A man operates a leafblower in the park

Are We Loving Our National Parks a Little Too Much?

Americans love their national parks. Over 330 million recreational visits were made to parks across the country, making 2016 a record setting year. In California, several of the state's 28 national parks set attendance records in 2016, with Yosemite being the third most visited park nationwide. The visits are tracked by the National Park Service's Visitor User Statistics, which recorded at 7.72% increase in attendance from 2015.

All that love from park visitors can create a strain for park officials, whose mandate it is to  provide both the public with access to the nation's parks and protect natural and cultural resources.

"We know people have meaningful experiences in parks, but how do we maintain that excitement in ways that lead to more conversation buy-in?" asks Dr. Ryan Sharp, a professor of recreation management at Kansas State University.

Sharp consults with NPS officials on the best ways to balance the public's love of parks with the need to protect and preserve those parks. In this KCET slideshow, he offers his concerns and advice on how to not to love our parks to death.

 

(Slideshow created by Dennis Nishi)

Music: "Contradictions" by Airtone and Duncan_beattie, Creative Commons.

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

'Bail Bonds', 'The Comeback Kids' and 'School of Good Works'

The price of freedom for some in the Los Angeles County Jail system is simply too high a cost. As much as a quarter of the 17,000 in LA's jails are there simply because they cannot make bail.

The California Condors were close to extinction when Federal Fish and Wildlife officials took an aggressive approach to save one of the world's largest birds.

A profile piece of an Islamic school in South Los Angeles which is giving back to its local community which has been ravaged by drugs, violence and crime. 

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'Freelance Nation' and 'Made in L.A.'

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How one of L.A.'s most successful entrepreneurs, Cisco Pinedo, is building a brand, furniture and community all at the same time.

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'The Assassin Bugs' and 'Channel Islands'

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'Substandard of Living' and 'Mending Kids'

Landlord Dario Pini calls himself a savior of Santa Barbara's working class, but the District Attorney— and many of his tenants have other words to describe him. SoCal Connected questions one of Southern California's most notorious landlords about allegations that he's more of a slumlord than a savior.

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'Who Approved That?,' 'Super Soil,' and 'Oil Activist'

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