In today's society, hidden beliefs can subtly guide the management of parks, such as treating them as natural resources rather than national assets. Resulting management practices often lead to deferred maintenance on park infrastructure, causing inadequate protection from vandalism, poaching, and theft of artefacts. A sad demise, often due to an out-dated belief that parks are non-essential leisure services rather than necessities for a vibrant modern life. This book challenges the reader to examine the core beliefs that created our public parklands, comparing them with the beliefs that guide contemporary park stewardship in an effort to improve the management of parks and reassess their purpose in modern life.
"Will LaPage is one of the most provocative thinkers of our time on the issue of parks and protected areas, and does so from a background in the field for more than 50 years. He provides a framework for reconsidering the nature of parks and protected areas as assets, not extras, and inherent to the health of society – who we ultimately are as citizens. This book needs to be required reading for park management professionals from practitioners to researchers, as well as students studying the management of these valuable assets."
- Betty Baldwin, Clemson University
"I believe that Will LaPage is the strongest advocate voice for parks today. In his latest "Rethinking Park Protection" he makes his strongest case yet to convince us to believe in our parks as social assets, a critical and significant component of our lives. I believe that this is a must read for every student, whether in an academic institution or on an intellectual sojourn. It is an outstanding assessment of our beliefs of our need for parks."
- Cem Basman, PhD, Indiana University Bloomington
Part I Growing Parks in the Fields of Belief
1. The Ecology of Belief - It's all in the Connections
2. The Power and Theory of Belief - The Real Limits of Preservation
3. The Ecology, Energy, and Dynamics of Belief
4. Norms, Ethics, and Beliefs in Our Parks
5. Organizational Beliefs - From Visionary to Functionary
6. Beliefs, as Values, Possessions, and Lenses
Part II Plowing the Fertile Fields of Belief
7. Credibility, Authenticity, Believability, and Park Maintenance
8. Patterns of Thinking - Structures of Believing
9. The Nesting Habits of Beliefs - and the Belief Tree
10. The Symbolism of Beliefs: Signs, Symbols, Icons, and Omens
11. This I Believe - Discovering Your Belief System
12. Belief Bites - Truisms, Metaphors, Aphorisms, and the Wisdom of the Ages
13. Beliefs as Environmental Super Highways and Roadblocks
Part III Exploring the Far-Flung Fields of Belief
14. Belief-Based Science and Research Methods
15. From Beliefs to Science and Back Again
16. The Politics of Belief - Park Wildlife as a Case Study
17. Environmental Beliefs as Spiritual, Sacred, and Religious
18. Toward Environmental Sanity through the Ecology of Belief
19. Parks as Belief - Making Peace with Paradox
Afterword: The Human Need Maslow Rejected - The Need to Believe
Appendix: A Kit of Belief-Based Tools for Interpreting Environmental Issues
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LaPage has written several collections of poetry about parks and, most recently, a novel, The Cliff Dwellers. Selected as poet in residence at three national parks, Will has also received the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Park Science, and the Hartzog/Cox award for sustained park leadership. Author of Parks for Life, and numerous articles about park policy, Dr. LaPage has served as director of New Hampshire state parks, as a member of President Reagan's Commission on Americans Outdoors, and has been an international parks consultant in South Africa, and with the US State Department and USAID on national park issues in Eastern Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean.