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Backpacker Magazine – November/December 2005

The Future Of National Parks

Everyone loves national parks--but are they being loved to death? Join representatives from the Park Service, Department of the Interior, Sierra Club, American Hiking Society, and more to explore the fate of this embattled American institution.

by: Peter Flax, BACKPACKER Executive Editor


Bruce Hamilton The boundaries established by Congress are not ecological boundaries. Many scientific studies have shown that they are inadequate to protect biological resources. We need to go back and protect entire ecosystems. We also shouldn't be clear-cutting right up to the boundaries. We shouldn't be leasing for oil or for geothermal resources just outside a park when it could disrupt the geysers inside the park.

Scott Groene Utah faces lots of threats--a drilling proposal in Glen Canyon, politicians pressing for off-road vehicle use in parks, the BLM trying to lease right up to park boundaries, overflights, dams on the Colorado. The thing with Utah is we have probably the most unprotected wilderness in the Lower 48 surrounding these relatively small parks.

Clark Collins These environmental issues need to be taken seriously, but they shouldn't be used as an excuse by some folks to say that certain types of recreation aren't appropriate because they have some impact on those concerns. Greg Miller If we see continued decay in the parks and we continue to allow it, that's a far more disturbing sign for our societal values than a loss of resources. It means we don't understand our place in the world any longer.



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