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Week Seven: National Parks and the Federal Government's Management of Land and Resources in the Northwest

 This week examines the development of the national parks in our region and nationally.  The Lecture (approximately 61 minutes) by Jeff Wiltse addresses the reasons for the conservation movement and the way it developed in the Northwest.  Maps & Cityscapes presents maps that detail the National Parks, Forests, and Monuments as well as Indian reservations in our region.  You will also find a state by state list of National Parks, Forests, and Monuments in the Northwest, noting the year established.

Tribal Perspectives includes primary documents and commentary that raise the issue of whose lands were conserved for the Nation?  People and the Humanities presents a biography of conservationist George Bird Grinnell, the discussion of the creation myth surrounding Yellowstone National Park and the advertising campaigns by the Great Northern Railroad.  The Research section, in addition to our top books and films, asks you to consider the reality of what was happening to the rest of the land, while the most beautiful lands were acquired for conservation.

Assignment suggestions for this week’s content include:

  • How have conservation movements changed the way we look at the value of land?  What worth does conserved land have?  Have the ideas of the value of untilled and untrammeled land changed over the 20th century?
  • Consider the link between business and conservation.  Do the goals of business always conflict with the goals of conservationists or can they match on any level?
  • How do we decide who should judge what a piece of land is good for?  Have other countries or other parts of the United States dealt with conflicting land claims differently?  Were their solutions more or less successful than the solutions implemented here?
  • How do we tell our national/regional story through biographies?  Thoughtful and thorough readers will note that the biography of Grinnell is contrasted by information presented elsewhere on these pages.  Whose story dominates and why?  How can students be encouraged to consider multiple viewpoints and to become comfortable with paradox and the many shades of grey?

Northern Pacific Railroad's Yellowstone "Wonderland" Advertising Campaign http://www.sharinghistory.com/RR4.htm