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237 National Park Visitors 2010-06-04

Dunes National Park

A lifelong national park goer and one time backcountry ranger at Yosemite, Daniel Gibble quoted me a statistic that he says is known among park rangers: “95% of the people visiting a national park go no further than 100 feet from their car.”

"How to See National Parks Like a Pro" By Paul Eisenberg
Published May 28, 2010 | FOXNews.com

So, most of the folks who visit a Park, do not leave their car... unless to walk to an overlook, take a picture, stand by a sign, etc. Wow, it is hard to believe what the visitors are missing.

They can climb Clingmans Dome (the path to the Observation Tower is however, more than 100 feet); but never see the cabins on top of LeConte.

They can walk in the Visitor Center at Paradise; but never set foot on the glaciers of Ranier.

They can walk to the overlook at the South Rim; but never experience the depths of the Grand Canyon.

They can view the mighty cathedral peaks from Jenny Lake; but never sleep at the Lower Saddle of the Grand.

They can see down Wall Street from the Overlook; but never experience the 'Arches' as Edward Abbey did.

They can take photos of roadside flowers; but will never see the beauty of the alpine tundra high in the Rocky Mountains.

They can see how to prevent bears from raiding their food at a demonstration in Yosemite Village; but never experience the fear and anxiety of a face to face wilderness encounter with a big black sow far away from the Park Rangers.

There is so much they are missing. If they would only close their doors and leave the safety of their vehicles they would discover the wonders of the Parks. They want to experience nature but only for a second. A good example is Old Faithful Geyser, where thousands of visitors fill the viewing areas surrounding the timely geyser. As soon as Old Faithful erupts, the visitors leave. The gift shop is overrun. And in a few minutes the exiting roads are bumper to bumper. Everyone is off to see the next attraction on their list. They are trying to see everything, instead of feeling anything.

Happy National Park trails - further than 100 feet from the car.


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