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Yosemite National Park reopening plan includes fewer visitors, required reservations

Carmen George, The Fresno Bee on

Published in Travel News

Acting Yosemite Superintendent Cicely Muldoon and a handful of Yosemite officials were joined by Mariposa County Health Officer Eric Sergienko in presenting the reopening plan.

Officials said Yosemite won't reopen to the public until Gov. Gavin Newsom moves California into its stage-three reopening phase, which would include nonessential travel.

Sergienko said he expects the state to move back and forth between stage two and stage three throughout 2020, with stage four not expected until a COVID-19 vaccine is available, something he said he expects by spring 2021 or January at the earliest.

Muldoon said once Yosemite is reopened, "our hope is that we can sustain access and not have to open and close if we do this right."

She said she wants to welcome as many visitors back to Yosemite as can be managed safely with a "measured approach." Muldoon became interim superintendent after Michael Reynolds was reassigned last fall to a regional director position in the Southwest.

Yosemite officials aren't doing media interviews at this time about the plan, but shared this information and more during this week's public conference call with community members.


"We're trying to plan as if we can open in early June," Muldoon said, "but that is just a planning date, and really we're going to move with the state. So when the state says stage three, we're going to be ready to go."

Some other national parks in California have already reopened.

Yosemite -- which had more than 4.5 million visitors last year and is one of the country's most-visited national parks -- is taking things slower because of social distancing concerns. Site plans were drafted to manage visitor traffic at the park's most popular destinations, primarily in Yosemite Valley.

Key areas of concern for officials: Tunnel View, Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite Lodge area, Lower Yosemite Fall, Yosemite Village, Curry Village, Glacier Point, Wawona, Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and park entrance stations. People will be encouraged to pay for their entrance online, but there will be staff at the entrance kiosks if someone needs to pay there.


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