Yosemite National Park will require visitors to obtain day-use reservations to enter this summer citing the coronavirus pandemic. The reservation system will go into effect May 21 and will last through the peak summer season to Sept. 30.
“The health and safety of park visitors, employees, and partners continues to be our number one priority,” the park service said in a press release Thursday announcing the decision, despite a lack of any data that shows widespread danger of outdoor viral transmission.
In fact, highly ventilated outdoor spaces with fresh air and ultraviolet light make for the safest circumstances to deter spread of the novel Wuhan coronavirus. Yosemite however, among the nation’s most prominent parks will again remain closed and off-limits to those without temporary day-use permits required for all pass holders just as it was last year.
Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park and Montana’s Glacier National Park each also announced the implementation of reservation systems this summer.
The new restrictions come as domestic travel is expected to spike as the nation’s economy recovers and more American adults become eligible for vaccination by May. Airline traffic is already on the rise. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), more than 1,580,785 individuals were screened at airport checkpoints on April 2, the highest number of screenings in any single day since March of last year.
While the National Parks Service has consistently reported upwards of more than three-hundred million visitors each year since 2015, only less than 240 million visits were recorded in 2020.