Should we limit visitors at national parks?

Should we limit visitors at national parks?

Record crowds push park service to seek new solutions.

Mary Jo DiLonardo

Crowds gather around Old Faithful geyser at Yellowstone National Park.

Crowds gather around Old Faithful geyser at Yellowstone National Park. (Photo: Vlad Turchenko/Shutterstock)

Summer at a national park means awe-inspiring encounters with the great outdoors. It’s the thrill of seeing wildlife and jaw-dropping vistas. However, it also means creeping for hours through crowded park roads and vying for elbow room with thousands of other visitors who all want to enjoy the exact same nature you do.

As the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary this summer, record crowds are expected to pack the system’s national park sites. In 2015, a record 307.2 million people visited national parks, monuments, lakeshores and more, according to NPS data. That’s a whopping 14.5 million person increase from just the year before.

To put that into perspective, the NPS points out: “Did you know that the national parks draw more visitors than Disney theme parks, NFL games, professional baseball, NBA, and NASCAR… combined?” Read more.