"The park service is turning to selfie stations, timed tickets and crowd-monitoring apps to preserve public lands"
"Arches national park had to close its gate more than 120 times this summer alone when parking lots filled up, creating a safety hazard for emergency vehicles. Yellowstone national park reached 1 million visitors in July for the first time in its history. At Zion national park, the wait for a hike was a Disneyland-long four hours. And with the visitors came graffiti, trash and reckless behavior.
“It’s no secret that this summer has been one of our busiest summers ever,” says Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, the chief spokesperson for the National Park Service. “We don’t have official numbers, but preliminary visitation statistics show that the most popular 12 to 15 national parks are seeing record numbers.”
The record-setting crowds of people surging into public lands this summer has set off new challenges for park managers. They are using counterintuitive tricks like encouraging selfies in one place to prevent them in another, and they are rolling out algorithms and autonomous vehicles to manage the throngs of recreation-seekers.
They are also acknowledging a hard truth: perhaps there simply isn’t enough space at America’s most iconic attractions for everyone who wants to visit them."