Illustrator and hand lettering artist Amber Share turns really bad reviews of national parks, monuments, and other public lands from Google, Yelp, and Tripadvisor into art. Share has a healthy Instagram following and sells postcards, puzzles, and posters of her work. We spoke with her to learn more about her illustrations and rounded up our ten favorite subpar park reviews.
OUTSIDE: Where did you get the idea for Subpar Parks?
SHARE: I was looking for a side project to continue to hone my illustration style and settled on drawing all of the national parks. It seemed like a nice way to make sure I challenged myself, with all of the different types of geography across the parks. But I wanted a way to stand out and offer something new because there are already so many wonderful collections of park illustrations, and I wanted to include my hand lettering. I hopped on Reddit one day, and happened to see a post in the national park subreddit where someone had posted a few one-star reviews they had seen online, and it was kind of a lightning-bolt moment.
Where do you find the bad reviews?
A variety of places: Google, Yelp, Facebook, Tripadvisor, and occasionally, AllTrails.
What are some of your favorites?
It’s really hard to choose, but I love ones like Voyageurs National Park, where the people were disappointed by something most people would be delighted about—having the park all to yourself. Or ones like Redwoods (“trees and coast are mostly it”), where the description they offer isn’t technically wrong, but it’s the most reductive, dismissive way you could ever describe a place that’s so incredible.
What’s your favorite national park?
My personal favorite park is the Grand Canyon, because it’s so much more than initially meets the eye. I think a lot of people spend a few minutes along the rim and don’t get the full experience. It’s one of those parks that requires you to commit some time and energy to really appreciate and get a real feel for it.
Katmai National Park & Preserve
Yosemite National Park
Arches National Park
Shenandoah National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Hot Springs National Park
Yellowstone National Park
North Cascades National Park
White Sands National Park
Voyageurs National Park