Progressivism
and
the National Park System
Mr. Phipps
U.S. History
California State Standards
11.8.6. Discuss the diverse environmental regions of
North America, their relationship to local
economies, and the origins and prospects of
environmental problems in those regions.
11.11.5. Trace the impact of, need for, and
controversies associated with environmental
conservation, expansion of the national park
system, and the development of environmental
protection laws, with particular attention to the
interaction between environmental protection
advocates and property rights advocates
Introduction
 The National Park System
is intended for
• All public use
• For Education
• For Recreation
 Our National Park System
provides
• A sense of history
• Protection of wildlife
• Protection of
important/unique
geographic features
• Patriotism
• Conservation of valuable
natural resources
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Timeline of Acts
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(1864) Yosemite Act: First state park/preserve
(1872) Yellowstone Act: “Protect the Wonders”
(1890) Chickamauga Act: First war memorial
(1906) Antiquities Act: Authorized presidential power to create
parks
(1931) Predator Policy: Authorized parks as a “last stand” for victim
species
(1933) Civilian Conservation Corps: New Deal policy for
employment, conservation, and maintenance of parks.established
under $300,000,000
(1956-1966) Mission 66: Provided independent funding for park
rejuvenation
(1965) Concession Act: Guaranteed one concession per park
(1969) National Environmental Protection Act: Set ground rules
for Federal agencies
(1998) National Park Omnibus Management Ac: Improved
management of national parks
In the Beginning
 State parks set aside to
protect and preserve
beauty
 Parks received little more
than janitorial work
 Problem: no central
organization and no laws
to govern them
 Sec of the Interior, F. K.
Lane, needed a dept to
maintain the parks
Yellowstone, Yosemite,
and Sequoia
John Muir (1838-1914)
Background:
• Born in Scotland
• Immigrated to America in
1849.
• Dropped out into “university
of wilderness”.
Employment:
• Summer job of shepherd in
Yosemite sparked naturalist
interests
• Started the Sierra Club
"Most people are on the world, not
1892.
in it; have no conscious sympathy
or relationship to anything about
them, undiffused, separate, and
rigidly alone like marbles of
polished stone, touching but
separate.”
John Muir
Teddy Roosevelt
and John Muir atop
Hetch Hetchy
The Early Years: 1864-1932
 American authors wrote about the problems of the cities, advocated a
return to nature
 Yosemite commissioned first state park (1890), later upgraded to
national park (1906)
 Chickamauga National Park (1890) First battlefield park
 Earned recognition through President Theodore Roosevelt, who
advocated conservation and preservation as part of his Square Deal
 National cemeteries already established after civil war
 Roads build to encourage tourist auto access
 Hetch Hetchy becomes the first major environmental debate: Should
the gov’t permit damming for electricity and water usage?
 Commissioned Parks: Hot Springs, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier,
Zion, Rocky Mtn., Mt. McKinley, Grand Teton, Hawaii Volcanoes
Stephen T. Mather (1867-1930)
 First director of the
National Park
Administration (1916-1928)
for $4,500 annual salary
 Selected national parks for
their uniqueness
 Employed “quality” people,
such as veterans
 Upgraded park grounds for
public appeal
“There will never come
an end to the good that
he has done”
Mathers Epitaph
Yellowstone: 1872
 1870: Marked first “official”
exploration of the territory;
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Gen. Henry D. Washburn led U.S.
cavalry to protect western settlers
from the Crow and Blackfeet
Legends of park spread through
word of mouth
 1872: Congress passed act for
“enjoyment of the people”
 Later acts included botany,
zoology, geology and
commercialism
 Travel was recently available from
the N. Pacific RR, but unsafe
because of Chief Joseph and the
Nez Perce
Yosemite: 1890
 Government responded
to environmental
degradation by the gold
diggers to keep the
tourism alive
 John Muir Nat’l Park Bill
in 1890 established
area as state preserve
 National guard spent 30
years to protect park
from poachers
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Ansel Adams
 Started work for national
parks in 1919 as a janitor
for the Sierra Club HQ.
 Love of nature sparked
by friend Francis Holm
Eastan, experimenting
with natural photography
 Became main
photographer of the
natural beauty found in
the national parks
 Kings Canyon becomes
a national park in 1940
under FDR
Aspen Grove
El Capitan,
Yosemite
Grand Tetons
Saguaro
Forest, Arizona
Saguaro Cactus,
Arizona
Pueblo, New Mexico
L.A. Freeway,
1960
National Park Service
National Park Service: Established
August 25, 1916
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“Our goal is to offer a window into
the historical richness of the
National Park System and the
opportunities it presents for
understanding who we are, where
we have been, and how we as a
society, might approach the future.”
Concessions
 Started as liaisons between
private business, national
parks, and the government
 Relationship changed as a
result of modern
transportation
• Railroad and automobiles
transformed transportation
• Required new routes and
services
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 Mather appointed one
concessionary to each park
Awahnee Hotel, Yosemite Valley
From New Deal to Post War:
1933-1956
 CCC provided disciplined program: 5 year plans finished in 1
season
 Drop in funding during WWII resulted in a short decline in
National Park System
 The expansion of the Grand Teton Nat’l park set sparks off
between state and congressional legislation
 Historian, Bernard DeVoto suggested that the parks be closed
until they could be properly funded and operated
 Everglades, Big Bend, Virgin Islands, Olympic, Kings Canyon,
and Grand Teton
The CCC Boys
 Established 1933
 New Deal reform to
employ young men in
conservation work
 63,256 buildings, 3,116
lookout towers and 28,087
miles of trails; erected
405,037 signs, markers,
and monuments; planted
45 million trees; and
fought countless fires.
 They developed more
than 800 state parks
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The Happy Days 1957-1980
 The “Report of the Advisory Board on Wildlife Management in
the National Parks” inspired by naturalist authors resulted in a
permanent staff of scientists in each park to preserve the
"condition that prevailed when the area was first visited by the
white man.”
 Bureau of Outdoor Recreation est. 1962
 1971- 180 million visitors
 State of the Parks Report indicates significant problems:
overcrowding, overbuilding, and insufficient personnel to protect
the environment
 Canyonlands, Guadalupe Mtn., North Cascades, Redwood
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1981-present
 Continued tourism results in poor management,
ecosystem failure, and decline personnel morale
 Over half of Yellowstone burned in a fire during 1981
 1984--Bear interaction causes parts of Yellowstone to
be closed off from the public
 1992= 75th birthday of Park service
 Anthropocentrism vs Biocentrism: human or
animal/environmental focus
 Great Basin, Channel Islands, Biscayne, Death
Valley, Joshua Tree, Great Sand Dunes, Black
Canyon
In Sum
The National Park Service oversees:
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Over 390 units of land
Over 58 national parks
Over 84.4 million acres of land
Fundamental American historical sites (including
Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, etc)
• Preserves important sites to our common
American heritage
• Conserves natural resources, mineral resources,
rare geological resource, and numerous species