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Camping Fees to Increase in Yosemite National Park

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Camping Fees to Increase in Yosemite National Park

Postby ERIC » Mon Nov 28, 2005 6:01 pm

Camping Fees to Increase in Yosemite National Park

November 21, 2005
For Immediate Release


Yosemite National Park announced today that camping fees will increase beginning January 1, 2006.

Campgrounds affected by the rate increase are Upper Pines, Lower Pines, and North Pines in Yosemite Valley, Hodgdon Meadows and Crane Flat, Tuolumne Meadows, and Wawona. Rates in these campgrounds will increase from $18/ night to $20/ night.

Additionally, first-come, first-served sites at Bridalveil Creek and White Wolf will increase from $12/night to $14/night and Tamarack Flat, Yosemite Creek, and Porcupine Flat will increase from $8/night to $10/night.

Prices at Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley and at the Backpackers camps in Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, and Hetch Hetchy will remain at $5/night. Stock camps, ($25/night) and group camps ($40/night) will also be unaffected by the rate increase.

Most campsites in Yosemite National Park are on a reservation system. The National Park Reservations Service is currently taking reservations five months in advance. The toll-free reservation number is 800/436-7275. Reservations can also be made online at http://reservations.nps.gov. Reservations are always recommended in Yosemite National Park, especially during the peak season.

For a complete list of campground locations and opening/closing dates, please refer to http://www.nps.gov/yose/pphtml/camping.html.

The increase in camping fees resulted from a comparative study of area campgrounds. Rates were last increased in February, 2001.



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Postby markskor » Mon Nov 28, 2005 6:42 pm

Thanks for the notification.
In all fairness, whether the camping fees for the Yosemite family sites are set at $15 or $20, it really does not affect the majority of the members here. We are backpackers. While this is a slight increase in funds, it is a rather small price to pay for what we get back in return.
If in fact, if the National Park budget is so woefully low that the parks now (Thanks Bush) cannot pay for themselves, then by all means raise the rates - but make sure the ALL funds collected actually go back into the park themselves.
I know that this may strike a nerve, but I somewhat feel that we as backpackers have not always been paying our fair share all along. Sure, I realize that it is our land - public - paid for - but for all the gratification received, should/could we not pay something more than nothing to keep it this way forever. Backcountry permits are still free at this time, but for how long. For me, it is only the gear and the gas that is the only expense.
I feel that I could handle paying a modest fee for each permit or perhaps a buck or two for each permitted night out, if all these collected fees would go back into the park in order to keep the parks like Yosemite and SEKI eternally pristine and solvent. This is not too high a price to pay to keep the parks the way they are now, and forever for my grandkids.
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Postby ERIC » Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:26 pm

markskor wrote:...it really does not affect the majority of the members here. We are backpackers.


I know you didn't mean much from that comment, markskor. But you remind me of a couple points that I probably need to address to everyone.
More "campers" than you think visit this site, guys. If I had to guess, I'd say 1/5 of all visitors to HighSierraTopix.com are campers rather than backpackers. How do I know that?

1) I get emails and PM’s on a regular basis from people who enjoy established campgrounds (and fishing spots) asking me questions and thanking me for all the info that this site (and you guys out there in your posts) provide. In addition, every post that is added in turn adds searchable material to search engines which helps people find this site and add to the fun.
You’ll notice that there are many people who register but do not post. Some of these people are "campers" or day-trip'ers. They lurk and glean info from here, but chose not to add to the discussion (which pertains mainly to backpacking). Nothing wrong with that, and we're happy to have them. :D

2) I also keep regular tabs on how people find this site through a couple different tracking methods (Google search terms, links, etc). The phrases and words entered into search engines, and the sites people are clicking through to get here make it easy to speculate what their interests are. And camping/day-trips are two of the biggest I've noticed.


The posting here is without question dominated by backpackers, sure. But this site was designed with everyone in mind, regardless of how they choose to enjoy the Sierra Nevada that we all share. We should all keep that in mind. There is also nothing wrong with posting something that is meant to be informative and is on topic. One nice thing about the design of these forums is that members have the ability to read what interests them, and easily skip over what doesn't. :nod: :thumbsup:

Should we ever start seeing more posts related to camping and day-trips, I will make a seperate forum for that interest and keep this one as strictly backpacking chatter. But for now, I think things are fine as they are.
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Postby markskor » Mon Nov 28, 2005 9:39 pm

Eric,
You are right in that I had no intention of demeaning any group that uses the public campgrounds – the family car campers. I realize that any forum such as this will attract a dichotomy of divergent members with various and equally diverse camping needs. Heck, when I am vacationing with the wife, I will sometimes stop in at Tuolumne Campground too. Maybe we will even book a Valley campground for the night before starting out on a backpack trip. The fact that the Valley "sometimes" resembles a zoo does not at all detract from the beauty there, and the rafting in the summer months is always an enjoyable and worthwhile diversion.
My point here was about my agreement in response to minimally raising the fees for campsites in the national parks. With the current agenda of continuing to give large tax abatements back to the rich (a republican agenda I suppose), the national parks like Yosemite seem to face a giant shortfall today, or heaven forbid- maybe even sold. I would like to see a public audit actually verifying this fact, but I would agree that any help along those lines is a blessing.
I do question the costs and need of so many ancillary whitepaper proposals concerning Yosemite though. Every year it seems that we read about some new proposal to return the land back to somebody’s version of its origin, drain Hetch Hetchy, remove established campgrounds, take down previously established roads and bridges, or now even about this “red and dead” bear thing. I wonder how much these papers actually cost - paid for by my taxpayer dollars, and whether there might be a better use for these limited but available funds. Yosemite Valley was always nice and functional in the past, why change the park? Why remove any of the campsites?
I do notice that the new Yosemite Plan directive pays out big bucks to “re-establish Yosemite to where it was” by erecting a new lower Yosemite Falls terraced walkway and moving the lowly hourly employee housing out of the Valley. However, nobody has mentioned or even touched those nice ranger administration houses that are all over the Valley too. In addition, that damn Curry pizza and ice cream deck – my god! I guess the Ahwahnee Indians must have liked pizza. Sometimes I wonder who is minding the store.
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Postby ERIC » Mon Nov 28, 2005 9:49 pm

I know there was nothing to your comment. No problem. Just used it to bring up a point I'd been meaning to make for a while... And I'm glad that some of the related material I'm posting is (at the very least) being used as a catalyst for related debate/discussion. That's why I posted it! :unibrow:
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Postby dave54 » Mon Nov 28, 2005 10:35 pm

Fee increases on public lands are not restricted to Yosemite or the NPS. All developed campsites on public land are going up -- local,state, and federal. If you look at the fees over time you will see that in general camping fees on public lands have not been rising equal to the rate of inflation. Adjusted to current dollars the fees are cheaper now than in 1990 in most cases.

If the fees are a problem there are alternatives. Most national forest and BLM public lands outside the national parks are open to free disbursed camping. You often may not have a campfire or pit toilet, but you can still camp outside the park and drive into the park as you wish for daily excursions. This is very popular with the self-contained RV crowd. It will also work with tent and car camping. The risk of theft of camping gear left in your absence is vastly overblown, and surveys among campers suggest the theft risk of unattended gear is greater in developed campgrounds than disbursed sites.
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Postby SSSdave » Mon Nov 28, 2005 11:10 pm

I don't mind if campground fees increase because I just rarely use them.

I spent 80 nights outside on the road or in the backcountry this year and less than ten were in campgrounds. And only then because of lack of alternatives like in Death Valley NP. I usual choose to legally disperse camp as I have for many years not only because I often prefer to be cheap as someone up in the mountains frequently, but also because most campgrounds are too noisy and annoying. One cannot disperse camp anywhere along highway 140 below Yosemite Valley or south of the park along highway 41 below Wawona. The nearest places to the valley are outside on highway 120 west of the park. The cost of gas to drive out and back from there from the valley is enough to make camping fees inside the valley a preferrable choice. When in the TM and other high country areas I alway disperse camp east of Tioga Pass along highway 120.
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Postby hikerduane » Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:02 am

I disagree about us (bpers) not paying our way. We do pay an entrance fee to get into the park if we are driving. The car campers need more services on there visits and impact trails also. In the Desolation Wilderness, bpers have to pay a overnight fee, but dayhikers can get a self-issue permit at the TH and go. I would bet that there are more dayhikers there than there are bpers.
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Postby jimqpublic » Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:42 am

Paying our way? I'm sure if you looked at the federal income taxes paid by the average Sierra backpacker you would find them to be way above the national average.

On to "car campers". I was an avid backpacker from my teens until five years ago when my daughter was born. Some years I spent 100 nights in the backcountry. Two toddlers pretty much ended that but I still love the outdoors. I decided the only way we were going to keep camping for a few years was with a few more conveniences, so I bought a folding trailer. We've camped from 40 to 60 nights a year the past four years. Without the camper you can be sure that I wouldn't have taken our four week old son camping at 6000 feet in March!

I'm happy to pay a reasonable camp fee if that money is used for campground maintenance and upkeep. The dollars do add up. 50 nights at $20 is $1,000. The state parks are even higher, with a $7 reservation fee it can cost over $30 for one night's camping at the beach. It really burns me to pay $25 for a USFS campsite with pit toilets ($16 + $9 res fee). I like the fact that the National Parks doesn't charge a reservation fee.
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Postby Hikin Mike » Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:56 am

Camground fees are still cheaper than a motel. :D
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Postby sierranomad » Sat Dec 03, 2005 10:03 pm

When you look at what your "lodging dollars" buy in Yosemite (tent cabin, Yosemite Lodge, etc) $20 for a campsite doesn't seem bad. But, IMHO the best lodging deal in the Valley is the Backpacker Campground. $5 per night and the most seclusion you'll find in the Valley (legal anyway :) ). Of course, you are limited to using this campground (and the one in Tuolumne Meadows) one night before, and one night after your bp trip.
Jon

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