Years ago, when I was responsible for hotel concession communications in Yosemite National Park, a fellow called from New York asking if he could reserve every room at The Ahwahnee hotel, every day of the year. He had tried to make a reservation and found all rooms had already been reserved. When he asked how much in advance the hotel’s rooms were made available for sale, the reservation clerk had said a year and a day in advance, which caused him to attempt to corner the market on Ahwahnee rooms. To his astonishment, we would not sell all the hotel’s rooms to him. As a trader in New York, he was used to buying large amounts of the supply of desired commodities, then reselling them at a profit, but national parks and their concessioners protect the public’s right to fair and equitable access.
Today, Marjie Lundstrom of the Sacramento Bee (CLICK HERE to read the story) reported that scalpers have been reserving blocks of campground reservations in Yosemite Valley, then reselling them at greatly increased prices. The NPS will certainly make changes to the reservation process to stop the practice, but it points out the lengths that some people will go to corner the market on our national parks, particularly those with very limited numbers of campsites or hotel rooms as occurs in Yosemite Valley. Unfortunately, it is park visitors who end up paying more or miss seeing the parks they’d hoped to visit.