How can we balance the demands of conservation and use in national parks?



  1. 0 Votes

    The National Park Service, part of the US Department of the Interior, balances the preservation and uses of parks through a system of policies. These vary from park to park and even within a park, and determine specifics of what activities are allowed or not allowed there. These are generally driven by the directive to prevent impairment of various park resources and values, which is a pretty lengthy list:

    • “scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife, and the processes and conditions that sustain them…; scenic features; natural visibility…; natural landscapes; natural soundscapes and smells; water and air resources; soils; geological resources; paleontological resources; archeological resources; cultural landscapes; ethnographic resources; historic and prehistoric sites, structures, and objects; museum collections; and native plants and animals
    • … opportunities to experience enjoyment of the above resources … without impairing them
    • the park’s role in contributing to the national dignity, the high public value and integrity, and the superlative environmental quality of the national park system, and the benefit and inspiration provided…
    • any additional attributes encompassed by the specific values and purposes for which the park was established.”

    There is also a list of acceptable exceptions to these rules, such as when directed by Congress, to protect people and facilities, and to restore natural ecosystems.

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