Updated: Aug 1
Almost everyone I know has the goal to visit all the National Parks in the United States. But is that what's best for the sensitive habitats these parks protect? Since Covid-19 lockdowns, National Parks have experience a huge boom in visitors, even to the point of overcrowding. Overcrowding leads to litter and erosion, defeating the purpose of these government-protected parks.
Some of my favorite videos on Instagram are those "Instagram vs. reality" posts that compare the posed photo in front of a waterfall and the reality - crowds of hundreds of people all lined up to take the same perfect waterfall picture. It makes me feel better about my quiet Indiana trails where I can hike for two hours without seeing another person.
What if, someday in the future, National Parks closed to visitors to protect these habitats from overcrowding? How would your priorities change? Do you want to see every National Park because you care about nature, or because everyone else is doing it?
Something I'm unlearning this year: that certain places in nature are 'cooler' because they have the words "National Park" tacked on. Your hike through the local woods is just as significant as your bucket list trip.
If you're unsure where to find new places to hike where you live, check out my blog post "How to find new hiking trails in your state."
Check out photos from my magical, rainy Sunday hike at the Lost Sister Trail in Peru, IN in the gallery!