President Ulysses S. Grant signed the legislation establishing Yellowstone National Park in 1872, making it the first such place preserved for future generations. At the time, there was no real threat of massive industrial development in the region, but forward-thinking conservationists foresaw what could become of this natural treasure and advocated for its protection. Few Americans had ever laid eyes on Old Faithful or the Great Falls, but conservation efforts won the day. The United States is so much richer thanks to that victory.
Few places with this scope of unspoiled wilderness remain within U.S. territory, but a series of them still exist in the central Pacific Ocean. On Monday, August 11, there will be a chance to call for their protection: The Obama administration will hold a public town-hall-style meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, to hear comments on a proposal to expand the boundaries of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
For more on this idea, please see:
- Protecting the Natural Treasures of America’s Remote Pacific Islands by Michael Conathan