National parks are already setting attendance records. Now come the eclipse chasers.

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will blaze through 20 national parks and nine national trails in its path of totality across the United States, which begins in Oregon and ends in South Carolina.

And those who were lucky enough to book campsites and hotels in time will be heading into these parks to experience it in gorgeous natural splendor.

While the parks in the path have been making the most of the eclipse — planning special events and festivals, and raising awareness about their offerings — Monday will also be a major test of their ability to handle big crowds at a time when they’re already strained by record numbers of visitors. Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, for instance, anticipates August 21 will be the busiest day in the history of the park.

John Day Fossil Beds in Kimberly, Oregon, is expecting larger-than-normal crowds around the eclipse too, because Eastern Oregon has been hyped as one of the best eclipse-viewing areas in the country.

In a typical year, the Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska, welcomes about 100,000 visitors. On August 21, it expects several thousand.

The eclipse is arriving in a year when the number of people visiting national parks is at an all-time high. The entire park system saw a record 330 million visitors in 2016. The crowds are increasing so much that some parks have considered restricting the number of visitors.

On top of concerns about the cumulative impact of the growing crowds, parks are now preparing to grapple with what’s expected to be a historic surge around the total solar eclipse. Let’s wish all the rangers and volunteers well.

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