This post is part of KQED’s Do Now U project. Do Now U is a biweekly activity for students and the public to engage and respond to current issues using social media. Do Now U aims to build civic engagement and digital literacy for learners of all ages. This post was written by the following students from Dr. Thomas Wood’s “Mysteries of Migration” course at George Mason University: Caroline Kittle, Elizabeth Rovira, Maria Larios, Clara Ben Ayed, Lauren Murray and Surraya Abbasi.


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AUDIO: NPR

National Park Service Celebrates 100th Anniversary
Hear about some challenges facing our national parks 100 years after the creation of the National Park Service.


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Is ecotourism helping or hurting our national parks? #DoNowUParks


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Learn More About Ecotourism and Our National Parks

Our national parks have been described as America’s Best Idea. They belong to all of us and provide tremendous opportunities, but require us to be responsible stewards as well. In 2015, America’s national parks saw their highest visitation rate yet, topping 300 million for the first time ever, just in time for the centennial of the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS used 2016 and the celebration of their hundred years of service as an opportunity to promote their Find Your Park campaign, their latest effort to get more people outside to learn about and enjoy nature, as well as visit museums, local parks and historic places. In addition, the NPS launched the Every Kid in A Park program, which provides every fourth grader and their family free entry to national parks for one year. Some wonder how increased visitation in recent and upcoming years may negatively and positively affect our wild lands, and how we might curb the negative impacts.

Ecotourism is an industry that promotes responsible travel to natural areas. It can provide income and promote conservation–rather than exploitation–of natural resources.  Sometimes, ecotourism is looked at as a solution to a lack of political will or general apathy toward conservation issues. The idea of ecotourism is to enhance the conservation of wild spaces and species in an ecosystem through the promotion of natural resources as a tourist attraction. As an industry, it also has the potential to lead to some unintended consequences associated with bringing too many people to our wild places. Federal government agencies, including the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service, use a Visitor Experience Resource Protection (VERP) framework to help ensure an appropriate balance of visitation and protection, which can be difficult.

Ecotourism has many benefits. It boosts local economic growth, provides jobs and improves conservation awareness as it stimulates the desire to protect our parks. NPS activities provide more than 200,000 jobs and have $30 billion impact on the economy of the U.S. through visitor spending. Getting outside is also good for people’s physical and mental health, helping with everything from reducing stress to improving memory. Companies are recognizing these benefits for employees, and students’ performance can improve after spending time outside. In addition, our national parks provide a unique American experience, bringing people together to learn about our national heritage. Due to all of these benefits, many people support sustainable tourism.

Vehicles lined up at North Entrance
Vehicles lined up at North Entrance (Yellowstone National Park)

But let’s not fail to consider the drawbacks as well. To make an area accessible to visitors, infrastructure has to be built and transportation has to be arranged. The revenue generated for local economies is often seasonal. Areas may start to cater to more tourists, over time changing the landscape that we are trying so hard to protect. There is also the issue of keeping wildlife “wild.” Sometimes increased human interaction with wildlife can be degrading or disruptive to the balance of a natural area’s systems. Wildlife can become habituated to people, or change their behavior to avoid people, decreasing their use of habitat around trails as more people come along. There is also the potential of impacting wildlife directly on roads or in remote areas. Recently, a bear with cubs killed a hiker’s dog in Shenandoah National Park when she encountered the bear near a hiking trail.

Visitors’ poor behavior has been a growing problem, too. especially in national parks. In the past couple of years, the national parks have made headlines several times because of human misbehavior. In 2015, a family interfered with a bison calf in Yellowstone National Park, which they had presumed was in danger because it was alone in the snow. Bison are physiologically equipped to handle the harsh winters in the midwest. In the end, the family’s misjudgment cost the bison its life after attempts to reunite it with its herd failed. In another, more subtle case, Big Meadows, in Shenandoah National Park, faces a particular chronic human-wildlife conflict that affects meadow ecology with visitors frequently going off trail. This misstep causes a disruption of the plants in the meadow, which is an especially big problem because Big Meadows is a unique type of wetland and host to the highest concentration of rare plants in Shenandoah National Park. Recently, a woman was sentenced for vandalizing sites in parks around the country, something that unfortunately has impacted many parks over the years.  

Ecotourism provides benefits to visitors, local economies and our national identity. But it also has drawbacks, impacting wildlife, ecosystems and the historic heritage parks are designed to protect. What do you think? Is ecotourism helping or hurting our national parks?


More Resources

Audio: NPR
Keeping Bears Wild — Or Trying — At National Parks
With about 1,600 black bears in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and about 10.7 million people visiting every year, wildlife biologists have to balance educating people and protecting the bears.

Website: National Park Service
Leave No Trace
Watch a video and read the seven principles of “Leave No Trace”–how to minimize human impacts on the environment.

Website: National Park Service and National Park Foundation
Find Your Park
Find a national park to visit!


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KQED Do Now U is a biweekly activity in collaboration with SENCER. SENCER is a community of transformation that consists of educators and administrators in the higher and informal education sectors. SENCER aims to create an intelligent, educated, and empowered citizenry through advancing knowledge in the STEM fields and beyond. SENCER courses show students the direct connections between subject content and the real world issues they care about, and invite students to use these connections to solve today’s most pressing problems.

Is Ecotourism Helping or Hurting Our National Parks? 8 March,2017SENCER

  • hayleyhibbens

    I feel that there needs to be stricter laws regarding tourists access to the parks. The preservation of wildlife and the nature in the parks is more important than a persons need to experience them. I found an article that discusses the possible negative effects of ecotourism. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUParks

    • Jodi DeMassa

      I agree with you. There should definitely be more protections for the animals and environment in national parks. The threatened environment should be a higher priority than to let people experience it. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Katie Henderson

      I agree that the preservation of wildlife and nature in the parks is more important than the need to experience it. We as humans have destroyed enough and the little area our wildlife has left should be left alone. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNow

  • Lorena Z

    I think that ecotourism is hurting our national parks. I agree with this article because it impacts wildlife, ecosystems, the historic heritage parks are designed to protect. Yes, it is a nice way to bring in more visitors, but it hurts the wildlife and ecosystem. We are already doing so much harm to the wildlife and ecosystem and we do not need to add more. It can harm the wildlife because it might scare the animals away and people might leave food/trash behind, which the animals will find and eat it. Plus, there would be even more constructions and it’s not good for animals nor the earth.

