Research Aims to Help National Parks Reduce Amount of Visitor-Produced Waste

6 Aug 2019

Research, performed by the Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism at Utah State University, looked at the waste disposal behaviors of visitors in Yosemite, Grand Teton and Denali national parks. “As we all know, national parks are busy places nowadays. Because of this increased visitor use, parks are trying to deal with more urban-type issues in relatively remote settings. This includes things like traffic, parking, and of course, waste management,” project lead Zach Miller said. “Managing these ‘frontcountry’ issues in the context of national parks is still something we are figuring out.”

In national parks across the U.S., a total of about 1 million pounds of waste is generated each year. While not all of it is visitor produced, if everyone visiting the park made efforts to reduce the amount of waste they generate, and properly sort the waste they produce, it would make a big difference in the amount that ends up in the landfill each year, Miller said.