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August 16, 2006

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GreenmanTim

Good reminder, Laura. I have just crossposted at Whorled Leaves. As for realistic expectations of nature, most of us are far away from that perspective. I have to remind myself that those of us who self-identify as environmentalists or with direct experience with the natural world in all its complexity and wonder on a daily basis are a distinct minority. This point was brought home once at a lobbying training I attended with other conservation professionals and members of environmental nonprofits. Those of us who had listened to NPR's Morning Edition or had an espresso based coffee in the past month we asked to raise our hands. A sea of arms went up. We were told that only 7% of American's fit that profile, and we were not representative of mainstream America.

Laura

Would have been nice if you posted this at Whorled Leaves, Tim!

I'd agree that some national parks could probably do with less visitors. I think most people's experience with nature (from what they see on TV and such) leads to some unrealistic expectations about what one can see *for real* - can real nature compete with the Discovery Channel?

Genevieve

I recently read an article (Sex, booze and boats, by Ken Leiser, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Saturday, Jul. 29 2006) about some of the scenic rivers in the Missouri Ozarks. It said that on weekends, the rivers are full of people who have come to party in the water. To summarize, there are drunks on every sandbar and they're often loud and crude. Other river users feel the revelry makes it difficult to enjoy nature or even to bring along their family.

When the public is using a river in ways that make it an unfit place to bring children, is that really an intended use of a "Wild and Scenic River" ? In my view, no, and I really wouldn't care if some of them stayed home and partied there instead.

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