30 thoughts on “Honor World Regional Blog Assignment #7 – National Parks

  1. National parks are locations throughout the United States that are set aside for conservation purposes. These parks are designed to conserve not only our natural resources but our history and culture as well. According to the National Park Service there are over 400 National parks throughout the United States. These areas are owned by the government and maintained by volunteers, park rangers and other employees to ensure their conservation and lasting cultural and environmental benefits. Humans not only preserve and protect these areas but they also impact them in many harmful ways. The millions of people who visit these beautiful and historic locations leave an unnatural footprint that environmentalists say has grown as the number of park visitors has increased. Visitors and hikers leave trash and trample the vegetation by not follow marked trail, vehicles pollute the air with their emissions and clog park roads. Additionally above many national parks, sightseeing planes and helicopters buzz, scaring off many animals who call the parks home. Although these parks are set aside for human enjoyment, it is important that these parks are conserved for future generations.
    Hikers who visit these parks to enjoy their natural beauty can cause the most impact. They can be helpful in keeping trails clean and alerting park rangers of any issues on marked trails such as fallen trees that they may not be aware of. On the other hand, hikers can be detrimental to the environment. Hikers who leave trash, and wander off trails can cause high levels of pollution, scare native animals out of their habitats, and can bring invasive plant species that can cause native species to die out. Kari Cobb, spokesperson and ranger at Yosemite National Park, believes “parks and their native species undergo stressful effects due to the impact of human presence”. Although some of these issues that are caused by hikers are unintentional, it is important that hikers are made aware of their impact and are taught to help conserve the park’s ecosystem.
    Vehicles pose another threat to the wildlife in National parks. Wild animals are frequently hit and killed within park roads, due to either distracted drivers or the noise and shock of vehicle lights and noises. According to a Yosemite park ranger, Ranger Cobb, “Some vehicles park along the roadways and slightly off the road, and what this does is that it encroaches on some of the nearby vegetation. If this keeps happening day by day, then the local vegetation will face perpetual transformations”. Additionally vehicles that travel through the park as well as the noise from nearby highways can cause animals to retreat to quieter areas for safety. This can cause major unnecessary competition between animals over habitats, which can reduce the biodiversity and number of animals in the park.
    Similar noise problems can occur with sightseeing helicopters and planes that give visitors an unique aerial view of the park. Many people believe that these forms of transportation and sightseeing are less intrusive. According to Helicopter pilot and tour guide Dan Haynes “Helicopters are generally 1,000 feet or higher above the ground and fly at speeds above 100 miles per hour. They leave no footprints, no trash and offer many people a fantastic view … In short, we are not around long and we leave no trace.” Although it is true they there is no footprints, no trash and offer spectacular views, Helicopters make huge amounts of noise and still release emissions into the air.
    Although national parks are meant to be visited and enjoyed through hiking, driving, rafting or absorbing their beauty from above, it is important that people remember that these parks are meant to be preserved for future generations. It is important to teach younger generations to respect our parks and practice good conservation policies that will ensure the parks are around for generations.

    Sources:
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/38883753/ns/travel-active_travel/t/national-parks-feel-effects-human-environmental-threats/#.WC4zIdIrKUk
    http://www.ournationalparks.us/park_issues/visitors_to_parks_have_impact_on_ecosystems/

  2. The United States has many public lands that are owned by the federal government and used for many different purposes. One group of these lands are the national parks. The national parks have been set aside to be protected for future generations to enjoy. The national parks have been referred to by many people as “America’s Best Idea”. This is due to the many historically and naturally significant places that they protect. They provide a place for people to go to explore nature. Hiking, bicycling, and many other activities are popular in the parks. From Yellowstone to Yosemite to Acadia, the national parks across the country provide diverse variety of landscapes for people to enjoy. Each specific park usually has something that is was specifically set aside to protect. For a park, such as Mesa Verde, the valuable thing that needs to be protected is the ruins of the city that was once there. Theodore Roosevelt realized this during his tenure as president, and he sought to protect as many natural beauties as possible. His work eventually led to the signing of the National Park Service Organic Act by Woodrow Wilson on August 25th, 1916, that created the national parks as a part of the United States Department of the Interior. The act stated that the mission of the newly created park service was “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations (Organic).”
    In my short life, I have visited more than 150 national parks across the country. This has helped me develop a unique perspective about how valuable national parks are. I believe that national parks are essential in helping protect and preserve the special areas of this vast country. Most vacations that we take are centered around visiting as many national parks as possible along the route we take. These adventures have taken me to some parks that are seldom visited such as Dry Tortugas National Park off the coast of Florida as well as Isle Royale which is an island in the middle of Lake Superior. These experiences have shown me just how many special places there are in this country and how many people do not even realize some of the most interesting places this country exist. I know I barely knew that some of the parks we visit existed until we went there and I was able to experience just how special they were. It is an unfortunate thing that many people do not know about some of the lesser known parks, but at the same time, it might also be a blessing in disguise. If large amounts of people do not visit these parks, then they are most likely to remain more wild and like how they were before the influence of humans disrupted them. The national park system encompasses a large amount of park units, but there are many more places that are significant to the country that are not protected. Therefore, I believe that everyone who visits national parks should value them because they are protected for a reason and treat them with the utmost respect so that future generations may also enjoy the many wonderful places that this country has to offer.