    • Jodi DeMassa

      I agree that ecotourism is hurting the national parks as well. I don’t see why we bring people into threatened evironments. It’s a national park because of how people are known to interact with the environment. People value cities and workspace more than our natural world and prefer to have control over animals instead of letting it be. People don’t normally take good care of the environment and litter often. They are very selfish. #MyCMSTARgs

      • Nicholas Feeley

        I think that it sucks that people are allowed to go into these threatened environments but without it we wouldn’t ever have had these parks in the first place. Before no one cared whether the environment suffered because of our expansion. Many people think that if the national park isn’t open for everyone to visit than no one should. I feel like without ecotourism it is possible we wouldn’t have national parks to begin with. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUParks

    • Lauren Rhude

      I agree completely. Animals are a very important aspect of the world and national parks are a designated place for them to be safe but ecotourism is potentially putting that safety in danger. People don’t seem to care about the environment and the animals as much as they should. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Alisha

      I agree! I just think that there needs to be stricter laws when it comes to ecotourism to prevent damage to wildlife and the ecosystem itself. The desire to bring in more visitors should not outweigh the harm we are causing. There needs to be a finer balance of the two. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Zac Adler

      Yeah, i think its totally fine if people want to travel to these areas, or out into nature to experience it, but it needs to remain small scale. The for of mass travel and interaction that ecotourism is bringing on is completely negative towards the environment and its inhabitants.

  • Jodi DeMassa

    I believe that it’s important to have national parks and to experience them. However, I do not believe that the tourism aspect of it should be done because of these animal-people incidents resulting it fatality. I don’t think that having national parks serving as a tourist spot is a good idea either because of how people treat the environment, thus, they should have better and stronger laws for letting certain people in at a time. It needs to be taken care of and regulated more. Here’s a link to talk about the economic benefits of national parks in Florida, providing jobs and bringing in alot of revenue. This reveals the business interest national parks may have.
    http://www.floridajobs.org/community-planning-and-development/community-planning/community-planning-table-of-contents/ecotourism/the-economic-benefit-of-ecotourism #MyCMSTArgs

    • Lauren Rhude

      I agree with you about putting stronger laws in place to regulate the interactions between animal and person. Our environment and the animals living in it are important and we need to realize just how important they are. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Moriah Roycroft

      I agree with you as well. However, it is interesting to consider what would happen if there was a decrease in regulations for when the park could be visited or is, “seasonal.” Should parks regulate when visitors are allowed? Wouldn’t there be a more steady source of income without these regulations. Ultimately, I don’t see how controlling when visitors are allowed in the park protects wildlife. Tourism is important for economic growth for the surrounding communities.

      • Bridget Trogden

        Or, in response to the issue of the bison calf, should parks be off-limits when the animals are young and vulnerable, or when the plants are most likely to be harmed by human feet?

    • Katie Henderson

      I agree that people do not treat the environment how they should. More laws and stricter surveillance would really help the problem of national parks and ecotourism. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNow

    • Yashar C.

      Great point about the tourism aspect of the issue. Stronger law enforcement on the treatment of these sights would definitely help. The only issue to that solution is how would parks keep specific track on who is disrespecting the land. The appliance of more surveillance could work? But then again, that would probably affect the surrounding nature in some way.. Very delicate situation. #DoNowUParks #MyCMSTArgs @KQEDedspace

  • Lauren Rhude

    I think that our national parks should be preserved and cared for, as well as the animals living in them. I think one aspect of ecotourism that is beneficial is that it is improving conservation awareness and is stimulating the desire to protect our parks but I also think that bringing in tourists is putting the animals in danger and the whole point of a national park is to protect the wildlife. The most important aspect of national parks is the animals living there, and if ecotourism is putting them in danger, I’m against ecotourism. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUParks

    • Alisha

      I do think that ecotourism is a great way to increase awareness of the environmental issues going on, that’s a great point! There needs to be a bigger informational component to ecotourism because it’s such a good opportunity to impart knowledge on people who visit. #MyCMstArgs

    • Diana Avila

      I like the way you phrased your ideas and put in your beliefs, and i agree with everything that you’ve mentioned, especially the tourist. Sometimes, even locals, and people that know better do the simplest things that hurt our wild life environments. As much as i’d like to believe that it’s creating positive awareness it could not as well. I strongly believe that ecotourism is taking a downfall due to trying to make wild life more human friendly, and that is not OK.

  • Alisha

    While ecotourism does “promotes responsible travel”, there could be things done that promote better respect to the environment and wild life (https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/leavenotrace.htm) or stricter laws in place to ensure that this happens. Also, more people need to be more aware of the wildlife and ecosystem they will encounter on their visit. The article discusses the family who weren’t aware of the harsh conditions that the bisons could live in, so they accidentally ended up killing the animal instead of saving it. If people were actually aware of what to do/what not to do, there could be less problems. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Nicholas Feeley

      I agree. I don’t think just because there were a few cases where families were unaware means ecotourism is bad I still think it shows how hard it is for ecotourism to be regulated. I think education and regulation is the best we can do. It would be pretty hard to just say no one can go to national parks anymore. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUParks

  • Nicholas Feeley

    Ecotourism is a necessary evil. If not for ecotourism these parks would probably not exist. The economic benefit they provide is the primary reason they are around. They exist because they are places we have deemed special and places we want to preserve so that our kids can experience them as well. So while there are instances where ignorant humans hurt the environments of other species there are still many instances in which humans see conservation as important. Educating those who enter the park should be a priority when trying to end the negative effects of ecotourism. Laws can also be put in place with harsh consequences in order to deter would be vandals. Developing countries have an incredibly hard time compared to developed countries when it comes to ecotourism. Currently Cambodia is only just drafting regulations to protect the environment from ecotourism. http://www.ttrweekly.com/site/2016/09/cambodia-writes-ecotourism-law/ When it comes to ecotourism only we can be responsible for our part in preserving our natural beauties. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUParks

    • Diana Avila

      I’m not sure if i completely agree with you here, but I see where you’re growing. With that I see it more as places without human contact tend to do a lot better, although that isn’t the case and that some people still interfere It’s not safe for them or our community. Laws are already passed but none for someone to take seriously because well, “It’s just nature”. Do to that I don’t think there should be human interaction with nature.

    • Keaton Hill

      I definitely agree with what you’re getting at here. I think that ecotourism, while dangerous to the environment in some ways, is totally necessary in order to keep supplying the national parks with economic benefits. Without any visitors, the system would go bankrupt, and there would be no protection for the sites of national beauty in the United States. #DoNowUParks #MyCMSTArgs

  • Diana Avila

    In my defense, I strongly believe that ecotourism is hurting our parks and our eco system. With people leaving behind trash, picking plants, and cutting trees down to pave cement in a nature area is not OK. As some may disagree and say that it helps us be out there and relax us, we do more harm than good. I think there are good people that keep it safe and stay in the trails, but then there are reckless people that trespass and go hunting, or hiking we’re they’re not suppose to, thus causing them to be in danger. In addition, although you can place laws, I don’t think the government or even the state is willing to pay rangers to be patrolling while the area is open, or even closed. So with that being said I think it’s a downfall to our community and theirs. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Erica Duncan

    Erica Duncan – MUHon2020

    This article reminds me of New York Times publication I read a while back about “voluntourism.” Voluntourism is the idea that individuals who travel to underprivileged countries with the intention of volunteering are often less than helpful and would have been more effective had they just donated the money to begin with. I think this is particularly relevant to those who claim ecotourism as a source of financial investment for the parks and as a long-term benefit. Perhaps it should be considered whether ecotourism is really a good financial source or if it, like voluntourism, is an ineffective allocation of funds.

