Are National Parks Overused?


Yosemite National Park (Wikimedia Commons)

This article by journalist Jim Robbins at the website of the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies argues that so many Americans are visiting U.S. National Parks that they may be in jeopardy.

Here is a taste:

If these were not national parks, the solution would be to keep building more infrastructure. But the National Park Service has a dual mandate from Congress: to “provide for the enjoyment in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Wider roads and more hotels and campgrounds would only create sprawl, diminish the experience of nature, and encourage yet more people to come.

This crowding comes at an uncertain time for the parks. President Trump has proposed cutting the Park Service budget by 13 percent (which would be the largest cut to the agency since World War II), and there is already a backlog of staffing and maintenance issues.  And there is concern that the Trump Administration might move to make the parks even more friendly to commercial interests that would look bring in more visitors and more development. 

The visitor crush is creating two main problems – a steep decline in the quality of visitor experience that a national park is supposed to provide, and damaging impacts on the ecology of these intact natural places.

Read the entire piece here.

One thought on “Are National Parks Overused?

  1. The significant prices increases that are coming will be one way to lower the attendance rates. But it also will mean that only those that can afford them will be able to go. A 7 day pass will be more than quadrupling in price this fall. As a percent of the cost of a vacation, it isn’t huge, but over $100 per car for a 7 day pass is something that will need to be planned for.


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