Why We Need Our National Parks
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Why We Need Our National Parks

We stand to lose more than just the pretty views.

Why We Need Our National Parks
Original Photo

I just returned this weekend from a ten-day vacation to the Four Corners States (that is, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico), a long expedition that allowed me to experience not one, but three of the most beautiful national parks and monuments in the Southwest: Monument Valley, Mesa Verde and Canyon de Chelly.

It isn't just the scenery that makes these locations so valuable, however. In addition to the local flora and fauna, I had the privilege to learn about the living, breathing communities of people who continue to make their homes in the valleys and canyons of the four corners region and the rich history of their ancestors. I saw ancient pictographs carved onto cavern walls and had the opportunity to walk into the site of a cliff dwelling that has remained standing with little modern interference for over eight hundred years. National parks and monuments protect these pieces of native cultural heritage from damage and looters and preserve them not only for future generations of tourists, but for future generations of Native people, as well.

The mission of the National Park Service is one of protection and restoration. Many of their programs involve resource recovery from human destruction, such as their project to restore 6,600 acres of the Everglades, but it also makes an effort to preserve threatened human culture, as well, establishing the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor and supporting Native American artisanship through grants. In a world that has been increasingly dominated by white Anglo-Saxon culture over the last few decades, more than ever we need to work to preserve the cultural diversity that makes America so great.

But by far the strongest impression I had of the national parks was one of connection to its visitors. The National Park Service is, at its core, an educator invested in the lessons its visitors come away with after their vacation is over, trying to impress values of forward-thinkingness, conservation and respect onto its audience. When we visit a national park, we see those values in action, the forward-thinkingness of the lawmakers who originally set aside these beautiful places so that we may continue to enjoy them today.

As we were leaving a tour of the Long House in Mesa Verde National Park, my aunt and uncle, with whom I was travelling, took a moment to speak to the park ranger who guided our tour to thank her for her work and lament the policy changes that are currently threatening the sanctity of our national parks. She said, "The establishment of the parks showed an ability to think ahead. From what I've seen, we've lost the capability to plan for the future."

Let's prove to her that she's wrong.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

Top 10 Reasons My School Rocks!

Why I Chose a Small School Over a Big University.

man in black long sleeve shirt and black pants walking on white concrete pathway

I was asked so many times why I wanted to go to a small school when a big university is so much better. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a big university is great but I absolutely love going to a small school. I know that I miss out on big sporting events and having people actually know where it is. I can't even count how many times I've been asked where it is and I know they won't know so I just say "somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin." But, I get to know most people at my school and I know my professors very well. Not to mention, being able to walk to the other side of campus in 5 minutes at a casual walking pace. I am so happy I made the decision to go to school where I did. I love my school and these are just a few reasons why.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lots of people sat on the cinema wearing 3D glasses

Ever wonder what your friend meant when they started babbling about you taking their stapler? Or how whenever you ask your friend for a favor they respond with "As You Wish?" Are you looking for new and creative ways to insult your friends?

Well, look no further. Here is a list of 70 of the most quotable movies of all time. Here you will find answers to your questions along with a multitude of other things such as; new insults for your friends, interesting characters, fantastic story lines, and of course quotes to log into your mind for future use.

Keep Reading...Show less
New Year Resolutions

It's 2024! You drank champagne, you wore funny glasses, and you watched the ball drop as you sang the night away with your best friends and family. What comes next you may ask? Sadly you will have to return to the real world full of work and school and paying bills. "Ah! But I have my New Year's Resolutions!"- you may say. But most of them are 100% complete cliches that you won't hold on to. Here is a list of those things you hear all around the world.

Keep Reading...Show less

The Ultimate Birthday: Unveiling the Perfect Day to Celebrate!

Let's be real, the day your birthday falls on could really make or break it.

​different color birthday candles on a cake
Blacksburg Children's Museum

You heard it here first: birthdays in college are some of the best days of your four years. For one day annually, you get to forget about your identity as a stressed, broke, and overworked student, and take the time to celebrate. You can throw your responsibilities for a day, use your one skip in that class you hate, receive kind cards and gifts from loved ones and just enjoy yourself.

Keep Reading...Show less

Unleash Inspiration: 15 Relatable Disney Lyrics!

Leave it to Disney to write lyrics that kids of all ages can relate to.

The 15 most inspiring Disney songs

Disney songs are some of the most relatable and inspiring songs not only because of the lovable characters who sing them, but also because of their well-written song lyrics. While some lyrics make more sense with knowledge of the movie's story line that they were written for, other Disney lyrics are very relatable and inspiring for any listener.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments