| Politics of Nat Parks/Wilderness
Y401 | 3311 | 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 field trips to at least two destinations, most likely the Deam
Wilderness (Indiana's only wilderness) and Great Smoky Mountain National
Park. On these expeditions we will be consulting 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 and 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.