Regreening the National Parks
What has happened to our national parks? Overcrowding and commercialization are commonplace, and with the increase in visitation has come not only congestion but crime. Yet visitor enjoyment seems to be a higher priority of those who manage the parks than the protection and perpetuation of natural systems. How could this have happened? Michael Frome, one of the most outspoken and highly regarded observers of our national parks, here shows how the original mission of the National Park Service has been undermined by politicization and bureaucratization. Regreening the National Parks tells how the Park Service has been transformed from a professional to a political agency and in the process has betrayed its own values by emphasizing recreation and “short-order wilderness served like fast food” rather than the preservation of the nation’s natural heritage. Frome has drawn on both official documents and personal interviews to examine the policies–and personalities–behind the scenes at the National Park Service. He cites instances of personnel being forbidden to criticize public policy in which they found a conflict with conservation principles, and contends that, as the Park Service has become more bureaucratic, those for whom the environment deeply matters scarcely rise within its ranks. In considering the environmental abuse rampant today, Frome sees national parks as models of respect for nature and concludes his book with a ten-point program toward realizing that ideal.
"Frome pulls no punches....he has written a serious history of the parks system in a vibrant and highly readable style. This is a writer with a mission, and one not afraid to drive home hard truths." Booklist"Frome does not make his charges lightly, nor is he just another disgruntled muckraker. This is the Michael Frome, author of more than a dozen books and hundreds upon hundreds of articles, essays, and commentaries dealing with the National Parks, National Forests, and wildlife conservation. He does not just know where the skeletons are buried; he knows who buried them, and why." Wild Earth"Frome paints a picture of how the national parks and the National Park Service have developed over time. It's not a pretty one. . . . Frome makes his points well, and there is a great deal to be learned from this book." Journal of the Association of National Park Rangers"The most revealing parts of this tract for reforming the National Park Service and restoring the parks to a more natural state take the reader into the organization's inner chambers, where Frome finds rampant kowtowing to politicians and a marked propensity to stifle dissent." Washington Post"This thought-provoking and intriguing book will interest all who value and respect the national parks, whether they are private citizens, students, or natural resource professionals." Choice"For anyone who cares about the future of our national parks, Frome's proposals are a call to arms, an action plan that ought to be used to ensure their survival." Miami Herald"A personal and deeply passionate account of the national parks that pulls no punches and provides a hard hitting indictment of the National Park Service. . . . A wonderful read." Environmental History Review