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Op-Ed | Yosemite So Crowded You Can’t Park; But You'll Still Pay To Enter

Jul 23rd - 15:36pm | Cathy944

There was and is no need for the parks to spend money on advertising National Parks.  The Find Your Park campaign in 2016 was a waste of money that could have been used for infrastructure.  This helped to make overcrowding in National Parks even more of a problem!  

Jul 23rd - 15:02pm | Lilly Edens

I have visited this park many times over the years, it remains one of my most favorite, but even 30+ years ago I knew to never EVER visit it on a holiday weekend (anytime during the year) and to avoid the summer months at all costs, unless I knew I would be staying in Toulome Meadows.  Even 30 years ago it would get impossibly gridlocked during the high holy days of summer.  Perhaps t

Jul 23rd - 14:49pm | Steve Nelson

I'm glad I went in 2000 when the crowds were nowhere like this.  I may never see Yosemite again.  Yellowstone looks less and less likely that I will ever see it. As I have said elsewhere on this site, they need a national task force with representatives from the crowded parks to brainstorm some actions they can take.  

Jul 23rd - 14:37pm | Barbara Moritsch

Day-use reservations would go a long way toward easing this problem.   

Jul 23rd - 14:13pm | RickyAZ

Don't go on a Saturday in July.  Sun rises and sets in the other months as well. September, after Labor Day, is the best time to visit most of CA anyway.

Jul 23rd - 11:36am | Rebecca Latson ...

As I was reading this, I began to have that horrible urge to need to find a restroom that I always have when stuck in traffic for lengthy periods of time - like when there's an accident on the road.  What do those poor people do who have been stuck in gridlock for so long?

Traveler’s View: Interior Department Fumbles Zuckerberg Visit To Glacier National Park

Jul 23rd - 15:29pm | Lilly Edens

Not that I want our career government folks to lose their leave or be out their own money, but I am pretty sure that I would have taken vacation days and paid my own way to get a chance to bend the ear of Mr Zuckerberg, and his BILLIONS of customers, for a few hours (or even better days.)  Heck - I would have envited him into my home and cooked for him myself if I thought that might have b

Jul 23rd - 11:51am | Rebecca Latson ...

Wow.  At the risk of sounding totally naive (and I've been accused of that, more than once), I would think that it would be in the Interior Department's best interest to send the best of the best to talk to someone as influential as Mr. Zuckerberg, with the forward thinking of potential influence and interest raised from that meeting ...

Jul 23rd - 10:37am | Rick B.

Ms. Swift assured the A.P. that the president's position on climate change had nothing to do with keeping Superintendent Mow and Dr. Fagre in their offices. It was purely financial, she maintained.... or was that Heather Spicer?

Traveler's View: Psst! Our National Parks Are In Danger

Jul 22nd - 19:10pm | ecbuck

Well argalite appears to have run from his "wrong" accusation so now lets grant his wish and talk about lead ammunition as it is a perfect example of how bad the process of making regulations is.

Jul 21st - 17:11pm | ecbuck

Wrong, yes. Wrong about what?  What statement have I made that is "wrong".

Jul 21st - 17:01pm | argalite

Wrong, yes. What about the regs I mentioned that this administration has already messed with?  Lets use the examples I used, instead of yours.  How about another?  Okay lets talk about lead in bullets instead.  Mr. Zinke pulled the regs to stop using lead to protect carrion eating birds.  Not because he cares about birds, but money.  Not my priorities at all.

Jul 21st - 16:42pm | ecbuck

I'm wrong argalite?  Did regulations stop the Flint Michigan incident?  You must have a different news feed than I.   There is nothing wrong with "proper" regulation though I would bet our definition of what is propert would conflict.  In my mind, if a regulation provide little benefit relative to its cost it isn't proper.

Jul 21st - 16:11pm | argalite

Ecbuck is sorely wrong again.  Propbably on many but definitely about proper regulation does keep people safer, otherwise why bother?  Just like the Admin is rolling back the safeguards against Wall St., or increased safety to prevent another Deepwater oil spill, these things were made to increase safety.  Some prefer to live less safely so they can get more money, but that just

Interior Department Orders National Park Service To Reconsider Hunting Regs In National Preserves In Alaska

Jul 22nd - 13:29pm | tahoma

I wouldn't do it either Rick, but entering bear dens is fairly common for scientific purposes (YouTube has videos). For example:

Jul 22nd - 12:08pm | Michael Kellett

The issue here is not about whether hunting for bears is ethical in a general sense. I do not support it. But at least one can make a case for killing a bear for meat.

Jul 21st - 23:18pm | Rick B.

Understood, Rebecca. Context and circumstances matter. My Buddhist wife never wanted to eat bear meat, feeling it was too sentient of a being. On the other hand, she asked me to train her in firearms so that she could defend herself if a bear tried to break into our home. Life is what happens while you're making other plans and we just do the best we can.  

Jul 21st - 20:08pm | Rebecca Latson ...

I totally get that Rick B.  And I get the difference between responsible hunters and those not-so-responsible (which is what I think of the trophy-hunting kind out to get a head for their wall art). It's just that I don't particularly care much for those methods they want to allow.

Jul 21st - 19:07pm | Rick B.

Actually, Rebecca, a lot of my friends in Alaska consider hunted bear a primary protein source.Subsistence life in rural Alaska is a totally foreign life to city folk, just as congresscritters a foreign life form to the rest of us.

Jul 21st - 17:20pm | Rebecca Latson ...

"In fact, more than 70,000 Americans said ‘no’ to baiting bears with grease-soaked donuts in Denali. They said ‘no’ to sport hunters crawling into bears’ dens and using flashlights to wake and kill mother bears and their cubs on lands managed by the National Park Service,"

A $25 Hike At Mesa Verde National Park

Jul 22nd - 11:14am | Denise Bagley

It's not $25 per per person, it's $5 per person.  We visited yesterday, July 21, 2017, and booked a tour of Cliff Palace for five people and the total cost was $25 -- very reasonable and worth it!  I'm guessing they dropped the price since 2012.

Skier Dies In Fall Into Crevasse At Mount Rainier National Park

Jul 22nd - 11:07am | tahoma

It sounds as though the victim of the Emmons accident, Michael Naiman of Seattle, was a wonderful person: to family and friends; rest in peace..

Acadia National Park Officials Debating How To Deal With Crowds

Jul 22nd - 11:04am | Laura Gigas

I do appreciate that people local to parks can have a special relationship to that park.  But in the end these are America's parks not Springdale Utah's parks.  All our taxes go for their maintenance and upkeep. I have always found that when I visit the NP's, stepping 1/4 mile onto any trail, means losing 99% of the people.  They can stay a unique personal experience. 

Jul 21st - 17:42pm | Omar Abdelghany

My family and I were just in Acadia 3 days ago, it was crowded but very manageable and we had a great time. The right lane parking worked out well, to me any restrictions on out of state visitors would be very unfair and are not needed.

Jul 21st - 14:46pm | Brent

Acadia could definitely use some more parking. For example, there are trailheads for major trails with parking for less than a quarter of people who want to use the trail on a busy day.  So then people end up parking wherever they can in non ideal spots.  The park itself, other than Cadillac Mountain doesn't seem overcrowded. Additional parking would be a great improvement.

Jul 20th - 21:12pm | Steve Nelson

This is amazing. When I visited Acadia in May 2008 visitors were about 2% of what we see here. It seems to me that there should be a national task force looking at this with reps from the parks that are most under stress from visitors. I think three things caused this: Good economy, cheap gas, and the Ken Burns series.

Jul 20th - 18:33pm | RickyAZ

where is this right to bar foreigners from the Parks found in the Constitution?  Good luck getting anyone with more than 2 weeks of legal training to enforce it

Jul 20th - 16:33pm | Megaera

I live an hour and a half from Paradise on Mt. Rainier, as do several hundred thousand other people.  When Rainier experienced the floods of 2006 that essentially closed the park for more than six months, I felt compelled to drive up to the Nisqually Entrance to take the ranger-led walk up the road to see some of the damage.

Jul 20th - 16:32pm | Acadia on my mind

We visited Acadia during the busy July 4 weekend, and while we don't live near the park, we know it well enough from our blogging and writing hiking guides, that we were able to avoid the traffic and crowds. Seems that locals would know how to avoid the crowds, as would park visitors who take the time to learn what to avoid, and when.

Jul 20th - 15:34pm | Steve W.

I think locals should get preference only if there is some reason to believe that they contribute less to crowding and ecological damage than someone from farther away.

Jul 20th - 14:12pm | Amber

I think if locals can get preference *on weekends* that could help? Vacationers are on vacation so should be able to come on a week day. Locals could be defined as anyone within about 100 miles? I've seen that some parks have instiuted parking reservations (Yosemite I think?). Locals should know about the hidden gems already so will hopefully go there instead of the more famous attractions?

UPDATED: Price Of Senior Pass Going To $80; Buy It Now For $10

Jul 21st - 19:44pm | El alto/Ultimo

Why is there no list of "stores" with street addresses by state or county?  I don't think that I'd use $10 in gas to get there.  We don't all have six-figure pensions, at least those of us unfortunate enough to have never been employed as gov't bureaucrats.  Your friend Obama signed in that increase.

Saving The National Parks From Climate Change, And The Backlog, Too

Jul 21st - 19:00pm | Alfred Runte

"Of course people like to drive."

Jul 21st - 14:35pm | argalite

I disagree, and your argument does not make sense.  Of course people like to drive, I never said they didn't.  It was just that there was no good clean options at the time.  Now there is.  That is the difference.

Jul 21st - 11:38am | Alfred Runte

No, Argalite, the reason environmentalists never took on the car was because they liked driving, too. For example, how else would they carry their rafts to rivers, and their backpacking gear to Camp Four? In 1969, Santa Barbara millionairies protested the oil spill. Not one of them was driving a Volkswagon. All had a Mercedes Benz. "Get Oil Out" they shouted, while filling up their tanks.

Jul 21st - 11:15am | argalite

The reason environmentalists (people who care), never seriously took on the car was because technology was not what it is today.  We also had GM to contend with.  People tried to make electric cars, steam cars, and others, but they never took off, or were not efficient enough.  Now we have France saying they will not sell internal combustion engines, and Volvo saying they will qu

Jul 20th - 20:13pm | Richard Flint

Trains are not coming back, ever.

Yellowstone National Park Expands Human Footprint To Handle Crowds

Jul 20th - 22:45pm | Lee Dalton

Yes, Alfred, as Ed Abbey wrote, the park service always has money for more asphalt.

Jul 20th - 22:06pm | Rick B.

Leigh..   Your logic escapes me. Getting riid of the bus will just bring 60 cars instead of one bus.

Jul 20th - 19:40pm | James

Our family was there this Monday and it was quite an effort to park and get around. We entered the park at 9am and left at 8:30pm and that was the time needed to see the south loop. We had an amazing time but agree something needs to be done to preserve this beautiful place to its natural beauty.

Jul 20th - 19:21pm | Alfred Runte

Come on, Lee. No one in the Park Service is interested in "solutions." Meanwhile, more parking lots is all they know. They certainly don't remember the history of how they got into this mess in the first place.

Jul 20th - 17:57pm | Leigh

Get rid of the tour buses. This would free up parking and slow the volume of people traffic. When 60 people can show up at once in one vehicle it lleads to a bad experience for all.

Jul 20th - 12:39pm | Lee Dalton

This is a solution to a very serious problem.  Not at all a good solution, but perhaps the only one available in the face of crisis level crowding.  It is better than some other options I can think of, though. Have our parks ever faced a greater threat than they do now from overvisitation? 

Echo Bay Resort at Lake Mead NRA has a New Concessioner and a New Name

Jul 20th - 15:51pm | Michael Reed

Seven Crown Resorts, who ran this for 38 years, went out of business because the owners kids ran it into the ground. Kinda sad, this used to be a great marina!

Secretary Zinke Draws Criticism For Appearance Before Anti-Federal Lands Group

Jul 20th - 13:46pm | Lee Dalton

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is one of the greatest threats to America anywhere.  But this is no surprise at all.  

Analysis Of Comments Points To Overwhelming Support For National Monuments

Jul 20th - 12:57pm | Lee Dalton

The GOP is constantly yapping about a lot of things they want gullible people to believe while they work in the shadows.

Jul 20th - 10:19am | Susan Hayes-Tripp

The GOP is constantly yapping about being Pro-life, yet the legislation they write, support & pass proves otherwise. Their greedy agenda destroys everything/anything which keeps AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL.

For Sale: A Stunning Mansion Inside Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park

Jul 20th - 12:46pm | Lee Dalton

Are we sure there are only TWO such monstrosities within national parks in the US?  There is one in Zion and I believe I've heard of some others located on inholdings in other parks.  What about at Grand Teton?

Jul 20th - 11:18am | Rebecca Latson ...

Wow!  Ok, so now, I'm waiting for The Onion to write a story about subdivisions being built within our national parks. Depending upon where you work, the commute might not be so great, but for wealthy people who don't work or could telecommute, that might be just the ticket.  Jeesh, I've just scared myself.

Zion National Park Considering Reservation System To Manage Crowds

Jul 20th - 10:38am | Kathy G

I am supportive of a reservation system. It is imperative so all can enjoy the park and protect resources.  I think there needs to be a balance btw tour company and individuals. While you are at it, I think non US  visitors shld be charged more than citizens.

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