“Wild Again” by Paula MacKay and John Davis (Summer 2016) emphasizes how important rewilding efforts and wildlife corridors are to the future of many of our fellow earthlings. I wholeheartedly agree. However, as with most rewilding articles and editorials, it only hints at the basic problem of human overpopulation. What will rewilding require in the North Cascades when Seattle’s population doubles? Unless we humans reduce our numbers, all the plans for new parks and wilderness areas won’t accomplish diddlysquat.
I enjoyed Jackie Dishner’s piece about local efforts to transform Chiricahua National Monument into a national park (“The Making of a National Park,” Summer 2016). Chiricahua is a true treasure. I’m crossing my fingers that it will become a park so that it receives better resources and more funding.
Earth Island Journal
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Berkeley, CA 94704
John de Graaf’s article “Finding Time for Our Parks” (Summer 2016) was excellent. Unfortunately, it was lacking in one major respect: It didn’t discuss overcrowding! I have worked at Zion National Park as a ranger and a volunteer for 25 years. During that time, I have seen visitation go up, and opportunities for solitude decline, even in Zion’s so-called wilderness. Any full discussion of our national parks must address the issue of overcrowding.
Being a student of religions, and having lived briefly on two Native American reservations in Montana, I very much enjoyed Dorothy FireCloud’s article (“Sacred Lands,” Summer 2016) about developments at Devils Tower National Monument. I share her hope that an appreciation of sacredness will be cultivated by all Americans, in our laws and practices, including by those who are proudly separated from all religious tradition. I also hope that suitable occasions will arise for legal action to be taken by affected Native American groups, with a good chance for victory, in consequence of which a stronger precedent will be set both for the concept of “sacred” as a category deserving special protection, and for the protection more specifically of “sacred land.”
New York, NY
Michael Kellett’s article on the need for more national parks (“Room for More,” Summer 2016) misses the mark. It amazes me how people who claim to care about the environment seem to believe that their way is the only way to structure the world, and that people living on top of one another in tiny little boxes won’t have any negative consequences. We don’t need more national parks. Alaska is so bound up in NPS red tape that we can’t even use our state lands to build an economy. National parks are wonderful, but locking up 80 percent of our lands so that only the wealthy and well connected can use them is a horrible idea.
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