A couple of recent announcements has once again brought to the forefront how much we are loving our National Parks and other scenic areas to death and causing our government to step in and try to manage the situation.
First was an announcement a few weeks ago about the ban on using tripods in Zion National Park when part of a professional photography workshop. Why they chose to pick on the professionals is anyones guess. To me, it’s the pros who are more of a steward and educator about the wilderness and how to properly behave. At the minimum they are much better than the tour bus operators who disgorge dozens of tourists from a bus to traipse across fragile landscapes without a word of caution. What this means is that no professional photography workshop operator will go there, denying the surrounding economy regular and much needed income. One ray of light is that there seems to be some clarification coming and possibly a narrowing of the ban. Fingers crossed some sense comes in to play here.
Secondly, I saw a small article about several million dollars of “improvements” being made to the Horseshoe Bend area near Page Arizona. If you’ve never been, it is a sight to behold. You walk up and over a hill and down to the edge of the cliff to behold the colorado river and how it has cut a u-shaped horseshoe in the desert rock. No fences, no barriers, just a 1000′ drop off the cliff down to the river. Like the slot canyons nearby, people from all over the world are coming to see these natural wonders. I get it. They are stunning and it’s great to be able to see them.
The downside of all of the visitors is increased need to manage the environment. Better paths, “resting benches”, even an admission booth where one never existed as it was just a little turn off off the road and people “in the know” would visit, but nobody else. Times have sure changed.
No matter if you’re a photographer or someone who just appreciates the great outdoors, when you travel out there, please remember to respect nature and help those around you also respect nature if you can. If not, the natural experience we crave to escape the rat race will be taken from us. See why we can’t have nice things anymore?