Mount Rainier National Park is one of America’s premier national park. It is one of my favorites along with Rocky Mountain, Teton, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Glacier national parts. And I could actually go on and on naming my favorite parks. All of these parks are an indelible part of my life.
Some of my earliest memories are visiting the western national parks on long summer trips with my parents when I was a kid. And these are still some of my best memories.
In my opinion our national parks are one of the most important places in America. But I’m very afraid that our great parks may not be the same much longer.
All of our National Parks are get hotter and hotter and as this happens both plant and animal species are dying and moving to cooler environments. Just on example, pine beetles are no long dying off in the winter. Our winters are no long cold enough to kill them. Pine beetles are creating huge swaths of dead trees that make great tinder and the resulting fires are destroying thousands of acres of all of our western parks.
All of our parks are being threatened more and more by drought and fire. Its not just the pine beetle kills that are burning, its basically everything. In the past 20 years there have been devestating fires in the Tetons, Glacier, Rocky Mountain just to name a few. The summer fire season is getting longer and longer and massive wildfires are now the new norm.
Read my article on how global warming is changing Yellowstone National Park.
And then there are all the folks who want to drill and mine in our national parts. Our parks are under constant pressure from those to drill oil wells, mine uranium, graze thousands of head of cattle or cut all the timber as fast as they can in our national parks.
And then there are those who think National Parks are a waste of national resources and just want to minimize them into non-existence. I’m thinking of Donald Trump and his cronies here. In 2017 Grand Stair Case -Escalante was radically reduced in size by a presidential proclamation.
And then there is the fact that those of us who love our national parks are loving them to death. Last summer (2018) I was in Teton national park in July, not the right time to be in any National Park of course. But there were long lines of deadlocked traffic waiting to get into Jenny Lake and String Lake and Leigh lake. And these were hours long lines. As each car left the stuffed full parking lots, the rangers let one more car enter. Luckily we were on bikes and no one bothered much with us.
Anyway, I’m desperately afraid that if thing go as they are, there will not be much left of our great national parks in the near future.