With an eye on improving the safety of hikers heading to the top of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park officials are proposing to reduce the number of daily permits from 400 to 300, according to a proposed management plan.
The Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan, now open for public review through March 15, says limiting the daily allotment to 300 “provides the best combination of accessibility to the summit, free-flowing travel conditions on the cables, which improves safety, and low encounter rates on the trail, similiar to use levels found on other high-use trails in Yosemite’s wilderness and other wilderness areas.”
Last year there was a push to increase the number of cables from two to three, with the argument that part of the reason that climbing Half Dome could be dangerous was that hikers got delayed on the ascent and that the lottery to earn a daily Half Dome ticket was unfair and encouraged scalping. The online campaign called Save Half Dome drew national attention, but didn’t sway Yosemite authorities.
Instead they’ve argued that the best way to ensure safety and to comply with the 1964 Wilderness Act (which prevents the addition of infrastructure) is to continue limiting traffic.
And while the 300-person limit isn’t a done deal, it is the Park Service’s preference. Another alternative is 400 daily tickets, and more unthinkably, the park would remove the cables entirely.
You can review all of the possible scenarios of the Stewardship Plan and comment by going here.
In affiliation with National Parks Traveler. Environmental coverage made possible in part by support from Patagonia. For information on Patagonia and its environmental efforts, visit www.patagonia.com.