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Yellowstone Changing Some First-Come, First-Served Campgrounds To Reservation System

Tents are erected in a field of sage brush. Metal bear resistant boxes are near each tent. At the edge of the field are tall evergreen trees. The sky is bright blue with puffy clouds.
NPS / Jacob W. Frank
Slough Creek Campground in Yellowstone National Park, June 20, 2017. Public Domain

Yellowstone National Park Tuesday said it will try out a new reservation system for two campgrounds and part of a third.

Reservations for Mammoth and Slough Creek campgrounds, along with 60 percent of Pebble Creek, will go live on for the first time on Mar. 24 at 8 am.

People will be able to book campsites up to six months in advance and reservations are expected to fill quickly, according to Yellowstone officials.

Spokesperson Linda Veress says the new system is a direct response to public requests for a reservation system for campgrounds managed by the park itself.

“Visitors like to plan in advance. A lot of them plan their summer vacations months in advance and sometimes it can be frustrating for them to get to the park and not have a place to stay and try to find a place at the last second,” Veress says.

Veress says the campgrounds typically fill up early in the day, causing traffic congestion and safety issues.

Yellowstone’s reservation system will affect about 40% of the campsites managed by the park that will be open this season. Indian Creek and Lewis Creek campgrounds will remain first come, first served.

Veress says Tower Fall Campground is closed this year due to ongoing construction. Norris Campground is closed due to staffing issues.

Veress says Park officials are monitoring feedback about the recent decision.

“Some people are very excited about being able to make reservations in advance and others like the first come, first served. So hopefully by doing this, there will be something for everyone,” Veress says.

Fees at campgrounds managed by Yellowstone will increase by $5.00 to cover the processing fee.

Advance reservations are currently available at Bridge Bay, Madison, Canyon and Grant Village campgrounds, and Fishing Bridge RV Park, which are managed by Xanterra, a privately owned U.S. park and resort management company.