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National Parks See Explosion in Visitation

In August Yellowstone National park set a record of above 920,000 visitors for the month. In September they set another monthly number of recreational visits of 882,078 visitors. Most notably they set a record for annual recreational visits in 2021 at 4,472,982 recreational visits. This is a 32% increase over the same period in 2020. With a number like this it is as if the population of an entire state visited Yellowstone.

Even before the pandemic the park has never hit 4 million recreational visits this early in the year.

Officials stated they’d never seen such an increase in visitation in such a short period and assured the public that they will be taking steps, both long and short term, to ensure visitors and can enjoy the park while preserving the ecosystem.

Anyone involved in the National Park system whether by profession or recreation knows this visitation increase isn’t limited to just Yellowstone. Arches National Park in Utah had to close its gates to visitors numerous times during the summer because the facilities couldn’t handle more visitors.

Even now, a sign warns that parking lots at trailheads fill early, even before 9am. Their website still warns visitors that periods of non-admittance can last from 3-5 hours.




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China Announces National Park System

China recently announced not a singular first national park, but a handful of national preservation areas meant to protect specific animal species, including pandas.

The total square mileage of protected land is about 88,800 and the regions include areas in northern Tibet all the way to the holiday island Hainan to the south.

It has been a long road to establishing national parks in China, the country has been working on an institutional system to protect its natural ecosystems since the first nature reserve established in 1956. Today there are more than 10,000 such reserves intended to protect biodiversity.

One problem has been that managing the reserves has been troublesome as different local authorities had responsibilities to protect the same sites, yet their jobs and boundaries were unclear. The establishment of a national park system seeks to remedy this.

Surely the adventurous are asking by now, will visitors be able to access these national parks?

For one, the aptly named Giant Panda National Park will be available to visitors and is already an area where many tourists come each year to see the pandas.

According to the official press releases 75% of the wild population of pandas live in the newly defined region of the national park which includes areas of three provinces, Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu and includes four mountains, the Minshan, Qionglai, Daxiangling and Qinling. This area is the panda’s natural habitat.

The provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang will share the Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park, which is intended to protect the habitat of its namesake’s animals.

The afore mentioned Hainan Island is the home of China’s most well-preserved tropical rainforest and the only place in the world the black-crested gibbon lives. Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park will protect the environment and the rare gibbons who live there.



Posted by Victor Crew on

Universal Studios, Beijing, China to Open Soon

Dementors, Decepticons, Minions and Raptors are just a few of the fantasy encounters one can have at the new Universal Studios Resort, Beijing, China. It will fully open on 20 September 2021 after delays due to Covid.

It will include seven “themed” parks that will include 37 rides. The Beijing location will be the fifth Universal Studios theme park.

While it shares many of its popular attractions found at its sister sites in Los Angeles, Singapore, Osaka and Orlando. But it will also include some new attractions unique to the Beijing location including the the Kung Fu Panda Land of Awesomeness.

Some park visitors who were invited to a soft opening for trial operations reported that some wait times could be high and that some of the most popular shows were almost impossible to get into.


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New Program Will Allow Use of Apple Wallet Instead of Analog ID at TSA Checkpoints

Apple has found eight states to participate in a program that lets people securely add their state ID or driver’s license to their Apple Wallet for use at airport security checkpoints.

Connecticut, Kentucky, Iowa, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah will be joining soon while the program is already in place in Arizona and Georgia. Apple claims the program is a new, fast and secure way to interact with TSA agents at the airport.

Apple announced no specific dates for when the program will go live in additional states signed up to the program.

The security protocol will require the user to take a self after uploading a picture of their state ID or driver’s license. Users will also be required to complete a series of face and head movements, much like Face ID, and submit those for verification. Only afterwards will their information be provided for the state to verify.

However, users will still have to carry ID if traveling to states not participating in the program.

Additional security measures include the use of biometrics to ensure the correct person is attempting to use the phone or watch.


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Two American Travelers Face Heavy Fines Over Providing False Health Information to Canadian Officials

The government of Canada has fined to US travelers who arrived in Toronto almost $20,000 each for non-compliance with entry requirements. This was reported by the CA Public Health Agency.

The travelers provided false information related to proof of vaccination and pre-departure tests. They also did not comply with requirements related to on-arrival testing and staying at government approved accommodations according to the PHA.

Each travel racked up four fines a piece costing them $19,720.

The PHA stated that all travelers arriving in Canada are require by law to answer all with true answers. Providing false information verbally or by document upon entry (like vaccination records) is a serious offense and good result not only in heavy fines but criminal charges.

Penalties for using false information on a vaccination status may include fines up to $750,000, six months in prison, or both the Public Health Agency reported.