Richard Louv

Recipient of the Audubon Medal

Author of the National Bestseller Last Child in the Woods

Blog Posts: December 2017

GIVE THE GIFT OF THE UNIVERSE

Photo Credit: Artless Photos, Creative Commons

Please join me by becoming a Charter Member of the Children & Nature Network. To help take our movement to the next level, C&NN is moving to a membership model. Your support will help children around the world experience the wonder of nature. — Richard Louv

Click here to join the Children & Nature Network before December 31, 2017 and be recognized as a Charter Member. As a Charter Member, you’ll have increased opportunities to engage with leaders in our movement, gain valuable support & resources. You will join like-minded changemakers in creating a more powerful constituency for our issue -- and help shape the future of the children and nature movement.

Afew years ago, Madhu Narayan, a Girl Scout leader in San Diego, told me this story: "In my first counseling job, with another organization, I took children with AIDS to the mountains who had never been out of their urban neighborhoods. One night, a nine-year-old woke me up. She had to go to the bathroom. We stepped outside the tent and she looked up. She gasped and grabbed my leg. She had never seen the stars before.

"That night, I saw the power of nature on a child. She was a changed person," said Narayan." From that moment on, she saw everything, even the camouflaged lizard that everyone else skipped by. She used her senses. She was awake." Read Full Post.

HIGHER ENTRANCE FEES WILL HURT OUR NATIONAL PARKS: Let the National Park Service Know What You Think by Dec. 22, 2017

 

The National Parks are called that for a reason. They're not the Parks for the One Percent. Not just the Parks for People with Cool Gear.

Some people say there are too many people visiting the nation's parks. They argue that increasing entry fees specifically during peak visitation times will help keep the parks open and maintained -- especially, they say, because the current administration is unlikely to adequately fund them.

It's true that attendance at some National Parks has skyrocketed, and that some visitors have damaged them. The New York Times reports that Zion National Park's "delicate desert ecosystem has been battered by tourists, some of whom wash diapers in the Virgin River, scratch their names into boulders and fly drone cameras through once quiet skies." One suggestion is rather than charging higher fees, parks should take reservations and cap attendance when that's needed. That's more equitable than raising fees.

As to the economic argument, the administration is "hoping" that higher fees will bring in an estimated $68 million. But at the same time, the administration would cut the National Park Service budget by a whopping $322 million, through a regressive fee that will hurt new users (who are less likely to buy a pass) the most.

Another truth is that attendance at many of our National Parks dropped radically in past decades. Not surprisingly, so did political support for them. Fortunately, in more recent years, attendance began to rise, in some parks substantially, but that increase appears to be primarily among aging Baby Boomers. Visitations still lag among families with children and people who are not white or affluent. As for overuse, yes, some parts of our National Parks are overcrowded, but congestion is typically on the roads, not deeper in the park. Especially in some of the most popular parks, few visitors get more than a quarter mile, if that, from their cars.

Reducing financial support for parks is unconscionable; raising fees will be counterproductive. 

The National Park Service has extended its public comment deadline to Dec. 22.  Read Full Post.