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US parks hope ‘selfie stations’ can help prevent deaths, overcrowding

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Narcissism now has its own designated corner. 

As US national parks continue to experience a dangerous surge in popularity, rangers hope that they can ease overcrowding and prevent accidents through “selfie stations.”

The wooden stands are cheap, easy to install and simultaneously promote safety by offering designated locations, officials said.

“They’re nice, sturdy, cedar stations,” Iowa Country Conservation System leader Tom Hazelton told The Guardian of the over one hundred selfie stations that have been installed across the state. “They are getting used and they are low maintenance and easy to build: the signs are $30 and the wood is another $60 and there you go.” 

Iowa has been installing the stations for some time and, on the heels of their proven success, recently installed 15 more. Park officials in Wisconsin and Minnesota have also had success using the stations — which, in addition to offering people a place to put their phone, make note of fun history and facts about the scenery. 

park selfie stations
A selfie station in Iowa’s Hickory Hills Park.
Iowa’s County Conservation Syste

“We are installing selfie stations at select locations around the state so you (and your friends) can discover new favorites spots and capture your memories with some amazing scenic backgrounds,” Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources wrote in a post. “If you see a sign, it means there’s a fun background nearby for your selfie!”

The Minnesota stations feature an “adjustable shelf to set your mobile device for the perfect selfie.” 

A selfie station in Iowa's Diamond Lake Park.
A selfie station in Iowa’s Diamond Lake Park.
Iowa’s County Conservation Syste

The stations are just one way in which American parks are attempting to handle being dangerously high in demand.

Timed tickets, crowd-monitoring apps, traffic-reducing autonomous vehicles and signs asking visitors to play nice and be respectful are also being experimented with.

A selfie station in Iowa's Pinicon Ridge Park.
A selfie station in Iowa’s Pinicon Ridge Park.
Iowa’s County Conservation Syste

The last tactic may seem too simple to work, but signs reminding tourists to “maintain natural quiet” by putting electronics on mute, keeping their voices down and generally being decent guests at Muir Woods national monument have proven surprisingly effective, a study found. 



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