Political Science | Pol of Wilderness & Nat Parks (3 cr)
Y665 | 3725 | Tilton

As midwesterners, we sometimes fail to appreciate how controversial the
politics of national parks and wilderness can be.  Caught up in the
enthusiasm for national parks as "America's best political idea" (Wallace
Stegner) and the general support of the l964 Wilderness Act, we
miss the in-fighting over park appropriations, boundaries, inholdings, and
development as well as the contentious western politics surrounding the
designation of Bureau of Land Management
wilderness under the 1976 Federal Land Policy Management Act.  In this
course we will examine the history of national park and wilderness policy
and survey current problems and policy.  We may briefly compare some foreign
systems with the United States.  I hope to arrange a field trip to the Deam
Wilderness (Indiana's only wilderness).  On this expedition we will consult
with government personnel, but will also feel an obligation to experience
the natural setting that causes all the excitement!
Some of our central issues will be:  What land gets set aside as national
parks or wilderness, and why?  How has the federal domain evolved and how do
the holdings of the Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of
Land Management, and other federal agencies affect the politics of states
and the nation as a whole?   How has the preservationist idea evolved?  How
well does the national government succeed in preserving ecosystems? What is
"wilderness" and how should it be managed?  How much should there be?  What
sort of constituency is there for national parks and wilderness and what is
its future?  Students will be expected to contribute to the discussion of
these issues and to produce a research paper on an issue of this sort.  I
will try to set a good example by reporting on my own research into the
fascinating controversy over wilderness designation in Utah.