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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


WHICH PARK IS MOST IMPERILED?

Don Barry Great Smoky Mountains. Between the traffic jams and the haze, the park is in great trouble. The other one is Glacier. We're losing our glaciers. We're going to have to rename it No More Glaciers National Park.

Randall Kendrick Even though progress has been made there, Organ Pipe is still very dangerous. When you see night-vision photographs of a stream of illegal aliens walking through a campground when people are tucked away in their tents, I have to think it's not a safe situation.

Gale Norton Certainly if there were something imperiled, we would be investing in it. We now have a system for prioritizing maintenance needs across the park service, so it's not dependent anymore on how loudly a superintendent can complain.

Mike Tollefson Smokies needs to resolve pollution and overcrowding issues, but the park's working on it. Sequoia also has an air-quality problem. The NPS can apply pressure on those issues, but we can't solve them. The American public has to want to solve them.

Tom Kiernan Last summer we had 42 days where it wasn't safe for certain groups to hike in the Smokies. To say it's not healthy to hike in the park? That is so offensive. We as a country can do better than that.



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