Response to Reproducing nature: the technology of national parks

In the article, Reproducing nature: the technology of national parks, the author argues that the roots of national parks are not only found in the natural features, but the historical and cultural conditions of each of the establishments. In order for me to agree or disagree with this position, I need to understand some of the vocabulary terms. I believe that nature can be viewed as a place without people. This suggests that nature is protected by the absence of people. I think culture is defined as the specific characteristics of a particular group of people. Culture is characterized by language, religion, beliefs, values, and social habits. I view culture as human patterns that are shared, and infused into all aspects of social interaction. I define the term historical as something that is based on or concerned with events in history. For me, if something has historical value, it is usually extremely important or really famous. Historical context is usually connected to social, cultural, or political conditions for a certain idea or event. Now, I can state my opinion on the author’s point of view. I believe that the foundation for national parks centers on the natural features, along with historical and cultural conditions.

The first is very easy to understand. All most every national park is known for its’ natural features. The Grand Canyon is famous for the mile deep canyon that was carved into the plateau by the Colorado River. The northwest rim of the Grand Canyon is home to a primitive area known as Toroweap, which offers spectators a breathtaking view that is approximately 3000 feet above the River. Point Imperial is the highest point on the North Rim. Point Imperial is over 8,000 feet and overlooks the magnificent Painted Desert. My list could go on forever. I have been fortunate enough to visit the Grand Canyon, and every aspect of the park is truly spectacular.

Yellowstone National Park is also well known for its’ magnificent natural features. Yellowstone is home to over 10,000 thermal features. Hot springs, pools, mud pots, and geysers encompass the park. The most famous geyser is Old Faithful, which erupts every ninety minutes. Old Faithful typically reaches heights over 130 feet. Mammoth Springs are extraordinary hydrothermal terraces that rise several hundred feet up the hillside. Another awesome feature of Yellowstone is Bunsen Peak, which reaches an elevation of some 8500 feet. Yellowstone is definitely one of my favorite parks. After viewing the park and seeing first-hand the remarkable features, it is only plausible to understand that some of the foundation of Yellowstone lies in the astonishing natural features of the park.

The second aspect is also easy to comprehend. Almost every national park can be connected to a historical value. For instance, the Grand Canyon displays indications habitation took place as far back as 2000 BC. Evidence shows that the Grand Canyon was home to the Anasazi, and Cerbats. The Spaniards and Native Americans also explored the Grand Canyon and left precious remnants for modern day historians to scrutinize. The history of the Grand Canyon lies in the mass populations of diverse inhabitants that explored and existed throughout the park.

Yellowstone National Park’s history is also well known. For example, the massive eruption that deemed the Yellowstone Caldera Event. It is the largest known volcanic eruption. Almost 650,000 years ago, the eruption created a mass caldera over 28 miles wide. The eruption altered weather around the world, and it is said that ash remnants can still be found in core samples from the Gulf of Mexico. Evidence shows habitation as far back as 10,000 BC. Thousands of precious relics have been found that are connected to the Native Americans and Europeans that explored and settled throughout the park. The historical significance of Yellowstone stems from the human inhabitants and the geological wonders of the park.

The third aspect is a little harder for me to wrap my brain around. When I ponder on the culture of the Grand Canyon, I suppose it is possible to believe the roots are composed from some aspect of culture. In the article, the author did not offer any concrete evidence to support this claim. I think back to my many visits of this park, and certainly I can imagine that the Native Americans centered their heritage and culture on the life of the canyon. Lacking any major research, I can only conclude that the Native Americans probably hunted and farmed according to the conditions of the canyon. Although Native Americans no longer inhabit the canyon, their traditions and customs from life once lived in the canyon passes from generation to generation. In this sense, I agree that culture is rooted in the foundation of the Grand Canyon.

Focusing on the culture of Yellowstone, I can also infer that the roots are originated from cultural aspects. Culture has also been passed from generation to generation for the Native Americans that once roamed the great plains of Yellowstone. Culture is also rooted in the preservation of the park. The establishment of Yellowstone National Park marked a new relationship between man and nature. Evident in our modern times, most of main stream society flocks to national parks to find peace and tranquility.

The cultural and historical characteristics ultimately interweave with the natural features of the landscape that is found in national parks. National parks are founded on their natural wonders, historical implications, and cultural differences. The history and culture of national parks is equally as engaging as the adventurous activities found within the park. National parks offer spectators beautiful sights, cultural education and historical knowledge.


One thought on “Response to Reproducing nature: the technology of national parks

  1. Just a quick comment about the Grand Canyon. Many Southwestern Native American tribes have a shared belief that we are living in the Fourth World — that human beings have climbed up through several worlds into this one. This belief is indicated in their architecture buildings and kivas often have ladders and openings at the top of the structures; Hopi kivas, in particular, have a small hole-like depression in the floor called a sipapu that represents the place where the ancestors came up from this world. The Grand Canyon is the place that many tribes believe the ancestors came from–and it makes sense. The canyon is huge fissure that seems like it could lead to another world. This creation myth is published as a book called “The Fourth World of the Hopi” and it really is a great read.

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