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Nature haters take their complaints about U.S. national parks online


The United States is known for its incredible collection of national parks - right? - crystal-clear lakes, sprawling forests and rolling mountains. But, you know, that's not everyone's cup of tea.


So where do unimpressed visitors take their complaints?

GRAHAM AVERILL: The internet's a beautiful thing. It's a great place for people to complain about things that you wouldn't think needed to be complained about.

SHAPIRO: Graham Averill is the national parks columnist for Outside Magazine.

AVERILL: And we thought it would be really funny to do a roundup of the best worst reviews of national parks.

CHANG: His favorite comes from a Yelp reviewer about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

AVERILL: (Reading) Absolutely horrible disappointment. There wasn't a single pickleball court in sight.

SHAPIRO: A pickleball court, really?

CHANG: I mean, not something I would expect to see at a national park, but this reviewer got pretty insistent.

AVERILL: (Reading) I hope my $30 entrance fee goes towards breaking ground on pickleball courts in the immediate future.

SHAPIRO: Well, some of us here at NPR wanted to get in on the fun, so we asked our staff to read some of our favorite reviews.

CHANG: Like, this one comes from an unhappy visitor to Yosemite National Park here in California.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Reading) I need someone to explain to me the hype of this place. This place looks like any place with mountains and trees. Too many people, not enough stores, not enough places to buy food.

CHANG: Stay in the shopping mall.

SHAPIRO: All right. How about this review of Arches National Park in Utah?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Reading) Having to pay a $2 timed entry to a national park is ridiculous, even if we have a yearly pass. Government sucks.

CHANG: (Laughter) Sounds like someone needs some nature therapy. All right. One more, Ari. This one is about Montana's Glacier National Park.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: (Reading) Where are the glaciers? It was so disappointing to stand at a lookout with glaciers in the distance and signage showing glaciers 50 years ago near where I was standing.

SHAPIRO: Ouch. All right. Let's give the last line to a reviewer who was not a big fan of Yellowstone National Park.

CHANG: (Reading) The whole place smelled like farts.

SHAPIRO: Ailsa, I'm making that my ringtone.

CHANG: (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF MAREN MORRIS SONG, "THE FEELS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Michael Levitt
Michael Levitt is a news assistant for All Things Considered who is based in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Political Science. Before coming to NPR, Levitt worked in the solar energy industry and for the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C. He has also travelled extensively in the Middle East and speaks Arabic.