It’s been a problem since the first ticket to an event was ever produced – scalpers – and Yosemite isn’t immune to the problem. Recently permits to hike Half Dome that only cost a nominal $1.50 processing fee have begun showing up on Craigslist for as much as $50.
A review last week of all 29 Craigslist sites in California revealed dozens of ads peddling prime camp spots during the summer high season, including the coveted Yosemite Valley floor.
The 900 Yosemite campsites available for reservation cost $20 a night when booked through the park’s contractor, ReserveAmerica. But park officials and some consumers report being quoted prices of $100 to $150 a night from Craigslist vendors, who sometimes offer to change the name on the reservation.
Profiteers also are nabbing and reselling permits to climb Half Dome, which are issued by the park essentially for free (plus a $1.50 handling charge). Gediman said the program limiting the number of people allowed each day to ascend Half Dome via the cables was started last year for safety reasons and has been well-received by visitors. Then scalpers moved in.
Rick DeLappe, reservation service program manager for the National Park Service, said he is fielding increasing consumer complaints about illicit Yosemite resales. But the battle is tricky. While eBay has a filter that will remove any posting to auction off a piece of Yosemite, he said, the same is not true with Craigslist.
Park officials are reluctant to provide details of their investigation into reservation flipping but say they are aggressively trying to identify perpetrators. According to an NPS “director’s order,” resale or auction of reservations is prohibited.
Photo by Jeff Hester.