I Can’t Stop Reading One-Star Yelp Reviews of National Parks

“I really wanted to enjoy this canyon…”

Pete Ryan

The National Park Service turns 99 years old on Tuesday. To celebrate, the Department of the Interior has waived admission fees for all NPS sites for the day. That’s a pretty sweet deal. You should stop reading this right now, call in sick, and enjoy the great outdoors. National parks are great.

But not everyone agrees. Yelp is filled with one- and two-star reviews of America’s most pristine and majestic natural wonders. And honestly, they’re riveting. What makes a national park a one-star destination varies from one reviewer to the next. Maybe the tacos at the visitor center aren’t up to snuff. Maybe it was cloudy. Maybe the park was too cowardly to cut down some trees for spillover parking lots. Maybe it was President Barack Obama’s fault.

Whatever the case, you can thank these people for leaving the campgrounds a little bit less crowded for the rest of us:

Joshua tree:

The desert is too hot. Esther Lee/Flickr

I looked it up, and it’s true—the bees at Joshua Tree National Park are out of control. In 2000, a group of hikers was attacked by a swarm and one man was stung more than 100 times. They tried to get inside their car to escape, but some of the bees followed them inside the car and continued stinging them. Holy crap, bees! If you were stung 100 times by bees at Joshua Tree, you should give it one star. But maybe it shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise that the desert gets hot in the summer. This is like downgrading a restaurant because you went there on a hunger strike.

Death Valley:

Pass. John Fowler/Flickr

Pinnacles:

Some rocks. sfbaywalk/Flickr

Yosemite:

And? Aaron & Carol/Flickr

Lassen volcanic:

Where’s the lava? Roy Scribner/Flickr

Crater Lake:

You could see Fantastic Four for the same price. Glenn Scofield Williams/Flickr

And a bonus two-star review of Crater Lake that’s kidding itself about not being a one-star review:

Olympic:

A big rock with glorified weeds. Esther Lee/Flickr

Do not let the National Park Service tell you how many friends you can have.

Grand Canyon:

Few amenities. Grand Canyon National Park/Flickr

Carlsbad Caverns:

Only go to this cave if you like caves. Greg Heartsfield/Flickr

Petrified Forest:

The trees are all dead! Park Ranger/Flickr

Yellowstone:

Good luck swimming here. A Davis/Flickr

Badlands:

Bad. Jim Bowen/Flickr

Arches:

One star. Max and Dee Bernt/Flickr

Zion:

Skip the tacos. Cyril Fluck/Flickr

Shenandoah:

Pure government overreach. David McSpadden/Flickr

(N.B.: There is an entire visitor center devoted to the mistreatment of former inhabitants.)

Acadia:

Nice try, try a state park. Robbie Shade/Flickr

Hawai’i Volcanoes:

Still no lava. Ed Dunens/Flickr

Haleakala:

This is it? Joe Parks/Flickr

But enough about the sunrise, already. How were the tacos?

 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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