We have always blamed the decline in camping and interest in National parks on electronics, quoting the fifth-grader: "I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are." The Economists disagrees, and suggests that we should "blame conservationists, not video games."
And parents. "Americans are more fearful for their children and have become unwilling to leave them in the company of strange men, green-hatted or otherwise."
And competition. "Attendance at national parks was not the only thing that peaked between the late 1980s and the early 1990s. In 1991 America's homicide rate reached 9.8 per 100,000 people. Many cities were known for lawlessness and grot; not surprisingly, holiday-makers were passing them up for greener spots."
And, of course, conservationists who resist change and are actually taking out activities. "Yosemite is long on staggering views but short on what most people would today regard as entertainment. It contains fewer diversions than it once did. Scott Gediman, the park's spokesman, points out that it used to have a Cadillac dealership and a zoo. Although pretty, Yosemite's hotels are basic compared to most cities (if they were in Las Vegas they would have been dynamited long ago). Camp Curry, a vaguely military cluster of fixed tents and cabins, has hardly changed in a century."
They conclude that it is counterproductive to ratchet up environmental standards and not rebuilding campsites. "America's environmental movement emerged in the 19th century to push for national parks. In the 20th century it sold them to the public through photographs and writing. It now seems bent on driving people away from them." ::Economist
TreeHugger on Camping and the Great Outdoors:
Go Play Outside; Nobody Else is
::Get Outside and Play