Tourism Trouble

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Tourism Trouble

Jacob F, Writer

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7/11/15   12:14 P.M.

Day 21 – Dixie National Park, Outside Bryce Canyon, Utah

Incoming clouds, but sun as of right now.

The past few days have been spent visiting and helping out around Bryce Canyon. Bryce Canyon is a geological phenomenon, as it is filled with both huge sandstone hoodoos as well as with tourists from around the globe. The first day at the canyon was spent looking at the site from above and learning how ice wedging has formed the monuments. As we headed for our campsite for the night, we learned that we would be picking up the trash left by the tourists around Bryce Canyon, as littering has become an enormous problem there over the last few years.

After helping to save humankind by picking up trash, we split up into groups to hike around the park so we could see the hoodoos up close. We climbed a hilly, steep 5.5 mile trail that is supposed to take the average person three to four hours. However, we were able to hike it in an astonishing time period of less than two hours. We headed back to our campsite to prepare a delicious dinner of chicken, sweet potato fries, and no bake cookies (essentially granola).

During our first day at Bryce Canyon, a few of us in the group noticed just how developed and modernized the area around Bryce Canyon was. I guess it is a great idea to try to show everyday people the beauty of nature, but I feel the way that both the Parks Service and the tourists go about exploring the Canyon is totally wrong. The whole idea of hiking and traveling in nature has been romanticized and glorified to the point that many of those coming to visit never actually learn what hiking, camping, exploring, and enjoying nature are all about. And, to top it all off, the tourists come into the park with R.V.’s, cell phones, electricity, and so much more to distract themselves from what they are seeing. It makes me frustrated and almost disgusted to see both children and their parents on their phones as they “look out” at the Canyon. For all that matters in the world, can they not just open their eyes and look around for once? These people are in a beautiful place with amazing people, yet they are wasting it by being slaves to a whole technological world that exists only in thin air. The internet can wait. These poor tourist families cannot seem to understand that all that matters is the present, not what their friends will think when they return home. Look around, the world is a place with things that need to be seen, not shared on Instagram.

Both the National Parks Service and the tourists are at fault when it comes to the problems with tourism in the National Parks. The Parks Service conducts this tourism in an artificial manner, and many tourists do not want to leave technology behind when they come to the Parks. It’s great to see that so many people get to experience amazing sites, but these people will never truly get to experience them without full immersion. I was unable to really comprehend and think about what I was seeing as I was too preoccupied with seeing things that should not belong at Bryce Canyon. I’m glad that we were able to help pick up trash around the park to help right some of the wrongs, but it is not enough. I still felt like an ignorant tourist at the Canyon due to what was going on around me. Until this park becomes a place of appreciation and awe rather than a land viewed through a screen, we will all be seen as merely technology-obsessed tourists.

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