Comments Wanted on Half Dome Permit System Plan

Staff with Yosemite National Park say they want public comments on visitor use on the popular Half Dome hike.

This summer, Yosemite National Park officials are trying out a new system of day use permits for people who want to hike up to the top of the world famous Half Dome using the cables. A permanent permit system may be in the cards.

While the permit system is technically an interim plan that lasts through 2011, park staff would like to create a permanent plan for the Half Dome hike. Staff has opened the public comment period through June 25.

Here in the Eastern Sierra, the ever popular Mt. Whitney went to a permit system years ago even for day hikers. Now, those who want to hike up Half Dome will need to get a permit.

Every year, between mid-May and mid-October, thousands of people set out for the 8,842 foot summit of Half Dome. For the last stretch to the summit of Half Dome, hikers grab steel cables to help them ascend the slick, steep rock. The permits are required for the cables portion of the hike.

Under this new permit system trail hikers have to get a day use permit if they want to climb the cables on Half Dome on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Park staff plans to monitor visitor use on the Half Dome cables to see how the permit system works to limit crowds.

If you are interested in learning more about the plan or commenting, contact the park through the Yosemite National Park website or send comments to the park superintendent attention Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan EA P.O. Box 577 Yosemite, CA 95389.

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