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Tinkering With Perfection


    There's a thoughtful opinion piece in the Record Searchlight of Redding, California, that does a pretty good job of summing up the ideological battle that's been raging over the management of our national park system for some time now. You know, the one about whether we need more commercialism in the parks to make them entertaining.
    In his opinion, Bob Madgic says we'd be foolhardy to think we could improve on nature.
    Our parks are finest when experienced, by camping, walking, hiking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, biking, cross-country skiing, photographing, rafting, birding, angling, boating, rafting, riding, swimming, backpacking -- all best done without leaving a trace, he writes. Yes, let's strive to make this group of users as large and diverse as possible. For anyone to argue that our national parks need to return to a better past -- i.e., more commercial enterprises -- misses the point entirely.
    Our parks are precious precisely because of their natural authenticity, already too compromised. They cannot be all things to all people, and we should not try to remake them into something other than the magnificent sanctuaries they are.


Bob Madgic(is this a real name?) also writes: "In Lassen Volcanic National Park a ski area had been built near the south entrance, and cabins, a gas station, a store and cafe near Manzanita Lake, where rental boats littered the shoreline. True to their mission, enlightened officials eliminated most of these intrusions. Today Manzanita Lake is as picturesque and spotless as could be." The proposed business management plan for Lassen calls for building cabins and building/improving roads around Manzanita Lake. The plan also discusses on-site boat rentals and the necessary accompanying "improvements". Seems the NPS is un-learning the ecological lessons it discovered in the 1970s.

Even though it is a state park you could use Stone Mountain Park as the prime example of over development. I grew up there and a little at a time they have paved over and comercialized the park. You can no longer fly a kite, ride your horse, put your private boat in the lakes,walk through what little foreset is left or walk up the mountain on any place other than designated trails with thousands of other people. I quit visiting the park 15 years ago or more. There is no nature left to see.

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