    For those interested, here’s a link to the article on voluntourism that I read: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/magazine/the-voluntourists-dilemma.html?_r=0

    • Bridget Trogden

      Interesting! You should also check out the white savior barbie feed on Instagram. (Warning: it’s pretty satirical!)

  • Emily Robertson

    I think national parks are definitely a kind of necessary evil. America’s landscape is incredibly diverse, and it’s important for us to preserve those unique traits and make them accessible for people to see and appreciate. On the other hand, construction in and around the parks (e.g., trails, roads, and hotels) disturb the landscapes and kind of defeat the purpose of preserving the land. Pollution is also a big issue; gasoline from vehicles and litter from park visitors cause major problems. It’s important for people to be able to experience natural parks, but we also need to be aware of the effects we can have on the environment while we’re appreciating it.

    • Bridget Trogden

      Or maybe (in light of my comment above), for those who aren’t raised living hand-in-hand with nature, the only way that they are going to learn to live with nature is to be exposed to it.

  • Jessica Lewis

    Jessica Lewis – MUHon 2020

    As a tourist myself, I know what it’s like to be intrigued by a black bear in the Great Smokey National Park. And as a tourist, I know how wonderful it is to encounter nature. Thus, it is crucial that America continues to preserve and develop the nation’s parks because it prohibits the expansion of construction into these areas, and preserves the natural habitat of those animals allowing them to thrive. In my opinion, ecotourism benefits national parks because it continues to highlight the need for the preservation of nature’s habitat. However, I propose that more education needs to exist about the importance of maintaining the animal habitats.

    • Mason Dossey

      I agree completely. We have the right to this land, as Americans. Keeping us off this sacred land is not the solution in any way, shape or form. Ecotourism is much more of a benefit not only because of jobs and money, but because the people of the United States, along with other countries, can see this beautiful land and experience it for themselves. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNow

  • Katie Henderson

    Ecotourism is not benefiting our national parks in any way. We have these places protected for a reason and when humans are constantly coming in and out, the animals and the surrounding environment cannot thrive in their best way possible. These areas are amazing to explore but most people do not have the appreciation or the respect for what they are witnessing. We continue to see reports of baby bison dying and bears freaking out and killing dogs because humans are stepping foot where they shouldn’t be. Ecosystems and animal communities are at constant risk due to the production and construction we see everywhere and our national parks should be kept the way they are. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNow

    • Mason Dossey

      So what do you believe we should do? Close down National Parks and take away millions of jobs and millions of dollars from our country? We have the right to see and walk on US soil and keeping us from that is affecting our rights as Americans. Just because animals or bison are on that land doesn’t mean we can’t be. There will always be conflict with sacred land like this but keeping people out is absolutely not the right decision. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNow

    • Zac Adler

      exactly! we need to be mindful of the world around us. The respect for not just wildlife environments but our own environments is super important. We weren’t the first, and certainly aren’t the last humans that are going to inhabit the Earth, so we need to realize that the Earth isn’t ours to trash! If someone is genuinely curious about nature and traveling to experience all that it has to offer, great, but they should take it upon themselves to be just as genuinely concerned with our the impact we can have if arent respectful towards wildlife their rightful space.

    • Yashar C.

      I agree. Do you think stricter protection laws for conservation should be placed on a federal level? For some reason, I feel that it would be easier said than done if proposed to politicians.. #DoNowUParks #MyCMSTArgs @KQEDedspace

    • TJ

      Why do you think humans shouldn’t be there? We are animals too. Just because many people in this country have domesticated themselves in concrete jungles doesn’t mean there aren’t people who don’t appreciate going out into the natural landscape. They should have every right to walk around the forest if that’s what they want. I don’t believe “civilization” needs to be on every square inch of the globe, but I don’t see why humans shouldn’t be there entirely. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Zac Adler

    I think from an economic standpoint, ecotourism can be seen as beneficial by providing jobs and supporting local economies, however as far its benefit on national parks as environmentally, it shouldn’t be seen as a positive. If people are already unable to respect the environment on a small scale and fail to follow a “leave no trace,” policy then we shouldn’t contribute to, or support the idea of ecotourism. People are uneducated and don’t realize the affects that humans can have on wildlife, threatening their ecosystems. If we continue to be ignorant of the fact that we share this planet with other animals who depend on their natural habitats, it is going to have a serious negative affect on them. Realize that it is humans really arent entitled to anything. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNow

    • Moriah Roycroft

      But what if we don’t promote the protection of wildlife? In the end, that’s mostly the purpose of the national parks. Ecotourism is important for spreading public awareness. Just a thought.

    • Bridget Trogden

      If you indicate that people are “uneducated,” what do you think are the best ways for people to learn to leave wildlife alone?

  • Mason Dossey

    Ecotourism is a benefit to our national parks. It is providing jobs and money for the government. We can’t keep people out of “protected land” because this is OUR land and shouldn’t be kept from anybody. It is our right, as Americans, to be able to step foot where ever and whenever we want. Keeping tourism out of National Parks is an absolutely terrible and unfair idea. These parks are providing jobs for many in our country and also allow our citizens to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNow

    • K. Smith

      i didn’t even mention the economic upside that it has on our nation but that is a very good point. Also, I agree with your statement about it being our right to be on the land – protected or not. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Tim Hood

    Tim Hood– MUHon2020

    Economically and socially, ecotourism is fantastic. The economic benefits it presents are undeniable, and of course everyone should get outside more. However, it is impossible to overlook how the development of such parks is detrimental to the environment. In an ideal world, problems such as delinquent visitors would be nonexistent, but this is sadly not an ideal world. I think overall the pros outweigh the cons, and I therefore believe that ecotourism is overall helping us as a nation; that being said, what we need are more developed methods of sustaining these parks, ways to enjoy them without harmful human interaction. In short, if we can minimize human impact, then ecotourism is ideal; thus, it is good for our parks, all things considered.

    • Bridget Trogden

      Interesting. Any ideas about how we can make the parks accessible without the need for habitat-wrecking infrastructure?

      • David Stokes

        I go to national parks to hike and see the wilderness, so I don’t think that the parks need a great deal of infrastructure that destroys the habitat to be attractive. Many other people (outdoorsmen, hikers, campers, etc,) probably agree, and actually try to assist park upkeep by cleaning up litter and taking care of trails. However, problems arise when people who are not accustomed to being outdoors visit these parks, and they want all sorts of infrastructure and buildings and buses. There’s two different types of customers for these parks, each with different (and contradictory) wants. I think that parks should be encouraging hiking and camping, which are becoming popular, rather than destroying the landscape with “habitat-wrecking infrastructure”

        David Stokes – #muhon2020

        • Katelyn West

          Although it sounds like an ideal solution, the parks might start to lose interest in tourism without the benefits of city life. Most people want to visit parks for a good time, not have to “rough it in the wild.” The infrastructure is vital to the success of the parks because not only does it provide means for “necessary” survival for most, it provides educational information on how to keep the parks clean and healthy. I am not saying that there can be too much infrastructure, but I am saying that there can be too little, which in turn will hurt ecotourism.
          Katelyn West #MUHon2020

          • Tim Hood

            Tim Hood– MUHon2020

            You say that most people want to visit parks for a good time, not to “rough it in the wild,” but (at least in the opinion of myself and many others I have talked to) that is the whole appeal of parks themselves– to enjoy oneself by roughing it in the wild, so to speak. The natural setting and escape from city life that national parks offer is precisely the allure of ecotourism for many people. I don’t think that reducing the extent of the “infrastructure” created by ecotourism will really be that detrimental, as so many people enjoy the parks because of the lack of industrialization, technology, and city influence in general. However, doing so will indubitably reduce the strain ecotourism places on the environment.