    Works Cited
    “Organic Act of 1916.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.

  3. The United States is home to beautiful landmarks and terrain. One of the greatest accomplishments in preserving these public lands was the establishment of the National Parks. Before the National Park Service Organic Act was signed in 1916, its work was driven by former President Theodore Roosevelt. One of Roosevelt’s main ideas as President was the foundation of conserving natural lands and resources in the United States. A frequent hunter himself, Roosevelt noticed the loss of species, habitats, and wildlife in general. As he continued his hunting endeavors, he began to criticize human’s exploitation of natural resources as a result of these specific losses. Once Roosevelt became President in 1901, he made it a priority to protect and conserve wildlife and public lands by creating the United States Forest Service (USFS). Roosevelt’s work helped create over 230 million acres of conserved land. The land included and still includes national forests, national parks, monuments, game preserves, and bird reserves. His work ultimately led to the creation of the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916, seven years after Roosevelt left oval office. Before being created as an act of Congress, the national parks were managed by the Secretary of Interior. Considered “America’s Best Idea,” the act contains ecological and historic preservation that perfectly balances access and recreation to the parks. Some examples include Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon. In total, the National Park Service contains 398 units (parks, forests, monuments, seashores).
    As far as tourism is concerned, there are approximately 280 million visitors a year along with 4 million overnight stays, whether that be in tents, RVs, or lodges. Activities range from sightseeing, camping, fishing, hiking, and target shooting if permitted by the specific park. Even though tourism enables exposure to the beauty of the vast nation, it also exposes threats and overuse of the national parks. Acts such as crime, garbage and littering, water use, and habitat destruction cause serious potential threats to the national park. For example, water use is critical to the aquatic wildlife in the parks. However, human access and demand into the parks cuts into the water supply, decreasing the amount of supply the aquatic species have to obtain freshwater. Plus, vandalism is common in many national parks. Vandals have desecrated several historical artworks, many of which can never be recovered. Various parts of the Grand Canyon for example are covered in vandalism, and many officials are unable to contain the crime due to the increasing amount of exposure tourists have to the national parks. In addition to those concerns money has become a concern in recent years. The government’s recent struggling budgets has led to a multimillion dollar maintenance backlog at parks all across the country. Roadways leading into the park are being torn apart, along with hiking trails. This is a major concern in particular hiking trails because the risk of a tourist’s life is at stake. If the trails are not refurbished and kept up with, then many hiking areas with steep inclines and declines can be serious threats to a person. Nevertheless, National Parks are an amazing accomplishment and idea formulated by the United States to help protect and conserve the natural beauty and wildlife the vast country has to offer.

  4. The national parks of the United States was dubbed ‘America’s Best Idea.’ From the Grand Canyon National Park to the Kenai Fjords National Park, the fifty-seven parks have some of the most beautiful and diverse places that the U.S. has to offer. In order to preserve the natural resources of the United States and to allow people to enjoy what nature has to offer and to learn the importance of such preservation the National Park Service was created in August 25, 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. The national parks are well loved; more than 280 people visit the parks every year. However, the great influx of people and funding the National Park Service have been and are currently causing problems for our national parks.

    The great number of people visiting America’s national parks is not a problem in and of itself; the problems come when people leave traces of their visits. The most obvious vestiges of human involvement is the amount of trash left behind. Tons of waste material is left by people every year and can take anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to get rid of, not to mention the manpower it takes to attempt to get rid of it all. Cars are also leaving their fair share of remains. Roads have necessitated the removal of trees and the clearings of areas for parking spaces. In the busiest places and months of the year, thousands of cars are all trying to enter the park without the room to fit them and all are pushing exhaust into the fresh air. People who act without common sense (a.k.a. stupidity) is a serious problem at some national parks. These instances can lead to damage to the parks and wildlife, destruction of landmarks, desecration of historical sites, and more. For example, two tourists put a baby bison in their car, accidentally leading to its death, trying to get pictures of it in their car. Unfortunately, people doing dumb things in not new, but has become more obvious with the help of technology.

