Out west here in Utah I have lots of of experience with the issue of outdoors popularity generally, with a noticeable increase this summer due to Coronavirus. The outdoors here are the one of the biggest reasons I live here. I’m not hardcore, as I can often be found in front of my computer like lots of us, but I love exploring the mountains and the deserts frequently, and the fact that I can decide between a 30 minute drive to a trailhead or campsite or that driving 3-4 hours will get me to half a dozen National Parks & Monuments is a huge perk of living here that I relish.
I haven’t been working this summer and have been taking the opportunity to get outdoors much more frequently and for longer periods of time and to also try out new locations that are more off the beaten path or have always been “next time I should go to…” Long story short, I have been absolutely shocked at how crowded some places are and/or how many locations that probably rarely see more than a couple of groups of people at the same time are packed with crowds that make me wonder if it was an organized meetup or convention or something. If it is a National Park/Monument that has specific things I wanted to see, I do it as quickly as possible, staying only a night or two, and then moving on to a more remote and less well-known part of the wilderness. I have ended up finding some truly impressive scenes as a result, places I may not have ever gone to. Beautiful lonely mountains in the middle of the barren desert and even just appreciating the stark expanse of the Great Basin.
Like the author of that hiking blog commented, I think we have been trending towards much higher use/occupation of these wilderness areas anyway, but quarentimes have skyrocketed up the utilization rate and with fewer people willing to respectful and considerate of preservation for the future.
The other thing I am getting absolutely sick of related to this is the widespread and guaranteed to be seen display of Trump flags and Blue Stripe American Flags waving from camping trailers, trucks, UTV’s, etc… I would say 25-30% of all wilderness users are displaying this paraphernalia. Usually accompanied by blaring music, electric generators rumbling all night, and messy campsites with too many people. I try to stay as far away from these people as I can, for my safety and to fight the urge to rip that stuff down in the middle of the night.