From air pollution to habitat loss; national parks face a number of serious issues that affect their survival. These problems are difficult to address, because most of them are uncontrollable. However, it is important we take a few concrete steps to combat the problem. Now, most of the problems listed below are caused by the insensitive behavior of humans. No doubt the statutory purpose of a national park is to conserve and enhance the cultural heritage of the area along with providing opportunities to the public at large to enjoy and understand the natural beauty, but mankind tends to take it for granted.
There are millions of people who visit the national park every year; which helps in raising funds for the park, however along with it; visitors also bring in problems like that of soil erosion, traffic congestion, assessing areas they are not allowed and so on. Some other problems like that of climate change and the reduction of polar ice due to global warming also have an adverse effect on wildlife.
Threats Concerning National Parks
National parks attract huge crowds as these areas give them an opportunity for open air recreation and take in the scenic beauty which is preserved and enhanced by the authorities. However, most visitors fail to realize the importance of keeping the parks clean. Many tourists leave behind water bottles and other scraps of litter, which is posing to be a grave problem these days. Visitors should be penalized for this act of theirs. Moreover, national parks also face the problem of being understaffed. Hence, it becomes difficult to pay heed to the cleaning issues of the national parks with limited staff.
The growing vegetation profoundly enhances the beauty of national parks. However, the millions of unnatural footprints (read visitors) trampling on the vegetation damages the park's landscape. Agreed, all this is a part of natural decay, but by accessing the number of visitors per day and by rescheduling the system, we might be successful in stopping the vegetation damage and also prevent soil erosion by overuse. Off-road vehicles (ATV's) are also responsible for deteriorating the vegetation and causing soil erosion.
After a hectic week, visitors look at national parks as a recreational place. However, they hardly realize that their recreational machines like mountain biking, motor boats and jet skiing they use, can interfere with the nesting of birds and gravely affect their migration pattern. The several road trips that take place within these national parks affect the road conditions as well. Of course repairs are undertaken but it takes time, and funds are needed to set things right.
Lack of funds is another issue concerning national parks. The government fails to fund the park adequately due to which roads remain ill maintained, and there are less trained staff, thus the maintenance of historic buildings suffer an impact resulting in visitor's services tending to decline. To add to the problem is the political interference, the politicians try to legislate the management of the parks that works in their favor more, and less in developing the park's resources.
Beyond littering, under staffing and encouraging recreational centers, the most important problem that these national parks face is that of climate change and air pollution. The recreational machines that have been used to entertain visitors causes air pollution and also creates chainsaw like sounds that can disturb the habitat of the park. If the earth's climate continues to change as geologists predict, the species may push themselves out of the range and move towards milder temperatures, which would cause an ecological imbalance. Furthermore, animals don't recognize their boundaries and sometimes tend to invade land owned by common folk, which causes problems, resulting in them either being shot, or getting trapped in barbed wires and left to die!
No doubt national parks here are for us to enjoy nature's beauty, but at the same time we have to make sure that they are here for the future generations too! Educating yourself, your friends, and your family is the first step toward protecting and preserving national parks!