Artist Can’t Believe Some Tourists Actually Leave One-Star Reviews For National Parks, Decides To Illustrate Them (New Pics)
A year ago, designer Amber Share made a submission to Bored Panda, giving us a taste of her so-called Subpar Parks.
It's an illustration series based on US National Parks with a unique angle: Share enriches the pictures of these gorgeous places with the worst reviews they've received online. The results provide a surprising and entertaining take on a very human feeling — disappointment — and sometimes are so absurd, I'd even call them poetic.
On Tuesday, Subpar Parks has culminated into a book. Featuring more than 50 percent new material, the publication includes more depth and insight into the most popular parks, such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon, anecdotes and tips from rangers, and much more about the author's personal love and connection to the outdoors.
To commemorate this occasion, here's an update on the series!
White Sands National Park
The review goes on to say that there aren't even any playgrounds, unless you count sliding down the sand hills and my inner child was SCREAMING about how much more fun that would be than a normal slide.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Listen. I know what you're thinking. "Amber, this review of @hawaiivolcanoesnps is definitely a joke." I assumed it was too. But after a deep dive on this reviewer's other reviews, I am convinced otherwise (but I am hoping they wanted to touch HARDENED lava).
Amber Share told Bored Panda she "travels and visits national parks (and other public lands) as often as I can; at least once or twice a year."
The designer, however, doesn't keep an exact count of how many she's visited. "I think [I've been to] about a third of them. I'd love to see them all eventually!"
The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the entire travel industry. But since Share doesn't have to physically travel to the parks in order to create her satirical posters, it hasn't really affected her work. "Luckily, I've been able to stay consistent with this project despite a limited ability to travel over the last year!" she added.
North Cascades National Park
They really ought to install a tropical beach if they want to keep @ncascadesnps interesting.
Everglades National Park
I guess we're calling the largest wilderness east of the Mississippi, home to panthers, crocodiles, manatees, and over 350 kinds of birds, "nothing" now.
Unlike the reviews in her illustrations, the book Subpar Parks: America's Most Extraordinary National Parks and Their Least Impressed Visitors has a 5-star rating on Amazon and has already become its number 1 best seller in the Landscape & Seascape Art category.
"My book is a collection of over 75 parks, including many never seen before on Instagram. Even some of the original parks I posted have additional illustrations and reviews in the book, and it's chock full of other sketches and illustrations, park information, history, and tips and anecdotes from myself and park rangers," she explained. "It's really fun and informative, and beautiful to flip through (if I do say so myself)."
Working on Subpar Parks, reading all of these negative reviews, has taught Amber how to navigate these destinations. If you also want to have a positive national park experience, it's a good idea to do the research. That includes talking to people who've been there as well as talking to people who are familiar with what you like to do and rangers. Then, just give yourself more time than you think you need and soak in the goods.
Mount Rainier National Park
Nevermind that @mountrainiernps is the most topographically prominent mountain in the lower 48.... so prominent in fact that locals refer to it as THE mountain. I've seen bigger. One star.
Channel Islands National Park
Pretty sure this is the same person who stayed in the Airbnb I host and docked us a star because the birds outside woke him up.
Big Bend National Park
Listen @bigbendnps, can't you get control of your weather? One star.
Pinnacles National Park
I mean, all of Earth is a giant rock, so what's interesting about a bunch of smaller rocks? One star.
Hot Springs National Park
It appears @hotspringsnps' only crime is honesty Saved the OLDEST for last! This park is the oldest area managed by the @nationalparkservice, first protected as Hot Springs Reservation in 1832!
Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park
Just a canyon created over the course of 2 million years, exposing mind-blowing patterns of rock that's over 2 billion years old. Nothing interesting here.
Badlands National Park
You know when you're SUPER angry about something and you come up with the best zinger later in the shower and just have to share it with people? That's this review.
National Park Of American Samoa
Imagine spending the time and money to travel to a lush, beautiful, and remote Pacific island and feeling this underwhelmed with it.
Biscayne National Park
I'd personally consider it a plus if I could explore coral reefs and shipwrecks and see dolphins, turtles, and tons of fish at @biscaynenps without interruption. Maybe the park's trying to tell you something!
Gateway Arch National Park
I mean, it IS a completely curved arch, so yeah – there are no points.
Shenandoah National Park
If you have to get out of your car, is it even worth seeing?
Kaibab National Forest
1.6 million acres of plain jane forests (with a huge variety of vegetation & wildlife depending on which elevation you’re in), desert, lakes, meadows, views of the Grand Canyon, plentiful dispersed camping, and hikes galore.
A lot of people have asked me where we camped when we visited the Grand Canyon, and here’s your answer! Kaibab National Forest is a great option for dispersed camping near GCNP, but there’s also plenty to do in the forest itself! We camped and hiked in the northern district, which borders the north rim of GCNP (the forest has districts that border the south rim too), and if you’re lucky and get there early, you can even find campsites with views of the canyon. Plain Jane is the last phrase I’d use to describe our experience! P.S. The most recommended thing on our entire trip that we didn’t get to do was get cookies from Jacob Lake Inn So if you visit, grab some and let me live vicariously through you!
Peak District National Park
Guess that explains why Peak District is a popular climbing destination in the UK.
Haleakala National Park
Another day, another sunrise, on top of a volcano, 10,000 feet up. Meh.
Port Campbell National Park
Thanks for the laughs, UK parks, but it's time to take a look at a few of the most disappointing places in Australia! Between The Twelve Apostles (sadly, only 8 of which remain), Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch, and the Grotto, I can TOOOOTALLY see how Port Campbell National Park is overhyped. Would absolutely hate to visit the Australian coast someday.
Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park
An 1,100-foot natural sandstone monolith (the world's largest!) that's 500 million years old? Yawn – it's got nothing on that 12-ft man-made hunk of metal that turned up in Utah.
Mesa Verde National Park
I guess the Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, and the largest archaeological preserve in the United States doesn't count as much these days.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu? More like KakaDON'T, am I right?!
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Putting the "bad" in Carlsbad since 1930. Couldn't you at least hang some art and install a tasteful sconce or two?
Coconino National Forest
That’s it. That’s the review.
(Really though. One star, one word. That’s all this person could muster for this incredible place. They apparently missed the many areas of this 1.8 million acre wonderland that are decidedly NOT desert, given that Coconino is one of the most diverse national forests in the country!)
Jasper National Park
Given how magical Spirit Island/Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park looks, it seems like we must just have different definitions of the word "need."
Redwoods National Park
I went to a coastal forest park and all I saw was coast and forest.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Most of us usually call this exploring... (P.S. Bummer that this person seems to have missed all the non-walking water-based activities @drytortugasnps has to offer
Rocky Mountain National Park
I mean, other than 300 miles of trails, ridiculous star gazing, Trail Ridge Road, an insanely beautiful wildflower season, and hundreds of species of wildlife.... There's really nothing impressive about @rockynps
The British Isles
Ok, not *technically* a national park (a National Scenic Area!), but you know I had to — plus, as the highest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis is pretty dang majestic. There were so many gems in 1-star reviews of this place, it was tough to choose what to actually put on the illustration Can't wait to climb this baby myself and see what all the whining is about.
Note: this post originally had 77 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.