Pump The Brakes

Hillary Tully (Letters, 3/5) argues that claims about overuse of natural areas (such as Bob Keefer’s 2/27 article “The End of the Tour”) often belie classist, racist and ableist impulses. She says we are all owners of Yellowstone National Park, the “we” presumably referring to us humans. But this is not just about us human beings enjoying these spaces equitably.

National Parks and other natural areas do not exist just for the enjoyment of the human species. Wild animals and plants need these areas to survive because we humans have occupied and degraded all the rest of the land where they used to live. We need to back off and give them space, not create “better infrastructure” so more and more people can invade their homes.

Access can be limited but still equitable, via some kind of lottery for a visitation permit. Tully’s reference to our country’s indigenous history is off base because the pre-settlement Native American population was far smaller than our current population, and they lived lifestyles that were much less disruptive to the other
species they shared the land with.

The continuation of life depends on biological diversity, which is disappearing at an exponential rate due
to exponential growth of human resource consumption. It is way past time to put on the brakes.

Sharon Blick