Most national parks ignoring planning, overcrowding laws

Logging Lake in Glacier National Park, USA - National Park Service
Logging Lake in Glacier National Park, USA – National Park Service

Glacier Park is doing better than most national parks in dealing with and planning for increased visitation . . .

With a 17-year-old general management plan in place and work continuing to address traffic issues on Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park appears to at least partially escape the wrath of a conservation group’s complaint that most of America’s national parks are ignoring federal laws requiring management plans.

The recently released reports come as the National Park Service promotes its 100th anniversary, and many parks are braced for record crowds. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility says its review of 108 of the 411 units the NPS administers – including all 59 of America’s national parks – reveals that just seven have established visitor limits, called carrying capacities, and six of those only cover certain areas or facilities.

PEER says the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978 requires “visitor carrying capacities for all areas” of all national parks. “The safeguards Congress enacted to prevent national parks from being loved to death have become dead letters,” Jeff Ruch, the executive director of PEER, says.

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