The United States Forest Service and National Park Service: Paradoxical Mandates, Powerful Founders, and the Rise and Fall of Agency Discretion
24 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2007
The National Park Service remains one of a very few federal government icons in an anti-government age. The flat brimmed hats and brown uniforms of the park ranger evoke a sense of well being in most Americans. At the same time, with various interest groups, the Park Service is running into trouble, attacked both for its protectiveness of the lands it manages and for its traditional methods of facilitating human access to the national parks. Long standing contradictions in our national image of what the Parks should be are generating new tension. Scholars have a role to play in describing these disputes and seeking out their sources. This essay sketches one facet of the mosaic of controversy and provides one cautionary observation: The National Park Service may be following the road followed a few decades before by its sister agency, the United States Forest Service.
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