We are loving our National Parks to death.
After years of growing attendance, Zion National Park — the Park system's sixth-most-popular destination — may be forced to restrict attendance during its busiest periods. This follows similar moves by over-loved destinations around the world, from Italy's Cinque Terre to the Greek island of Santorini.
Park officials saw a 10 percent rise in visitors in 2016, up to 4 million from 3.66 million in 2015. With those visitors come soil erosion and overloaded facilities. Their provisional solution: "Capping the number of daily visitors through a reservation system, eliminating first-come first-served campgrounds, fortifying the soil on trails and enforcing the seating capacity on shuttles," according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Says a park spokeswoman: "We are really here for the people." To that end, public feedback is being sought out; go here if you have useful ideas.
And if you don't — or just want to get into the park before the caps are in place — make a plan now for next year. Park officials expect the bulk of the new guidelines to come into effect in 2018.