I recently took a walk through Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis and was struck by the number of people using the space.
Most were walking with or without a dog, many were running and a few were on bikes. Families with small children were using the playgrounds. The ice rink was going, too. I’m glad to see the park being enjoyed. Of course, with all the people and few animals out I didn’t take any photos.
It is calming and refreshing to go to a park and enjoy the deep woods, water and rolling hills. Many of our parks, however, are being “loved to death.” Over 330 million visitors entered national parks in 2018 and that means tons of trash, millions of gallons of sewage and a lot of foot traffic.
Along with normal park use there are plant and animal poachers, vandals and noise polluters. Animal habitat is being encroached and damaged. The National Park Service has increased entrance fees to try to offset maintenance costs but limiting visitation is the next option. Reservations to Zion in Utah and Acadia in Maine are being considered.
One minute after I took this photo at Canyonlands National Park, also in Utah, a large man climbed on top of the arch and refused to get down. Don’t be the ugly park visitor.
When visiting a public park, act like you own it and want to preserve it. Stay on the trails so that you don’t disturb animal life like nesting birds or damage the habitat.
In Quiet Waters Park wood ducks and owls have been negatively impacted by off-trail walking. Do not collect animals and plants. Leave them for others to enjoy. And take your trash with you