The national park is the best idea America ever had

“It’s a reminder that despite the fact that the country seems to be very nearly coming apart at the seams, there is still much to recommend it — namely, its spectacular beauty. When it comes to protected public lands, there are none better than America’s.

Ours is a boastful nation, prone to ridiculous exaggeration of our own innovativeness. Too often, it’s empty wind. In a great many areas — like our disastrously inefficient medical system, or our pathetic passenger rail — we’re still far behind where Europe was 50-80 years ago. Heck, we can’t even match Romania at internet speed — and that was developed here a mere generation back!

But national parks are unquestionably an American development. Pushed by American writers and activists, we established the first one in 1872: Yellowstone National Park. This served as a model around the world, from Australia to South Africa to Costa Rica. As Wallace Stegner once wrote, national parks might fairly be called ‘the best idea we ever had.’”

(Keep reading.)