Yosemite gears up for busy holiday weekend

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KFSN) -- Roaring waterfalls this spring are attracting crowds of visitors to Yosemite National Park.

Campgrounds that were recently closed are back open, and Steve Cook says that's a relief.

He and his wife drove from Ventura County and are staying at the Upper Pines Campground. However, they were worried they were going to have to cancel their reservations after seeing the recent snow storm damage.

"It couldn't have worked out better, we had the trailer at home. We were waiting to back it up and head up here," he says.

In March, that same campground had extensive damage to the roof and the building.

While there's still some visible damage, National Park Service crews are working quickly to clean the sites before their busiest time of year.

"The bear boxes are working, the campgrounds are open. We've got all the damaged picnic tables repaired... To make sure we can open it on time, we brought in portable toilets so visitors can camp here and stay here," says Jaime Richards of the National Park Service.

There are piles of logs and debris around the park.

Richards says it comes as crews work to clear hazardous trees.

It's all to get the park ready to the hundreds of people they expect to see as early as this weekend since folks will be able to visit for free on Saturday and celebrate Earth Day at the visitors center.

"We want people to have their vacation and have that experience when they get here," Richards says.

Richards says something else they're doing to get ready for the busy season is requiring visitors to enter a lottery to spend the night at the Camp 4 campground to alleviate the high demand.

Some visitors are coming by early to avoid the weekend crowds.

Cook says despite the extra branches on the ground, he's glad to be enjoying another year camping at the park.

"I'm not disappointed at all. You have to look at the grand beauty of the whole place, and not the little things."

Something for visitors to keep in mind - there is road work happening along the 140 that could cause 15- to 20-minute delays.

Richards advises folks to plan their trip and arrive early if they plan to visit.
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