Top Ten Most-Endangered Public Lands

Endangered Public Lands
By Andrea Keller

You've hiked Cadillac Mountain, lunched with mountain goats near the trail to Glacier's Hidden Lake, photographed the year's first white blossoms at Joshua Tree, and howled with wolves at Yellowstone. You know that our national parks preserve what is best about America and assume that they offer pristine environments, with clean air and water.

But on that last point you'd be wrong, according to the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), a nonprofit park watchdog group that compiles an annual list of America's ten most endangered national parks. Although NPCA, The Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club, and other national environmental organizations work side by side with the National Park Service and park friends groups to ensure that parks receive proper protection, the groups also find that public and congressional education helps stimulate immediate action.

This list showcases severe problems at the parks," said NPCA president Thomas Kiernan. "Without stronger protection for the National Park System, we stand to lose many of the cultural, natural, and historic places that define us as Americans. If we can't save our national parks - our spiritual and cultural homeland - what does that say about us as a nation?

And NPCA has met with success. The once-listed National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, for example, is now protected by legislation granting $2.5 million annually to protect park sites, structures, and documentation. California's Joshua Tree is another success story: Lawsuits have stalled development of a landfill.

Now the following parks are in danger, and it's up to us all to save them - now.

If you're interested in helping to protect these parks, visit NPCA's Web site at The group's Action Center enables site visitors to send instant mail about park needs to the Park Service and to the president and other elected officials.


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