By Gail Marsh
As more and more people discover the joys of camping, some state and local parks have made policy changes that will go into effect this summer. Take, for example, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation. They are cracking down on overcrowding in several of their most popular state parks. And Pennsylvania is not alone. Many other states are taking preemptive steps, as well. Officials hope that new regulations (with enforcement) will improve the camping experience for everyone.
Responding to more visitors with proposed new park regulations
Here are some ideas that state and local parks are considering and/or implementing:
- Placement of additional signage throughout the parks as reminders of park rules and regulations
- Consistent enforcement of park capacity limits
- Placement of additional portable toilets throughout the parks
- Additional dumpsters provided (to handle the increase in trash)
- Distribution of trash/recycle bags to park visitors (to encourage responsible disposal/recycling efforts)
- Additional staff added for crowd control and enforcement of park rules
- Implementation of occasional park closures to allow for park habitat restoration and reduction of negative environmental impact
- Eliminating all parking on vulnerable grassy areas
- Requiring large group gatherings (more than 25 folks) to secure written preapproval from the Park Ranger
Read this week’s Campground Crowding column here.
Tips to recreate responsibly in National Parks
Interesting that most of these ideas result from people simply not doing what they are supposed to do. What really needs to change!?
All this is useless unless they do something about no shows. Charge a large fee to people who reserve and then dont bother to cancel, leaving an empty site that others might enjoy.
Free enterprise system. Lots of people pay for things they don’t need or use. No business incentive to drive away customers by applying monetary penalties for doing something that is perfectly legal.