Has Success Spoiled the National Parks?
The Park Service celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1966 with banquets, ceremonies, and, perhaps the highest honor of all, a spread in National Geographic magazine. The introduction was written by National Geographic Society president, Dr. Melville Bell Grosvenor, who had known every Park Service director since 1916. National Geographic diligently avoids controversy, but in Dr. Grosvenor’s emphasis upon park use he was challenging a prevailing theme in the national press. Dr. Grosvenor was gratified that 130 million visitors would have the opportunity to enjoy the parks during 1966; that level of use, Peter Farb declared, would insure “the destruction of the national parks in our time.” Critics who believe decisive steps must be taken to protect parks against the “hordes” generally direct their demands to the Park Service. The Park Service has always taken the position that although general policies can be applied to all parks, thoughtful consideration of local differences is required.