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(Yale Environment 360) How A Surge in Visitors Is Overwhelming America’s National Parks

QUESTION: If the federal government can’t even protect the parks and monuments that have supposedly been set aside for their PRESERVATION for many decades (like Zion), HOW does anyone think the government can provide effective protections to the new Bears Ears NM? The monument is already seeing serious increases in use, thanks to a massive marketing campaign, engineered by the Industrial Recreation/Tourism Industry and with the tacit approval of the Utah environmental community.
When will groups like SUWA and the Grand canyon Trust finally pull their heads out of the sand and admit their own culpability in this growing disaster?? JS

EXCERPT: Zion National Park in southwestern Utah is the poster child for the crowding of America’s most hallowed natural places. With its soaring and magisterial red, dun, and white rock cliffs with grand names such as the Court of the Patriarchs and the Temple of Sinawava, Zion is at the top of the list of the nation’s most dramatic scenery.

It is also small as parks go, just under 150,000 acres and has only one main road, six miles long. Yet Zion gets as many visitors as Yellowstone, more than 4.3 million a year, even though Yellowstone is nearly fifteen times larger.

“In the last few years, this huge uptick in visitation has overwhelmed our infrastructure facilities, our trails, our backcountry, it goes on and on and on,” said John Marciano, a spokesman for Zion. “We can’t sit on our hands anymore. We have to come up with some kind of management plan to be able to preserve resources and to make sure our visitors have a good and safe experience.”

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