5 Reasons Why You Need to Act Responsibly at National Parks in the United States
National Parks are an excellent way to get outside and enjoy nature. After more than a year of being stuck at home, people of different ages have begun to appreciate the fantastic experiences parks can provide. As a result, The Guardian reports record-breaking visitation records in 2021 for parks including Yellowstone, Canyonlands, Grand Teton, and many other high-profile parks.
But just because parks have begun operating at full capacity once again, it doesn’t mean we should start disregarding the rules and regulations.
So with that in mind, here are five important reasons why you need to act responsibly at national parks in the United States.
*This post was written in partnership with Samantha Gomez, and may contain affiliate links.
Scientific Discoveries Lie in Wait
The park system’s extensive outdoor laboratory has always been a perfect breeding ground for scientific discoveries. A Worldly History article on the impact of national parks on science details Thomas Brock’s discovery of the bacterium Thermus aquaticus, which was found in Yellowstone. Said bacterium could live at 80 degrees Celsius underwater – this discovery was so astonishing as no one had ever thought anything could survive at such temperatures. National Parks have lots of potential for the advancement of science.
It’s Home to Many Endangered Species
National parks are home to some amazing plants and animals, but unfortunately, many of them are “at-risk” species. This means that their population numbers have dropped so low that scientists are concerned – some have even been listed as endangered. A post on enjoying US national parks responsibly by Love Holidays highlights how wildlife should always be admired from a distance. Being disturbed or followed can be extremely stressful for animals, especially during sensitive times like during mating season or when they are with their young.
Residents Use the Park to Meditate and Unwind
The park is also a great venue to get a breath of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of the world we live in. Many people pay a visit to relax, meditate, and unwind. Here at My Bucket Journals, we know that visiting America’s national parks is on most people’s bucket lists. That said, visitors need to respect the remote parts of parks and let the sound of mother nature prevail. If you see other visitors who are enjoying the peace and quiet, make sure you do the same. The animals would also appreciate the tranquility as well.
National Parks Document Climate Change
According to the National Park Service (NPS), climate change that has been affecting the melting of the glaciers and permafrost is regularly changing the park landscapes. Many coastal parks are also being affected by the rising sea levels brought about by climate change, and so are mortality and wildfire rates. The NPS, established by U.S. Congress 100 years ago, has been given the responsibility of preserving the natural and cultural resources of the parks. It’s up to us to abide by their rules and help curb these changes.
It Benefits the Community
Lastly, parks are considered community spaces that provide opportunities for recreation, rejuvenation, and education. They are places where resources are shared and memories are made, so it’s important to be considerate of one another. Follow the no-trace principles, which entails leaving no trash or lit campfires behind. Keep each other in check during hikes, and make sure you’re following protocol at all times. This is to ensure the safety of the community, and national parks as a whole.
Parks can provide healing for the mind and body, but we have to do our part in keeping them well-protected as well in order to allow future generations to enjoy them as they are.