National Parks Pulling Back Reservation Requirement

by Anna Dunn

National parks are beginning to pull reservation requirements after Labor Day. The first spot open that won’t need reservations is Glacier National Park’s Going to the Sun Road. During the busy summer season, some National Parks have instituted timed-entry reservations.

The National Parks service instituted the reservation system in May to help curb overcrowding as visitations continued to soar. Many Americans have been traveling to national parks as an escape from the pandemic, where there’s a ton of open-air and safe activities to do.

Even with the pandemic aside, the rate of visitors to national parks has been steadily increasing. Other parks will begin to loosen their reservation requirements later in the fall.

What National Parks You Need Reservations To

If you’re planning a trip, it’s important to stay informed. The majority of National Parks do not have a reservation system in place, but many of the higher traffic destinations do.

Yosemite requires reservations until September 30th.

Rocky Mountain National park requires reservations until October 11th.

Acadia Cadillac Summit Road will require reservations until October 19th.

Finally, if you’re looking to visit Hawaii’s Haleakalā National Park at sunrise, you’ll need to schedule reservations. The park has not announced any plans to lift the reservation system.

If you’re looking to visit Yellowstone, you won’t need a reservation. It’s one of the many parks that doesn’t use the system.

Officials Proposed Selfie Stations to Curb Overcrowding

The overcrowding of National Parks is a serious issue. Not only does it lessen the experience of the people visiting the parks, but it often takes a toll on the environment. Not to mention, overcrowded parking lots create a safety hazard. Emergency vehicles may struggle to get through.

Arches National park actually shut down its point of entry over 100 times. Yellowstone hit 1 million visitors for the first time in July. Zion also experienced similar growth. Some creative solutions have been proposed to lessen the impact of overcrowding.

Another issue with overcrowding is when people go off-trail. Unknowing visitors who may not know hiking etiquette may go off-trail to take selfies, potentially hurting the local ecosystem in the process. Some have proposed that wooden selfie stations spread out over different areas in the park could help resolve the issue.

Some stations have already been installed. The leader of Iowa’s County Conservation System, Tom Hazelton helped install the stations across his state. They are low-budget and easy to install.

“They’re nice, sturdy, cedar stations. They are getting used and they are low maintenance and easy to build: the signs are $30 and the wood is another $60 and there you go,” he told The Guardian.

No matter how silly they sound, selfie stations may play an important role in helping lessen the impact of overcrowding in parks. Hopefully, those, along with the reservation system, will help keep the parks clean, enjoyable, and safe.