National Parks Are Closing Their Gates Due to Overcrowding

by Halle Ames

Some national parks are having to close their gates as they are quickly becoming overcrowded with tourists.

We get it, the quarantine and lockdown took a toll on everyone, and with most people under a stay-at-home order, we began to go a bit crazy. Since the end of 2020, and a new vaccine that is aiding the masses, Americans are once again able to get back to the things they love.

However, with many closures and restrictions along the borders, some Americans are forced to make do with their own beautiful country. So, where do people go to see the most scenic parts of the United States that are virtually untouched by humans? That would be the national parks.

Furthermore, with so many people flooding to the locations to ogle at their breathtaking views, the parks have taken a massive hit. The areas have gone from no people for most of 2020 to an overrun of tourists this year. How have the parks responded? Some are closing or requiring reservations to enter.

What National Parks Are Over Crowded?

According to the Daily Mail, places like California’s Yosemite National Park and Maine’s Acadia National Park are requiring reservations. They note that the Bureau of Land Management reports that the main reason for the booming tourist numbers before the peak summer season is due to a higher percentage of first-timers checking out the nation’s natural wonders.

On June 14, Arches National Park’s Twitter account sent out a post that informed visitors the area was currently closed.

“Monday, June 14: The park is currently full, and we are temporarily delaying entries into the park. Vehicles attempting to enter the park will have to come back another time. Consider returning a few hours later or visiting other nearby attractions.

Furthermore, more than 194,000 people visited Utah’s Arches National Park in April alone. That number is 15 percent higher than the number of visitors in 2019.

In addition, the Canyonlands in southeastern Utah have increased nearly 30 percent since 2019. Yellowstone recorded an 11 percent increase and the busiest May the park has ever seen. They reported that half a million tourists flooding the national park in May.

The Highs and Lows of 2020

In 2020, America’s national parks saw a 28 percent decrease from the previous year due to the pandemic. However, the number of Americans who hiked last year increased by 8.1 million. That is the most significant one-year gain on record, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge explained the benefits of the outdoor areas.

‘This past year has reminded us how important national parks and public lands are to overall well-being,” said Benge. ‘Throughout the country, national parks provided close-to-home opportunities for people to spend much needed time outdoors for their physical and psychological health.”

So if you are planning a trip to a national park, we recommend doing a little digging to see the entry requirements. You may also need to purchase a ticket beforehand.