It's nearly impossible to find a campsite or cabin in or near Yosemite during the summer months, but not this year.
The 97,000-acre Ferguson Fire forced officials to close Yosemite Valley for three weeks, and even after it reopened August 14, road closures and poor air quality remained.
But National Park Service spokesman Scott Gediman says things are now back to normal — and that presents a unique opportunity for people who want to visit.
“A lot of people just didn't know when the park would be reopened and so they made alternate plans, which is completely understandable,” he said, “but our message is the park is open, the accommodations are here, the campsites are open, and so for people who would normally would think, ‘There's no way I could get anything in Yosemite in the summer,’ now is the time.”
Gediman says there are also vacancies at campgrounds, cabins and hotels outside Yosemite in towns like Mariposa and Oakhurst. All roads leading into the park are open. He says the park even has a campaign going, #YosemiteNow, where they're using videos and photos to “show everyone how wonderful the park is” and invite visitors back.
More than 4.3 million people visited the park last year. Gediman says anecdotally, park visits after the closure seem to be about 80 to 90 percent of normal.