Improving Transit Access to Parks and Trails

Too often, national parks and other recreational spaces in the United States are difficult or impossible to access without a car. Some parks are working to change that.

1 minute read

July 21, 2023, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

White shuttle bus picks up passengers in Zion National Park, red cliffs and mountains in background.

A park shuttle picks up visitors in Zion National Park, Utah. | Jim / Adobe Stock

In a piece in Millennial American Dream republished in Streetsblog USA, Michael Moore describes how Rocky Mountain National Park and Glacier National Park provide exemplary models for providing parks access to people who don’t own cars via bus shuttles.

By providing convenient transportation options, these parks reduce traffic congestion, minimize pollution, and make it easier for visitors to access hiking trails and attractions. Implementing similar shuttle services in popular US parks could significantly enhance accessibility and alleviate parking woes.

Moore also suggests making more in-park lodging, such as European-style hiking hostels, available to tourists to reduce the need to drive in and out. Additionally, parks can reduce economic barriers by providing affordable gear rentals and boosting connectivity to public transit. “Establishing reliable bus and train connections from major US cities and airports to lesser-known parks is crucial for achieving better access and dispersing visitor flow,” Moore writes. 

Parks access shouldn’t be limited to people who own cars. “Implementing transit connections, alternative transportation options, in-park accommodations, small cabin hostels, refreshment options, gear rentals, and long-distance transit links can transform the way we experience nature in the US.”

Thursday, July 20, 2023 in Streetsblog USA

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