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(NY Times) National Parks Struggle With a Mounting Crisis: Too Many Visitors

EXCERPT: Shuttle buses at Zion National Park, in southwest Utah, filled like sweaty subway cars. Selfie-takers clogged the slender path through the Narrows slot canyon, one of the park’s best-known attractions. And at the top of Angels Landing, an iconic trail of switchbacks on the east side of the park, some portable toilets were marked off with a sign: “Due to extreme use, these toilets have reached capacity.”

…Zion’s delicate desert ecosystem has been battered by tourists, some of whom wash diapers in the Virgin River, scratch their names into boulders and fly drone cameras through once quiet skies. The park has about 25 miles of developed trails. But over time, rangers have mapped about 600 miles of visitor-made paths, which damage vegetation and soil and take a toll on wildlife.

The story is similar at parks from Yosemite in California to Acadia in Maine.

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