First, we had a problem with COVID and national parks went to a reservation system to try and keep people separated. Not just for camping but to visit various sites.

Then the parks open to all visitors again and people can't wait to get out and get some fresh air. That lead to a problem with overcrowding.

Tourist hiking in aspen grove at autumn
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As you might expect, the government must always pick the most complicated and frustrating solution. So now when you visit a national park, you may or may not know that you needed to make a reservation, not just for camping but to visit the site you wanted to see. Or maybe they are just charging a fee in some places but not in other places, but you won't know that until you get there.

Why can't bureaucrats ever make things more simple? 

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To be fair these parks are dealing with more people than ever before. That leads to full parking lots, trails in need of constant repair. Trash left all over the place. Full outhouses that need constant cleaning. It's a lot to deal with. Having to pay for all of the upkeep is where the fees come in.

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Staffing problems have lead to other issues, which does not help when it comes to overcrowding.

National parks have turned to ticketed entry reservations in the hopes of equalizing demand throughout the day. This system has improved the situation at Glacier National Park in Montana.

But will this system stop people from visiting in the long run? It has frustrated visitors who did not know they needed reservations or tickets.

In some cases, like Yellowstone in Wyoming, the park has tried to ease traffic by offering a bus shuttle system. Some people like it but some prefer to go where they want to go, in their own time, in their own cars.

Just make sure before you go to any park to check their website to see if you need a reservation or if one section of the park calls for a ticket while another area does not.

Despite all of the fees and frustration, park visitation is up. WAY UP!

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