National PArks

Doug Yanega dyanega at
Wed Aug 27 14:53:26 EDT 1997

>I must admit I find it to be a double standard that fishing is allowed in
>the national park. [snip]
>However, I find it hard to swallow when a park official says it is illegal
>to collect specimens but you can fish all you want in the rivers and

This starts to tread on the somewhat delicate issue of lobbying. Time and
time again the point is made that were it not for sport hunters and sport
fishermen, the US might not have ANY wilderness areas left - wetlands
protection and many other things owe a great debt to the lobbying efforts
of the well-organized and well-supported hunting and fishing crowd. One of
the side-effects of this, however, is that rules get made to favor the
hunters/fishermen, since they're pretty much the folks paying to get the
rules made. If the insect-collecting lobby ever had the kind of money it
takes to influence congressmen and senators, then we might see the end of
the double standard. But if the rules were changed so the fish were
protected, too, then (a) there would be a lot fewer parks visitors (and
this would make it easier for parks opponents to justify closing them, and
reduce what little income they generate), and (b) there would be a lot of
angry fishermen generating pressure to restore the old rules. It's a sad
fact, but there are always tradeoffs, and this "double standard" you
mention does seem to be one of them.
        If it's one of the prices we pay for having park protection, then I
for one won't object too strongly about that - though that doesn't mean I
can't be bothered by the whole lobbying system in the first place, or the
Damoclean Sword hanging over the National Parks system every election year.
We shouldn't *have* to try to "sell" the idea of protecting
wildlife/wilderness from exploitation - or the concept of the National
Parks themselves - to our own government officials! At times it comes down
to battling lobbies, and who can buy the most congressmen, and that sure as
heck isn't written into the Constitution (and yes, I know that the National
Parks aren't either). Anyway, that's my little rant for the day... ;-)


Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-448-1223, fax: 031-44-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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