Volume 7, Issue 2, Summer 1985
Susan Power Bratton
National Park Management and Values
Throughout the history ofthe U.S. national park system, park advocates and managers have changed both acquisition priorities and internal management policies. The park movement began with the establishment of large, spectacular natural areas, primarily in the West. As the movement developed there was more emphasis on the biological, on recreation, and on parks near population centers. GraduaIly, scenic wonders and uniqueness have become less necessary to designation and the types of sites eligible have diversified. Early managers treated the parks as relatively unchanging, threatened
by little other than human vandalism. Initially managers removed “bad” animals, such as wolves, and suppressed disturbances, such as fire. Modem management values processes as weIl as objects and recognizes change and disturbance as integral to park maintanence. A conversion to an ecosystem mode of management does not answer all questions concerning values, however, and may present some disadvantages, such as a tendency to treat nature as aseries of functions and energy equations, thus weakening aesthetic values.