Crowds have become such a problem that many national parks charge admission and maintain long waiting lists for campgrounds and cabins. To add to the stress, development pressure on adjacent lands creates air and noise pollution, and maintenance funds are inadequate. Meanwhile, friction is intensifying between commercial interests eager to profit from the parks and environmental purists who would protect them from all human intrusions. Some parks supporters want to use federal budget surpluses to aid the parks, including purchasing fragile, new parklands. But critics say the nation can't afford any new parks, and that any budget surpluses should be used to protect Social Security.
Environmentalists fear the increasingly high number of visitors to the national parks could damage Mount Rushmore and other sites.
(Photo Credit: KRT ...