Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

National parks "drowning in tourists"

Data: National Park Service; note: Gateway National Recreation Area is excluded due to missing data in 2021. Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

National Parks across the U.S. are overflowing with a post-pandemic crush of tourists, leading to increased issues with congestion, traffic jams, user experience, strain on staff and increased damage to the parks.

Why it matters: Some are seeing such a record number they're being forced to limit, and even close, access to certain areas to avoid the danger of eroding the land. The result, ultimately, could change the way Americans interact with the parks going forward.


By the numbers: The chart above shows how the most popular national parks enjoyed millions of more visitors in 2021 relative to last year, in part thanks to the relaxing of coronavirus restrictions.

Driving the news: Members of Congress are hoping to draw more attention to the issue by hosting a public hearing on Wednesday.

  • Park superintendents and private sector groups will testify before the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks.
  • The panel's chairman, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), said the purpose is to review the impact of the overcrowding on parks and park resources, and to consider strategic approaches to visitor-use management.
  • Many parks are now requiring visitors to reserve their spots online and trying to strategize how to spread crowds to avoid over-congestion in hotspots.

What he's saying: "We're not looking for a snapshot of July 2021," King said. "We're trying to think 10 years ahead. If current trends continue in terms of increased visitation, what does that imply?"

  • "Please help, we are drowning in tourists here," said Dick Broom, a reporter for the Mount Desert Islander, during a call with reporters.
  • Broom has seen the dangers of overcrowding at national parks firsthand, living on the island intertwined with Acadia National Park — one of the most popular parks in the U.S.
  • When Broom asked if King thinks the parks are in "danger of being loved to death," the senator labeled the characterization "appropriate."

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories