National Park Service officials said Monday they will limit the number of cars allowed into the east end of Yosemite Valley during busy summer holiday weekends this year.
"That doesn't mean people will be turned away at the park gates," Yosemite spokeswoman Marla LaCass said. "It just means that when the east end of the valley reaches its parking capacity, motorists entering Yosemite will be asked to visit other areas of the park instead of the valley."
The plan to limit cars allowed into the valley to the 5,900 parking spaces available in that section of the park was formulated last year, but it was never needed.
She said a large increase in visitation is expected this year because of cheaper gasoline prices and fear of traveling abroad because of possible terrorist activities.
She said the busiest times at Yosemite are traditionally the weekend before Memorial Day, the Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends.
Park officials decided to limit the cars allowed into Yosemite Valley because of the situation that occurred on a holiday weekend in 1984 when 7,500 cars were in the valley, causing a four-hour, bumper-to-bumper traffic jam.
She said even when the restrictions are imposed, handicapped visitors, those with campground or hotel reservations and tour buses will be allowed into the valley.