A record 4.2 million visitors have been traveling through Yosemite Valley, the first natural preserve in America that became a national park in 1890, making it the third most visited park in the U.S. With so many vying for a vacation spot, Craigslist entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the supply and demand, by buying up the most desired camping spots and Half Dome climbing permits, and scalping them for the highest bid. The low priced $20 site fees fuel Craigslist flippers to buy up all the spots five month in advance of the tourist season. Ranger Scott Gediman says the sites “sell out within minutes”. The flipping of spots is illegal and often the spots are sold at almost five times their value.
The park and their reservation service, ReserveAmerica, are trying to stop this illegal internet buyout scam. One possible tactic is requiring ID upon check in to match that of the original purchaser.
Gediman says the park service and its campground reservation contractor, ReserveAmerica, is considering several ways to crack down on the Internet profiteers, including requiring IDs at campground check-ins.