What a busy weekend we had at Devil’s Lake State Park, Parfrey’s Glen and other local state natural areas!! How great is that!? I hope that if you were visiting the area, you had a great time. It was sure busy, but it usually is during peak color and heck, most any summer weekend as well! The Baraboo Hills area is a popular place for nature lovers!
As I traveled around the parks and hung out at Parfrey’s Glen SNA this weekend and watched the fall color crowds, the traffic, and the general flow of another busy weekend, I found myself wondering what it would be like, if Parfrey’s Glen wasn’t a popular natural area but if it were something like a bus station. I mean, in the hustle & bustle of the weekend it sort of felt like busy a bus station!
Just like a busy bus station the traffic was everywhere and lined up along the roads as the more desperate visitors were going in and out of the packed parking lot hoping something would clear.
Just like a busy bus station crowds of people ebbed and flowed on schedules that you couldn’t quite make out, but that seemed to cause huge rushes and sudden slow downs. Just as it looked like things would quiet down, another rush would start.
Just like a busy bus station, every sort of person was moving through the crush as a din of voices bounced off of the walls. Families and children, those who take their time and those who seemed to be rushing to catch the last coach. The young and bouncy, the older and the infirm. There were bottlenecks, people waiting and people cutting corners or climbing around. There were rule followers and rule breakers, friendly folks and pushy people. Nature lovers and those who looked as though they had been forced there by their spouses. Whatever the person, whatever the reason they were all navigating tight passages, rough patches, oddly placed plants and awkward steps… just like a bus station.
So I wondered. What if Parfrey’s Glen actually WERE A BUS STATION? Would management have parking lot attendants to help visitors find open spaces or other alternatives on busy days? How often would they check to be sure that parking passes and tickets were purchased? (I mean, you gotta pay the staff right!?) If visitors seemed to be getting confused or not following the rules, would they have a concierge roam the halls during peak times interact and answer questions? At the very least would they put up really, big instructional boards to make sure everyone would notice them? How often would a janitor be sent out to sweep, clean up the spills and stand things upright again? How often would they wipe the tables or clean the restrooms? How often would they have security guards walking the terminal to make sure folks were getting along and not going where they shouldn’t? If they found they were so busy during certain times would they make sure there was flex in the schedules, hire more help or just hope for the best? Hard to tell. It depends on who owns the bus station I suppose.
One thing is sure, our local parks and natural areas are getting busier every year and I think how we handle the growing attendance something worth talking about. If not for us, for the next group to enter the terminal..
***Obligatory Disclaimer: This website is NOT associated with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The views expressed in this blog are mine and do not represent the views of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Which is sometimes too bad if you ask me!).