visitor Access Management Plan through Feb. 3, 2023, click here to comment. It consists of five questions allowing the public to weigh in on how the park can improve visitor experiences, reduce impacts on park resources, and protect wildlife and other valuable natural resources. Public opinion can also be voiced at a series of public meetings, both virtual and in-person, that will begin in January with dates and times yet to be announced but that will be posted on the park’s website.

“Now is the time to address the park’s future, and we are looking forward to beginning the process,” Muldoon added. “We want to conduct a fully transparent planning process where the public will have an opportunity to contribute every step of the way.”

The meetings will provide information on the planning process. Park officials shared that attendees and park management/planners will brainstorm and discuss concrete ideas. They added that the comments gathered during this period will help the park identify issues important to managing Yosemite visitor access in the future.

Piloted reservation systems for the park have been in place the past three summers, initiated twice due to the COVID pandemic and this year during “peak hours” for extensive construction throughout the park. Last month, the park reported that no reservations would be needed for next summer.

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