What role did the nation's rail industry play in the national park movement? Dr. Alfred Runte, in response to those who believe it was minimal, maintains the railroads not only helped substantially push the movement along, but opened the Western landscape to many who might not otherwise have seen it.
Alfred Runte, in his article Stephen Mather’s Ghost: Revisiting the Consensus for National Parks, published 6 September 2015 by National Parks Traveler, takes issue with the prevailing narrative that Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, was (mostly) responsible for the 1916 origin of the NPS. Instead, Dr. Runte attributes an important role for railroads in the origin of certain national parks and of the NPS.
In my career as a caretaker of America’s national parks – including years spent as the superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park – I have been honored with the duty to follow the fundamental principle of using sound science and balanced policies to guide decisions affecting these lands that are owned by all Americans.
The National Park Service reminds me of a proud old ship sailing confidently across the North Atlantic. The captain is beaming and the passengers seem contented, at least, those traveling first class on the upper decks. It’s below decks that the problems lurk. The crew is perhaps too easy going, believing the ship will always reach New York. However, the engines are old, the iron plating is thin, and the rivets are working loose.
If it bleeds, it leads, as the newspaper expression goes—readers go for the gore. So the Center for Biological Diversity’s media campaign featuring 250 dead elk at Point Reyes National Seashore is getting a lot of traction.
Should grizzly bears be allowed to recover their presence in the North Cascades? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service are holding a series of meetings on a Grizzly Bear Restoration Environmental Impact Statement that examines whether they should work toward grizzly bear recovery in the region. In the following opinion piece, Rob Smith, senior director of the National Parks Conservation Association's Northwest Region, speaks out in favor of the bears' recovery.
America’s National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday in 2016. During the upcoming year, it’s expected the NPS will seek public comment on how best to ensure the park system and Service reach their bicentennial. The agency should look to Africa for guidance.
As we begin 2015, which marks the 99th year since the establishment of the National Park Service and National Park System, some troubling trends are more and more apparent. A short review of recent articles should give everyone who supports our parks reason to pause and think about the future.
Adam Markham, director of climate impacts for the Union of Concerned Scientists' Climate and Energy Program and a co-author of the report “National Landmarks at Risk," has written the following rebuttal to Dr. Daniel B. Botkin's column on climate change and his thoughts on what is, and isn't, driving it.