    The National Park Service is severely underfunded. The organization has a $12 billion backlog that is waiting for funding: merely for maintenance and improvements. A NPS press release revealed that visitors contributed more than $32 billion in 2015. That means every dollar spend by or for the NSP returned $10. How that seems fair to our federal government, I have no idea. The National Park Service now has fewer employees than they did in 2012. Whether this is just a salary issue is unlikely, but permanent employees are necessary to serve and work for the park service as it is responsible for more parks, recreational features, and visitors every year.

    I feel that these are important problems that the national parks face that could be quite easily fixed with people exhibiting more care and consideration. Other issues that exist for the National Park Service, like the consequences of climate change, are also extremely important but are not as easily or quickly fixed.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/opinion/sunday/are-we-loving-our-national-parks-to-death.html?_r=0
    http://www.nationalparkservice.org/
    http://www.ournationalparks.us/park_issues/as_park_attendance_grows_so_does_trash_problem/
    http://www.backpacker.com/trips/california/yosemite-national-park/people-have-a-long-history-of-doing-stupid-things-in-national-parks/#bp=0/img3

  5. National Parks; the America’s Best Idea
    National parks are protected areas of natural beauty monitored by the government. The main reasons of having these areas is to preserve and protect the natural life of these places. The only general activity permitted in this area is tourism. In the United States of America natural areas are turned into national parks by a legislation. Outdoor recreation and camping are the two main activities that the national parks offer to their visitors. Most of the US national parks are located in the west side of the country. These areas where the national parks are located are usually unproductive lands and also due to their type of climate and soils these are also desolated places.

    I had the opportunity to visit one of the national parks that appear on those pictures. My experience at the Grand Canyon was actually great, but at the same time very funny. It was my first time driving to the west and first time visiting a national park. Our destination was the Grand Canyon National Park. Since we were not familiar with the route, we actually were pretty slow on our way there. We got the national park at the last minute of the day light, so we stopped at a random location of the park and took just three pictures and it was already dark. What a luck! We decided to stay the night up there at the Tower view and enjoy the night there. We actually were not ready to camp there at the Grand Canyon, we did not bring a tent neither sleeping bags. We decided to sleep in the car. First we walked the entire lot where we were and told story on some benches we found. It was really dark we could not even see ourselves. After we were tired of walking, we decided to come back to the parking lot where our cars was. When we were getting closer to the parking, we saw a car was being towed and we start running to the car and yelling stop! stop! But then we realized that the car that was being towed was not ours, so we breathed. We woke up and 5:00 am in the morning and we saw the sunrise, we conserve this magic moment in the bottom our hearts. Every time I think of my stay at this national park I feel so relaxed. I actually agree that the national areas are the America’s best idea because many people just go to these natural places and enjoy the view and walk around and to my personal opinion by doing these activities people get healthier because they relieve some stress.

    If I could suggest something to the federal government, I would suggest them to create two specific laws regarding the National Parks. One is to invest more money to the preservation of them. Most of the park are run by franchises that have their businesses in those protected area or by people’s donations. This investment would help to have a better care of the place and to keep them in their optimal conditions for visitors. The second suggestion is to hardly fine those irresponsible people who damage or steal valuable and irreplaceable items from the park. Thus, people will care more for the parks and help to preserve them for future generations.
    Sources
    http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/

  6. Development and technology can be such a blessing, but they can also be a curse, especially if they are abused through overuse or inappropriate use. Cars, modern infrastructure, and plastics are such huge components of the more “developed” parts of the United States and other nations. What an advancement it is to be able to travel hundreds of miles by car within a few hours. Modern infrastructure has lent us many great, strong, structures that facilitate an urban civilization and could last for a long time. Plastics are used in so many products today, such as electronics, toys, food wrappers/utensils/plates, and even clothing. All of these unnatural achievements have served human society in a greatly positive way, but they have also been the cause or one of the causes of environmental problems, both in the United States and the rest of the world. In a world of so much consumption of products and services, there is a lot of pollution left behind in the form of remainders of the unnatural element or of its byproduct that can carry huge consequences, especially when used in massive quantities. Well-paved roads are great for making easy travel, but they also affect the environment in various ways, such as by cutting through nature that perhaps was mostly untouched previously and by bringing littering humans to new destinations that had remained clean in their isolation from humans until the road’s construction process and use. As we humans continue to accumulate unnatural waste and to injure the integrity of the environment, the need for natural conservation and preservation becomes more urgent.

    Unfortunately, not all people can be trusted to live without doing excessive harm to our world. Despite this problem, the idea to have sections of government land that would be kept from our damaging human interference has rendered sites of majestic natural beauty and corresponding interest in these sites. The wonderful idea of the national park allows both the environment and humanity to enjoy relatively unadulterated nature. The presence of such a beautiful expanse of nearly untouched land can foster in people a greater respect for and appreciation of land that has been preserved in its natural purity. This, in turn, can help people to be more aware of how they personally affect the environment, both in the preserved area, like a national park, and in their domestic areas, such as the plot of land next door to them, or the woods that line many roads. They can see more of the value of nature and land, and therefore take better care of it in several ways: littering less, caring about the habitats of animals, and desiring to see less of it destroyed.

    I grew up camping pretty frequently with my family and friends, and although we rarely went to national parks, we often stayed in areas with more preserved nature than that which you could find in a stereotypical suburb. Having this exposure to nature, I do care about forests and other natural beauties, both for my own enjoyment but also for the sake of the ecosystem. If we get rid of nature, from which we reap the fruits of agriculture, resources, and sustainability, the world will be off-balanced, unless we utterly advance so far with technology that we no longer need plants to produce oxygen or to provide food. We need places on Earth that continue to exist as functioning ecosystems for the benefit of biodiversity and for our own health. National parks and other areas of designated natural preservation can serve this function.

    National parks are a good idea for many reasons. They work as a way to combat the encroachment of damaging human development upon natural terrain and the ensuing loss of natural beauty. Now, even though the pictures accompanying this blog topic are not rainforests of great biodiversity, the canyons and deserts still give the Earth a safe place to be itself, preserving the fauna and flora that are integral pats of the land. The parks show the beauty of nature that is allowed when Man does not abuse the gift of land and what is in it.

    On a different level, national parks are a good idea for bringing in revenue for the government and for fostering greater patriotism. When people think of their country, not only will they think of the concrete and metal monuments, buildings, and roads that are found in the developed cities, but they will also remember the wealth of nature and of God’s art that are present. These wonders that are preserved within a national park, reserve, or otherwise, can also strengthen the bond between that nation and the world. If foreign tourists want to come and behold such attractive sites, then they are probably more disposed to interacting with the country and with the “native” people. This can aid the grow of cross-cultural interactions that help to bring about peace. Ah, the sweet outdoors.

  7. American Public Lands are often considered “America’s Best Idea”. Obviously, the national government has to own and take care of some land in order to perform their administrative duties, but the United States of America was the first country to take this a step further in the creation of national parks. In the early 1900s, as the west was being settled and Teddy Roosevelt was leading our country, the National Parks Service began its efforts to balance the preservation and conservation of wilderness areas with access and recreation for the American people. It is no surprise that Roosevelt was the one to spearhead this influential addition to American tradition—as an avid hunter and conservationist he was able to rally support for the new idea and oversee it’s implementation. Additionally, it was initially very difficult to incentivize people to settle further west. When you consider the Louisiana Purchase, the physical territory of the country practically doubled with the simple signing of a document. And while giving land to farmers and railroad companies helped parcel out some of that new territory, there was still an incredible amount of space with no one to take care of it. This is where national parks came in: by designating space as a protected land for recreation and preservation the land was given a purpose. Additionally, the land was assigned caretakers that didn’t rely on the whims of many people who may or may not actually ever move there. Adding to the necessity for these public lands, most of the west isn’t suitable for large-scale agricultural endeavors, therefore making federally administered lands very expansive and popular in the western portion of the country. While there are currently almost 400 units under the control and administration of the National Parks Service, the top ten most popular sites receive the majority traffic each year. This is partially due to the proximity of those top ten to large cities and more populous areas, making them easy to reach and less of a large endeavor. In the same fashion, many of the least visited sites have gained that title because of their relative difficulty to access—many of them are far out of the way and take true commitment to reach. You won’t be able to just stumble upon one of these parks. As the national parks, especially the popular ones, become increasingly visited new challenges in their care taking have appeared. For instance, with the increase in technology mixed with the rather destructive tendencies of many park visitors, park administrators are not only having to combat trash and changes in nature, they are also having to combat the stupidity and carelessness of many park visitors. As we are able to reach more and more national lands with increased ease and comfort, it is also important to note that we have begun to overuse these spaces, and similarly create new challenges in their upkeep. Regardless of the difficulties associated with caring for large expanses of open land, the American National Parks provide a service unlike any before it and perhaps like any to come.

