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Yosemite National Park reopening plan includes fewer visitors, required reservations

Carmen George, The Fresno Bee on

Published in Travel News


Park officials said Yosemite Valley shuttle buses won't run this season because of social distancing concerns and past crowding.

Earlier this month, about 90 laid-off Yosemite transportation workers employed by Aramark were told to leave the park by May 21. The eviction decision was met by a petition signed by nearly 12,000 people, and a letter from Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., to park officials asking that the workers be allowed to stay in Yosemite.

On Wednesday, an Aramark spokesperson said the company is continuing to work with affected employees on a "person-by-person basis" to ensure everyone finds housing outside the park, and that no one will be forced to leave if they don't have a place to go.

Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System buses will still be allowed in the park. YARTS may increase its Yosemite Valley stops -- although park officials said they don't intend for it to be a replacement for former in-park shuttles.

Small buses and shuttles from area hotels will also be allowed.


Les Marsden, president of Yosemite Gateway Partners, said changes planned in Yosemite this summer may actually help nearby towns in some ways, since more Yosemite visitors will likely have to find lodging and food outside the park.

Glacier Point Road will be open when the park reopens. Tioga Road over the Sierra Nevada will also reopen this year.


Cables will be up on Half Dome by June 5. Hiking permits to summit the famous dome were canceled through June 4. Park officials said permits previously acquired for later dates will be honored, but they don't have plans at this time to open the lottery system to issue more permits.

Among those who don't need a day-use reservation to enter the park: Visitors with campground reservations or wilderness permits for backpacking, visitors staying in vacation rentals inside the national park boundary (such as the community of Yosemite West) and people visiting Yosemite employees.

Those with annual or lifetime park passes will still have to get a day-use reservation to enter the park. Day-use reservations will not be transferable to prevent people trying to sell them online.

Yosemite weddings will still be allowed, but the wedding party size may be limited.

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