  • K. Smith

    I think that ecotourism benefits our nation more than it hurts it. I say this because national parks are protected and certain regulations restrict the public from upsetting the environment. Yes, people can visit these parks but they cannot settle and develop on the land because it is protected. Humans are selfish beings, and given the opportunity people will choose to make a profit over any environmental concerns. Places like Yosemite, if it weren’t protected, would be a place of strip malls and housing because of the beautiful scenery and weather. According to http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/edresources/WhyDoWeHaveNationalParks.htm it lists various reasons why national forests have a positive impact. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUParks

  • Yashar C.

    Ecotourism definitely has its pros and some cons. However, national parks must be sustained especially in America. With growing industrialization occurring, nature slowly diminishes as a result. http://phys.org/news/2016-01-ecotourism-natural-resource-allies-landscapes.html .We need as much greenery as possible for nutrients, oxygen and overall health. Let’s not forget, trees greatly contribute to the ecosystem. If lose, their absence will lead to a chain of deductions in essentials found within nature. Ecotourism does help the economy and allows others to appreciate nature’s beauty. Though the revenue/attention gained from national parks may be seasonal, they are still worth the conservation. With that said, poor behavior from visitors should be tolerated. A majority of individuals possess a sense of right and wrong, so they know what is appropriate when dwelling in nature. If it helps. stricter laws or fines should be enforced to ensure that respect for nature is kept. #DoNowUParks @KQEDedspace #MyCMSTArgs

    • TJ

      Do you think it would be better if we increased penalties for vandalism and/or destruction of park property? #MyCMSTArgs

    • bgirl272

      I agree about stricter laws and fines. That would help a lot especially if the increase in tourists is hurting the environment the extra money could be used to counter balance that.

  • Darrick Webster

    Ecotourism has its defaults, but it also has some positives. One default is that we need more funding for the national parks. One positive is that is has created tons of jobs, and brings up revenue. If we set aside national parks for our wildlife and forests, why should we harm them at all? I believe national parks should be all hands off, otherwise it isn’t really all that natural.
    #envi110

  • Josh Mackey

    After reading this article, I believe ecotourism is helping out parks because it is bringing jobs and bringing in money that can go towards the parks and benefit them in the future. I can just see it as going either way. I would have to think its a benefit. #envi110

  • Ashley B.

    Ecotourism is mostly a positive thing in my opinion. It is good for people to get out and experience these conserved lands. It can inspire people to be more conscious of the way that they impact the environment. It is also very economically beneficial. #donowuparks #envi110

  • brian

    I think that for the most part Ecotourism is beneficial for the survival of the national parks because they provide a source of revenue that allows the park to stay open and also gives the parks the ability to give the local animals any medical care that they might need. Although have a large quantity of people can cause some damage to a specific area i think that the pros out-way the cons.#env110

  • Hannah

    I think that the idea of ecotourism causing a problem is 100% true. I believe that the interaction with people, let alone just hundreds of thousands of vehicles is enough to make them change their strict environmental ways. although the alternative to not having parks open to people decreases some peoples chance to explore the outdoors, and for the park and economy to bring in money. Their are definitely many pros and cons to this topic and it really comes down to what a person believes to hold more value. #Envi110

  • Nathan Dillion

    There are pros and cons for ecotourism. But I been Eve that even though there are cons to the industry, it is still a necessary one because of all of the other pollution causing industries which shrink nature and the environment around all of us.

  • Brandon Ball

    Ecotourism is a very controversial topic, as we can see from the post and things above. However, with the population and industrialization growing so rapidly in America, it is important to save some true nature. Ecotourism helps the economy, and that is great to some extent, but does the help it provides for the economy greater than the destruction it causes our national parks? If we continue to bring more and more people into the “natural habitat” of species, is it truly natural anymore? We definitely need to draw a thick, bold, line to what we want done with ecotourism. #ENVI110 #DoNowUParks

    • Lorena Z

      I agree with your statement. Yes, it is good for people to go out and see nature, but we do have to draw a thick, bold, line with ecotourism. It would destroy our national parks and the animals that live there. I do not believe that it would be nature if we keep on bring in more and more people because it would bring down most of the trees, the fresh air, and scare the animals away. I believe that our national parks would be hurt and stop people from wanting to go there if it continues.

  • Jasmine Parker

    I feel like it’s hurting our parks. Because things are slowly beganing to die off . And things began to get used up and not look nice anymore .
    #envi110

    • Thomas

      so would you say that the excessive numbers of people visiting the parks is leading to the destruction of said parks? that those people who spend their hard earned money to visit many of these parks should save that money for better things since they are also destroying everything we work to preserve? i would say so but it seems you might want to elaborate on your decision.

  • Kareem Mchardy

    From the article I believe that ecotourism is both helping and hurting the parks. Its helping it because its lots of jobs and it brings in money. Its hurting us because I think animals should be able to live freely without being supervised. Its not natural if we have to make changes to it. #Envi1110

  • jacob

    As an avid outdoor enthusiast, I believe being able to introduce children and adults to the WILD is important. Without understanding what wilderness is like, most people will never be able to quantify why it is important. However the impact of 11 million people every year strolling through the park every year will of course cause a huge negative impact to the ecosystem. I think the role being played by the park service is to minimize the impact any still allow for us to learn and enjoy. #ENVI110

    • Erica Duncan

      Erica Duncan – MUHon2020

      Your response is a great explanation of the compromise between wilderness and human involvement. On one hand, you put value on the idea of wilderness, which would suggest a lack of human involvement and letting something be truly “natural.” At the same time, you support the idea of ecotourism and the park services to enhance the area for human consumption. I agree with you, but I think the more interesting part is how these two very competing ideologies can come together.

  • Hunter W.

    Ecotourism has a positive and negative side. I believe that it is very important for people to be able to go out and see what we are trying so hard to protect, it gives us an appreciation that we would not otherwise have. Fighting for a goal you will never actually see really takes away from the urge to fight. On the other hand, there needs to be strong limitations behind what is allowed in the goal of Ecotourism. Too many people going and visiting these parks can and does really hurt the environment of these parks. too many visitors do not realize how fragile these environments actually are.
    #DoNowUParks #ENVI110

  • Carlos Ocasio

    I believe ecotourism is hurting the national because humans are interfering with the wildlife, which can cause problems with the animals interacting with their surroundings. #envir110 #DoNOWUParks

  • Ali Abdelhamid

    My understanding of the concept of Ecotourism, is that it is an effort to conserve an area/animal(s), in the environment, by bringing revenue to help in the conservation efforts. Now, I do see both sides of the argument, and I think it is imperative to acknowledge the pros and cons, before developing an opinion. Having said that, I think that Ecotourism is helping our national parks more than it is damaging them, because the individuals, who visit the parks, have to pay some type of fee, which ultimately creates revenue to help the ecosystem.

