Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Recreation in the National Parks

From a long time ago, but I just figured out how to post as a new blog, rather than a comment!

After talking today in class about what forms of recreation in the national parks are intrinsically better than another it got me thinking of a personal story from this past summer, that I included in my Mill v. Sax Paper, but I think everyone might find it interesting:

"In defense of Sax’s position that the parks should be kept as natural as possible, I recall a personal anecdote from my family trip to Alaska this past summer. Denali National Park is a six million acre preserve originally set aside as a national park in 1917. Set in the heart of Alaska, Denali is a majestic park that I have always been enthralled with since I was a young child. To me, it seemed as though Denali was one of America’s last great wildernesses; a place where grizzly bears and moose far outnumbered people. All this set against the backdrop of Mount McKinley, the highest, and perhaps most spectacular peak in North America. Denali was one of the last places my family visited on our two-week trip to Alaska and I was effervescent with anticipation until the moment we arrived there.
Our tour bus pulled up to the Princess™ “Wilderness” Lodge right outside of the park boundary and I was appalled at what I saw. This “wilderness” lodge was more like a Disneyworld resort, packed full of tourists who seemed as though they had taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in the middle of Alaska. Across the street from the resort there was a “scenic” cable car ride that took you to the top of a nearby mountain, as well as a strip mall crammed with restaurants, souvenir shops and even a Harley Davidson Motorcycle outlet! The physical and symbolic scar that was left on this landscape by human development was palpable. It felt like a bad dream, all my life I had envisioned Denali as an unspoiled, expansive wilderness, and here I was, standing outside a McDonald’s only feet from the Denali park border. I was dejected. Technically, this development was allowed because it was mere feet outside of the park’s borders, but that didn’t change my opinion of it. The over-development of such a wonderful natural area detracted from my personal experience while visiting the park."

Any thoughts or comments?


Ethics of Hunting

From a long time ago, but I just figured out how to post as a new blog, rather than a comment!

I found the discussion of bear hunting with hounds and jelly donuts today in class especially interesting, particularly when the issue was raised: is it unsportsmanlike to hunt in such a manner and if so, should that be penalizable? It was brought up that in sports such as basketball and football that acting in a respectful "sportsmanlike" manner is a personal decision, which not everyone chooses to follow. If a person chooses to act unsportsmanlike this doesn't get penalized. The problem I had with that is in sports such as football, basketball or baseball that's simply not true. If an athlete acts unsportsmanlike in any way he is subject to consequences such as penalties for his team or being ejected from the game. So taking it back to the bear hunting argument, if it is indeed a sport like basketball and football, shouldn't hunters be held accountable if they behave in ways that are deemed unsportsmanlike by their specific sport? Not to say I believe this, I am merely playing devil's advocate and offering up some food for thought

P.S. I found some interesting bear hunting video's with hounds on YouTube; you decide if its ethical or not.