The Dangers to Our National Parks
Yes, our beautiful public lands are under attack. From rising park fees to the shrinking of our national monuments and attempt to sell public land, our government doesn’t seem to value our parks as much as we do, which is a growing danger.
Climate change and pollution are also impacting our parks. In fact, a new study found that the air quality in some of the nation’s most popular parks (including Yellowstone and the Great Smoky Mountains) isn’t much better than America’s largest metropolitan cities. Our parks are a gift that we must protect, which is why we must take action.
Tips for Saving Our National Parks
Want to help save our national parks? Check out the tips listed below.
Visit a National Park
One of the best ways to show your government that you value our national parks and want them to be protected is to visit and visit often. This summer, take your family and visit a local national park. Teach your kids about the park’s history and enjoy the great outdoors. Clean up any debris you see along the way to prevent pollution and ask local rangers for information on volunteer initiatives.
For more tips, check our Mindful Travel Series, which includes national parks.
Get Involved With Worthy Causes
Want to ensure that national parks are around for your children and your children’s children? Do something about it! Get involved in conservation advocacy. Join protests, sign petitions, or contact your government officials. You can also make a donation. Elizabeth “Bette” Wallace recently bequeathed $1 million dollars to three national parks.
You can also join a conservation organization. There are many organizations that are working to ensure that national park lands are saved and not sold off. One example is the National Parks Conservation Association. They take donations, host events, and start advocacy campaigns, such as encouraging the current presidential administration to fix the national park service repair backlog.
Read Books About the Parks
If you absolutely cannot visit a national park this summer, consider reading about their history instead. One of the key historical figures is John Muir, a writer and conservationist, who is often credited as the “father of our national parks.” His writings and efforts spurred President Theodore Roosevelt to set aside millions of acres of forest reserves for national parks.
This summer, read John Muir’s 200-paged book: Our National Parks. Muir wrote this book in 1901 to “show forth the beauty, grandeur, and all-embracing usefulness of our wild mountain forest reservations and parks…”
If you’re looking for a lengthy read consider The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley. It will give you an eye-opening look at President Roosevelt’s role in America’s conservation movement.
As summer comes to an end, spend some time doing what you can to protect our national parks. They mean so much to the heritage of this country. Listed below is an inspirational quote from John Muir’s book, Our National Parks. Let it inspire you to head out into the great outdoors.
Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature’s sources never fail.
— John Muir, Our National Parks