Overcrowding, misery, disappointment mark 100 years of National Park Service

August 29, 2016

as published by KCWY 13

Mammoth – Do you think there are too many people in Yellowstone? If you go to the Park, you can pick up a survey and tell Park managers what you think. Yellowstone registered more than four million visits last summer, setting an all-time record. The latest reports from the Park indicate this summer will set another visitation record for Yellowstone.
If you go to watch Old Faithful erupt, you may notice a lot of people around you: thousands, as a matter of fact. Some people feel there are too many other people in Yellowstone.

We found a visitor from England in Grand Teton National Park.

Joode Weinhold said, “So noisy, and so busy, and so overcrowded, they were closing areas because of overcapacity of the cars.”
Although Joode and her husband flew over the Atlantic to see Yellowstone, they left because it was too crowded for them.
She said, “And on leaving the Park it was quite late, and we got into yet another traffic jam.”

Traffic jams on the park’s roads, and people jams at popular spots like Mammoth, Old Faithful, Canyon Falls, and Mud Volcano are common during the summer months. Visitation topped four million for the first time in 2015. A park press release says by the end of July, this year’s visitation was up almost seven percent over last year’s.

Yellowstone Spokeswoman Cherissa Reid said, “We are on track for a record year. Every month this year so far, we’ve exceeded the year previous.”

In May, Superintendent Dan Wenk said, “We’re studying the visitor experience, the visitor expectations, how we’re meeting those expectations.”

Reid said the park would actually do surveys to ask people: “What are their expectations, do they think it’s crowded?”
The surveyors recently set up shop just inside the Park’s entrances. They hand out questionnaires for people to take with them, and fill out after they visit the Park.

While some have suggested a reservation system, Wenk talked early and often about a bus system that would allow some visitors to take tours from the entrances.
He explained, “I’m not suggesting exclusively mass transportation, but could mass transportation in some way alleviate the congestion that’s in the park?”

Weinhold thinks so, “And that cuts down the cars enormously. And maybe they need to think of doing that because the experience just isn’t there.”

Park press releases indicate bus traffic represents the greatest vehicle traffic growth in Yellowstone, with double digit increases every summer month, including July.

Reposted by  8/29/16

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