Yosemite National Park Strikes Back Against Campsite Scalping

Posted Jul 7th 2011 09:30 AMUpdated Jul 7th 2011 09:36 AM




Yosemite National Park has begun a crackdown on scalpers who are buying campsite reservations and reselling them at a drastic mark-up, creating a highly competitive market for tent space. NPR reports that the U.S. National Park Service has re-enforced the website where reservations are sold, helped flag reservations sold on Craigslist and eBay, and begun assiduously checking I.D.s against reservations.

The park became concerned earlier this year when the online sale of reservations seemed to end impossibly fast, leading officials to conclude that a computer program, not people, was buying the reservations.

Campers using reservations bought second hand may now be turned away by park rangers. Reservation prices should head back down to $20, but a lot of campsites will also be left empty – unless the computer program really does want to go camping.

Camping in Yosemite has been particularly popular this summer after a harsh winter left a massive snowpack in the hills, inflating the already scenic waterfalls into massive torrents.

Unfortunately, majesty is a double-edged sword. One hiker died and another is presumed to have also been killed on Wednesday when the pair was swept off a bridge and into the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

Millions visit Yosemite annually and many of the would-be campers who arrive looking to pitch their tents are turned away after the daily campsite lottery.

Filed Under: Family, News, EcoTravel

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Although I agree with JohnBoy about Destin023 or any other totally self serving jerks that scalp camping sites like this, I just got off the government site for making reservations and there is still no prohibition listed in the rules (and I read them all) against reselling or any requirement that the name on the reservation must match the occupant of the site. What if a grandfather made a reservation for some of his children or grandchildren for the purpose of an extended family camping together. They absolutely must stop the scalping, but not at the cost of spoiling somebody’s vacation. If it were a football ticket, you always let the person in the game but go after the scalper. Don't get it bassawkwards.

July 11 2011 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Milton's comment

It's been there for a while:


"Resale or Auction of Advance Reservations is Prohibited. Advance reservations made through the national reservation service may not be advertised or otherwise offered for resale or auction"

July 24 2011 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I totally agree that the website needs to be secured so that bulk sites cannot be bought for the purpose of reselling. That part is a "no-brainer". But I totally disagree that the people who bought the sites "second hand" should be punished. Until the web site is updated, what difference does it make if you allow the current "second hand" purchasers to camp in a camp site that has been paid for. The only people being punished are those that legitimately desire to camp with their family. Bad form!

July 11 2011 at 9:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Boy

It is quite clear that "destin023" is in the campsite scam business. This address is what the Park Service should be investigating.

July 11 2011 at 8:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John Boy's comment

Couldn't agree more. Can we please, please get the feds to bust these worthless pukes who have ruined my summer plans for 4 YEARS STRAIGHT???

February 25 2012 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Trace this entire process down:
Park Service enters tickets to be bought online "with no stipulations" as to the amount of tickets purchased or secondary sales being prohibited.
Park Service "admits" the tickets were purchased abnormally quick but they didn't do a followup to see who purchased the tickets in bulk.
Now Park Service is taking a justice stance by trying without due cause the secondary purchase of these tickets when they never stipulated otherwise.
I'd say the original purchaser plus the secondary purchasers all have legal claims against the Park Service for a conflict of interest of improper distribution & refusal of redemption to those purchased tickets.

I hope the Park Service is forced to honor the redemption either through threat of lawsuit or the general principle of being idiotic/relaxed on how they chose to distribute the tickets in the first place..

July 11 2011 at 8:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

MY GOD!!! From the title, I thought people were being scalped...as in the old Cowboy and Indian movies! Still, I guess this is newsworthy as well....

July 11 2011 at 8:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Kinda the same as Oil prices. I'm waiting to hear some Republican scream about the "Free Market Economy" and this is the price we pay. Ironic how the GOP wants to regulate People but hands off regulating business.

July 11 2011 at 7:54 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Campergate...is nothing sacred? I refuse to pay scalper prices for concerts and events. I'm sure as Hell not going to pay scalper prices for a campsite.

July 11 2011 at 7:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Crooks will always be crooks Just watch your back at any thing now a days. no morals left.

July 11 2011 at 7:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

To stop the scalping sell campsite tickets at the park entrance. They did that 40 years ago and it worked, why not now?

July 11 2011 at 7:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to georgessc's comment

obviously because they'd rather have controversy with some pissed off ticket holders being turned away at the entrance gate. Then again, the Park Service could actually monitor who they sell these bulk amounts of tickets to in the first place. Nah, better to penalize people who bought them & give them nothing for their money..

July 11 2011 at 7:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I picked up the Yosemite Tracks, Trees & Wildflower app before I went there a couple weeks back. Great app for id'ing nature stuff.

July 11 2011 at 6:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply