|Above, a mother bear and her two cubs caused a "wildlife jam" during one of our Yellowstone tours. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
When my daughter and I visited Yellowstone National Park two years ago, our park visits consisted of two tours and one early-morning drive-through to get to Grand Teton National Park on our way home. We got to see more of the park during the tours than we would have if we drove ourselves in The Beast, and without the headaches of driving.
A new study reveals that the average visitor spends 60 to 80 percent of their time in Yellowstone behind other vehicles. This may prompt a change.
Condé Nast Traveler has posted an article on this problem.
They begin with:
When visitors roaming Yellowstone National Park in cars see a grizzly bear and her cubs, or a herd of bison, they stop. And so do the cars behind them, every window open as cameras lurch to get that perfect shot. The National Park Service (NPS) calls these stoppages "wildlife jams," and a new NPS report reveals each one results in a 30- to 120-minute traffic backup. The study, one of two released Thursday, examines the way swelling crowds, especially during peak season, threaten not only the environment, but the visitor experience, and come to a bleak conclusion: In July, the roadways near popular attractions such as Old Faithful are 29 percent over capacity, and if action isn't taken, the entire park could hit its traffic capacity in just four to six years. If nothing changes, and visitor numbers increase with current year-over-year trends, it could lead to backups at popular sites and unsustainable degradation to the road system and the natural environment.
|Above one of the tour buses we took with a private tour company to see Yellowstone. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Possible changes may include shuttle buses and reservation systems.
To read more, go here.