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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


WHAT'S YOUR PROGNOSIS FOR THE NATIONAL PARKS?

Roderick Nash The overriding value of the parks is going to be not as playgrounds for us, but as sanctuaries for other species that share the planet with us and as places we can go and derive our pleasure from watching that spectacle.

Robert Arnberger I believe we're on a collision course with mediocrity that's caused by underfunding the operational cost of the parks. The problem is that Congress and our political will is tied to short-term solutions for long-term problems. Managing the parks forever requires a sustainable commitment that doesn't fluctuate with every political administration.

Dave Foreman If we keep the same people in power, the prognosis is grim. Not even Reagan's administration went after the essence of national parks. Today, they are looking at ways to privatize parks so people can make money on them. They're trying to turn them into miniature Disneylands.



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