Now in a fully updated edition, this invaluable reference work is a fundamental resource for scholars, students, conservationists, and citizens interested in America's national park system. The extensive collection of documents illustrates the system's creation, development, and management. The documents include laws that established and shaped the system; policy statements on park management; Park Service self-evaluations; and outside studies by a range of scientists, conservation organizations, private groups, and businesses. A new appendix includes summaries of pivotal court cases that have further interpreted the Park Service mission.
Added key documents, including:
- Statement of National Park Standards, 1929
- Correspondence leading to desegregation of national parks in the American South, 1939–1942
- Mining in the National Parks Act, 1976
- Damage to the National Parks Act, 1996
- Visitor Experience and Resource Protection, 1997
- Provisions of the Omnibus Parks Act of 1998 affecting new park studies, inventory and monitoring, and concessions policy
- Letter from 25 former senior officials opposing radical changes to the management policies, 2005
- Advancing the National Park Idea: The Second Century Report, 2009
- Presidential Memorandum on Scientific Integrity, 2009
- Protecting Americans from Violent Crime (Guns in the Parks), 2009
- Imperiled Promise: The State of History, 2011
- Revisiting Leopold: Resource Stewardship in the National Parks, 2012
- Summaries of seven critical court cases and one solicitor's opinion interpreting or defending the mission and policies of the National Park Service
New introduction and commentary.
"This important collection of primary source documents highlights the founding, evolution, and challenges of one of the defining American institutions: The National Park Service [...] This book showcases 79 documents (some have been abridged) ranging from Acts of Congress to fire management reports and advocacy letters which speak to the history of 'America's best idea' and the diverse purposes it serves."
– American Reference Books Annual
"Dr. Dilsaver has provided an extraordinary service in collecting the critical documents into one manageable reference."
– Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service
"This fine volume – fully updated and enlarged to reflect the ongoing evolution of the National Park Service – belongs on the bookshelves of scholars, planners, decision makers, and anyone interested in the formative legal and institutional processes that have shaped 'America's Best Idea.' Dilsaver's invaluable collection of critical documents will serve as an enduring reference and an insightful overview of the National Park Service for the next generation of scholars and citizens who share a fascination for these very special American places."
– William Wyckoff, Montana State University
"For anyone who has ever wondered why the National Park Service is concerned about protecting its resources, while at the same time providing high-quality interpretation of those same resources; or, for anyone who noticed that in 1933 the National Park Service nearly doubled in size without any legislation to do so; or for anyone else who visited Yellowstone in their childhood and saw bears nearly everywhere, then went back years later and wondered where all the bears went, these and many other questions are answered in Lary Dilsaver's outstanding, and newly expanded book. From the origins of Yosemite and Yellowstone to the recent ideas for the future of the National Park Service in the twenty-first century, all of the pertinent acts of Congress, executive orders, management policies, plans for current and future management, and many other important documents are reproduced in this wonderful volume."
– Robert K. Sutton, Chief Historian of the National Park Service
"An invaluable compilation of the documents that define the National Park System. Reading the source materials is the best way to understand the story of the parks, while Professor Dilsaver's introductions to each chapter help to weave that story together nicely. I used the first edition of this book in teaching many courses on park law and policy. I am delighted that this revised and updated version is now available for the benefit of park professionals and the enjoyment of park lovers."
– Molly N. Ross, Assistant Solicitor for National Parks, retired
Reviews of the first edition:
"An important addition to the library of any environmental historian."
– Environmental History
"The work has great value as a reference at all levels and for a range of programs in policy and resource issues."
"An invaluable reference [...] Dilsaver's book takes the legislation that created the parks and related documents and presents this material to the reader in an easily accessible and understandable format. The book is not only an important contribution to understanding the history of our national parks, but is the most important published source available today that uses primary sources to explain how and why our national park system came into being and evolved into the magnificent system it is today."
– Harry Butowsky, National Park Service
"An indispensable reference to all persons, in and outside the National Park Service, responsible for or interested in park resources."
– Edwin C. Bearss, Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service
"Future park scholarship will be clearer and easier with these invaluable documents together. We owe Dilsaver our thanks."
– Terence Young, Cal Poly Pomona
"Professor Dilsaver's compilation and commentary will be of great value both to those directly responsible for our national parks and to others interested in how our park management policies and practices have evolved. The National Park Service and its supporters are deeply in his debt."
– Barry Mackintosh, National Park Service
"The documents compiled by Dilsaver reveal the basic structure of national park history. They are essential to understanding the changing nature of the National Park Service's management of the parks."
– Richard West Sellars, National Park Service
"A comprehensive collection of the important documents pertaining to the National Park System [...] This is the best such compilation of National Park legislation available."
– Journal of the West
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Lary M. Dilsaver is professor emeritus of geography at the University of South Alabama. He has conducted research on the national park system for over three decades and published six books and numerous articles on the National Park Service.