Reader Participation Day: Why Are National Parks So Controversial?
When I first started the Traveler back in '05, I never expected some stories about the National Park System to be so controversial.
Who thought the snowmobile issue in Yellowstone National Park would still be slogging on, a decade and more than $10 million since it first arose back in 2000? And would anyone think that some birds and turtles would be such a hot-button topic at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
There are other examples -- whether to drain Hetch Hetchy at Yosemite National Park, mule rides at Grand Canyon National Park, hunting/culling issues in any number of parks, and even oysters at Point Reyes National Seashore.
No, I figured writing about national parks would be relatively safe, a continuing series of feel-good stories about some of the most gorgeous and interesting (culturally and historically) places in America. After all, units of the National Park System are set aside for the preservation of their resources for today's and tomorrow's generations, and for the public's enjoyment.
But instead it seems there is controversy (not to mention firebrand politics!) lurking in every nook and cranny of the park system. Why do you think that is?