As ordered by Congress in 1916, the National Park Service's mission 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."
But what happens when "conserve" and "provide for the enjoyment" come into conflict?
One of the earliest U.S. national parks, Yosemite, is the scene of an effort to cut back on tourism in order to restore meadowlands and better preserve the Merced River. But not everyone is in favor of this approach. We get two perspectives on the plan and how best to balance the parks' competing interests.
LEARN MORE ABOUT EFFORTS TO PROTECT THE PARKS:
A Plan to Save Yosemite by Curbing Its Visitors
The National Park Service is proposing a significant makeover of Yosemite National Park that would change the way future generations of visitors experienced the park, especially the seven-mile-long Yosemite Valley at its heart. The Park Service's plan would restore more than 200 acres of meadows, reorganize transportation and reduce traffic congestion. To shrink the human presence along the Merced River, park officials are also proposing closing nearby rental facilities for bicycling, horseback riding and rafting, and removing swimming pools, an ice rink and a stone bridge. (The New York Times)
Does the National Park Service Need a Quota System for Peak Seasons?
It's conceivable that the National Park Service might eventually have to take drastic measures to reduce peak-season crowding in our most popular national parks. Overcrowding and overuse lead to congested roads and trails, excessive air pollution, accelerated erosion, and many other problems that reduce recreational pleasure and damage park resources. ... Some observers believe that it is only a matter of time before we see strict entrance and recreational facility quotas employed. A few have suggested that access to national parks and their recreational facilities might best be regulated by a national lottery, and that a "white market" for park permits should be allowed to flourish. (Bob Janiskee, writing at Nationalparkstraveler.com)