Rockfalls at Yosemite National Park have created a lodging problem in the Yosemite Valley, but it might not be as bad as you were initially led to think.
A couple of mistakes have led potentially thousands of guests with reservations in the valley for this coming summer to think their reservations were in danger of being canceled. How'd that happen?
But after one last October from Glacier Point, the National Park Service called for more detailed geologic studies of the cliff face to see how safe it might, or might not, be. In November the word came down -- the Glacier Point cliff face is inherently unstable. As a result, the Park Service directed that roughly one-third of Curry Village's accommodations -- tent cabins as well as hard-sided cabins -- be permanently closed.
"With the increased overall frequency of rockfall over the past few years, in conjunction with the geologic research that has been conducted, the NPS can no longer treat each rockfall as an isolated incident," Yosemite officials announced late last November. "Instead, we must look at the area comprehensively and recognize that geologic processes that have shaped Yosemite Valley since the last glaciers receded will continue to result in rockfall.
"Based on the above information, the NPS has decided to close 233 visitor accommodations (tent cabins, cabins with bath, cabins without bath) permanently. This will also permanently close associated visitor support structures (shower house, restrooms, etc.) and 43 concessioner employee housing units. This accounts for approximately one third of the units in Curry Village available to park visitors."
That closure wiped out about one-third of the valley's lodging inventory, according to DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite. With that in mind, DNC officials recently came up with a plan to notify some visitors that their reservations might be in jeopardy. And that's where things went wrong. While DNC officials realized they had to notify about 750 guests, they mistakenly contacted about 3,300.
"Our intention was to send an email only to guests with reservations for hard-walled cabins, with and without bath. However, we mistakenly sent the email to all guests who have Curry Village lodging reservations through June 30," Kenny Karst, DNC's Yosemite spokesman, tells the Traveler. "This resulted in an unexpected call volume for which we were not prepared. Our central reservations office has received hundreds of calls and emails, and we are answering each and every inquiry as expediently as possible.
On top of that mass notification, some reservations actually were canceled, by mistake, according to DNC.
"Please note we are simply advising everyone who holds upcoming reservations in Curry Village that we are seeking assistance through the alteration of their accommodation type, if at all possible," adds Mr. Karst. "During the initial email response / call-in period, a few guests may have had their reservations canceled in error. We are reaching out to those guests to remedy their reservations through one of three means: 1) by reinstating the original booking, 2) by working with the guest to arrive on a different date, or 3) to accept an accommodation type modification (i.e. tent cabin instead of a hard-walled cabin)."
The reservation problem is specific to the Yosemite Valley. It does not involve reservations at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, White Wolf Lodge, the Wawona Hotel, or the five High Sierra camps, he says.
As for the long-term lodging situation in the Yosemite Valley, Mr. Karst says DNC is continuing to talk with Park Service officials "to see if it will be feasible to add more lodging units to the overall valley floor inventory."