June 22, 2022

"[R]esearchers... concluded that 'online reservation systems present the unintended consequence of excluding low-income, and perhaps nonwhite, would-be campers.'"

"The reason involves socioeconomic factors that correlate with the requirements of booking online, the study’s lead author, Will Rice, a parks management specialist, told me. For example, lower-income groups are less likely to have access to high-speed internet — a must for the most sought-after campsites. 'You have to be online to reserve them right when the window opens. You have to have really high-speed internet so you can be one of the few people who get those reservations.' To put that in perspective, in one remarkable instance cited last year by Recreation.gov, almost 19,000 people competed to book 57 campsites for the same dates."

78 comments:

David Begley said...

Demand exceeds supply.

chickelit said...

Althouse's jimbo hardest hit. Anybody here remember jimbo? That was his bailiwick--in nearly every comment.

RideSpaceMountain said...

And to think, all those Obama phones and free wi-fi...the ones that are everywhere...going to waste. Millions, billions, in infrastructure wasted because computers be racis n shiet fr fr NO CAP on god. Online reserving campsites is not bussin, yahurr me?

Heartless Aztec said...

We've given up on most National Parks. National Parks are zoo'd.
Hidden gem State parks are the call. A recent discovery - Tower Hill State Park. Bluff camping next door to Taliesin East.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

“almost 19,000 people competed to book 57 campsites”

Possible, but could it be that bots are booking the campsites and reselling them online?

Owen said...

First world problem. But, yeah, every hangnail or stubbed toe can be spun up into Major Systemic Racist Inequity. NYT is very skilled at that.

Now do homeless encampments in LA, SFO, DC, NYC. Is it hard to book a reservation there?

Menahem Globus said...

Only us superior, not poor, white people know how to use the internet. And only the truly superior have REALLY high-speed internet service.

Mick said...

This exposes the facile nature of left-wing argumentation. The problem is *historic* disparity in camping among ethnic groups, not *recent* disparity. This argument can have nothing to do with historic disparity. News flash -- different people in different cultures act differently.

WK said...

I hope everyone has high speed internet when it is required to get your government approved food end energy rations.

On a separate note, I have had occasion recently to use a number of government (federal and local) websites for different purposes. They are some of the most poorly designed user interfaces and often look like AOL websites from the late 1990s

tim maguire said...

A lot of online registrations are like that, where a registration opens at, say, 8:00 and it's filled at 8:01. It's not a high-speed internet issue, it's a supply and demand issue.

Krumhorn said...

I wonder when ‘lazy’ or ‘stupid’ will be revealed as a discriminator in unequal outcomes?

- Krumhorn

SoLastMillennium said...

Ummm, Can you book online using a Smartphone? Even my cheapie forces a browser on me. It seems the reservation system more keeps the homeless out of parks rather then any minorities, which we all are now.

Krumhorn said...

I have blazing internet bandwidth of over 400 MB/sec, and I have been routinely unable to book reservations at the camp at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I frequently mark that down to being both lazy and stupid because if I were neither, I’d have to account for it as….I don’t know…maybe dumb luck among stiff competition.

- Krumhorn

Jersey Fled said...

If 18,943 people failed to get campsites how many were Black. This is important, people!

Freeman Hunt said...

If only Outside had more room.

gilbar said...

For example, lower-income groups are less likely to have access to high-speed internet

two words.. . Obama phones
but still.. World Ends! Womxn, Minorities hardest hit!

You know who REALLY are likely NOT to have access to a national park campsite?
A) people that can't afford to take 10 days of vacation to see some rocks
B) people that can't afford $7/gal gas
C) people that were blown to bits in a Thermonuclear explosion in our upcoming World War

Big Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Humperdink said...

The standing joke is left can find racism under every rock. Took awhile, but in this case, the Rocky Mountains.

gilbar said...

