The future of the Park and the Trees and the Culture

from Visalia Times Delta article by Brett Wilkison interviewing Bill Tweed,
published September 19, 2009

Three Rivers resident Bill Tweed worked 28 years in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, including 10 years as the parks’ chief naturalist. His forthcoming book, “Uncertain Path: The Future of National Parks”— due out next summer from University of California Press — looks at the challenges the now 93-year-old park system faces in this century and beyond….

But you’re still optimistic about the future of national parks?

My reason for optimism is that more than almost anything else that America does, the national parks inspire us to do good things. That actually is going to be the message of Ken Burns. He uses this famous quote from a man named James Bryce, who was the British ambassador to the United States back in the early 20th century. He said the national parks were “the best idea America ever had.”

In terms of inspiring behavior, in terms of inspiring good things in America, national parks have always done that. They bring us together in all kinds of ways. American people support them and the idea has spread world wide. Parks have periodically challenged us to reinvent ourselves. Parks teach us things because they are our natural laboratories and we learn things as we work in parks and try to manage them. Parks have a profoundly positive impact on us as a people. It goes way beyond the economic impact, which is the quick one. But there’s really a much bigger national effect. It affects our whole national culture. I think that’s appropriate because not only am I saying it but, Ken Burns, you add up all 12 hours of his film, that’s what he will have said. It’s not new to me and its not new to him. It’s an idea that’s been around for a long time. And it’s true.

bildeVisitors can look out to a meadow filled with wildlife
from the porch at the Wolverton picnic area.

photo:  Steve R. Fujimoto

What do your National Parks mean to you?

The National Park Foundation held a video contest this summer, inviting ordinary folks to make videos of their summer adventures in a National Park.
They asked these questions:
What do America’s National Parks mean to you — how do they inspire you?
Why are they important?
Why should we protect them?

We hope this “first-ever” video challenge becomes an annual event.
Read about Sequoia National Park on the Foundation’s website here.


___________ Video links below ___________

My favorite:
Go Back In An Instant…
by Robin and Steve from New York City

Young voices singing and talking about the natural world:
Into the Wild
by Kate
Lands They Walked Upon
by TC Cairns

Views of Sequoia National Park:
Sequoia Nat’l Park – The Land of Giants
by Katharine
Sierra Nevada Mountains
by Sean

Planning for the Future:
Ancient Forest National Park Proposal
by Alden
“An Ancient Forest National Park is proposed for Northern California and Southern Oregon to biologically join together wilderness areas, roadless areas, a national recreation area and wild and scenic rivers into one cohesive land management unit for the protection of ancient forest plants, animals and fish. The proposal is to set aside a solid block of land approximately 2.5 million acres from the Rogue River in Oregon to the Trinity River in California. It will forever allow the free migration of species from the coast and Redwood National Park to semi arid inland canyons. The park would include already established wilderness areas and already designated critical wildlife areas along with unprotected roadless areas. Very little of the acres included are private land and most of it is very steep and uninhabited. Vast as it may seem, during the Clinton presidency, two national monuments were designated of similar size and scope, one in Arizona and one in Utah. The area proposed as Ancient Forest National Park is vast, but for the survival of species in this era of climate change and major fires, it needs to be. There has to be room for the constant change in habitat types that comes with what is truly wild.”