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Thinking outside the lines: Parks and the quality of life in area communities

January 1, 2000

Many national parks, national forests, and other public land units exist in highly changeable regional environments. Often the parks and forests themselves serve as important catalysts of change in the levels of tourism, outdoor recreation participation, and contribution of traveling publics to local and regional economies. Resource managers are called upon to protect lands in their jurisdictions while juggling a variety of inputs and expectations. In each agency, resource decisions are bound by law and agency policy. In this context, the decision space of the national park manager is quite different from that of those in multiple-use land management agencies. Management actions must stand up, not only to law and policy and to scientific scrutiny, but they must also be sensitive to the needs of residents in surrounding communities, to county and state governing bodies, and to visitors from across the nation and around the world. Balancing these needs while protecting resources in an ongoing challenge made more difficult as the mix of stakeholders growsa?|