Volume 3, Number 25 - September 18, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Yellowstone Nat'l Park
Part five: The principles of economics and tourism
Is Yellowstone National Park a "mere tourist attraction" and a "short-term revenue generator for local and state economies?" Many seem to think so, according to Yellowstone's official internet newsletter.
What part does tourism play? How important is it when considering the preservation or the conservation of Yellowstone?
Local and state economies benefit from park tourism. Overall, tourism benefits economy. Why? Because people generate economy.
Tourism is an awkward word in the English language. It has several connotations. To the local person who is content in his business and with his small town, the word "tourism" can take on somewhat of a negative connotation. To businesses that depend on people and travelers - motels, gift shops, museums, etc - tourism is a very necessary and positive thing. To the family that is planning a summer vacation, tourism is, well, unavoidable. But what part does tourism play when taking the environment into consideration?
This seems to be one of the most sensitive subjects associated with the controversy of snowmobiles in Yellowstone. Is there some kind of a balance between generating tourism and protecting the environment? Once again, here is an issue on which each person takes his individual stand.
Like any other national park, company, corporation, business, etc., in the United States, Yellowstone's economy is dependent on one primary factor - people. Economies of communities surrounding the park are dependent upon the same factor - people. Our state, our nation and our world thrive and depend on people. But they can also be destroyed by people.
People are concerned about the fate of Yellowstone and snowmobiling for a variety of reasons. What do people base their opinions on? Other people? Tourism? Money? The environment? How about the intangible values that make the national park unique and breathtaking? Enjoying a family vacation in the middle of winter. Cozying up to a big fire in the lodge with a cup of hot chocolate while big, soft snowflakes fall outside. Having the opportunity to travel miles and miles of snow-packed trails in crisp winter air. Taking a photo with your best friend near a crystal-clear waterfall.
It is these kinds of values that really matter. The preservation and conservation of Yellowstone is both dependent upon the protection of its environment and on people to generate a stimulating economy. Yellowstone is ours to enjoy. It's ours for everyone to enjoy.
What is Yellowstone worth? Only we, the people, can answer.
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