The State Park Movement in America: A Crictical Review

By Ney C. Landrum | Go to book overview

The Need for State Parks

It is becoming increasingly difficult for men and women in great cities to go back to the great outdoors and there renew the springs which nourish and sweeten their lives. The real wilderness lies too distant from them. The only countryside they know is hedged in and fenced and offers no opportunity for a real taste of that hardship or at least that absence of the more softening influences of city life which their inner being craves. City parks do not fill the gap. They are necessary and useful in their place, but they are often all art, not nature, and it is nature which man wants. He must have somewhere to go outdoors, not too far away where he can entirely forget the city and all its ways.

National Parks partly fill this need but they are remote from the great masses of population; consequently the great movement for State Parks in recent years has come from a realization of the need and of the remedy. The State park has come to stay. It is a growing factor in modern American life, and it is one of the most hopeful, for it is a reaction of the inner instincts of humanity against a wholly new and artificial environment which threatens not only the impairment of its life but the mutilation of its soul. Modern man was building himself a prison. The State Park is one way out and the way which leads to those open fields not only of life but of thought where high, clean air may some day reinspire mankind to a truer vision of what this world might become.

—Adapted from the introduction to the Proceedings of the Second National Conference on State Parks

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