Muir Woods: You'll need a reservation

MUIR WOODS NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- Martin Luther King Day is always a busy one in the National Parks, which offer free admission on this holiday. That includes the Muir Woods in Marin County, where 3,000 visitors were expected Monday.

They will try to squeeze into busses and 232 parking spaces. Monday, they filled by 10:30 a.m., sending late-comers into orbit and heavy traffic.

VIDEO: Visiting Muir Woods? Not without a reservation
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The way we visit one of the Bay Area's top attractions is changing.

The overflow is likely to continue on Franks Valley Road.

It was strange how, while we found so many people battling to get in, we also found others trying to get out via Uber and Lyft. The services deliver, but without a cell signal to call them, they won't pick up.

I took this photo on MLK Day a couple of years ago. The look on that NPS ranger's face tells a story of dealing with humanity cramming into paradise. Beginning Tuesday, the National Parks Service will institute a reservation policy, ostensibly to reduce crowds and parking that overflows out of the lots into environs, beyond.

The new reservations policy, beginning tomorrow, limits access to parking lots for cars with reservations, only. The National Park Service will charge $8 per car and $3 for shuttle service.

Residents of nearby Muir Beach said Monday that they worry about those extra busses clogging the roads, especially in emergencies. Muir Woods popularity can turn a simple drive over the mountain to Mill Valley into a two-hour round trip.

"What if there were an emergency?" asked resident Tayeko Kaufman. "We would be stuck."

Muir Beach residents will meet with their local County Supervisor, tomorrow.

Wayne Freedman will have the latest on this story tonight at 455 p.m. and 6 p.m. Click here to follow him on Twitter and click here to follow him on Facebook.
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