As we reported today, Zion National Park is considering the extreme step of capping the number of visitors it accepts each a day because of crowding in the park—long lines to get in, jammed campgrounds, rush hour on hiking trails. Whether it goes that far, we’ll see next fall when a decision is made. Whatever Zion’s solution, it’s inarguable that national parks have had a series of record years, with all kinds of problems associated with an abundance of humans.
That you can get away from crowds fairly quickly, simply by going into the backcountry or walking more than a mile down the trail is almost beside the point. Entry can be gnarly, camping spots can be impossible to come by, and even the companion towns can be a madhouse for locals and visitors alike—in Zion’s case, Springdale.
The Park Service is wrestling with its ultra-popularity now while simultaneously fretting that millennials won’t like parks a few years down the road. What’s a government agency to do?
We know that AJ readers will have some ideas. Let’s hear ’em!
WIN SMITH SUNGLASSES JUST BY VOTING
This week, one poll participant will receive Smith Optic’s Lowdown sunglasses. We’ll pick the winner via random number generator (and announce it here) – all you have to do to enter is vote and leave a comment so we have your email to contact you. Must have a U.S. or Canadian address. Contest ends Sunday, October 23, 2016, at midnight PST.