Bordering North America : constructing wilderness along the periphery of Canada, Mexico, and the United States
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This dissertation considers the exchanges between national parks along the North American borderlands that defined the contours of development and wilderness and created a brand new category of protected space -- the transboundary park. The National Park Systems of Canada, Mexico, and the United States did not develop and grow in isolation. "Bordering North America" examines four different parks in two regions: Waterton Lakes and Glacier in the northern Rocky Mountains of Alberta and Montana and Big Bend and the Maderas del Carmen in the Chihuahuan Desert of Texas and Coahuila. In 1932, Glacier and Waterton Lakes were combined to form the first transboundary park. In the 1930s and 1940s, using the Waterton-Glacier model as precedent, the U.S. and Mexican governments undertook a major effort, ultimately unsuccessful, to designate a sister park in Mexico and combine the two areas into another international space. Finally, in 1994, Mexico established two protected areas, including the Maderas del Carmen, adjacent to the Big Bend. Ideas about parks and wilderness migrated across borders just as freely as the flora and fauna these spaces sought to protect. Moreover, a multiplicity of views and forces, from three different Park Services, the visiting public, private enterprise, local landholders, competing government agencies and international NGOs, and even the elements of nature itself, all combined to shape the trajectory of park development.