Arches National Park, Utah
I'm sure you've seen photos of the majestic arches in the unspoiled landscape of Arches National Park. If you would like to take your own pictures like the ones you've seen on book covers and calendars you will need to spend countless hours removing people from your images with Photoshop and will have to push other photographers and tourists out of your way while you jockey for position for that perfect shot. You'll also have to spend hours driving in heavy traffic and searching for parking spaces in the hyper congested Arches National Park.
Arches gets over 1 million visitors a year. According to a traffic study commissioned by the park up to 10,000 vehicles enter the park each day during the peak season. Many of these visitors come in large recreational vehicles or come with tents. But the park only has single campground with just 50 sites. The campground is fully reserved months in advance year-round. It's about 20 miles from the Delicate Arch parking area to the nearest campground outside the park. If 200 additional campsites were developed in the park for people wishing to visit for more than a day that could eliminate 200 x 40 = 8,000 vehicle miles driven each day the campground filled up. If the sites averaged 80% occupancy they would eliminate 2,336,000 miles driven per year. At an average of 20 MPG which I don't think is low enough given the large numbers of RVs- that means 116,800 gallons of gas and associated pollution and traffic could be kept out of the park if just 200 additional campsites were developed. I suspect that there is demand for many more than 200 additional campsites during the peak season at Arches. The park commissioned a feasibility study for a shuttle bus to and from Moab. But this doesn't address the transportation problem that Arches has. The problem is that facilities that people need are not where people need them to be. I'm glad I went to Arches once but I'm not planning on going back. Canyonlands National Park and other places in the surrounding public lands are much nicer and much less crowded.
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