If you are planning to visit a national park this summer, you are not alone.
There has been a noticeable increase in travel this year, particularly to national parks.
Kristy Clifford of Greenville, SC, with her husband and three children, started traveling with an Airstream trailer last August and set a goal of visiting 40 national parks in one year.
With just eight parks to go on Monday, the mom has noticed a big change since they started their cross-country ski adventure last summer.
“We had no problem getting in. It was kind of like we were the only people to show up,” said Clifford. “This year has been radically different.”
She says the crowds have multiplied.
Since last October, Arches National Park in Utah has seen a record number of visitors, up 70% in just a few months compared to previous years.
To accommodate, the park has temporarily interrupted visitors this summer, with parking lots often filling up before 8 a.m.
In a tweet on Monday, Arches National Park said: “The park is currently full and we are temporarily delaying park entries. Vehicles attempting to enter the park will have to return at another time. Consider returning a few times. hours later or visiting other nearby attractions. “
“You think of national parks and state parks and these outdoor spaces that attract a lot of people, and that’s what we’ve seen is that people just want to get out,” said Sergio Avila, Porte – spoken by the AAA of Northern California.
It’s not just Utah. Clifford says the crowds are also in California.
“We went to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks in California in February. We were literally the only people standing in a redwood grove in Kings Canyon on February 22,” Clifford said. “And then fast forward, we were in Yosemite about 2-3 weeks ago and couldn’t even get into the grove, there were so many people in Mariposa Grove.”
Visitors say the park service is trying to adapt. For example, some parks restrict access to cars as people try to enjoy the outdoors and the new freedoms of COVID.
“If you’re looking for a truly personal, one-on-one national park experience, this might not be the right summer for you,” advises Clifford.
Crowds don’t change her family’s plans.
As they complete their one-year adventure, they keep track of which national parks they wish to return to in the future with fewer crowds.