Does the National Park Service have a youth problem?

In 2014, America’s national parks attracted a record-setting 292.8 million visits, but the typical visitor to the country’s biggest parks is edging closer to retirement age.

the average age of visitors to Denali is 57 years. In Yellowstone it is 54. But in the past decade, the number of visitors under the age of 15 has fallen by half.

It’s not just the visitors who are getting grayer. According to the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), half of the employees in park service leadership positions are scheduled to retire by 2016, which could lead to even more understaffing for the national parks. Right now, there is one park guide for every 100,000 visitors.

The aging park employee problem is even worse if you look beyond those near retirement age. Seventy-five percent of National Park Service employees are at least 40 years old and only 7% are 29 or younger.

So what’s not attracting the younger generation to having some of the most beautiful offices in the country?


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