Wildfires, Smoke Snuff Out Outdoor Adventures across US

In a widely syndicated piece, the Associated Press quotes Margaret Walls and cites recent RFF research on wildfire smoke.

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Sept. 5, 2021

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Associated Press

A study of 10 years of campground bookings on federal land found relatively few cancellations or departures when smoke was present. The study by Resources for the Future, an independent nonprofit research institution, suggested campers were less likely to pull out of popular destinations like Glacier National Park in Montana or Yosemite National Park in California.

“Limited visitation seasons at northern parks like Glacier, as well as competitive reservations at popular parks like Yosemite, could lead campers to brave the smoky conditions rather than forego a trip altogether,” the authors said.

Those patterns could change, particularly after the past two years of severe, pervasive fires that were not accounted for in the study, said Margaret Walls, a senior fellow with Resources for the Future who co-authored the study. She thinks the potential for smoke could factor into future plans.

“In the past, maybe you just went. You didn’t think about the smoke,” Walls said. “You used to be able to say, it’ll be all right around the Grand Canyon. Not anymore.”

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