Half Dome at Yosemite

I recently read an article that explained how the parks department wants to curtail activity at the Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

There are various reasons for the closing and you can read the entire article if you are interested in that debate but I’d like to talk about the solution to the problem.

Ok, my legion of followers, get ready to put on your Critical Thinking cap.

First, let’s cover the proposed solution which is to limit the amount of people who can use the pulley system up to the top of ¬†Half Dome to 300 a day. Basically the parks department is creating a terrible headache for itself. What will likely happen is that there will be a mad rush to be one of the first 300 people in the line to get the tickets. This will eventually become so ugly they go to some sort of lottery system like they do for big game ticket sales. Anyone at the site before x-hour gets a lottery ticket and then 300 are picked.

This whole process takes time, effort, and management from a parks department that probably already has a lot to do. Now, with our Critical Thinking hat firmly in place let’s try to find a better solution.

Hmmm, you have a product that is so in demand that supply can’t keep up with it, what do you do? Is it really that difficult? Set a price point. If you want to go to the top of Half Dome it will cost $50 a person. If that price tag results in too few or too many visitors after the first year then adjust the price. It’s simple, easy to enforce, and people know what they are getting. Likely it’s a floating price that adjust seasonally. They can then use the money for other parks projects!

Now, the main objection is going to be that the National Parks are there for everyone to enjoy and this is making it a venture only for the wealthy. Now we put on another hat, wait a second, where is it, there we go, my pragmatist hat.

Here’s the deal, the number of people is going to be limited one way or another. So, if the parks department has it their way you could show up with your family, get up a 5:00 a.m. so you can get in line for a chance of getting one of the tickets and get nothing. In fact, that’s what most people would get, nothing. Or, you can decide if you want to pay the fee and then be assured of going.

As for wealthy people getting more, well, that’s capitalism. Getting to Yosemite is not something everyone can afford and the park charges to get in, to hike, and to stay in the lodges. All of these things price out certain groups of people.

In conclusion, I implore you to keep your Critical Thinking hats on for as much of the day as you can and keep that pragmatist cap handy as well!

Tell me what you think!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery Fantasy with a Libertarian Twist

2 thoughts on “Half Dome at Yosemite

  1. The bigger question is next time you come out West to visit are you going to climb it? I’ve been wanting to make the trek past couple years but something always came up at the last second. Maybe next time you visit we could try to arrange it? Hope all is well! Nice blog.

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