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Sellars, Richard West. Preserving Nature in the National Parks: A History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.
In this book, National Park Service historian Richard Sellars traces the changing concepts of natural resource management in the national parks. Sellar's basic thesis is that a persistent tension has existed within the National Park Service between development of parks for tourism (recreational and scenery management) and preservation of natural resources and conditions (ecological management) within them. Sellars challenges the prevailing myth that the early national parks were set aside principally as nature preserves. Instead, he demonstrates that recreational tourism as envisioned by corporate interests formed the chief intent behind the national park concept. Clearly sympathetic toward the ecological stance, Sellars sums up the primary difference between scenery and ecological management as follows: "to the untrained eye, unoccupied lands can mean unimpaired lands, even where scientists might quickly recognize that human activity has caused substantial biological change. The loss of ecological integrity may have little or no effect on the aesthetics or the general appearance of an area" [S. Trail]