My recent trip to Death Valley made me feel queasy. The national park’s roads have been widened and repaved with new parking lots at each ‘Point of Interest’. There are Jeeps for rent and tour buses run at daily rates.
The park handles more tourists then ever before and the results are visible. Empty cans and broken glasses are scattered everywhere, as the landscape has become polluted with people. Small group tours leave the Sand Dunes covered with footprints. I couldn’t match those great close up shots I did years ago, so I took a few from a distance.
I was even more shocked at Badwater. The path takes you in more than a mile now and I couldn’t locate the salt crystal formations I had seen just 2 years ago by the entrance. Everybody wants to see them so they all end up walking out, further and further.
Being a purist, I tried to stay away from the main attractions and made an extra effort to find new interesting spots. I turned my attention to smaller details and took some time to explore, hoping to find some other hidden beauty in the landscape.
I was also hoping to see some wild flowers blooming and I was lucky enough to spot a patch on my way out of the park.
Death Valley is a real geological and visual treasure. It should be more protected by the park and it definitely deserves much better care from us the visitors.