Me and the nephew went camping last May
went to
National Forests
State Parks
National Parks

National Forests were cheapest.. But pit toilets and no showers-- VERY Pretty sites though
State Parks were a little pricier.. But Flush Toilets AND showers -- Very pretty sites
National Parks were PRICEY.. Pit Toilets and no showers -- Crowded and ugly sites

Guess which was the fullest? That's right, that National Parks. We only stayed there because it was cheaper the pricey hotels nearby. And
The ONLY REASON we went to National Parks, was because the nephew insisted that we see Zion.

Go to a National park, if you want to spend a LOT of money to be in a crowd and see soso things
Go to a National forest if you want to see beauty

Jamie said...

This exposes the facile nature of left-wing argumentation. The problem is *historic* disparity in camping among ethnic groups, not *recent* disparity. This argument can have nothing to do with historic disparity.

Exactly, plus economic status. When you had to make phone reservations, who was able to tie up a phone for the hour or more that it could take on hold before someone answered? People who work at a desk and don't have a quota to meet.

(We did exactly this for Yellowstone at Christmas one year, not that long ago, when the NPS opened all the reservations on the same day, which I have no idea if they still do. I think we were on hold for an hour and a half.)

gilbar said...

The South Campground at Zion can ONLY be reserved 14 days in advance.
So, the morning of the 14th day before going, you'd BETTER be ready
Oh, AND you'd better practice before, so you can figure out that reservations start being accepted at 9am EDT (or, whenever)

Enigma said...

This has nothing to do with low income, non white, or other demographic characteristics. Apply the same analysis to Ticketmaster versus box office sales.

I've got high speed internet. I logged on to buy concert tickets during a special "early access" window. I got frozen out by apparently a zillion DDOS bots who bought the best tickets, slowed the system, and blocked regular people from buying. After several hours Ticketmaster sent an email saying "tickets still available." I was then able to book tickets 15-20 rows back instead of the best seats.

The same thing applies to limited access museums and historical sites. The box office and host site sells tickets for say, $15, and then scalpers buy them all up months or years in advance. They resell the tickets as $75 "tour packages" with a guide and audio recording.

The scalpers are winning.

Mr. T. said...

Yes, let's all be lectured on camping practices by a leftist NYT urban elitist who, apart from having never visited a campsite except to engage in protests with ecoterrorists, couldn't last 5 hours without their starbucks, phone chargers, and Festival Foods kombucha.

Joe Smith said...

What a crock of shit.

The entire world is not racist.

Sometimes a camp site is just a camp site.

Carol said...

No problem booking rooms at Bellagio however.

Lem said...

You need an ID to make a reservation?

What do the Supremes have to say about that?

iowan2 said...

Lottery.

I lost the in the lottery to have the ability to buy 2 tickets to this years field of dreams game.

Nobody ever claimed life was equal.

Randomizer said...

Are trigger warnings still relevant? "Warning: This article uses an equity argument to imply that non-white people can't navigate the internet."

The NPS could set up their site to auction reservations while not allowing resale. That would fund our splendid national park system.

Should reservation preference be given to US citizens?

I love visiting national parks, but usually stay outside the park.

Robert Roy said...

I hate it when reports try to be technical and talk about things like "high-speed" internet. As if that affected anything! A booking site is not going to be that intensive even for regular old internet. High speed is for faster downloading and better streaming, esp for multiple users at a time. The difference between page loading of a regular website is basically negligible between a 20 Mbps connection and a "high-speed" one.

If we really care, though, we can subsidize Starlink to every rural household? I'm sure Elon Musk would appreciate the largesse.

Will Cate said...

I haven't tried to do it lately, but before the pandemic it was very hard to reserve a campsite or cabin at a national park unless you were doing so, like, a year in advance. In fact that's what led us to discover the "beauty and wonder" (heh) of KOA Campgrounds. Cheap, clean and with all mod cons.

mikee said...

"Unintended" Hahahahaha.

R C Belaire said...

What's the use of being "well off" or "upper crust" if one doesn't have advantages over the proles? What's this country coming to, anyway?

Wa St Blogger said...

