From January to September 2022, permit fees for The Wave amounted to $958,020. Of this amount, Recreation.gov made $876,582. The park? $81,438.

To protect the sensitive landscape around The Wave, the Bureau of Land Management set up a lottery to limit access. It costs $10 to enter the lottery, none of which goes to the BLM. These $10 go right into Recreation.gov’s pockets — which is managed by Booz Allen Hamilton, a 12 billion dollar government and military contractor. The BLM on the other end collects a $9/person fee, but only on successful applications. Because The Wave lottery has a 3% success rate, you can imagine how Recreation.gov can make over 10 times more money than the BLM.

This is not a unique situation. For all lotteries managed by Recreation.gov, Recreation.gov charges $6 to $10 per application while parks only charge successful applicants.

The Wave Lottery

Jan-Sep 2022 revenue

$877k$81kRec.govPark

$10

per lottery application goes to recreation.gov.

$9/person

per

successful

lottery application goes to the park.

Angels Landing Lottery

Jan-Sep 2022 revenue

$721k$423kRec.govPark

$6

per lottery application goes to recreation.gov.

$3/person

per

successful

lottery application goes to the park.

Half Dome Lottery

Jan-Sep 2022 revenue

$628k$325kRec.govPark

$10

per lottery application goes to recreation.gov.

$10/person

per

successful

lottery application goes to the park.

Yosemite Lottery

Jan-Sep 2022 revenue

$276k$143kRec.govPark

$10

per lottery application goes to recreation.gov.

$6/person

per

successful

lottery application goes to the park.

Enchantment Lottery

Jan-Sep 2022 revenue

$215k$161kRec.govPark

$6

per lottery application goes to recreation.gov.

$5/person/night

per

successful

lottery application goes to the park.

Mt. Whitney Lottery

Jan-Sep 2022 revenue

$158k$256kRec.govPark

$6

per lottery application goes to recreation.gov.

$15/person

per

successful

lottery application goes to the park.

Mt. Rainier Lottery

Jan-Sep 2022 revenue

$71k$186kRec.govPark

$6

per lottery application goes to recreation.gov.

$20

per

successful

lottery application goes to the park.

North Cascades Lottery

Jan-Sep 2022 revenue

$43k$26kRec.govPark

$6

per lottery application goes to recreation.gov.

$20

per

successful

lottery application goes to the park.

Yellowstone Lottery

Jan-Sep 2022 revenue

$32k$128kRec.govPark

$10

per lottery application goes to recreation.gov.

$5/person/night

per

successful

lottery application goes to the park.

If you want to maximize your chances of winning the lottery, have a look at my analysis of The Wave, Mt. Whitney, Half Dome, and Enchantment lotteries.

Some permits like Yosemite, Mt. Whitney, Enchantment, Mt. Rainier, North Cascades, and Yellowstone allow you to book outside of the lottery. Permits run out quickly, but you can use Outdoor Status to notify you when we find canceled permits.

Next issue on the 25th

Never miss a permit deadline ever again!

Once a month, receive the list of top permits that are opening up

1,000+ backpackers already enjoy it

The charts where created using historical reservation data from Recreation.gov.

Read More