Access to the National Parks?

What to do about our country’s wonderful National Parks. We ponder this question often here at gadling. On the one hand, you’ve got trends towards disinterest, with visitation number declining throughout the system. You have a major backlog of repairs and maintenance that needs to be done to keep the parks operating safely. But then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ve got OVERUSE in places like Yosemite. And now, as this article points out, there are big questions about whether to limit use to the parks to protect them.

Last November, a federal judge barred crews from finishing $60 million in construction projects in Yosemite Valley, saying that the projects would bring greater numbers of visitors, and further threatening the area’s fragile ecosystem. The government then appealed, fearing it would be forced to take action to limit park usage.

Personally, this doesn’t bother me. It would mean that you’d have to plan your trip to a park like Yosemite a bit before hand. And chances are you wouldn’t be able to go in the heart of August (which you really wouldn’t want to do anyway since that’s when the valley is at its polluted, Winnebago worst). But limiting visitors would cut down on many of the over-crowding problems the parks face, and while we can argue about our citizens’ rights to visit the parks till we’re blue in the face, there won’t be parks to visit if we ruin them.