  • EndlessBeauty

    Ecotourism is a great outside activity that was creating for all good reasons. A lot of mistakes happen while the park has been open, with teh animals and people coming to visit, being put in danger but not intentionally. I feel that there are ways for them to improve the parks so that it can be a more safe environment for the people and still natural for the animals. Not trespassing certain areas should be soemthing that its better enforced, so the animals are still respected. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Thomas

      Possibly reinforcing the no feeding animals policy would help as well. Some of the people who do camp just leave food lying out when they leave or feed animals directly when they come near and it domesticates the animals.

  • Jenny Chien

    Ecotourism has its’ advantages and drawbacks. What is the drawback for ecotourism? I we can not efficiently control the population of tourists, too much people would definitely become a threat National parks. However, approximately use these natural resources, it’s not only earn some profit, in order to maintain all the facilities, which have been set up for entertainment, from these national parks, but also can be the best environmental teaching material for children and adults.
    ENVI 110-005
    Jenny

  • TJ

    “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

    I believe the great John Muir set the precedent in this debate about the importance of allowing people to “tour” nature. While I understand the importance of maintaining natural areas and protecting wildlife, to restrict people from accessing nature seems wholly absurd to me. The entire point of creating the National Park system was to preserve nature for the benefit of future generations. As Teddy Roosevelt stated,

    “The establishment of the National Park Service is justified by considerations of good administration, of the value of natural beauty as a National asset, and of the effectiveness of outdoor life and recreation in the production of good citizenship.” (https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/hisnps/NPSThinking/famousquotes.htm)

    My thoughts would be to focus on the issues surrounding the effects of human use of the parks. Steeper penalties for vandalism. Less commercialism. Not every park needs a visitor’s center, cafeteria, gift shop and guided tour. And, I believe most importantly, more education. More awareness. Unfortunately we are forced to conform to serve a very low common denominator and so saying obvious things like “don’t kidnap an infant bison” have become necessary (seriously, what’s wrong with people?). The more we can inform people about how to live responsibly with nature, the better we’ll all be. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Maria Larios

    Ecotourism is helping our national parks make a profit while wildlife is being threatened. There’s no doubt that ecotourism has it’s benefits and drawbacks; benefits include the creation of jobs and increasing the awareness of species in the wild and its drawback are that due to interactions with humans, many species are losing their wild side. In the end, it seems, humans are benefiting more from ecotourism than the animals themselves and nature.

  • Lauren Murray

    Putting aside the pros and cons debate, a question comes to mind. What type of visitor are you? When visiting a national park, or a smaller one as well, are you the one trampling through unmarked woods? Picking up rocks and branches off the ground? Throwing trash where ever you please? Or are you the ones who pick up the garbage, keep everything where it belongs? It is important to look at your own action, as even small actions prove helpful or hurtful. Individuals play a role on the wellbeing and upkeep of national parks, and one step everyone should take is what is their personal role in the fate of national parks.

    • Will McAllister

      I agree that this is the most important aspect of this is how visitors treat the parks in the time that they spend there. In an ideal world, every visitor to our national parks would take care to leave no trace of their visit, but realistically I don’t think we can expect that. What we can and should do is make every effort to educate visitors of the importance of leaving no trace on their visits to parks. As Elizabeth said in another comment, the public is highly unlikely to support a park that they are not allowed to visit, so I don’t think that closing these parks to the public is a feasible option. The best we can do is to provide visitors with all of the reasons why it is so important for them to play a part in preserving our parks, and hope that the teachings stick.

    • Emily Robertson

      I absolutely agree with you; we all have a duty to take care of our parks. Do you think there’s any way the National Park Service could further educate people on the importance of taking care of national parks? I know it might seem like common sense to pick up your trash, but I think it would be really beneficial to have more frequent and informative signs or fliers that remind people to do the right thing and teach them proper park etiquette. I know a lot of people aren’t aware that it’s against the law to remove rocks, sticks, and other small objects from the park, and I’m sure it would help maintain national parks if more people knew about that law.

    • Lindsey Smallwood

      I totally agree with you. The first step to improving the environment and helping wildlife is to be conscious of our OWN actions, as individuals. We know how to clean up our own messes and we know better than to leave trash around for wildlife to find, and we know better than to try to interact with wildlife. It’s our own job to make sure we act accordingly and responsibly! Lindsey Smallwood

    • bgirl272

      I think most people who visit and are ecotourists would be better to their environment anyways. This is a very good point and even though more people go it actually will contribute fiscally to help the environment and the visitors are extremely conscious of it as well.

  • Zaka Said

    “SUSTAINABLE TOURISM”
    I laugh in the face of these words. There is nothing sustainable when it comes to tourism. You go to places to explore, have your way with the atmosphere then leave. I personally love parks and woods where I can walk around for hours. The way you walk around is a big factor when it comes to ecotourism and how it impacts nature as a whole. If you are like John Muir walking throughout the forests go right ahead, but if you are blood thirsty negligent nomad then be gone. Realize nature was not put on earth for your benefit, you are part of nature. Every little step impacts something, everything has a complication attached to it. Ecotourism has its benefits and it has way more cons but these lands are better being parks instead of land fills for our trash.

  • Elizabeth Rovira

    The simple fact of the matter is that no public is going to agree to financially support a park that they are not permitted to visit. Instead of wondering about the impact the visitors are having, why don’t we consider adding educational programs to help enrich a park visitor’s experience? Part of the check-in process could be a well-considered lecture about how to leave no trace. Maybe if we tried educating people instead of lamenting the damage the uneducated leave behind, we’d find we make more headway.

    • Katelyn West

      You have a point about people not financially supporting parks that the public is not allowed access to, although I am not sure lecturing visitors would help curb the problem of misbehaving park visitors. A cheesy video with lots of humor would be better than a lecture. Fliers, signs, and handouts are different approaches that might even work. Either way more educational programs would most likely benefit the preservation of the parks.

      • Bridget Trogden

        Is it so wrong for the public to know that there are some parts of parks (although they are public entities) that they’re not allowed to go into? Not everything needs to be accessible!

    • Anna Dillon

      While I agree that educational programs would be a good feature to add in order educate visitors on the parks, I do not think lectures would be as effective as other methods. I agree with Katelyn that a humorous video would likely have more of an impact than a lecture since many people would likely doze off during an unentertaining lecture. Also, I think another way to add a component that educates the public about conserving these parks could be to have all the tours focus on ways to not leave traces behind before they even begin touring the area. Overall, I agree that educating the public could definitely help to reduce the damage done to America’s national parks.
      #MUHon2020

      • Bridget Trogden

        Or are there projects that visitors to the park could do? That would be a great way to have more education through action!

