National Park Traveler reviews Lowry’s new book: ‘Repairing Paradise’

In his latest book, “Repairing Paradise, The Restoration of Nature in America’s National Parks,” WUSTL political science professor William R. Lowry takes us to Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Everglades national parks to examine four contentious issues that disrupted the natural side of these parks, and identifies keys to how they could be overcome.

“I think the changes that have been proposed for places like the Everglades, they need to happen pretty soon,” Lowry said recently in an phone interview with the author of an extensive book review published Jan. 8 in the magazine National Parks Traveler. “I would encourage some patience with the Park Service. I think the Park Service generally tries to do the right thing with these places … so I guess the patience would be acknowledgment that the Park Service has to deal with a lot of forces in order to get things done that they want to do in these places.

“And a lot of these efforts, my patience wears kind of thin with some of the arguments I hear about the parks. We haven’t set aside that much land in this country to be preserved in pristine condition, so what we have set aside I think we need to be pretty vigilant and make sure that we do protect it,” he added. “Not just protect it, but we need to repair it from the damages from previous polices that have affected it.”

And when it comes to “repairing” the damage, one can’t always expect to return settings to their original, pristine condition, he said.

“Here’s one example why it’s so hard to talk about restoration to some certain condition: These places are always evolving, so what is that condition?” he wondered. “Are you just picking out some particular moment in time when you want to restore it to? What I would rather talk about, and what I try to talk about in the book, are our efforts to try to repair the damages from policies that we have pursued in the past that have negatively impacted these places. You can repair them … to the end that you could achieve some kind of quality or some kind of environment that you would hope reflected something that was there before we damaged these places.”

Read the full book review:

For additional background on Lowry’s research and book projects, see the links below.

Lowry’s Department of Political Science faculty Web page

Lowry’s Curriculum Vitae (January 2010) (pdf)

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