Oh, What a Beautiful Morning–Wildlife Thrives in Closed US National Parks


A recent article
from the Guardian gushes about the resurgence of wildlife in our American
national parks since shutdown.
Deer, bobcats and black bears are gathering around parts
of Yosemite national park typically teeming with visitors
Lots of things are changing since
the pandemic. Cities are breathing easier, the sudden dearth of traffic is encouraging
pedestrian-only zones in Milan and Barcelona and we may finally be witness to
the popularity of the electric automobile (get your Tesla shares before they go
through the roof).
But my hope at the moment is for the saving of our national
parks, before their last chapter is written.

Yellowstone, the oldest of our
parks will be 150 years old in two years and it’s not in trouble from abandonment.
It had over four million visitors in 2018 and they all came in cars, camper-vans
and buses. Yellowstone is dying of popularity and access so out-of-date that
the magic of the experience is overwhelmed by road-rage and crying kids.
Suggestions are limited: raise the entrance fees to try and limit access, or install
an all around the park traffic-jam monitoring system (that ought to help,
knowing exactly why you are so angry).
Thankfully, there is a 21st century solution and
it serves all parties at risk, from distraught children to grizzly bears to
hikers and naturalists. Dangerous confrontations between wild animals and
humans can be avoided, allowing the wild to roam free and the American family
to see our parks as never before.
It’s a Venice sort of solution,
with overhead trams instead of canals and gondoliers. Venice is closed to
automobiles. Cars and tour buses must park outside the city and enter by water-taxi.
Yellowstone would be served by an overhead train system, with all roads permanently
closed except for fire and heavy duty construction equipment.
Our national parks grew over decades, with the technology of
their times and responding to national recreational trends. But neither the
parks or their planners expected worldwide population to quadruple during a
single lifetime (mine, as it happens).
We can hardly expect 1920s solutions to bear up in a more
modern-day world. Modern zoos free the animals and cage the people. An overhead
train has similarities, with huge additional benefits.
Suppose you and your family and
friends were to arrive at either of the Yellowstone entrances (Montana or
Wyoming) to park your car and check in to a comfortable hotel or board a train,
depending on your time schedule. Trains would run on a schedule that accommodated
all daylight through evening hours.
Perhaps you know of the hop-on,
hop-off buses popular in most European cities. Your silent electric train
operates on the same principle in both directions. Hop off at a geyser or hot-spring,
get back on the next train at your leisure and perhaps choose a trail head for
a hike.
People circulate through the park in public hours and
supplies and trash are removed when the public is snugly put to bed. You see as
much of the park as you like, over as many days as you care to explore and all
of it geared to your pleasure and, more importantly, your peace of mind.
The animals are grateful, the
visitors entirely at ease and the staff (from food service to rangers) able to
perform their assorted duties with a smile and a kind word.
Indeed, what a beautiful morning.
A unique experience, with nature as close as you have ever known it and a spectacular
sunset thrown in at no additional cost.
What’s not to love?


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