  8. Recently celebrating its 100th anniversary just this past August, the National Park Service has been key in maintaining the beauty and wonder of United States. As the third largest country in the world by area, spanning over six time zones, it’s no wonder that the United States has so many different types of views to offer, for anyone who loves big cities, deserts, rural towns, mountains, or anything in between.
    Starting with Yellowstone in 1872, National Parks are often referred to as “America’s Best Idea.” Theodore Roosevelt especially heavily influenced the creation of more National Parks, adding five national parks and four monuments during his presidency. Then, August 25, 1916 Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, which now has 411 sites, 58 are National Parks and the rest of which are largely monuments.
    Economically, the National Park system is absolutely a plus. More than just entrance fees, the parks bring in revenue not only for themselves but also for the areas all around them. As a huge tourist attraction, both domestic and international, the National Parks bring in revenue for the areas around them through food and entertainment, hotels, airlines, and all aspects of traveling. Inside the parks as well, entrance fees, merchandise, and camping. As well as causing lots of selling and retail, the parks also provide hundreds of thousands of jobs. In 2015 the parks employed 295 thousand jobs and created $32 billion in economic output.
    It’s no wonder the National Parks are so popular either. With every type of environment a tourist could hope for, from the blistering temperatures of Death Valley to the frigid cold of Denali, to the springs of Yellowstone and the Great Smoky Mountains (does it need to be explained?), the parks really do have any kind of beauty you could ask for. The National Parks are that for a reason, founded to preserve the beauty that the country has to offer, and with one of the largest countries in the world there is definitely plenty of area to be attracted to.
    The parks are also just good at advertising when it comes down to it. You don’t have to ask about what they are, and they offer all sorts of deals to get people to come out. While being relatively inexpensive already (if you don’t count the cost of traveling), the parks also employ popular services for kids like the Junior Rangers, or the yearly passes for a flat $80 pushing people to use them and travel more. The parks are great at advertising themselves, and a good source of revenue and jobs.
    The National Park system is definitely one of America’s better ideas, and there is absolutely a reason the idea spread around the world.

  9. In 1916, the National Park Service, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, was created through the passage of the National Park Service Act. Considered “America’s best idea,” the agency was the first of its kind in the world. Its mission was stated in the legislation which called for the conservation of “the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein…to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” On its 100th year anniversary, the national park system faces many challenges from land overuse to lack of funding. The agency’s annual budget has remained stagnant over the past decade at around $2.6 billion, even with expansion. This has postponed or halted maintenance and repairs on roads, lodges, campsites, and other facilities. According to the National Parks Conservation Association, the NPS receives about $600 million less each year than needed to run the parks efficiently. The National Park Service currently manages 398 different units which include parks, memorials, rivers, preserves, and recreation areas. Conservatives have battled with conservationists over funding and expansion of the park service. Some politicians have voiced their concerns of the park system becoming too large to maintain and some say that new parks that have low visitor numbers drain resources from more popular sites. Former Senator Tom Coburn had called for a moratorium on new additions to the park system and to redirect funds from nonessential activities towards repairs of the most popular parks. From his point of view, funding “obscure” parks with “low-priority” may have a negative effect on national treasures like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. The number of NPS properties increased from 217 in 1970 to 367 in 2012. The agency has been having difficulties with maintaining its parks as visitor numbers climb and climate change stresses natural resources. Along with the rise of unnatural footprints left by millions of park visitors, littering, damage to natural landmarks and park facilities, invasive species, and clogged park roads with tailpipe emissions, high amounts of human influence and overuse of parks has become a threat to conservation efforts and the amount of maintenance needed is overwhelming with current budget levels. With the scarcity of government funding, the NPS has looked towards revision of its policy on “philanthropic partnerships” as Congress asks the NPS to step up private funding of parks by improving donor recognition. Parks get most of their money from Congress while entrance fees, donations, and concession sales serve as other sources of income. National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis says that the amount of money the NPS receives would have covered all costs for the agency years ago but not today. The NPS had a backlog of around $12 billion in maintenance work in 2015 and it is expected to grow as projects continue to be postponed. An idea for future funding is public-private partnerships, where the NPS still owns land and sets the rules while private companies run daily operations. Although one may fear that private companies may turn the parks into Disneylands, the NPS would still have oversight over the development of its units.

    Sources:
    http://www.npr.org/2016/03/08/466461595/national-parks-have-a-long-to-do-list-but-cant-cover-the-repair-costs
    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-you-might-start-seeing-disney-other-brands-in-national-parks-180959106/
    http://0-library.cqpress.com.library.uark.edu/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2014011700

  10. National parks are a beauty and wonder for all. They are filled with a variety of landscapes from the canyons of the southwest to the spouting geysers farther north and back down to the lush forests of the east. However, many problems arise within the national parks including things such as crime, garbage, habitat destruction, and water use.

