Road Closures Due to El Portal Fire
The Big Oak Flat Road between Crane Flat and the El Portal Road is temporarily closed. There is no access to Yosemite Valley via the Big Oak Flat Road or Highway 120. Tioga Road is open and accessible via Big Oak Flat and Tioga Pass Entrances. More »
Campground Closures Due to Fire
Crane Flat, Bridalveil Creek, and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds are temporarily closed. More »
Yosemite National Park is Open
Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and Wawona/Mariposa Grove areas are open and accessible via Highways 140 and 41. Tioga Road is not accessible via Highways 140 and 41 due to a fire.
Visitor Use & Social Science
Understanding the natural and cultural contexts of parks has long been an important aspect of managing the National Park System. The agency's governing legislation protects these resources and thus continues to play a critical part in the designation and management of park units. Providing a high-quality visitor experience has always been a core component in that same legislation. Recently, however, managers have noticed increasing numbers of park visitors are now affecting the quality of both natural and cultural resources. Land managers are using social science methods to associate visitor characteristics and behavior with resource conditions. This approach is helping park managers take a more in-depth look at how science can manage visitor use before unacceptable impacts to resources occur. Given the complexity of visitation in a park like Yosemite, social science is one way to understand resource protection from visitor caused impacts.
The Visitor Use & Social Sciences branch within the Resources Management and Science division conducts research to inform visitor use management, impact monitoring, and planning-related projects. A focus is put on the social-psychological components of resources management, including the visitor experience. Additionally, existing conditions and physical resource impact and visitor-use documentation are all components of understanding the relationships between visitor use and the quality of biophysical, cultural and social/experiential resource conditions within the park. This includes transportation, front country, and Wilderness visitor-use issues. The national parks, like other federally protected lands, offer a variety of visitor experiences and social resources that can and should be maintained.
According to the 1916 National Park Service Organic Act, quality visitor experiences should be fostered while providing for natural and cultural resource conservation. Solitude is a great example of a social resource that numerous visitors seek when they venture into Yosemite’s designated Wilderness. With excessive visitor use, a valued resource, such as a sense of solitude, can diminish or even disappear.
Here are ways to understand visitor-use patterns in parks:
Yosemite Visitor-Use Studies
Examine the Yosemite National Park Visitor Study: Winter 2008 [637 kb PDF].
Other Yosemite Statistics
Did You Know?
Youth from local communities show off their artistic talent through poetry and art in Yosemite National Park’s Gateway Expressions Art and Poetry Contest. Families and park staff celebrate the creative talents of these local students through a special exhibit at The Ansel Adams Gallery in the fall.