National Parks or National Problems? Essay

2990 Words 12 Pages
A bear meanders across the road several hundred yards in front of your slowly moving vehicle. A doe and her fawn leap back into the brush as you approach. The sun shines in such a way that it seems the mountains above you go on forever. This pristine image of our nation's national parks is unfortunately getting harder to find today. The approximately 270 million visitors to the parks annually have begun to take their toll on the wild and preserved areas of our nation.

Congress created the world's first national park, Yellowstone, in 1872. For many years after the beginning of Yellowstone (and other such parks), the wilderness could be viewed from afar, but not entered. Camping within park limits was something that was just not done by
…show more content…
Since Yellowstone's beginning, the U.S. has inspired 125 other countries around the world to initiate national parks and other land preserves (Rettie, x).

Management of the national parks by the NPS has been controversial from the start. Wildlife management has been key among the controversies. Over five decades ago, Lowell Sumner, a regional wildlife technician, was able to convince officials that the parks and their disappearing wildlife needed to be protected (Hendee, Stankey, and Lucas, 33). During Yellowstone's first eleven years, hunting was allowed and encouraged. Elk, bison, and grizzlies were controlled in this manner (Baden and Leal, 140). In the 1960's, the Park Service adopted its current policy of "hands-off" or natural regulation. This rule says that the populations and conditions of the park should be allowed to fluctuate without human intervention (Keiter and Boyce, 3). The NPS has a fight on their hands because many cattle ranchers are trying to overturn the natural regulation policy because the bison in the park are passing diseases onto the ranchers' cattle herds. The ranchers feel hunting and euthanasia of infected animals is necessary (United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 14). In addition, the elk and bison herds have

More about National Parks or National Problems? Essay