Not Yet America's Best Idea: Law, Inequality, and Grand Canyon National Park

91 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2020 Last revised: 25 Feb 2020

See all articles by Sarah Krakoff

Sarah Krakoff

University of Colorado Law School

Date Written: February 20, 2020


Even the nation’s most cherished and protected public lands are not spaces apart from the workings of law, politics, and power. This Essay explores that premise in the context of Grand Canyon National Park. On the occasion of the Park’s 100th Anniversary, it examines how law — embedded in a political economy committed to rapid growth and development in the southwestern United States — facilitated the violent displacement of indigenous peoples and entrenched racialized inequalities in the surrounding region. It also explores law’s shortcomings in the context of sexual harassment and discrimination within the Park. The Essay concludes by suggesting how the next one hundred years might be different. Through the hard work of integrating practices of justice, equity, and sustainability, our national parks may yet become America’s best idea — not because they set places apart from law and politics but because they create public spaces within which to forge better visions of what American might be.

Keywords: Indigenous peoples, Public Lands, Equality, Race, Discrimination, Southwest

Suggested Citation

Krakoff, Sarah, Not Yet America's Best Idea: Law, Inequality, and Grand Canyon National Park (February 20, 2020). 91 University of Colorado Law Review 559 (2020), U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-3, Available at SSRN:

Sarah Krakoff (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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