NPS administrative histories look at the history of federal parks and the National Park Service as public programs and as a public trust. They analyze individual parks and their establishment and administration, as well as NPS programs and policies.
As a government agency, the NPS has reflected and participated in national discussions about the environment and its relationship to society. Parks provide specific evidence about the history of conservation and management of natural resources and about the economic, ecological, and aesthetic dimensions of the public lands. Parks illuminate changes in the very concept of nature and wilderness, the economic interests involved in the setting aside and development of public lands, and ways Americans experience nature and wilderness in shifting patterns of tourism and recreation.
Park managers bear significant responsibilities for decisions about park resources that affect how future generations will see this multifaceted natural and cultural heritage. Administrative histories inform them about the decision-making of their predecessors in the NPS, and about how NPS decisions have reflected and reflect broader social, economic, cultural, and political trends and interests.
Research possibilities abound in park-related aspects of the history of ideas about nature and culture, and the sometimes-contending interests of people who have influenced and implemented federal programs for the National Park System. We are seeking partnerships, advice, and assistance from park-goers, scholars, and others with interests in parks, conservation and preservation. As of June 2001, only about 60 of the 388 parks administered by the NPS had current administrative histories. NPS national programs for archeology, concessions, land acquisition, and recreation also present research opportunities.
Source: National Park Service
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