Picnic table shortage causes frustration for park-goers

Uncategorized By Apr 19, 2023

The shortage of picnic tables is causing frustration for park-goers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where parks are one of the few options for outdoor activities. The increase in demand for picnic tables has not been met with availability, with the competition for resources and spot hogging by some park-goers exacerbating the issue. The shortage has impacted people’s park experience, as well as local businesses that depend on park visitors. Parks are combatting the issue by recruiting volunteers to patrol areas, introducing more stringent rules, and partnering with businesses to bring in more resources.

Picnic Table Shortage Causes Frustration for Park-Goers

Parks have always been a place of recreation for people. Be it a family outing or a weekend getaway, parks have always been a go-to spot for people. But, as the world goes through unprecedented times, the significance of parks has increased substantially. With no open theatres, no concerts, and no trips abroad due to COVID-19 restrictions, people have been flocking to parks in numbers. However, there has been a growing frustration among park-goers due to the shortage of picnic tables.

Reasons for the Picnic Table Shortage

The main reason for the shortage of picnic tables is the sudden increase in the number of park-goers. The pandemic has limited people’s options for outdoor activities, and thus parks have become the only saving grace for many. Moreover, since people are maintaining social distance, they are avoiding crowded places and choosing open areas like parks to spend their leisure time. This has led to a sudden increase in demand for picnic tables, and availability has not kept pace with demand.

Another reason causing the shortage is the increasing competition for resources. As picnic tables are a perfect spot for people to sit, eat, and relax, spot hogging is becoming a growing problem. People tend to reserve picnic tables for their group by keeping their belongings on top of it, making it even more difficult for others to find a vacant table. People spend hours on the tables, causing other park-goers to wait for their turn.

Impact of Picnic Table Shortage

The shortage of picnic tables has had a significant impact on people’s experience in the park. People have become frustrated and agitated due to the lack of space. Families with young children and elders have been seen sitting on the ground as all the seats are full, causing them discomfort. This could also lead to people avoiding parks altogether, which is unhealthy for both mental and physical well-being.

The picnic table shortage has also affected local businesses that depend on park visitors. Vendors and food trucks that are a significant source of income for many people are finding it tough to set up in limited vacant spaces.

What is Being Done to Combat the Shortage?

To combat the growing picnic table shortage, many parks have started to recruit volunteers to patrol the areas and free up space. This ensures that people do not reserve tables, and everyone gets a chance to utilize the limited resources available. Some parks have introduced more stringent rules, such as limiting table usage to a few hours, or penalizing those who hog tables for extended periods.

Additionally, local municipalities and non-profit organizations are also working to find a solution. Many are looking at opening up newer areas for picnicking, increasing the number of tables, and partnering with businesses to bring in more resources.


1. Should I bring my own picnic table?

No, most parks do not allow people to bring their own tables. However, some parks that have very few tables might allow you to bring your own collapsible table to ensure you have a spot to sit.

2. Can I reserve a picnic table?

Most parks do not allow reservations as it goes against the idea of a community space. However, some parks might have a few tables that can be reserved for a fee.

3. Are there any alternatives to picnic tables?

Yes, there are some alternatives to picnic tables. You can bring a blanket or a mat to sit on. Many parks have also installed benches and other seating options. Traditional-style Japanese parks have brought in “kotatsu,” which are low tables with a heater underneath, allowing people to sit and have a meal while keeping warm.

In conclusion, the picnic table shortage issue needs to be addressed to make parks enjoyable for everyone. With fewer options for outdoor activities and many people dependent on parks for entertainment, the shortage of picnic tables is a growing problem that needs to be solved. It is hoped that the steps taken by parks and local communities will lead to more equitable access to outdoor spaces.