Assessment: United States Is the Diversity

Pages: 18 (5913 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … United States is the diversity of its landscape, its biomes, and the incredible amount of natural resources available. Because it was resettled by Europeans relatively late in the historical span of human culture, much of those resources remained fresh and pristine much later. However, with the advent of western expansion in the 1800s, the building of a transcontinental railway, and increased mining, large scale farming and ranching, and industrialization, those pristine areas have often been at risk. Since 1872, the United State National Park System has grown from a small, single-park managerial service to one of the less political visible, but nevertheless important, trustees of American natural resources. From Yellowstone National Park to over 450 natural, historical, recreational, and cultural treasures, the National Parks System manages over 21,000 people through the Department of Interior and dedicates its energy and resources towards education and preservation (Lee, 1972).

Any program designed for the public good is by its nature inextricably linked to politics, not only through motive but in many instances through more practical elements as well. The political system provides the directives and often the financial support for these programs, and thus the programs themselves are prone to many of the same strength and weakness as the political system. Thus, the quality of a public service organization will be deeply and directly contingent upon the quality of its political structure. In particular, the processes and policies of the organization will bear a reciprocal relationship with the manner in which resources are allocated. This is not to argue that a company's success begins with its organizational structure, and design. Therefore, it is essential for an organization to have constructed an explicit and standardized mode by which policies are carried out, skills qualifications and personal attributes are illuminated and used in attending the macro-organizational factors of creating and managing organizational culture. The quality of efforts with respect to organizational culture, in some contexts, will impact not just the internal orientation of an organization but also the image which it project to the mainstream marketplace (McDonell and MacKintosh, 2006; Davis, 2001). This makes the National Park Service (NPS), a particular interesting case for our examination of Organizational theory, Design, and changes. This is true given its remarkable success as a management organization and yet it's continued struggles with funding and the impact which these struggles have on its operative goals. The discussion takes a direct interest in the "National Park Service" history, challenges, funding, politics, future, along with an analysis of the NPS.

Description of the Agency- Historically, the public embraced the idea of a national parks service that would both protect the environment and offer the public natural recreation. The basic idea originated from the desire to protect special areas so they could be part of the national heritage for generations to come. However, political and social sensibilities of the 19th century were quite different than those of the 21st century, and the definition of what constitutes conservation has significantly evolved. Originally, the focus was on natural wonders, but that rather limited scope has evolved to include a historical chronicle of the natural world, to educate, conserve, and enhance the quality of life for the visitors to the park. It was the breathtaking gradeur of the area around what we now know as Yellowstone National Park that first caught the attention of naturalist, who in turn became advocates for protecting a significant area from mining and deforestation (Schullery and Whittlesey, 2003).

The idea for a federally managed National Park System came from George Catlin, and artist. Catlin traveled to the northern Great Plains in 1832. Even at this early date, he was worried about the destruction of Amerindian civilization, wildlife, and wilderness as more and more people headed west. He wrote, "by some great protecting policy of government… in a magnificent park… a nation's park, containing man and beast, in all the wildness and freshness of their nature's beauty (McDonell and MacKintosh, 2006). While there was no immediate effect from Catlin's view, the era between 1864 and 1891 witnessed an act to protect Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Redwood Trees -- this was signed into law in 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln. Popular myth said that the area near Yellowstone country was part of a campfire chat by explorers Folsom, Washburn and Hayden between 1869=71. The myth was successfully used by National Park supporters but eventually found to be false -- instead, an early ally in promoting a public reservation was actually the Northern Pacific Railroad as they were seeking a more northern route from the East Coast to Northern California and the Pacific Northwest (Schullery and Whittlesey).

Concurrent with this movement towards protecting the natural environment was a desire to protect the archaeologica heritage of the country from plunder -- and suprisingly led by local ranchers and farmers in the southwest. Their lobby resulted in the Antiquites Act of 1906, enthusiastically authorized by President Theodore Roosevelt, himself an avid naturalist. Based on Roosevelt's recommendation, Dr. Edgar Hewett made reviewed a number of Indian ruins in Arizxona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah, recommended many for protection. Between 1906 and 1916, the Department of the Interior worked with various administrations to proclaim 20 new National Monuments that would add to the sense of a burgeoning National Park System (Rothman, 1994).

The synergy about preservation and conservation was not lost on the political enviornment and the National Park Service was created on August 25, 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. This was the result of a number of political debates that pushed for various agencies to oversee the nation's parks. The period 1916 to 1933 was one of tremendous growth for this agency, most designed not only to consolidate and understand what resources it had, but to establish just what its overall mission would be. Through the 1920s, the National Park System focused mainly on areas west of the Mississippi -- there was more federally owned land in that area and it was far easier to establish authority. However, the 1920s also saw a more mobile population and it became very apparent that to really serve the appropriate mission the service would need to expand eastward as well. In 1926, Congress authroized Shenandoah, Mammoth Cave and the Great Smoky Mountains as National Parks within the Appalachian region. The system also included a number of historic parks near the eastern seaboard, many of which were either Revolutionay or Civil War battlefields (Miles, 1995, 77-9).

One of the more pragmatic issues surrounding the NPS was that however popular they might be, most politicans were unlikely to press for funding during difficult economic times unless the public interest was high. It was this attitude that President Franklin Roosevelt inherited when he took offic. Additionally, we must remember that not only was the country in an economic crisis (tax revenues down, banks had gone under), but many Americans were now looking to the Parks for inexpensive, yet enriching entertainment. Thus, during the 1930s, the Park Service become focused on areas intended primarily for mass recreation -- parkways, waterways, and the like (Daynes and Sussman, 2010).

Roosevelt also looked at the Park System with a new eye -- one that could accomplish both the goal of increasing public recreation -- and employment. The changes that swept the nation during the Great Depression affected the NPS as well. Many of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs focused on conservation-in particular, the civilian Conservation Corps. Among their many contributions, the Corps upgraded and expanded visitor facilities at national parks throughout the nation. In 1933, the Reorganizational Act was passed, giving the president the authority to transfer national monuments from one government department to another. The War Department's parks and monuments were transferred to the NPS that same year. Also transferred to the NPS were the national monuments administrated by the Agriculture Department and the sites included in the national capital parks in Washington, DC these orders gave the NPS 57 new areas. In addition to overseeing its newly transferred sites, the NPS took on a still larger role in the 1930s, when Congress created new categories of parklands. The Historic Sites Act of 1935 confirmed and expanded the role of NPS in preserving and restoring park resources and engaging in educational activities related to historic sites. The Park, Parkway, and Recreational Area Study Act of 1936 led to the purchase of land for parkways and recreational areas. Still another significant change that took place during the 1930s involved the creation of a program designed to evaluate the status of each park's wildlife, identify species that were in danger, and generate ideas for restoration (Ibid).

Between the 1930s and 1964, the NPS needed to assimilate over seventy diverse areas into its system. New budgetary concerns were constant with the agency -- Congress wanted a National Parks System but also had to fund the great American War Machine. In the 1950s, for instance there was a new push towards outdoor recreation, resulting in more… [END OF PREVIEW]

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