Interesting reading from The Conversation: ” US national parks are crowded – and so are many national forests, wildlife refuges, battlefields and seashores.”
While research shows that spending time outside is good for physical and mental health, long lines and gridlocked roads can make the experience a lot less fun. Crowding also makes it harder for park staff to protect wildlife and fragile lands and respond to emergencies. To manage the crowds, some parks are experimenting with timed-entry vehicle reservation systems and permits for popular trails.
I can offer one example: At the spectacular Multnomah Falls, in Oregon in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, parking and traffic has been so bad in recent years that these days a “Timed Use Permit will be required daily from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m from May 26 through September 4, 2023.” Permits are only available via Recreation.gov — none are available on site.
My take: these permits are annoying and don’t fully solve the overcrowding problem, but the USFS had to do something.