National Parks Under Pressure

Should conservation or recreation take precedence?


The National Park System is threatened by pollution, invasive species, climate change and encroaching development. Moreover, budget constraints are making the national parks and other units in the system not only more dangerous to visitors but also less satisfying and less educational, some observers warn. To compensate for funding shortfalls, parks are raising entrance fees, soliciting corporate donations and cutting ranger programs. Underlying the challenges is a fundamental struggle between recreational users — such as snowmobilers and jet skiers — and traditionalists who say preserving the parks' tranquility and fragile resources should always remain the paramount mission. Meanwhile, “gateway communities” say park officials should take their economic survival into account as they try to keep the parks meaningful for 274 million visitors a year and ...

locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles