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National parks to begin rolling back reservation requirements

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Some of America’s national parks are beginning to roll back reservation requirements. 

Majestic Glacier National Park’s ticketed entry pilot program and shuttle program are both set to end on Monday. 

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Other parks – like Yosemite, Rocky Mountain and Acadia –  are set to wind down requirements later this fall, although the majority of the parks do not require entry reservations. 

Alternatively, Haleakalā National Park requires reservations year-round for parkgoers who want to catch a sunrise there.

A sign for Yosemite National Park

A sign for Yosemite National Park
(iStock)

In Yellowstone, reservations are not required for entry, but they are required for camping.

While Glacier is ending its reservation system, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will begin testing a reservation system at its Laurel Falls parking lot from September 7 to October 3.

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The popular Zion National Park is also considering permit requirements for its Angel’s Landing trail.

The U.S. National Park Service first introduced the reservations in the spring in an effort to deal with an overabundance of visitors. 

In 2020, the National Park Service reported 237,064,332 recreation visits. with three parks including Blue Ridge Parkway, Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Great Smoky Mountains National Park receiving more than 10 million recreation visits. 

30% of national parks had more than one million recreation visits amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Notably, total recreation visits were down from 2019: 327,516,619 to 237,064,332.

The national parks have seen steady growth for years and last year’s most visited national parks include Great Smoky Mountains National Park with more than 12 million visitors, Yellowstone National Park with close to 4 million visitors, Zion National Park with 3.6 million visitors and Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Teton National Park with 3.3 million visitors.

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