Yosemite Tries to Outsmart Reservation Scalpers
Scoring a spot in one of Yosemite National Park's $20-a-night campgrounds can be notoriously difficult. The 895 sites available for reservations sell out quickly for the summer, and scalpers on sites like Craigslist have made a bundle on tourists desperate to stay in the national park's valley without paying a premium for upscale accommodations like the Ahwahnee Hotel and Yosemite Lodge, MSNBC.com reported.
“The other day we talked to a gentleman who paid $700 for three nights,” said park spokesperson Scott Gediman.
“The supply of traditional campsites is nowhere near demand, and scalping has grown exponentially over the past few years,” he said. Reservations are frequently scalped on eBay in addition to Craigslist.
That won't be the case any longer if Yosemite’s new reservation system, rolled out June 8, is effective. Now arriving campers must show identification to prove that they are the same person who made the original reservation.
When the names don’t match, the reservation will be canceled. The unlucky camper will have to forfeit the money spent on the scalped reservation, but the park will allow the reservation to be repurchased for the original $20 price.
Gediman says eBay has been cooperative in posting warnings noting that it is illegal to resell Yosemite campsite reservations, but that “Craigslist has been a bit more difficult.”
Climbers should also beware: Scalpers are reselling permits to climb Half Dome that are issued by free from the park, according to the Associated Press.
To prevent scalpers from purchasing a reservation and changing the name, the park is no longer allowing name changes to campground reservations. The only option for a scalper is to then cancel the reservation for a $10 fee.
Later this summer, the park will also change how canceled reservations are re-released into the system. Right now, a canceled campsite reservation is put back into the online system. In the future, campsites that become available can only be reserved by calling the campground reservation phone number, which is (877) 444-6777.