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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


DO LAWMAKERS NEED TO GIVE THE PARKS MORE FEDERAL PROTECTION?

Don Barry Yes. The best example is with air quality. The NPS can't solve that problem. The EPA and the White House can. The administration needs to decide whether it wants to protect the national parks or promote the streamlining of power plants.

Michael Frome No, they need more people protection. We need the regulations already in place enforced. There's no point in giving them any more laws.

Chuck Clusen The best way to protect the parks would be to grant them wilderness status, which would ban all industrial and most commercial development. The Wilderness Act of 1964 requires Congress to review all the parks for wilderness status, and we're still waiting for it to get the job done.

Dave Foreman Back in the '70s, conservationists put park wilderness on the back burner because the Forest Service and BLM areas were far more threatened by industrial extraction. We need to get back to pushing wilderness designation for parks that lack it. A lot of flagship parks--Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, all the Utah parks--don't have wilderness protection. That's the only way we can be sure those places stay wild.

Bruce Hamilton No, we need to enforce existing laws. We have trees dying from acid rain.



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