Environmental Ethics

Volume 18, Issue 3, Fall 1996

J. Mark Morgan
Pages 279-290

Resources, Recreationists, and Revenues
A Policy Dilemma for Today’s State Park Systems

Many state park systems across the U.S. are facing a controversial policy issue over the three R’s: resources, recreationists, and revenues. It is becoming increasingly difficult for state parks to protect the resources and allow for public enjoyment, mainly because of political demands for increased revenue. As a result, many state park systems have built elaborate facilities for visitors. Are these park improvement projects motivated by a sincere desire to satisfy diverse user groups or simply another way of generating revenue for state governments? What are the “hidden” costs of park development? I discuss the policy implications for state park management, along with some philosophical issues concerning the utilization of publicly owned natural resources.