Tree National Park, California
QUOTES CONCERNING THE NATIONAL PARKS
ACT TO IMPROVE THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM
Authorities Act), 1970 (84 Stat. 825):
the national park system, which began with establishment of Yellowstone
National Park in 1872, has since grown to include superlative natural,
historic, and recreation areas in every major region of the United States...;
that these areas, though distinct in character, are united through their
inter-related purposes and resources into one national park system as
cumulative expressions of a single national heritage; that, individually
and collectively, these areas derive increased national dignity and
recognition of their superb environmental quality through their inclusion
jointly with each other in one national park system preserved and managed
for the benefit and inspiration of all the people of the United States...."
T. Mather, NPS Director, 1917-1929:
parks do not belong to one state or to one section.... The Yosemite,
the Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon are national properties in which every
citizen has a vested interest; they belong as much to the man of Massachusetts,
of Michigan, of Florida, as they do to the people of California, of
Wyoming, and of Arizona."
will gainsay that the parks contain the highest potentialities of national
pride, national contentment, and national health? A visit inspires love
of country; begets contentment; engenders pride of possession; contains
the antidote for national restlessness.... He is a better citizen with
a keener appreciation of the privilege of living here who has toured
the national parks."
B. Drury, NPS Director, 1940-1951:
American way of life consists of something that goes greatly beyond
the mere obtaining of the necessities of existence. If it means anything,
it means that America presents to its citizens an opportunity to grow
mentally and spiritually, as well as physically. The National Park System
and the work of the National Park Service constitute one of the Federal
Government's important contributions to that opportunity. Together they
make it possible for all Americans--millions of them at first-hand--to
enjoy unspoiled the great scenic places of the Nation.... The National
Park System also provides, through areas that are significant in history
and prehistory, a physical as well as spiritual linking of present-day
Americans with the past of their country."
B. Hartzog, Jr., NPS Director, 1964-1972:
national park idea has been nurtured by each succeeding generation of
Americans. Today, across our land, the National Park System represents
America at its best. Each park contributes to a deeper understanding
of the history of the United States and our way of life; of the natural
processes which have given form to our land, and to the enrichment of
the environment in which we live."
C. Bearss, NPS Chief Historian, 1981-1994:
we Americans celebrate our diversity, so we must affirm our unity if
we are to remain the 'one nation' to which we pledge allegiance. Such
great national symbols and meccas as the Liberty Bell, the battlefields
on which our independence was won and our union preserved, the Lincoln
Memorial, the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite,
and numerous other treasures of our national park system belong to all
of us, both legally and spiritually. These tangible evidences of our
cultural and natural heritage help make us all Americans."
McFarland, president, American Civic Assn., 1916:
parks are the Nation's pleasure grounds and the Nation's restoring places....
The national parks...are an American idea; it is one thing we have that
has not been imported."
Franklin D. Roosevelt:
is nothing so American as our national parks.... The fundamental idea
behind the parks...is that the country belongs to the people, that it
is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us."
parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely
democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst."
M. Wright, Joseph S. Dixon, and Ben H. Thompson, Fauna of the National
Parks of the United States, 1933.
our national heritage is richer than just scenic features; the realization
is coming that perhaps our greatest national heritage is nature itself,
with all its complexity and its abundance of life, which, when combined
with great scenic beauty as it is in the national parks, becomes of
unlimited value. This is what we would attain in the national parks."
Tilden to George B. Hartzog, Jr., ca. 1971
have always thought of our Service as an institution, more than any
other bureau, engaged in a field essentially of morality--the aim
of man to rise above himself, and to choose the option of quality
rather than material superfluity."
Roosevelt, in The Outlook, February 3, 1912, p. 246. See, Paul Schullery,
Theodore Roosevelt: Wilderness Writings, 142.
establishment of the National Park Service is justified by considerations
of good administration, of the value of natural beauty as a National
asset, and of the effectiveness of outdoor life and recreation in
the production of good citizenship."
Law Olmsted, "The Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Trees,"
(1865), in Landscape Architecture 43:1 (October 1952).
is the will of the nation as embodied in the act of Congress [in setting
aside the Yosemite government reservation in 1864] that this scenery
shall never be private property, but that like certain defensive points
upon our coast it shall be solely for public purposes.
classes of considerations may be assumed to have influenced the action
of Congress. The first and less important is the direct and obvious
pecuniary advantage which comes to a commonwealth from the fact that
it possesses objects which cannot be taken out of its domain, that
are attractive to travellers and the enjoyment of which is open to
important class of considerations, however, remains to be stated.
These are considerations of a political duty of grave importance to
which seldom if ever before has proper respect been paid by any government
in the world but the grounds of which rest on the same eternal base
of equity and benevolence with all other duties of republican government.
It is the main duty of government, if it is not the sole duty of government,
to provide means of protection for all its citizens in the pursuit
of happiness against all the obstacles, otherwise insurmountable,
which the selfishness of individuals or combinations of individuals
is liable to interpose to that pursuit."
L. Sax, "America's National Parks: Their Principles, Purposes,
and Prospects, Natural History, Supplement, October 1976.
Olmsted [FLO, Sr.] demonstrated, the question in a democratic society
is not the acceptance or rejection of what the people want. People
get the recreation that imaginative leadership gives them.... The
essence of recreational policy in a democratic society, he believed,
was the willingness to treat the ordinary citizen as something other
than a passive customer to be managed and entertained. Olmsted based
his theory of recreation on what he called "a faith in the refinement
of the republic," a faith in the possibility of liberation from
Mather, internal document, February 1925.
primary duty of the National Park Service is to protect the national
parks and national monuments under its jurisdiction and keep them
as nearly in their natural state as this can be done in view of the
fact that access to them must be provided in order that they may be
used and enjoyed. All other activities of the bureau must be secondary
(but not incidental) to this fundamental function relating to care
and protection of all areas subject to its control."
Charles C. Adams, in "Ecological Conditions in National Forests
and in National Parks," The Scientific Monthly, June 1925.
is fortunate indeed that the forest service started with a distinct
professional leadership and this was possible because European forestry
was highly developed. But the idea of wild or wilderness national
parks is a distinctly American idea and did not have a European tradition.
The European tradition is about formal park design rather than large
wild parks, such as our national parks. For this reason we must develop
our own policies for the parks...."
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