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Why You Should Rethink Going on a Yosemite Trip This Summer

California News National Parks
by Olivia Harden Jan 31, 2022

American national parks will be getting a face-lift in 2022, and park-goers should be prepared for the chaos that comes with it. The Great American Outdoors Act, which passed in 2020, provides millions of dollars in funding to update the infrastructure that supports the 325 million visitors that go to National Parks each year. These maintenance repairs are long past due. Over half a dozen projects will take place in Yosemite alone this summer, according to Mercury News.

To start, $42 million will be dedicated to rebuilding Glacier Point Road. Ten miles of pavement from Badger Pass to Glacier Point, culverts, trailhead parking, and retaining walls will all be replaced. Three hundred parking spots will also be temporarily out of commission while construction crews build a new 3,000-square-foot welcome center in Yosemite Valley. A new outdoor plaza will offer new restrooms, paths, and signs. And inside the welcome center, visitors will find rangers answering questions, information kiosks, touchscreens, maps, guidebooks, and more.

This summer, park officials will also close several major campgrounds — including Crane Flat, Tuolumne Meadows and Bridalveil Creek — to upgrade aging water systems, restrooms, and other facilities. A $15 million project will rebuild Bridalveil Fall trails in Yosemite Valley. Visitors can also expect road repairs on Tioga Pass Road all summer. Mariposa Grove is scheduled to re-open on Memorial Day once repairs are finished on the wooden boardwalks and main restroom from the windstorm that took out 15 Sequoias last year.

The park ended the reservation system set in place for COVID-19 restrictions in October, but a similar procedure is expected to return once construction is underway. Details will be finalized in the next couple of weeks.

“What we want to do is accommodate as many people as we can without causing any gridlock in the valley and other places in the park,” Yosemite Superintendent Cicely Muldoon said in a statement.

Yosemite is one of the busiest US parks, with 3.8 million visitors in 2020 alone when parks were only reaching up to 50 percent capacity. But there are plenty of national parks that offer just as much wonder in the summer with significantly fewer crowds and some that don’t require reservations. Also, if you do visit, check out these Yosemite Airbnbs to put yourself in the optimum position to beat the crowds.

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