Students sit at a desk | Still from SoCal Connected's "Under Pressure"

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.

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