Published on : Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Visits to U.S. national parks set a record in 2016 for the third consecutive year as landmarks such as Zion, Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain experienced historic levels of popularity that brought collateral headaches stemming from the overcrowded roads and trails and increasing visitor misbehavior.
According to the media reports, visitors reported long waits at entrance gates, crowded parking lots, major congestion on popular trails and trash being left around the parks, resulting in acts of aggression and bad decisions.
While officials from the National Park Service love the increased interest in the facilities across the country, they are struggling to keep up with the preservation of iconic landmarks and wildlife habitat due to a budget which has remained the same despite the influx of visitors.
John Marciano, the spokesperson for Zion national Park said that, they love having guests in the national park but their number one goal is to preserve the park into perpetuity and to ensure the visitors have the best and safe experience.
Overall visitation to the national parks is on track to surpass 325 million in 2016, breaking 2015’s all-time high of 307 million, federal figures show. The record- breaking three-year stretch came after parks visitation ebbed and flowed between 255 to 287 million for nearly three decades.
The National Park Service launched a major marketing campaign to celebrate its 100th birthday in 2016, including free passes for every fourth grader and their families. That renewed attention coupled with reasonable gas prices and an improved economy likely fueled the increase, said National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson.