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Tuolumne County Supervisors Support Alternatives To Yosemite Reservation System

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Yosemite, CA —  The Yosemite Community Stakeholders group, led by business leaders in the gateway communities, is pushing for alternatives to a reservation system at the park.

We reported earlier that the park may implement a reservation system, moving forward, especially during peak times, in response to the heavy traffic experienced this summer. A public comment period runs through today.

At yesterday’s Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors meeting, Yosemite Superintendent Cicily Muldoon took part virtually and explained the reasoning for the development of a new traffic mitigation plan. She also stressed that no final decisions have been made and the park is interested in hearing all opinions and suggestions.

Immediately after, the supervisors heard a presentation from Lee Zimmerman, a co-owner of the Rush Creek Lodge and Evergreen Lodge, about alternatives proposed by the Yosemite Community Stakeholders Group. He noted that a reservation system denies visitation to the entire park rather than just areas impacted by overcrowding. He also stated that it creates challenges for those who plan a trip far in advance, and it gives an unfair advantage to in-park lodging.

Instead of capping attendance, the group would like to see a 2024 pilot program that actively promotes other parts of the park, outside of the popular eastern Yosemite Valley, when crowding becomes an issue. For example, as part of the proposal, during the peak season of June 15 – August 15, along with Labor Day and Memorial Day, there would be a set number of East Valley passes handed out at the gate, allowing entrance before 1 pm. If you are not early enough to acquire a pass (handed out first-come-first-served), information would be provided about alternative recreational opportunities in Yosemite.  Other highlights of the proposal include beefing up Wi-Fi internet access in the park and having a revised Nixle alert system.

You find the full framework by clicking here. 

The board voted 4-0 to endorse the recommendations and send a related letter to Yosemite leaders. During public comment at the meeting, Lisa Mayo of Visit Tuolumne County endorsed the group’s alternative plan. Two other leaders of local groups, John Buckley of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center and Patrick Koepele of the Tuolumne River Trust, praised aspects of the plan, but argued that an attendance cap should not be completely dismissed.

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