    • Keaton Hill

      I think that educational programs for park visitors is a great idea. Banning people from visiting these areas clearly will not work, so I think that allowing people in after being educated is a good strategy to prevent people from causing any damage, whether intentional or not. #DoNowUParks #MyCMSTArgs

  • Mel Fangio

    Our national parks cannot exist without ecotourism. The general public provides funds to maintain the parks, whether through the federal government or donations. Their choice to donate often comes from appreciating the parks in person. Ecotourism is necessary in order for future generations of children to learn about and take an interest in nature. Without implanting a love and respect for nature in our children, our national parks would be doomed. Providing more educational opportunities for people to learn about respecting the land is most likely going to have little impact. In the end, people know that they should not leave their trash on the ground or run off the path into the wild. They do it anyways; people are always going to do what they want with little regard to rules and regulations. Parks could try to increase security and build trails around the edge of the property instead of through the middle, as this decreases the wildlife’s range of habitat. Ecotourism however, cannot be eliminated. The public has the right to walk the lands of their country, and nature exists so that we may experience it and be awed by its beauty.

  • Clara Ben Ayed

    One of the thing that was not mentioned in this article is that while National Parks are a protected area, there is mining going on right next door! So while sustainable tourism has a lot of drawbacks, it can also bring light to some issues and inspire people to protect those spaces. I mentioned that the cases of visitor misbehavior but it could be easily avoided if people were more educated and if there were more volunteers and rangers spread out around the park to prevent those situations. Of course, it would be difficult to do so in Yellowstone or the Everglades, but feasible. There can be a compromise between environmental conservation and human activity.

    Sources:
    http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/mining/
    http://gao.gov/products/EMD-81-119

  • Jeannette E Yanes

    After listening to NPR, reading the article, and reading most comments, National Parks Services is a great resource we have established here in the states. I believe that it is a resource that we should take advantage of by educating people about conservation and ecology. Evidently, we have to come up with a solution in controlling the amount of people visiting. A potential solution that I would like to give is researching the amount of people that are able to visit daily without impacting the wildlife. This solution however, depends on the size of the park so it can range from 300 to 1000s, it’s therefore the decision should be left to each individual National Park. After determining the amount of visitors that can visit at a daily base, it is important to reinforce the maximum capacity of people. I think providing limitations is important for the survival of our National Parks

  • Hannah Sheref

    According to my understanding of ecotourism, it is suppose to generate revenue for these parks because people are paying to get in there However, if visitors are interfering with the animals when they visit these parks, then i believe ecotourism is hurting the national parks. Despite few demerits that accompanies ecotourism, it is largely considered a major sources of revenue generation for both Federal and state authorities.It commands unflinching merits on both mental and physical well being of individuals. Authorities should therefore embark on massive public education sensitization about the said shortcomings and institute law enforcement to remedy the situation.

    • Bryan Shin

      I agree with your point on educating the public, which I also think is necessary for us to truly enjoy nature.

  • Thomas

    Ecotourism hurts our wildlife by domesticating the animals. Recently I visited a few different national parks and the one with more tourism had much larger animals. The bison in particular were almost twice as big in a few parks and then others had bison in very small numbers and barely half the size of the larger parks. On top of that the animals which would usually be spooked by too much human interaction were walking right up to groups of people as if they were family.

    • Winter Overby

      Despite this unintended affect of wildlife becoming less “wild”, the increased interaction between humans and animals allows people to have a heightened understanding of wildlife, and gain a sense of the importance of conservation. Although some of the complete naturalism is lost, ultimately more is gained through the positive effects of ecotourism.

  • Stephanie Avants

    In my personal opinion, I am more for supporting ecotourism. It is definitely beneficial for individuals to learn and experience the outdoors, learn about conservation and more. What is also important is the kind of mark we leave on these parks. Like stated in some other posts, do we stay on the paths marked for us, or do we alter how the parks look by taking rocks or leaves, and more? If we do not educate individuals about how to maintain and conserve these parks, we will end up doing more damage.

    • Molly Parrish

      I agree with you completely. National parks are a source of recreation and education for the masses. Depriving the population of this would be very unfortunate. I also agree with you that the public must be informed about the effect humans can have on these parks. Without this knowledge, humans will continue to deplete the parks of their beauty and resources.

  • Jennifer Henriquez

    I am pro ecotourism, it allows people to get outdoors and reconnect with nature. It is also a great learning tool for elementary and middle school aged students. The interest and preservation of national parks should be sparked at a young age so in turn we have people who will want to take care of these lands in the future. The fee often paid by visitors is used to help with conservation of the park, and the majority of parks have brochures and or signs in the entrance to let visitors know what to do and not do while visiting. I believe these parks do a lot of good rather than harm, and the more people visit the better appreciation they will have about conservation.

    • Shannon T

      Shannon Tho – Yes, I think the pros of ecotourism outweigh the cons. They are very educational and just inspire visitors to appreciate nature. I don’t think there was ever anyone who visited a park and left with hard feelings. There is something so calming about immersing oneself in nature that you cannot help but feel inspired, maybe even inspired to help the environment.

  • Montana M

    This article was a great read! I had never considered the pros and cons on Ecotourism until now. I am definitely pro ecotourism after reading this article. The idea of ecotourism is a great idea for natural areas for many reasons listed above such as economic growth, increase in conservation awareness, great for mental and physical health, etc. The only real issue making ecotourism seem somewhat negative is the people visiting these natural areas. An improvement that could be made is creating less of an impact that the people can have on the natural environment itself. In addition, these areas could put up more signs for visitors reminding them not to litter and not to interfere with animals in order to spread more awareness.

    • Shannon T

      Shannon Tho – I agree as I have never thought of the cons of Ecotourism. I only saw the benefits of making the public aware of the environment by bringing more people to national parks. But yes, there is great responsibility in those visiting to not pollute the environment. Although, the cars driving through could bring added pollution in themselves.

  • David Stokes

    My family and I quite enjoy going to natural parks, and we have seen firsthand some of the effects of ecotourism. One example that comes to mind is over last summer, when we were camping near the Grand Canyon. The elk there had zero fear of humans and actually entered our camp on several ocassions, even while we were outside making noise – that cannot be natural behaviour. On the other hand, the elk population definitely was thriving and did not seem to be threatened, unlike in other parts of the country. I think it works both ways – wildlife is protected by natural parks (which is a good thing), but at the same time their behaviour will change. I think that protection is by far the more important factor to consider.

    David Stokes – #muhon2020

    • Trent Bateman

      Trent Bateman- MUHon2020
      I agree that animal protection outweighs any negative effect that may come along with ecotourism in national parks. Ecotourism is never going to be perfect, but it provides so much as far as educating individuals and preserving nature. Without ecotourism in national parks, nature would be even less of a thought in the minds of Americans, and, as you pointed out, animal populations would drastically decrease.

      • Bridget Trogden

        In that sense, these national parks can also be good research stations, such as through the reintroduction of wolves. In that one act, the entire ecosystem seems to have improved.

  • Trent Bateman

    Trent Bateman- MUHon2020
    I believe that ecotourism has a positive impact on our national parks. In today’s age of electronics, many people neglect the opportunity to venture out into nature. Because of this travesty, people often do not perceive the value of the great outdoors, and in turn, they do not take national parks seriously on visits. If there was an increased level of importance placed on ecotourism, however, many of our current issues regarding unintentional destruction of national parks would subside, as people would be educated on how delicate and precious nature is. Unfortunately, ecotourism is not the ultimate answer to ending human destruction of national parks, as it increases the need for infrastructure in these areas and increases human-animal interactions, but I believe it provides a great base to build upon.

  • Lindsey Smallwood

    I can’t help but feel that it could end up doing more harm than good. No matter how careful you try to be, there will always be careless people. Even if there were guides or rangers accompanying the ecotourists to keep an eye on them, it would be difficult for one person to monitor every member of their group at one time, and impractical/a waste of resources to attempt to have a personal guide assigned to every individual visitor. What I’m trying to say is, I think it would be very hard to ensure that there was /actually/ no trace left behind. Not to mention, as this article says, many animals would likely just change their habits to avoid humans. This could end up being unhealthy for the animals and ruin the whole point of having the ecotourism in the first place, since the tourists would not have much to see.
    However, the idea obviously has merit. I definitely agree that there is a need to educate and excite the public about wildlife conservation. If there were a way to guarantee that the ecotourism wouldn’t negatively impact the environment at all, I would support it in a heartbeat. As it is though, I don’t think we can. Perhaps a better idea would be to have wildlife specialists who truly know what they’re doing photograph/video the wildlife, and include the pictures and/or videos in vivid, interesting little informational books and movies which could be sold by the national parks to promote the protection of wildlife. Maybe that would have less risk? And though it’s true that pictures and videos probably aren’t as effective as seeing the real thing up close and personal, maybe it could act as a motivator for people to want to work in wildlife conservation so they COULD one day occasionally see the real thing, and help protect it.
    Lindsey Smallwood

  • Caroline Kittle

    While it is true that in order to learn we must first make mistakes, I get scared that approaching our environment in this way can hurt us more than we ever imagine. For this reason, we tried to aim this article to make an argument of education before outright action in our natural parks. True, there is no way to stop visitation – my own family has been inspired to go to a new National Park every summer because of how much we love them – this article is by no means an argument to do such. That’s why we attempted to encourage taking a simple review of leave no trace ethics before ever hitting a trail, as they can do so much in preserving our natural lands. But as a society, we have to do more than make the education commonplace. It is my dream that the United States will one day have mandated environmental science courses in pre-university curriculum. But this has to come from a place of intention to commit to change and intention to inspire the generations, not simply an afterthought of an easy-A AP course (as it was seen in my own high school). It has to be put forth in elementary school and continued in pieces throughout education so that all disciplinaries become concerned with the issue. The environment is not a sidenote, it should be at the forefront of industry.

  • Molly Parrish

    I feel that ecotourism certainly has its pros and cons, but is primarily positive. Ecotourism is beneficial to the economy and is a safe, wholesome form of recreation for families and individuals. My suggestion is to implement rules and regulations into the ecotourism industry to try and conserve the beauty of natural parks. One area of regulation in particular could be with human contact and wild life, because this is a recurring issue with ecotourism.

  • Winter Overby

    I believe that ecotourism can be extremely beneficial, through increased revenues, increases in health and well being, and increases in the effectiveness of conservation efforts. However, I also believe that ecotourism could be enhanced by efforts to control the impact tourists leave on the wildlife. Limiting human influence would minimalize many concerns by critics, such as the unintended effect of wildlife becoming more desensitized to human presence, as well as the negative impacts that families straying from trails can have on plant life.

    • Jessica Lewis

      I completely agree, but how could the national parks limit human exposure, while still promoting ecotourism? It is a controversial idea. It seems that a rational idea would be to fence the park to limit humans in the area. However, that would replicate captivity as seen in zoos in nature. Therefore, it seems that it would encourage a destruction of animal habitats, as animals are confined to a specific area. It is a difficult concept to solve, and I believe there are several different ideas that need to be combined to effectively solve this problem.

  • Anna Dillon

    While ecotourism has many good and bad elements, the negatives do not outweigh the positives. I believe that since it is unlikely for ecotourism to lessen, educational programs and other initiatives need to be enacted in order to preserve the parks. One suggestion could be that visitors are only allowed to tour the park with a designated guide so that they do not wander off into areas not designed for human interaction. Also, I think parks could incentivize a reduction of waste throughout the parks by introducing fees for anyone seen littering or taking wildlife (plants,etc) from the park.
    #MUHon2020

  • Bryan Shin

    Ecotourism is a great tool for educating the public on the importance of conservation and allowing them to experience the beauty of nature. But we need to respect the environment. As long as humans do not litter or pollute nature I believe ecotourism is very beneficial.

    • Jessica Lee

      I agree. There should be a significant amount of respect for the environment, and I think ecotourism has more good outcomes than the bad ones. I know it can be difficult to see wildlife and other elements in harms way, but I feel like it’s price we’ll have to pay to better help the environment.

  • Mason Thornton

    Despite, the harms of Ecotourism, they’re seems to be no greater option than modern methods. It’s sad that even with people being educated or having the opportunities to be educated about the land they are on, there is still so much harm done just by being on a trail and disturbing animals. I believe parks due their job to attract people onto the land, but now we have to care for the land we have come to visit. Public Revenue and monetary benefits of parks are never bad; it’s just tricky to find a balance between making money and treating the land as we should.

  • Jessica Lee

    I believe that National Parks have a great social aspect going on. They attract many tourists and the wildlife is, for the most part, taken well care of. But within these parks, we need to realize that we are in an environment that needs to be taken care of. We also need to be aware of our surroundings and take initiative to clean up and keep track of the park. Everyone can do their part, and each little thing counts for something.

  • Bianca Mannino

    Yes, people can be absolutely rude and untrusting but on the other hand taking away the opportunity to visit and see these beautiful parks would be so upsetting. I grew up visiting National Parks and it was such a fantastic experience for me as a child. It opened my eyes to so many amazing animals, plants, and natural structures. There needs to be strict rules and perhaps the people coming in have to be watched with a close eye, but I do not believe people should not be allowed. If people are found doing something wrong, they should be banned. There just needs to be a hard set of rules and they need to make sure they are being followed. People just need to step up and tart realizing that there are consequences for their actions.

