Above: A car emerges from the crowded national parking lot.
WEST THUMB, WYOvercrowding remains an enormous problem at Yellowstone National Parking Lot, officials reported Monday.
"We're stacking hover-cars on top of solar-powered aerocars, and they just keep on coming," parking ranger Neil Reigert said. "Yellowstone is a national parking treasure. People leave their vehicles here when they're taking public teleportation to family-vacation spots like Kidz Vegas or the District of Disney World. But, unless we do something soon, we're going to have to start turning short-term parkers away. There are simply more vehicles than there are spaces."
Added Reigert: "We want everyone to be able to enjoy our national parking facilities, but we need to think about long-term parking needs, too."
The Yellowstone Lot was built in 2043 to ease parking problems at Yellowstone West Airport. Its 3,472 square miles of unpaved land were a welcome boon for those who had yet to discover the joys of inexpensive, federally protected parking.
"Vehicle enthusiasts drive for days just to park here," Reigert said. "The entire lot is warmed using geo-thermal energy, so there's never any ice on the ramps. It truly is a man-made wonder to behold."
Reigert identified the Old Faithful bathroom facility, which makes use of the famous geyser to flush the urinals every 52 minutes, as a popular attraction among visitors to the world's largest rest stop. He went on to explain that facility directors were forced to pipe steam in from several less-reliable geysers in 2051, when the yearly increase in bathroom traffic rendered Old Faithful an inadequate basin-cleanser.
"I don't think the engineers had this many people in mind when they designed the restrooms," Reigert said. "I'm surprised it held up as long as it did. It's amazing how long you can avoid massive repairs by slapping carbon monofilament tape on the pipes."
Reigert said understaffing is another problem at the lot.
"Keep in mind that Yellowstone Lot is bigger than the nations of Rhode Island and Delaware combined," Reigert said. "It's divided into four large quadrants. The Tower Falls and Mammoth Hot Springs sections are the largest, and they're divided into subsections, like the Bighorn Sheep and Black Bear sublots. People find the realistic statues of their parking-section animals invaluable for locating their aerocars."
Reigert said the park employs thousands of full-time rangers who help customers find their vehicles, but more are needed.
"Last month, a business parker was lost in the North Field lot for three days, just wandering in circles, sleeping under aerocars, and foraging for food in the garbage cans," Reigert said. "If he hadn't stumbled across an unlocked Buick with a gallon of bottled water in its trunk, I don't believe he would have survived. We need more staff, but that requires more federal funds."
Reigert added: "Unfortunately, with a Democrat in the White House, I don't see car-park budgets skyrocketing anytime soon."
Decreased funding is not a problem unique to the Yellowstone Lot. The Everglades docking facility, the Black Hills underground mall, and the Carlsbad Cafeteria report that they have felt the effects of recent belt-tightening, as well.
"You see, if we truly wish to repave a beautiful thing like this parking lot, we can't just hope for the best," Reigert said. "We need to have a good plan and the proper funds, so that every American can have a chance to park his car here. After all, it's part of our national heritage."