Tourism The Double-Edged Sword

Tourism The Double-Edged Sword - Jonathan Gold Professor S...

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Jonathan Gold Due: 11/2/06 Professor S. Gmelch First Rough Draft Tourism: The Double-Edged Sword In this country and around the world, photography has played an important part in preserving natural areas ranging from small city parks to our grandest national parks. There is, however, another sharp edge on this sword of conservation. In truth, the attributes of tourism have changed rapidly during the twentieth century. Today, it is virtually impossible even to avoid the effect that the tourism industry has on the world. A national park is, in more cases than not, a wildly ambivalent act of collective purpose: dreamy yet provident, selfish yet sacrificial, local yet global in significance. Unlike a national anthem or a national flag, a national park exists in the concrete dimensions of geography, biology, and economics—and in the dimension of symbolism as well. It has living denizens and physical boundaries. It has benefits and costs. It has friends, and sometimes it has enemies. It has an aura of sacred permanence as a place that society has chosen to set aside and protect forevermore. The continental United States is embraced by two great oceans, and is extraordinarily varied. High mountain ranges such as the Rockies and the Appalachians, deep valleys, rolling hills, spacious plains, many lakes, streams and wetlands, mighty rivers such as the Mississippi and Colorado, volcanic oceanic islands and a saltwater coastline some 96,000 miles long. Its many different climates and soils support a rich and very diverse wildlife. In recent geographic times, ice sheets have advanced and retreated over this vast area, and land bridges to Europe and Asia have formed and been submerged again, allowing frequent migration and the mingling of species of many different origins. The United States contains some of the world’s largest pristine wilderness areas, and some of the most dramatic scenery.
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There is a common sense concept that human impact on parks and protected areas is inherently negative. This flows from the observation that when humans enter protected area parks, they change the system that occurs in their absence. This naturally leads to the conclusion that all human activities in parks are interfering and damaging. This concept is shallow. It does not recognize that it is human action that leads to the creation of a park, and it is ongoing human activity that establishes a management regime that protects the ecological and cultural values of a park. In the absence of the legal actions of creation and management, the landscapes would be used for some other activity. The creation and management of a park is a political action. It
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Tourism The Double-Edged Sword - Jonathan Gold Professor S...

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