YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — Park officials are reversing course two weeks after reopening and now say they will hold off on allowing visitor use of half a dozen popular park campgrounds until at least August 1.
The decision comes after a spike in new coronavirus cases across the state since the Memorial Day weekend.
Late Tuesday evening, park officials issued this statement:
“NPS is working with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. Yosemite National Park continues to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and has decided to extend existing campground closures through July 31, 2020. The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Yosemite, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure operations comply with current public health guidance. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and work spaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.”
A number of campgrounds and recreational areas at Yosemite began reopening earlier this month after a nearly three-month shutdown spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. But on Tuesday, park officials said reservations with arrival dates between now and July 31 have been canceled for the following campgrounds:
- Bridalveil Horse Camp
- Crane Flat
- Lower Pines
- North Pines
- Tuolumne Meadows
- Half of Upper Pines
And camping reservations for Hodgdon Meadow have been canceled through Aug. 15 due to Great Gray Owl nesting, park officials said Tuesday.
Since the park reopened, admission has been limited to about half the normal number of visitors that typically flood the park during the summer season. Park officials also made the decision several months ago not to operate the park shuttle during the remainder of the 2020 season as a way to further lighten crowds and encourage social distancing within the park.