National Park visitor numbers are up and it’s causing some problems.
National Parks everywhere are seeing skyrocketing numbers of visitors in the past few years. But out in Colorado, the number of visitors has been especially high in places like Rocky Mountain National Park.
In fact, things have been busy enough to make officials consider options such as limiting traffic and even possibly imposing daily visitor caps. It’s definitely a problem with no easy solution.
Last year, Rocky Mountain saw some 13,000 vehicles on some of its busiest days. The park saw 4.1 million total visitors in 2015. Aside from traffic and parking problems, there are also issues of trail erosion and bathrooms that aren’t quite built to handle the demand.
The NPS might be forced to use shuttles and add some more parking lots in order to combat this growing problem. Even the idea of reservations to enter is being floated around.
In the case of Rocky Mountain, more popular routes may see a reduction in traffic, something that’s already happened before at Rocky Mountain National Park.
“We had to do that last summer on occasion, where we had so much congestion on Fall River Road dumping into Alpine Visitor Center that we had to temporarily restrict visitor access on the road until the congestion cleared out,” RMNP spokesman Kyle Patterson told Fox 31 Denver.
This type of situation is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is great people are getting out and experiencing our National Parks and are connecting with nature. On the other, the place becomes a lot less wild and natural when there are tons and tons of people there.
What do you think? Should the NPS be allowed to restrict visitor numbers in our Nation Parks in order to help preserve them?