Editorial: Short of money, USNPS continue to neglect mandate to determine visitor carrying capacity
Each autumn, with the tourist season winding down, media outlets run their obligatory features about the United States' neglected, underfunded, and overcrowded national parks. Late last month, for instance, the New York Times ran a photo-studded piece, titled "National Parks Struggle With a Mounting Crisis: Too Many Visitors," a story about the incessant throngs of tourists who descend on our most cherished public landscapes every summer.
The article anxiously assesses the environmental and experiential costs that have resulted from the "unprecedented level" of park visitors in recent years. It speaks of packed shuttle buses, overflowing toilets, and gridlocked roads. It speaks of overworked park employees and irritated tourists. It speaks of a park system that, with more than 330 million visits a year, has become completely overrun.