  • Sean Parent

    Ecotourism is when a tourist from some place is conscious of the natural world around them and automatically care for the nature they are in as they travel to a place that has been well persevered by people and other tourist care for the environment that they willing went into and hopefully with knowledge of the natural environment and how to maintain it. Overall, ecotourism can and usually is a good thing. The most common ecotourism is simply going backpacking in the mountains and following regulations that are set about fires, where to pitch tents, water, waste, and interaction with wildlife. Many backpackers are conscious of what they are doing and how they are doing what they do. Many actually help the environment and and leave as little of a trace that they can. http://www.nature.org/greenliving/what-is-ecotourism.xml https://lnt.org

  • Foster Dennin

    I feel that ecotourism has both pros and cons. In this day and age there are so many people and the visitation to National Parks has sky-rocketed. This calls for more people to be employed I feel to maintain the park. The other factor I think is important, is that while safety is always an issue and a priority, National Parks are meant to be kept wild. They were set in place to maintain the natural beauty that they hold, and we shouldn’t begin to mess up amazing areas by doing vast amounts of construction to make places more accessible. Places such as Angels Landing in Zion can be very dangerous, and the addition of safety bars I think is overall helpful. But it works in this situation. Unlike other places, Angels Landing has a reputation for being a harder to get to place, and is an adrenaline junkies dream. Therefore it needs to have precautions, but not so much that it distorts the original state of the site. In other cases I believe not as much needs to be done to make everything accessible. The main factor in this, is how the visitors will treat the park. If people respect the rules set down by the park I feel that it can allow for more to be added for visitors because the park will be respected and in good condition.
    The International Ecotourism Society says that, “Ecotourism is a growing segment of the global tourism industry that is making significant positive contributions to the environmental, social, cultural and economic well-being of destinations and local communities around the world.” I agree that it has many positive contributions. And I feel that finding new ways to help maintain natural beauty in our world is very important. But we must be careful to not get too ahead of ourselves, and remember that these places are wild, and if we try to change it too much it won’t be the same.
    https://www.ecotourism.org/book/why-ecotourism-important

  • cschaf

    Ecotourism is an overall good idea, the definition incorporates the idea of preservation, personal responsibility, and cooperation/mutual respect for the environment. However, the fault lies within the individual. We, as a society, can make an effort, but it ultimately comes down to the individual visiting the park. Ecotourism is helping the parks rain awareness and increasing the number of visitors, however, this increase in visitors has had negative effects on the wildlife and natural environment. I think we need to continue to raise awareness, increase security, and practice preservation. Keeping wildlife wild should be our biggest priority, we need to be aware and respectful of our impact.

    • KatieScott

      I agree with Chloe. Overall I think Ecotourism is a good Idea but our biggest priority should be preserving and respecting the environment. According to http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1006&context=student_scholarship
      some of the biggest issues of ecotourism is that we are urbanizing these natural environments. “Tourism adds to the depletion of
      resources as well as provokes changes in ecosystems. Cars, snowmobiles and airplanes
      may be the biggest threat to these areas, causing pollution and natural disturbances.” The article also suggests some ideas that could potentially protect these beautiful natural ecosystems “ranging from
      limiting visitors and vehicles, to management planning and laws. The most important
      action, however, is educating tourist on the issues and providing information on what
      individuals can do to help”.

  • Joey Mancini

    Ecotourism is most definitely a good thing. The whole point of a national park is to preserve the land, so that generations of people can experience the beauty of the park. Ecotourism ensures this. People need to be responsible while in the parks to do their part, because the National Park Service is working its tail off to keep the parks beautiful and accessible for everyone. Ecotourism helps make the parks’ wonder available for all to capture, and also ensures that the parks’ beauty remains effervescent.

  • Sean Hemmersmeier

    I think that there is a ver thin line between preserving our national parks and making them more accessible. Since there are merits to both since a more accessible park system would provide more nature for more people but making a more accessible park system does take away from the wildness of parks. We could keep our parks at their natural beauty but we would have to compromise their tourist appeal. Or we could make the parks more tourist friendly but that would compromise what most people love about national parks. I think that parks should stay wild.

  • Hugh McGirt

    @KQEDedspace It seems to me that people are misinterpreting the definition of ecotourism. The website for ecotourism defines the word as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.”(https://www.ecotourism.org/what-is-ecotourism) By this definition, ecotourism shouldn’t involve building infrastructure to more easily access wild areas. Not everything has to be easy to get to, and you kind of ruin the beauty of a wild place if you take the effort out of seeing that beauty. #DoNowUParks

  • Jack Boomer

    National parks are too civilized. There are too many buildings and paved roads that it takes away from beauty and wilderness of the national park. The whole vision behind national parks is to preserve the these beautiful pockets of nature throughout our country. I know national parks are also intended for people to enjoy them as well. However, this problem of human interference/vandalism has been a problem for a long time. There are always going to be mischievous visitors to these parks so it would be near impossible to vent out bad guests. But the solution lies within the accessibility of the national park itself. If there were not so many paved roads and buildings and other human influences on the park accessibility would be made instantly more difficult, limiting the ecotourists willing to tackle these preserved nature hotspots. Fewer visitors will further preserve our beautiful national parks.

  • Jackson Start

    Teddy Roosevelt was one of the first presidents to have national parks on his agenda. He wanted it for preserving the wildlife in the area of North America. Now it does more than just protect the wildlife, it protects the landscape of growing America. “Americans developed a national pride of the natural wonders in this nation and they believed that they rivaled the great castles and cathedrals of Europe,” explains David Barna.
    This shows when you go to major national parks in America you see a verity of people there observing the beauty.
    https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/history.htm
    http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/early-history/

  • M Oliver

    National parks were originally established to protect the integrity of the natural wildlife (https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/history.htm). Today, however, they exists largely to entertain the public. This is in part because they rely on profit gained from ecotourists to contribute to the upkeep of their parks. With more and more people visiting parks each year, they are straying further and further away from their original state of pure wildness (http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/top-10/national-parks-issues/). The question then arises, should parks be made safer to prevent danger to visitors, or should visitation of the park be exclusive to people who are skilled and fit enough to endure the wilderness? While tourism is important, the parks were originally designed for the wildlife, not for the people. The best compromise would be to designate a certain portion of the parks for all visitors, and leave the rest of the park open to people at their own risk. This way, people could still visit and enjoy the parks, but the rest of the park would be able to remain wild.

  • Jack Kempton

    Ecotourism is important due to what it literally means as it’s ‘responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.’ https://www.ecotourism.org/what-is-ecotourism Ecotourism offers positive contributions to social, environmental, and social well-being for national parks. As long as these values remain, I think that ecotourism is a good thing for national parks and similar destinations.

  • Keaton Hill

    While I believe that ecotourism is not necessarily a good thing, I do think that without it, we would not have the current system that funds and keeps up our amazing National Park Service. This is because without people to participate in ecotourism, there won’t be anyone spending money at these national parks, and therefore they will not be able to continue functioning without that money. I also believe that not all ecotourists can be blamed for the problems with it, because some tourists are excellent about cleaning up after themselves and minimizing their impact on the environment, while others blatantly disregard the environment and do as they please. Because of this, I think that we should keep ecotourism alive in order to protect our national parks and to keep appreciation for the environment healthy. #DoNowUParks #MyCMSTArgs

  • bgirl272

    Although because of the sheer amount of people participating in ecotourism may hurt the environment I believe that it is helping the environment. This is because now people have a deepened connection to the environment and therefore care more about it. People are more environmentally conscious because of their growing love for things like ecotourism. Because they love nature so much they learn more about it and in their lives are better about taking care of the planet as a whole. http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/stakeholder_trends_insights/sustainable_brands/survey_60_americans_resolving_more_env

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