Opinion | Create New National Parks to Relieve Crowding?

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To the Editor:

Re “We Need More National Parks,” by Kyle Paoletta (Opinion guest essay, Sunday Review, Aug. 29):

Mr. Paoletta is correct about America’s need for new national parks, and there are many spectacular landscapes and important cultural locations that deserve the highest designation in the National Park System. Yet there is no substitute for witnessing the vastness of the Grand Canyon or the eruption of Yellowstone’s Old Faithful, regardless of other worthy nearby destinations.

Americans’ love for parks contributes to their overcrowding. And Congress’s failure to adequately fund parks contributes to time that visitors waste in traffic, circling for parking, or shuffling through crowded trails and visitor centers. Investments in staffing, transportation and maintenance can all help reduce these issues.

We welcome new national parks. We also realize they often take decades to establish and are unlikely to lessen the appeal of Arches, Great Smokies and other world-famous parks. To truly protect these places requires Congress to do a better job of ensuring their funding increases in line with their popularity.

Kristen Brengel
The writer is senior vice president of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association.

To the Editor:

I share Kyle Paoletta’s concern about crowding of national parks and the associated negative impacts. Some of the places mentioned as potential national parks, and many others I will not mention that are both national monuments and U.S. Forest Service sites, are my favorite places on earth for the beauty and solitude they offer.

However, designating such areas as national parks, with increased internet visibility, will simply attract more national and international visitors, destroying what is attractive about them today, while visits at today’s national parks will continue to increase.

Kenneth J. Lamport
Fort Collins, Colo.

To the Editor:

Kyle Paoletta is naïve to think that simply changing designations will redistribute tourists from the iconic parks.

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