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You Want How Much For That Campsite?!?


Ahh, you have to love Americans' capitalistic tendencies. I mean, where else can you spit in the face of someone hoping to enjoy a low-cost stay in a national park by reserving a $20 campsite in Yosemite National Park and then putting it up for auction for $249 on Ebay?

OK, to be fair, that price is for three nights in that campsite, so the person auctioning site No. 48 in the Lower Pines campground in the Yosemite Valley is only seeking $189 for his trouble in securing the site via the federal government's nation-wide recreation system. And if you can't find time to head to Yosemite from August 24-27, site No. 402 in the North Pines campground is reserved for August 12-15 and being offered for a mere $174.

Another seller with a conscious is offering a campsite in the Upper Pines campground July 25-26 for a mere $27.

Park officials say there currently is nothing they can do.

“Apparently it’s been going on for a couple years. It’s not just us. It’s anyone on the reservation system. There’s nothing that says that sites aren’t transferable," Yosemite spokeswoman Adrienne Freeman tells me. "We don't condone this. We’re looking for ways to prohibit this, including working with Ebay. But it doesn’t fall under the penal code for scalping.

"The bottom line is these sites should be available to the American public for a reasonable price. That’s what camping is all about.”

Thanks to Glenn Scofield Williams for tipping us to this story.


Why not have the reservation service make these reservations non-transferable, and require a photo ID when the campers arrive for their stay. That is how low cost airline and hotel reservation people handle this situation. If after a set time, the person who reservied does not appear, then open the site to people who are there looking to get a site.

anyone insane enough to pay that much for a national park campground deserves it!

i have no problem that people are making a profit off the pain and misery of the experience: whether it's camping next to a bathroom with lights on all night and a glowing soda machine (bryce- north something or other...) or a campsite with no level ground (yellowstone- canyon) or getting shoehorned into another site so they're conversations are completely audible and their lanterns light up your entire campsite (rocky mountain np) or being so close to an RV that you can hear what the people are listening to (barbara bush's memoirs, capitol reef, fruita cg) i can't stand most of the main national park campgrounds. the park service, in many instances, should be ashamed of itself for providing such a horrible experience to the families who have made the effort to pack up their kids, drive them across the nation and then endure the crowds at a np. and people wonder about declining visitation...

a little off topic rant, i admit, but who cares if people are making money off ebay through selling their reservations? they probably already got robbed through all the "reservation fees" and minimum stays the reservation concessionaires charge anyway.

Alot of parks state and federal charge 20.00 a night for camp sites. thats 600 U$D a month for something our taxes paid for. The governments are out of control...

There are many nice sites in the Yosemite Valley campgrounds. There are no soda machines, and I've always gotten the site I've reserved, which I choose so it's not next to the bathroom. It's not wilderness camping, but many of us enjoy camping in the valley for various reasons. The $20 per night is similar to state park campgrounds in CA...a bit high, but I think worth it. There are no reservation fees. Sites are difficult to get during the summer months, so apparently others enjoy them also.

I think the ones who should be ashamed are the ones trying to capitalize off this, when they add nothing to the value, just grab them so others can't get them, then auction them at whatever the market will bear; I just can't see how anyone thinks this is "OK". If people are going to pay artificially bloated prices, why not have the NPS charge more, at least they give us something in return, which can't be said for ebayers.

As mentioned, it's simple enough to make reservations non-transferable and require ID when checking in, so I just can't see why there's "nothing they can do". Nonsense, they need to take care of this issue while it's still relatively small, or the greedy ones will get wind of it, and buy up whole blocks of summer reservations to scalp.

More power to the persons who want to voluntarily exchange lawfully obtained goods or services in a free and open market. It's nobody's business what someone else does with their campsite reservation once they have purchased it from the NPS. Making them nontransferable will open a whole can of worms that is something the park service would be wise to steer well clear of.

Beamis, your post sheds the most clarity on the subject of 'em all! Bravo!!

Gary---I'm glad you're also a free market capitalist. Happy July 4th!

The problem is you can't tell the honest person (intended to use the reservation, something came up) from the dishonest person (grabbed a reservation knowing full well they weren't going to use it with the intent of reselling it). Since there's no way to sort these people out, you shut it all down. If the government did that -- for example if they auctioned off the last 5 campsites for each day and made more money in line with higher demand -- people would be screaming that it's unfair.

-- Jon Merryman

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