, 2022-12-20 10:19:48,
“National parks are the best idea we’ve ever had,” declared American writer and environmentalist Wallace Stegner. And like many great inventions, the park system has become wildly popular.
More than 300 million people are expected to visit US national parks in 2022, an increase of 75% since the 1970s. And while offering so many natural wonders is one of the main reasons the National Park Service was founded in 1916, it also comes with a downside.
Popular parks like Yosemite and Zion have had to enforce entry-only reservation systems during the busy summer months. Yellowstone’s highways are plagued with traffic jams as motorists slow down to view bison and other wildlife. Ripping at a campsite in high season in many parks is harder than hitting the jackpot in Las Vegas.
But there are options for those who want to explore America’s great outdoors without the crowds. The state boasts four alternative park systems that reach across the country and in many cases are largely untapped:
Bureau of Land Management National Monuments and National Protection Areas: BLM oversees 51 desert, prairie, forest, and coastal parks in 12 states.
National Wildlife Refuges: The US Fish and Wildlife Service manages more than 560 lands and waters that protect many iconic American species and provide incredible wildlife…
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