We're less than one year out from the National Park Service's centennial, and visitation has been booming in many units of the National Park System this year. So tell us, travelers, how was your national park stay?
Reader Participation Day
Hundreds of millions of people visited the National Park System last year, and at times it no doubt seemed you were surrounded by most of them. But you probably found a way to avoid the crowds on occasion. Which brings to mind a question: What tips do you put to good use when you visit the parks?
A Champagne-doused celebration of an ultra-marathoner's record run up the Appalachian National Scenic Trail that finished atop Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park in Maine didn't set well with Jensen Bissell, the state park's director. He has suggested moving the trail out of the park, in part because of growing crowds of hikers and their celebrations.
National parks were not created equally. Some have towering waterfalls, others sprawling lakes, a few curious geothermal features, and still others rich histories within their borders.
There have been shark attacks and bear attacks in the national parks this summer. Which is more likely to keep you in your car?
It's been said that in many national parks, visitors don't trek far from the parking lots. Which is a shame, as there's so much to see and experience in the backcountry. How far do you typically roam into the backcountry during your national park vacation?
In mid-May, world-class climber Dean Potter and a friend were killed in a BASE-jumping incident in Yosemite National Park. A lengthy New York Times story examined the accident, and raised some contradictions in National Park Service policies.
Last month, during the Memorial Day Weekend, traffic waiting to enter Arches National Park backed up so far onto U.S. 191 that the Utah Highway Patrol temporarily shut off access to the redrock wonder. That dilemma prompted a suggestion by the park superintendent that perhaps the time had come to issue reservations for people hoping to visit Arches.
Higher entrance fees are spreading across the National Park System. Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Cape Cod, Capitol Reef, Yosemite, Shenandoah. The list of parks that are raising, or have raised, their entrance fees goes on and on.
There are more than a few experiences of a lifetime to be had in the National Park System, but arguably two right at the top of anyone's list would be a raft trip on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park, and a multi-month sojourn along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.