When the national park system was first established in 1916, the goal "to conserve unimpaired" seemed straightforward. But Robert Keiter, author of a new book, To Conserve Unimpaired: The Evolution of the National Park Idea, argues that parks have always served a variety of competing purposes, from wildlife protection and scientific discovery to tourism and commercial development. He says that parks must be managed more effectively to meet increasing demands in the face of climate, environmental, and demographic changes. Keiter argues that parks cannot be treated as special islands, but must be managed as the critical cores of larger ecosystems.
He says that only when the National Park Service works with surrounding areas can the parks meet critical habitat, large-scale connectivity, clean air and water needs, and also provide sanctuaries where people can experience nature.
Robert Keiter is the Wallace Stegner Professor of Law, University Distinguished Professor, and founding Director of the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and the Environment at the University of Utah S. J. Quinney College of Law.
Robert Keiter joins Tom Williams for the hour on Monday's Access Utah.