The State Parks: Their Meaning in American Life

The State Parks: Their Meaning in American Life

The State Parks: Their Meaning in American Life

The State Parks: Their Meaning in American Life

Excerpt

The state park movement in this country has grown tremendously during the past four decades. When the National Conference on State Parks first met in 1921 on the recommendation of Stephen T. Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, a few state parks existed, but in only nineteen of the states. All the states now have state parks. This recreation estate consists of nearly 2,800 parks, monuments, recreation areas, beaches, parkways, and waysides; embraces some 5.8 million acres; and is administered by over a hundred state park and historical agencies. Current annual expenditures run to $110 million and visitors exceeed 273 million.

Several factors have influenced this tremendous growth -- increasing population, mobility, and income; the shorter work week; paid vacations; and the trend toward participation in outdoor recreation activities. Furthermore, as our resources are rapidly vanishing, the states have become increasingly responsive to the need for preserving the precious examples of their scenic, natural, and cultural heritage. They are aware of the urgency to acquire and preserve such areas before it is too late. The situation has already reached the now- or-never stage.

No comprehensive survey and report on the state parks has been attempted since the publication of Beatrice Ward Nelson's State Recreation in 1928 and Herbert Evison's A State Park Anthology in 1930. And, when these books were written, many of the states not only had no state parks, but had no well-based hopes of having any.

For some years there has been an evident need for an up-to-date, authoritative account of the state parks which would serve as a guide in state planning and development, in the establishment of appropriate policies and practices, and in the winning of public support. There is great value in being able to study in a single volume what other states have accomplished, how they have done it, and what attitudes have been encountered. This book, then, is directed toward legislators, conservation agencies and organizations, schools, and par-

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