Simple solution. Instead of first come basis, have a 1 week window where you can register, get a number and have a lottery that randomly selects winners. To avoid the bots, a photo ID should be submitted and they eliminate duplicates. Might need a little more tweaking to cover other forms of gaming, but it would be a start.

WK said...

@Enigma
I too have been frustrated by the early access ticket windows. Usually premium pricing as well. Earlier this year we purchased comedy/concert tickets for my wife and I to attend. Day before the concert daughter said she’d be home for the weekend. We ended up buying a single/orphaned ticket in the row/seat directly behind us for about 1/3 of what we paid for ours 4 months earlier. Last 2 concerts we bought single/orphan tickets with one seat directly behind or diagonal the other. Again, about 30% of side by side tickets that were still available. We sit together a lot. Just have to reach forward to hold hands for 2 hours.

Original Mike said...

"For example, lower-income groups are less likely to have access to high-speed internet — a must for the most sought-after campsites."

I'm pretty tired of this particular wailing by the left. I've lived with dial-up and then DSL for my entire life and it hasn't been an impediment for anything I've needed to do. It's bunk.

Birches said...

We go camping all the time and have never had a problem finding a place. Am I just not looking at popular places? Might be the difference between national forest and national park as Gilbar said.

The Drill SGT said...

I call BS on the high speed internet part

Bob Boyd said...

Lower income groups can't afford the gas to drive there anyway.

toxdoc said...

Whenever I read stories like this I am comforted by those wise words of VP Kamela Harris..

'The Governor and I and we were all doing a tour of the library here and talking about the significance of the passage of time. Right?'
'The significance of the passage of time' 'So, when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time in terms of what we need to do to lay these wires, what we need to do to create these jobs.' 'And there is such great significance to the passage of time when we think about a day in the life of our children and what that means to the future of our nation, depending on whether or not they have the resources they need to achieve their God-given talent.'

I know that someday, once the laying of the "wires" is complete, all the BIPOC in the US will be able to not get reservations for the same 57 campsites.

Ice Nine said...

Well, someone's got to say the obvious:

Works for me. Who needs the blaring ghetto-blasters and the gunfights where you go to grok the beauty and tranquility of Mother Nature, ya know?

Dude1394 said...

Let's let the local democrat party member allocate the campsites.

Balfegor said...

I think the real source of the advantage the rich have here is that just before the window opens they can take a quick break from work and open the site in a tab to make the reservation (or do it while they're on a conference call or whatever) while the working poor typically work in an environment where that just isn't going to be possible. At least, that's how I imagine it. I've never been poor after all. And I've never tried to make a reservation for an NPS campsite.

Tina Trent said...

I never did a home visit to a purportedly deprived household where they did not have better computers, phones, TVs and cars than I could afford, by a substantial difference.

I also didn't spend money on fake nails, designer manicures, wildly expensive hairstyles, weaves, and extensions.

Must have been all that money they saved by not camping.

Howard said...

The real issue is the absurdly low supply of campsites.

Eleanor said...

How about we do mail in reservations? First to arrive gets the spot. Then do a comparison between voting districts and see where the mail arrives after the date they want to reserve?

Bill Peschel said...

Whenever I see whining like this, I remember visiting Lake Erie.

I was taking my son to the University of Rochester, and we drove north an hour or so.

On the shore (which was free) were families there to spend the day enjoying nature. White, black, hispanic, indian, etc. Just enjoying their day in perfect harmony.

Lurker21 said...

Do the truly poor vacation in National Parks? Do the truly rich, who can afford hotels and can vacation anywhere? It seems to be more of a middle class thing, and in the broad middle classes, the "digital divide" between the races may not be that great, or even exist.

Our masters are giving us mixed messages. The entertainment business gives us omnicompetent young Black computer nerds in movies, while politicians and the media tell us that African-Americans don't have access to the Internet or don't know how to use it.

mikee said...

Access to some park areas is controlled by limiting the parking available, and then raffling one day's parking spot access, broken down into 2 hour windows, the night before at 5pm. Makes it impossible to plan a family trip, without accepting that instead of going to a popular park location one might end up going to see a less desired site, or not getting in at all. Does keep the riffraff out, mostly, and provide a sense of accomplishment if one's family members, all madly trying for a spot in the raffle, get one.