    There have also been many incidents of the public abusing these parks and ruining the beauty for everyone. Over the summer of 2014, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a trip to Colorado and Utah and experience these parks and the abuse firsthand. I watched people scramble up the arches as well as other tall rock stacks, passing signs that prohibit such activity and doing as these pleased. Problems like this occur in every national park. More recently, a man in Yellowstone went to an unauthorized spot in the park to find a spring to soak in when he fell in and was dissolved by the acidic spring. Warning signs are not only put up to protect the parks but to protect people as well. Nature is unforgiving and will make you pay for your mistakes.

    Every national park also has a unique ecosystem within it that also must be protected from the danger that humans pose both deliberately and inadvertently. For example, in April three men broke into Devil’s Hole, a water-filled cavern in Nevada that’s managed by Death Valley national park, and damaged critical habitat for an endangered fish. The damage they caused from their insolence could very well mean then end of an entire species. Another incident occurred in Yellowstone National Park when two tourists came across a baby bison who they thought “looked cold” so they put it in the back of their car and took it to the ranger station. This resulted in the euthanizing of the bison after it was rejected by its mother due to its human contact. These ecosystems are extremely fragile and must be left alone by humans or it can result in complete destruction.

    Probably the biggest reason for lack of patrol in these parks, which allows for vandals to get away with many activities is due to the lack of funds. US News reports that the National Park Service “gets its funding from a combination of visitor fees and an annual congressional appropriation, which total some $3 billion yearly. That amount is inadequate to maintain and invest in an asset valued at over $90 billion.” The parks are severely underfunded and understaffed, which leads to neglect and abuse by the public and with growing numbers, it is creating quite the issue. For example, Death Valley shattered records for number of visitors in a month and within the same article the management assistant for the park stated that “If there has been an uptick in damage, it could be function of higher visitation.” So while a higher visitation in good in terms of revenue, it is damaging to the actual park without rangers to patrol the parks. More support is needed from the government and public to better preserve the national parks.

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/17/us/yellowstone-man-dissolved-trnd/

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/water-environment/illegal-tire-tracks-mar-death-valley-dry-lake-famous-mysterious-moving-rocks

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2016/05/16/baby-bison-dies-after-yellowstone-tourists-put-it-in-their-car-because-it-looked-cold/

  11. Many US government agencies and policies can be traced back to President Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy was the father of policies ranging from Big Stick diplomacy, under the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, to consumer protection under the auspices of the Food and Drug Act. One of Teddy’s most visible legacies is the National Park Service. As big game hunter, Roosevelt was fascinated by nature. Roosevelt also recognized the need to preserve nature for future generations. To meet this need Roosevelt became a part of the turn of the century conservation movement, which lead to Roosevelt’s creation of the National Park Service.

    Created by the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916, the National Park Service is in charge of maintaining the hundreds of parks, monuments, memorials, recreation areas, and historic sites across the country. The NPS controls lands ranging from picturesque tropical islands to the frozen Arctic. Many of the most popular tourist sites in the United States on NPS land, such as the Grand Canyon and the geysers of Yellowstone. The mission of the NPS is to preserve areas of historic and environmental significance.

    The National Parks Service is very important to the US, despite often being overlooked. From a historic standpoint, the work of the NPS is of enormous value. Hundreds of sites of incredible historic value are preserved, often as National Battlefields. Historic battlefields such as Gettysburg, Yorktown, and Pearl Harbor are all preserved to teach new generations what occurred there and to hopefully teach them the lesson learned from the wars of their forefathers without all of the pain and death. Many sites that are part of the American National Identity are maintained by the NPS. Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty are both national monuments. Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key penned the Star Spangled Banner, is a national monument as well. Even the famous National Mall in Washington, DC is part of the NPS. The NPS also preserves site of environmental and ecological importance. This is an incredibly important task. National Parks preserve some of the most endangered and unique flora and fauna in America. From Redwood trees in California to buffalo in Wyoming, national parks provide refuge and habitat for vulnerable species to survive, and, in the case of the buffalo, begin to mount a comeback from the edge of extinction. In this capacity national parks serve as the cornerstone of environmental conservation efforts by providing protection to vast tracks of land that in many cases would have been lost to commercial exploitation. In many cases the best way to protect a site or habitat is to have it places under the protection of the NPS. Many sites of great natural beauty are located in National Parks, such as the famous rock figures and formations in Bryce Canyon National Park and Arches National Park.

    In addition to the great conservation work, the National Park Service works to keep the national treasures under their protection available to the public. Millions of visitors a year visit sites like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone. The NPS does a very good job of protecting these sites of national importance without denying them from the American people. These sites will continue to inspire and inform Americans for generations to come.

    The National Parks Service is incredibly important to the United States. It serves as a great repository of the historical and ecological heritage of the whole country. These lands continue to inspire us and remind us where we come from and the value of our nation’s ecological and environmental health.

  12. The outcome of the recent US elections spell dramatic changes that will affect even the National Park Service, which has been the cornerstone of the American government’s conservation and land protection efforts since it was founded with the help of Theodore Roosevelt in 1916. With backing from a Republican congress, rhetoric from the Trump campaign indicate that the American public can expect the following policy shifts regarding our National Parks:
    • Trump has promised to “streamline the permitting process for all energy projects”, meaning that measures allowing oil and gas drilling on public lands, including wildlife refuges, will be passed
    • Legislation blocking drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and even in national parks, such as Yosemite, will be easily brought down by a congress and executive united on the supremacy of “energy self-sufficiency” over environmental concerns
    • The Bush Administration prohibited the National Parks Service, as well as other national agencies including NASA, to stop talking about climate change under a decree from the Secretary of the Interior – it is expected that the Trump administration will place a similar “gag order” over governmental agencies
    • The Rolling Stone reported in 2005 that the Bush Administration actively distorted scientific reports concerning climate change in order to mislead the populace – activities that would also be unsurprising for the Trump administration to also engage in
    • Experts are concerned that Trump will seek to alter the Antiquities Act of 1906, which empowers presidents to create national monuments on federal lands, which creates the obligation of indefinite preservation
    • Trump has vowed to eradicate the Clean Power Plan, a set of rules that seeks to reduce power plant emissions
    • It is believed that Trump will use the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which is responsible for reading through the fine print of legislation before bills are made law, as a means of stalling the environmental protections ushered in by the Obama administration.
    • Key positions on Trump’s advisory team and prospective cabinet members are occupied/projected to be occupied by individuals denying the existence of climate change; Trump himself has denied the viability of climate change in the past, though he now says he sees some “connectivity”
    • An easy means of blocking the effectiveness of the Environmental Protection Agency and other initiatives is to influence Congress to approve a block on funding for such agencies, rather than the more arduous process of legislative changes. Such measures are widely expected in the coming four years.

    Fountain, Henry, and Erica Goode. “Trump Has Options for Undoing Obama’s Climate Legacy.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 25 Nov. 2016. Web. 26 Nov. 2016. .

    Schlanger, Zoë. “What Can a Donald Trump Presidency Do to the National Parks?” Newsweek. Newsweek, 18 Nov. 2016. Web. 26 Nov. 2016. .

  13. The National park system, referred to as “Americas Best Idea”, is without a doubt one of Americas best ideas. The animals, landscapes, and overall beauty that is encompassed in these parks is like no other, hence why they are protected and named under the National Parks Program.
    Ironically what many consider to be the best national park (and personally I agree) was the first national park to be set aside back in March of 1872. That park is called Yellowstone national park which is located in Wyoming and parts of Montana. The secretary of the interior was placed under control of the park and following the initiation of Yellowstone into the national park system, many other land areas were set aside to attempt to be preserved from the harm of human nature and protected for future generations of humans to enjoy. In today’s world we enjoy the luxury of having 400+ million acres of land and more than 70 million just among the 50 states. With that amount of land there are 20,000 workers under the National Park Service who care for the 400+ national parks across the America’s today.
    The goals of the national park service have been the same since they took control of the national parks in 1933. As quoted by the National Park Service Organic Act, 16 U.S.C.1. “…to promote and regulate the use of the…national parks…which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Enforcing these rules in today’s society is a lot tougher than what it used to be considering the volume of people visiting national parks every year. With these volumes of people visiting the parks, naturally more trash is exposed to the environment, polluting water and harming animals who eat the waste. Vandalism is also something that has become increasingly more common as the years have gone by, the vandalism can destroy art and pieces of nature that can never be rediscovered or recovered by future generations.
    Though teaching we can help the youth as well as some older people to learn the true value behind the national parks. The Junior Ranger program is something that has really taken flight across the entire national park system. This program allows for kids to take an oath to protect their parks, continue to learn about the parks, and share their own personalized “ranger story”. During their visits at a park they can complete a series of activities during a park visit and share their answers with a park ranger in order to receive a badge for their personal vest. The goal is to accumulate as many patches as possible on the vest, inspiring the kids to learn about the parks faster.
    The Americas have a great thing going for them with the National Park system. With some fine tuning to how the parks are funded and ran, along with continued education about the parks to all people, most of the parks will be able to prevail for hundreds, hopefully for thousands of years to come.

    https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/history.htm
    http://www.americantrails.org/resources/fedland/NPSmission.html
    https://www.nps.gov/kids/jrRangers.cfm

