In preparation for the upcoming public meetings, Sequoia National Park has encouraged visitors and locals to voice their opinions regarding park-related issues and suggestions, and the response has been enthusiastic, to say the least.
The Visitor Experience and Access initiative aims to address issues within the park that affect visitor experience. By opening up the forum to the visitors, themselves, officials are able to understand which issues are most pertinent to guests, straight from the source. According to Sequoia National Park Superintendent Clay Jordan, with the number of people on the trails continuously increasing, the need for public opinion is more important than ever.
“It’s wonderful that unprecedented numbers of people are coming out to enjoy their public lands, but it’s also important that we plan appropriately to accommodate that volume of people,” said Jordan. “We are concerned about how increasing visitation can affect visitors’ access to and experiences within the parks, but it is critical that we understand the perspectives of those of you who visit, or used to visit, or hope to visit in the future. What do you most value about your experiences in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks? What are we doing well and what could we do better?”
Luckily for Sequoia and neighboring Kings Canyon officials, visitors have no shortage of suggestions for bettering national park experience. As well as the forum, many folks have taken to the comments of the national parks’ post on Instagram to voice their concerns.
Sequoia National Park Advocates Recommend More Signage, a Reservation System and Discouragement of Social Media-Driven Visits
“No social media influencers,” one visitor suggested. Naturally, this wouldn’t be something that national park officials can control. However, it does point to the growing issue of folks mistreating and misusing public lands for the sake of a few likes and shares. Somehow, they have to address the damage that comes with such catastrophic behavior.
In fact, another person even gave a potential solution of their own to the social media-centered issues.
“Easy, reservation system keep our parks clean and running smooth. Besides those who can’t wait for reservation don’t really care about the park just tik tok vids to post,” the visitor said.
Meanwhile, others offered more immediate solutions to help visitor experience while also preserving natural resources, like adding signs and encouraging shuttle use.
“Installing #LeaveNoTrace behind signs will be a tremendous improvement to the experience,” a third visitor said.
Another shared, “It’d be sick if you could have a guided, eco friendly shuttle going from Foothill Visitor Center to Giant Forest or one from Grant Grove to Kings Canyon. Would reduce carbon emissions and traffic.”
Sequoia National Park is accepting comments until January 17, 2023. To add your comments, head here.