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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.

WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE PARKS?

Greg Miller I think that the park system is going to face growing international scrutiny. If we continue to let the flagship decline, why would other countries continue to push if they see the United States set a bad example? Here we’re touting the tremendous need for developing countries to put more of their treasury into protecting their natural patrimony, and the richest country in the world is cutting that very base. Our global leadership in this area is at risk.

J.T. Reynolds The NPS is one of the last vestiges of who we are and what we had as a country once upon a time. We ought to at least have some places set aside where not only can we enjoy and see what the wild looks like, but future generations can, too. We don’t need parking lots everywhere.

Roderick Nash I think that the national park idea is one of the best ideas we’ve ever had. And I think that’s something in an age in which there’s considerable criticism of America. This a towering achievement and one that we need to safeguard. The stakes are really big here–they far transcend the needs of an already bloated and overdemanding species such as ours. We’re not just talking about places to play. We’re talking about places that have a huge symbolic significance for our culture.

Executive Editor Peter Flax is the very proud owner of a Golden Eagle Pass.

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