Aggie said...

Because of course it does.

Temujin said...

There's a similar problem when trying to get a reservation at The French Laundry.

PM said...

For some parents who want to avoid the heartache of not getting the family a crowded drive-in campsite: backpack. The fishing's better, the sights are better and your kids' sense of accomplishment, while absolutely not immediate, eventually kicks in.

Bob Boyd said...

@ PM

Like your thinking, but many back country campsites, especially in NP's must be reserved via the same process.

GRW3 said...

The numbers cited equals one chance in three hundred thirty three (1:333) to get a spot. Perhaps the best bet would be a lottery. You still probably won't get a spot but at least you had an even chance.

Bob Boyd said...

Now you need a reservation just to drive through Glacier NP on Going-To-The-Sun Road.

gilbar said...

"[R]esearchers... concluded that 'online reservation systems present the unintended consequence of excluding low-income, and perhaps nonwhite, would-be campers.'"

Simple, and TOTALLY NON-RACIST solution!! Just Jack up the price of campsites, to a level high enough that demand falls (maybe $300/night). Then EVERYONE has the same opprotunity

Free Manure While You Wait! said...

"For example, lower-income groups are less likely to have access to high-speed internet — a must for the most sought-after campsites."

Rare is the homeless person without a smartphone. Of course they already have campsites, so...

Greg The Class Traitor said...

"In the Scramble for a Campsite, Everyone Deserves an Equal Chance" (NYT).

It is impossible for everyone to have an "equal chance", because the phrase is meaningless.

How do you allocate reservations? Is it "first come, first served"? Then people who have more time, and so can line up early, who are privileged. Or those who can afford to pay someone to wait in line for them.

Mail in? Better hope you have good mail service.

I suppose you can create an "X minute sign in window." Everyone who sings in during that tiem gets one lottery ticket entry, and you do a random draw for spots among the people who got in during the window.

Of course, that privileges those people who can log in multiple times, each time with a different email address / credit card etc.

Oh, and the people privileged the most are the ones with friends / contacts at the organization doing the tickets

And then, as Left Bank correctly points out, there are bots.

n.n said...

Diversity [dogma] (e.g. racism, class-based bigotry) should have no effect, unless there is a survey that influence outcomes.

The scalpers are winning.

That's so Pro-Choice.

n.n said...

Perhaps the best bet would be a lottery.

That, democracy, etc. would be an inequitable trade, which is why the second, notably, uses stacked decks in some Democrat jurisdictions, ostensibly to compensate for irregularities, fraud, steering, braying, and other dictatorial attributes.

Static Ping said...

Well, for once the researchers may have a point.

Generally when supply is very low, demand is very high, and the supply cannot be increased, the price goes up until it is in balance. When that is not desirable, then you get lotteries or waiting lists or rationing. Why do I suspect that all of those solutions will be considered racist or some such.

John henry said...

Maybe the Chinese are on to something.

Make everyone show a kung flu test to get a reservation. Increase or decrease the pcr cycle threshold to get the number of negatives to match reservations available.

PCR tests results when used for kung flu are pretty close to random. This way the rubes go home thinking they are sick instead of unlucky.

John LGBTQ Henry

gilbar said...

Free Manure While You Wait! said...
Rare is the homeless person without a smartphone. Of course they already have campsites, so...

i think we have a winner!

Rabel said...

If you read the study linked in the article you'll see that the authors are totally immersed (or claim to be) in the tenets of Critical Race Theory, white privilege, distributive justice, etc.

It's a little depressing.

The authors are 4 Chinese American graduate students.

The study is ugly. The data is dirty and the conclusions (couched in "exploratory" language to preserve some credibility for the authors) disregard individual agency in the decision to use online systems or not.

The author of the article in the Times has an agenda that seems to relate more to his own opportunities to get reservations than a concern for social equity. He's an elite mountain climber.

JaimeRoberto said...

How fast does my internet have to be to reserve a campsite in Yosemite Valley?

Oh, that reminds me, I need to make a reservation to drive through in September. I better start now, given my the speed of my internet.

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed said...

Sounds like a perfect opportunity for using an auction to allocate scarce resources (campsites). Since the auction occurs over a period of time instead of instantaneously there is no disadvantage for having slow or limited internet access.

Those who feel they are economically disadvantaged to the point that they cannot get their desired campsite could apply for a refundable tax credit so they can afford the cost. This also retains the opportunities for graft that are so important to government operations.

By auctioning, the reservation can become property and can be resold at a later time to those who wish to bid. This protects the original buyer from complete loss if they cannot follow through with their reservation, and allows the making of a profit if they are able to sell at a higher price. It will also have the salutary effect of decreasing late cancellations or no-shows, which then leave the scarce resource under utilized.

The bidding data can also be used by campground managers to determine demand and perhaps plan for future expansion of camping opportunities.

Of course, auctions are white supremacy, which fails to solve for the authors' complaint which is that a functioning economy that supports sufficient wealth for the masses that outdoor recreation is a leisure activity came from Western European post-Enlightenment capitalism.

Bruce Hayden said...

“Do the truly poor vacation in National Parks? Do the truly rich, who can afford hotels and can vacation anywhere? It seems to be more of a middle class thing, and in the broad middle classes, the "digital divide" between the races may not be that great, or even exist.”

I was surprised to discover that the visitors at the lesser, less prestigious, National Parks and Monuments in N AZ were heavily Hispanic.

PM said...

Bob Boyd: Of course you're right - rez's are all online and National Parks are tough. But in in CA, you can skip Yosemite et al and drive to the Eastern Sierra. Plenty of lesser-known trails to spectacular lakes above 10,000 feet. Permits are easier in that neighborhood as long as you forget about Mt Whitney and the PCT.

Mark said...

For a couple of decades now we have had folks like Algore bragging about putting high-speed internet in every neighborhood.

Mark said...

I have had occasion recently to use a number of government (federal and local) websites for different purposes. They are some of the most poorly designed user interfaces and often look like AOL websites from the late 1990s

Just wait for the "new and improved" websites. You'll wish you had those dinosaur AOL websites back.

Michael said...

The brothers don’t like to camp or hike and they don’t like hockey. You can have rap concerts between periods or on mountain tops but they aren’t going to come. As desperate as you are for them to come, as much as you make it about some lack on their part they are not coming. Buy them hiking boots, tents, sleeping bags. They are not coming.

Lem said...

I’ve flown Spirit and they don’t offer free wifi. Heavily African American clientele. I would look into that if I was the NYT.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Sorry, kids, we can't go camping. The forest is booked."

Michael K said...

Another NY Times whine about something their readers would not be caught dead doing.

Friendo said...

What PM said @2:20.

ngtrains said...

no one can drive north from Rochester NY to visit Lake Erie.
It ends at Buffalo

maybe lake Ontario - nevertheless less, both lakes have beaches and nice views.

TaeJohnDo said...

Reserve America sucks. We see empty campsites all the time days at a time. But according to RA, they are sold out. People book them, don't go, don't cancel and so the sites sit empty. We try to stay away from reserved sites on RA for that reason, but have to try to use them on occasion. Everyone I know hates RA.

Yechiel said...

Wait, what?

"_Perhaps_ non-white?"

So, Disparate Impact was so high a bar that we now have to consider Potentially Disparate Impact? That basically includes _everything_.

And that's the ball game.

KellyM said...

JaimeRoberto said…

“How fast does my internet have to be to reserve a campsite in Yosemite Valley?

Oh, that reminds me, I need to make a reservation to drive through in September. I better start now, given my the speed of my internet.”

If all you’re doing is driving through (cutting across the Sierras and not stopping in Yosemite or the near confines) save yourself some aggro and go a little north to the Sonora Pass. Much prettier and no Park Service arbitrarily-imposed speed limits.