Saturday, August 4, 2007

National Parks

I must admit, while I have been to many National Parks over the years, I haven't been to one lately other than Shenandoah, which is located only 20 miles south of my house; and Grand Teton, which I visit 2-3 times per year thanks to a Board that I serve on. I guess there was Wind Cave five years ago...otherwise, not much.

As a kid, my folks did their best to get us to every possible park, and someday I need to make a list of all of the Parks we visited.

There are several National Park Blogs out there, but the one I see one a regular basis is the National Parks Traveller. Earlier in the month they had a post up on Park visitation, namely the top 10 and the bottom 10. Here's the top Parks:
Top 10 Most Visited National Parks
Rank Park Name Visitation
1 Great Smoky Mountains NP 9,289,215
2 Grand Canyon NP 4,279,439
3 Yosemite NP 3,242,644
4 Yellowstone NP 2,870,295
5 Olympic NP 2,749,197
6 Rocky Mountain NP 2,743,676
7 Zion NP 2,567,350
8 Cuyahoga Valley NP 2,468,816
9 Grand Teton NP 2,406,476
10 Acadia NP 2,083,588

While a lot of people still visit the parks, it seems that the type and duration of the visits have changed. Getting more folks out of their cars and into the Park has always been a goal. What can we do to actually accomplish this?
"Is our goal to make it a driving experience?" Babb asked. "As fast as possible from one end to the other so you can pack more people in? Or is our goal to get visitors out of their cars and show them this park, show them its sights, its smells, its sounds? I think if you get out and explore a little, you have a much better visitor experience."

Check out this thoughful piece on the future of Going to the Sun Highway in Glacier National Park, from the Missoulian.