Read This: What Parts of the National Park System To Save From Climate Change?

Image: John Tully for The New York Times

National Parks are increasingly being permanently altered by climate change and the Park Service (NPS) is now forced to reckon with it, according to an eye-opening story by Zoë Schlanger in The New York Times.  Until recently, according to Dr. Abraham Miller-Rushing, an ecologist at Acadia National Park, “protected areas like the national parks were still being thought about as static places that could be preserved forever with the right techniques….We were being trained on how to keep things like they were in the past.” As a result, the Park Service recently published new guidance for park managers titled “Resist, Accept, Direct.

Why This Matters: The mission of the National Park Service has been to protect America’s “Crown Jewels” from change, but that’s not possible anymore.  The new guidance focuses on “how to plan for worst-case scenarios, decide what species and landscapes to prioritize, and how to assess the risk of relocating those that can’t survive otherwise .”  The NPS recognizes that “it will not be possible to safeguard all park resources, processes, assets, and values in their current form or context over the long term.” Schlanger writes that the NPS is encouraging park managers to “think beyond resistance to change and begin considering transformation as the prevailing theme to be greeted and managed.”  That is good advice for all of us. 

Read the entire story here — it is worth your time.

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