UPDATED 5:08 PM PT – Saturday, July 10, 2021
People across America are flocking to U.S. national parks after months of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. The surge of visitors has broken records and has put immense pressure on the parks’ resources and staff.
Parks including, Yellowstone and Grand Teton have already broken monthly records. This comes as many more are preparing for their busiest year to date.
“It’s gonna be a challenging year for all of our staff,” said park ranger Dana Sohen. “With this level of visitation, we simply can’t do it on our own.”
Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly added, if visitor numbers continue to grow, the park will need to hire more staff members, temporarily close parking lots and allocate rangers to assist with traffic congestion to keep from gridlock.
Reports have said hikers waited up to four hours for some trails at Utah’s Zion National Park. Additionally, Utah’s Arches National Park has had wait times of up to five hours for park access.
The National Park Service stressed July and August are peak months, bringing them to believe the numbers will continue to increase into the millions as summer continues.