Ableist Anti-Tourism

“The End of the Tour” (EW’s Travel issue, 2/27) argues that there are too many people visiting cool places, with a focus on perceived overuse of public lands and the “idiocy” of these numerous new visitors.

Other writers in the world of outdoorsmanship have complained of crowds and especially of “selfie-seeking tourists” in beautiful places, but a 2019 article from Danielle Williams of Melanin Base Camp exposes the privileged misguidance of these views.

Claims about “overuse” of natural areas myopically disregard our country’s indigenous history, and often belie classist, racist and ableist impulses. Wishing there were fewer visitors in cool places is relatable, but what we really need is usually just better infrastructure and staffing.

American politics have been hard on natural and cultural destinations lately, and we should all be advocating for the protection and maintenance of the places we love.

The impact of our travel via fossil fuels is another story, but even if a few of us end up (unfortunately, maddeningly) traipsing into geysers, we are all owners of Yellowstone National Park. The more people of all backgrounds can experience and enjoy our natural and cultural destinations, the more political power for supporting, funding and expanding them.

Hillary Tully


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