Joshua Tree National Park ranks as one of California's most popular national parks. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
GOOD CONUNDRUM: Call it one of the best sticky wickets faced by those who love the earth and want to protect all of the planet's wildest places (so, all of us, basically). The sticky wicket is this: We want to visit the wild destinations, and we want others to, too, because awareness and connection and presence all create a will to conserve and care for nature, and that happens from experience. But do we want those place to constantly hum and thrum with humanity, including ourselves? No, most of us probably want them to stay on the peaceful and quiet side. That's why we call it a sticky wicket of a good sort, and one that our national parks are constantly taking into balance. But we can all likely alight upon, from memory, which of the national parks are the most visited, at least around the Golden State. Did you just say "Yosemite"? Yep, many of us have waited for entry at the gate on a warm July day. So here's something rather interesting, and just in time for Earth Week: Facebook recently released its top national park check-ins for 2013, and which cities the majority of national park visitors call home. Yep, California, you are well-represented, as usual.
AND THE BIG PARKS ARE... Yosemite at #2 and Joshua Tree at #10, meaning the Golden State is rocking 1/5 of the top ten list. The Grand Canyon is probably our nearest neighbor -- the big rift took spot #1 -- and Zion in Utah is #6. As for where all of those visitors hail from? Facebook released the top U.S. cities "whose residents are the top visitors to U.S. National Parks" as well. Number #2 on the list? Los Angeles. Number #4? San Diego. Guess SoCalers really do need to commune with a bit of big-scoped nature on a frequent basis. For all of the interesting Facebook check-in findings in the category, click click click.