For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People: A Study of Contemporary American Interactions with National Parks and Wilderness
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This thesis aims to reveal the character of contemporary American interactions with national parks and wilderness. Employed for the achievement of this purpose herein are two methodologies: exploration of personal ethnographic observations from four summers spent working in national parks and forests, and first-hand interviews of visitors to national parks. In the first section of this work, American wilderness relationships are sorted into four main categories and parsed for better understanding of both motivations and manifested actions of people who experience national parks. In section two, the thesis explores personal opinions and experiences of national parks through interviews of park-goers in Rocky Mountain National Park in order to determine American values regarding wilderness and their potential policy implications. Finally, the work provides potential solutions to existent tensions between use and preservation of national parks.