  14. National parks are locations across the United States where the government has set aside land in order to preserve its natural beauty and rich history. Every park has a story to tell and is being protected so that story may be told to future generations. In 1872, Yellowstone National Park was established. Following this, during his time as president from 1901 to 1908, Theodore Roosevelt established five more national parks. Some of these parks were under control of many different authorities, such as the Department of the Interior, the War Department, the Forest Service, and the Department of Agriculture. According to the National Park Service, it was not until 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service that all national parks fell under a centralized control.
    When thinking about a national park the first image that probably comes to mind is one of a vast expanse of thriving nature with abundant wildlife with no problems what so ever. This is simply and sadly untrue. Todays national parks are facing many issues, from pollution to invasive species. For example, recently Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been having an issue with air pollution. The park has been affected by smog. This smog detracts from the stunning views, kills plants, and can even effect the water supply in the park negatively. As for invasive species, according to National Geographic, more than 6,500 non-native invasive species have been found in U.S national parks. One example of this is the invasion of Burmese pythons in Florida Everglades National Park. Originally imported as pets, these snakes have found a permanent home in the everglades, but not without a cost. The pythons have wiped out many indigenous species such as foxes and rabbits, throwing off the balance of the entire ecosystem. Another issue is global warming and climate change. As the temperature increases glaciers, such as those at Glacier National Park will melt. Wildfires also increase in risk.
    National parks are some of the most visited sites in America with 307 million people visiting in 2015. This in turn lends itself to some man made problems. Simple overuse of roads and trails can leave pathways unfit for use. Littering is also a large human footprint. Most national parks have systems of dealing with left behind trash but it can be expensive and labor intensive. According to the University of Miami, Denali National Park spends 75,000 dollars annually to get rid of nearly 140 tons of garbage brought to the park by visitors. Other problems can arise when visitors do not abide by park rules. When visitors choose not to abide by park rules they can put themselves in danger or leave a permanent impact on on the park.
    All in all, national parks were created to protect and preserve an area so that visitors may enjoy them for years to come, but many different factors are threatening the longevity of these national treasures.

  15. There are dozens of national parks in the United States, many of which are located in the Southwest. The national parks, coined “America’s Best Idea,” are hallmarks of the beauty of nature, environmental conservation, and a symbol of national pride. In 1872, Congress established Yellowstone National Park, which was followed by a worldwide movement to establish similar parks dedicated towards conservation for the benefit of the public. The Department of the Interior and the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture are largely responsible for the established, administration, and management of the federal parklands and in 1916 President Wilson created the National Park Service under the Department of the Interior. President Theodore Roosevelt is accredited for much of the nation’s most successful and long lasting conservation efforts.

    The parks have become increasingly commercialized in many ways, however, as they are a hot spot for American and foreign tourists. These park visitors contribute to the well being of the parks in some regards, considering the income from the visits may be put back into preserving the park. Parks often struggle to maintain adequate funds. In 2014, the National Park Service received more than 292 million visitors. The visitors also contribute to the local economies in the use of hotels, dining, souvenirs, and more. These contributions remind us that the role of national parks goes beyond simply an aesthetic value.

    However, there are a number of notable negative effects of tourism on our national parks. One of the biggest problems is the amount of rubbish left behind after a visit. Considering most parks are expansive in size, it is often difficult to monitor this behavior. On a similar note, monitoring criminal behavior is also very difficult. Sometimes tourists behave irresponsibly and vandalize or otherwise misuse park grounds. It is particularly saddening to see instances of vandalism at these natural conservation sites, considering the actions of one or a few are destroying potentially millions of years of erosion and formation that constructed the beautiful landscapes so many enjoy. Recently in the news, there was an incident of a man attempting to ‘hot pot’ by taking a dip into the hot spring water at Yellow Stone National Park; he fell into the incredibly hot and acidic water and was unable to be rescued—resulting in a rather gruesome death. This incident highlights the potential dangers of not adhering to park rules and doing things such as veering off the marked trails.

    Moreover, the national parks are experiencing hardships caused by climate change. These effects can be seen from rising sea levels on coastal parks, to the melting of permafrost in parks in places like Alaska, to an increase in the number of forest fires that could potentially damage large portions of parks. Furthermore, loss of habitat leads to a decrease in biodiversity and can contribute to endangering species of plants and animals.

    I remember the first time I went to Grand Canyon National Park, and was taken aback by its beauty. I hope that proper legislation, funding, and community/national consciousness will encourage that these parks remain beautiful for generations to come.

    http://conservationmagazine.org/2015/05/national-park-visitors-inject-billions-into-the-us-economy/
    http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-06-19/climate-change-huge-threat-our-national-parks
    https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/history.htm

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