Congestion in the Parks

Tue, Oct 25, 2016

Visiting our national parks has been a wonderful experience but there is a downside and that is congestion.  In some places, real congestion.

Crater Lake was our fist stop and when we arrived at the visitor center, no parking.  Ditto for the nature center at the top of Glacier.  Yosemite was also super congested at all of the popular attractions.  The parks are a victim of their own success.

And it gets worse as sometimes people lose their cool. Here’s an example.

At Bryce Canyon, Bryce Point is is perhaps the preeminent lookout. So when we arrived, we weren’t surprised to see a line to get into the parking area. It was a loop so if you went in and a spot opened behind you, you were SOL. Just continue on to the beginning and try again. What you might call surfing for spots.

So a car was in the loop when a spot opened on the opposite side. One guy jumps out, runs across and stands in the spot to defend it. Nice try but there’s a car in front of his and he’s starting to pull in. The goober defender turns his back to the inbound car and stands there while the horn blazed away. So it’s a standoff with the car about 3/4 of the way in.

As I’m watching this, I hear a man scream “Bitch. Move out of the way or I’ll punch you in the face”. Two bullies from Oregon had pulled into the handicapped spot when a women, who’s perhaps 65 and absolutely no threat to anyone, said ‘that’s a handicap spot’. Bully #1 grabbed a handicap placard from the back seat and threw it on the dashboard. Off they marched. Nice.

Epilogue: On our way back to the main road, we noticed that a park ranger had closed the road and others were heading up there with sirens blasting. Hopefully karma was on top of this one.

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