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Yosemite National Park is testing out a lottery system for summer reservations at one of its most popular campgrounds.
For $10, hopeful campers can enter the lottery, which is running until Feb. 6. The winners — 640 of them — will be randomly selected and will have the chance to make peak summer reservations at Yosemite's North Pines Campground, one of the park's most popular campsites. North Pines sits in the heart of the Yosemite Valley, making it an ideal spot for visiting the park's top sights.
"On the busiest on-sale dates, reservations sell out in minutes," the National Parks Service said in announcing the lottery noting that park officials hope the lottery creates "a better experience that reduces confusion and frustration for the highly competitive reservation process."
Winners will be notified Feb. 10 and have access to Yosemite's reservation system between Feb.18 and March 10. The early access reservations apply to dates July 21 and Sept. 14. They will still need to make and pay for camping reservations, but will get early access to the system.
Lottery winners will also be assigned a time slot during which they'll be able to make one reservation each for up to seven nights. Leftover reservations will open to the public five months ahead of time on the 15th of each month, but the parks service said visitors should expect to see fewer reservations available than usual because of the lottery.
"While the lottery does not guarantee your desired dates or campsite will be available, it limits the number of users competing simultaneously for campsites during peak-season dates," the parks service explained.
To enter the lottery, visit Recreation.gov online. Applications are not available through the National Parks Service app.