Hunting and conservation have a long history together. In today’s world, where natural predators aren’t as common as they used to be, hunting is sometimes necessary for population control of animals such as deer or beaver. These animals can quickly alter an ecosystem if their populations aren’t kept in check by hunting. On the flipside of the coin, it is hunting that cause populations of animals such as wolves, grizzly bears, and bison to die off in the first place. Although hunting is strictly regulated now, that wasn’t always the case and animals have even been hunted to extinction. Basically, the relationship and history between hunting and conservation is a complicated one. One that is still being worked on today. This month, that has become even more evident with new hunting regulations being approved in Wyoming and proposed in Alaska.
About three weeks ago I moved to Zion National Park. As I was sitting in my office researching the park, so I would be able to answer any visitor questions, I saw something astounding. The visitation in Zion has increased from 2 million to 4.3 million in less than five years. I asked my supervisor why he thought the visitation had increased so much and he answered “social media.” I found this very interesting, about a year ago I wrote a blog entitled “How Social Media is Destroying our National Parks”, on this site and while I still stand by the arguments I made in the blog, today I thought that I would offer a different, alternative viewpoint on how social media is helping save our national parks. This issue is not, and has never been black and white.
When President Obama visited Yosemite and Carlsbad Caverns this month, he faced a lot of criticism. Some of the complaints were that the timing wasn’t right following the tragedy in Orlando, that his weekend visit interrupted the Father’s Day weekend of too many people in the crowded Yosemite, that he should be focused on more important things than the national parks, and finally that his transportation had a negative environmental impact on these places. Even if every single one of these complaints were absolutely legitimate, Obama’s visit to the parks was still important and still necessary.
When visiting Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, or any other of the vast number of protected scenic lands in the United States, most people are grateful that the land was set aside to be protected. But besides the immediate effects of conserving a piece of land, what other benefits do America’s Public Lands have on the green movement as a whole and how do they positively affect environmental stewardship?
I, like many others, am extremely active on social media. I check it first thing when I wake up and right before I fall asleep. I follow many people whose work I find inspiring and I constantly check hashtags in an effort to discover new people, new locations, and new perspectives. However, lately I have begun noticing a trend that extremely distressing to me as a conservationist and park ranger: People hurting the protected (and to me, the absolutely most sacred) land of our national parks, in order to get the shot. I don’t want to point fingers, name names, or even be a spoil-sport, but somebody has got to say something, and it might as well be me. But before we go farther, I want to make one thing clear. I do not in any way, shape or form, believe that social media is the root of the problem that is apathy, or that it is a new problem. People have been disrespecting parks for years. But I do strongly believe that the influences social media has is now a huge issue and is quietly destroying the parks faster than ever before. [Read more…] about How Social Media is Harming our Public Lands
We know the drought in California is bad. More than half the state now suffers from the most severe drought conditions possible and it’s only getting worse, according to recent reports.
A drought can have a massive impact on agriculture and the ecosystem, depending on how long it lasts and how widespread it is. Drought affects our lives in many different ways. We need water to live, and animals and plants do, too. And if water is scarce, the effects can be devastating./p> [Read more…] about California Drought and Why We Need to Conserve