[font color=\'#000000\']AGW, it is my understanding that National Parks here in the US are to preserve unique areas of the US for people now and in the future to enjoy. I think they do a good job of that. Especially considering the high uses some areas get.
Forty years ago, I would drive to Yosemite Valley an any Friday night and find plenty of available camp sites. But now, well, first-come-first-serve is just not an option. To get a camp site this Friday night would nean you would have to arrive two weeks ago and wait. I can live with hard to get reservations. Or go somewhere else. There are planty of palces where you can still just arrive. Just not Yosemite Valley in July.
I hiked across the Grand Canyon (South-North and back) a few years ago. It was difficult to get one of the few permits to camp below the rim. I had to camp two extra nights on the norther rim to make it work. While talking with the Park Service, I learned that on Memorial Day (first summer holiday in the US) before the quota system ws put in place, there were nearly 3000 campers at the Colorado River campground at Phantom Ranch. When I visited, it was crouded with a few hundred. It is easy to see why some areas need extra protection.
On the other hand, there are plenty of places where few people go and access is pretty free and easy. The reason is so few people go there, there is no need to limit the visits. Yet. I really do feel limited access to certain areas is for the good of the area and the visitors, today and next year. The rules aren't there just to keep you from getting that great photo.
I like to go to North Coyotte Buttes in Utah/Arizona. There is a limit of 10 people per day. I go in August because that when I can go, and it is relatively easy to get one of the 10 permits 6 months in advance. Mainly because it is HOT. I have been there many times and most often I see no one else, or a single group of 2 or 3 people. Frankly, I prefer this to "SRO" crouds.
Some rules are in place for the least common denominator visitor. For instance, I have been in Death Valley many times. Stop at the visitor's center and ask about going to the Race Track. "4WD only. Very hard drive." I've been there in a Volvo wagon and a VW van. But the 70 year old tourists in their rented car from Las Vegas airport could get into serious trouble. So, the blanket advice is to not go, rather than, it is OK for you but not for them. Especially when they may be more up for the trip than you are. The Park Service doesn't want any one to have a bad time or get rescued, or worse.
Bob, I did read it that way. Sorry. And thanks for helping me. My reference to Hollywooders is meant to address people of wealth and high visibility. Some think we should all drive electric cars. I know I can't afford it now. I can't understand why I should vote for John Kerry because Cher thinks Connie Rice is an idiot. I saw a TV item with the proud actress showing off her organic garden in Malibu. We should all have one andlive like she does - so aware of the environment. Then she waters here tomatoes with water from the Feather River brought to LA through the California Aquaduct. If you have eaten lettuce in the US, it was probably grown in the Southwestern desert - totally unfit to grow much of anything but lizards and cactus but for water from the Colorado River, saved behind the Glenn Canyon, Hoover and other dams.
Bob, I am a retired nuclear engineer. I had a 35 year career, mostly in nuclear power generation. I think I understand what environmental extremists , well meaning or other wise, can do. And I also understand the risks of technology.[/font]