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There’s an outbreak of post-pandemic visitors at national parks.

Lockdown-weary Americans are flocking to the country ’s most beautiful natural environments en masse — to the degree that it’s causing an overcrowding problem at the parks and in nearby towns.  

The wait times were not a one-off, but part of a current trend: Around 194,000 people visited Arches in April, a 15% increase from the number of visitors in 2019 and a 100% increase in April 2020, when it had been closed on account of the coronavirus pandemic, the Journal reported.   (iStock)

“Anywhere you go, there’s going to become a line,” Libby Preslock told the Wall Street Journal following a recent visit to Utah’s Arches National Park. Preslock arrived at the park at 9 a.m., only to learn that it was complete. Signs recommended eager visitors try back in three to five hours, so she decided to try her fortune at Canyonlands, another national park in the region.

There, too, she encountered a wait but managed to enter after an hour.  

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The wait times were not a one-off, but a portion of a current trend: Around 194,000 people visited Arches in April, a 15% increase from the amount of people at 2019 — and a 100% increase in April 2020, as it had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Journal reported.  

Canyonlands saw a 30% increase in traffic in April, compared with April 2019.  

According to the Bureau of Land Management, the increase is significantly due to more first-timers checking out the parks.  

In addition to causing an hours-long park entry wait times, the greater attendance makes the parks less enjoyable to visit, some say.

” from the five national parks, this is most likely among the most unique, but I certainly wouldnt say its my favorite because theres too many people, ” said recent Arches visitor Susan Mathews of her encounter.  

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The new popularity has also caused an overrunning of restricted park campsites.   

“People could be parked right next to a sign that says closed to camping and theyre like, But the program said it had been open, ” Nicollee Gaddis-Wyatt, a field manager in Moab where Arches is situated told the Journal.  

The solution isn’t yet clear, but a lot of local business owners are against establishing the same kinds of reservation systems which have been installed at California’s Yosemite National Park and Maine’s Acadia National Park.  

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“I think it will kill our economy, ” stated Kent Green, owner of Moab Cowboy Country Offroad Adventures, of requiring reservations for entry, as he believes this type of policy will discourage last-minute traffic from coming into Moab.  

This material originally appeared at the New York Post.

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