A Place for Nature: Americans & Their Love of Green Space

With only 24 square miles, Manhattan set aside more than 1.25 of them for Central Park alone. Similarly, we have the Catskill Park, Adirondack Park and several parks in the Southern Tier in New York State. President Grant declared Yellowstone the first National Park in 1872. Since then, there have been 58 other federally designated protected areas. What is it that seems to require us to set aside land to be left free of development, and in some case designated “Forever Wild?” We will explore this aspect of the American personality, the need for open space, and trace it from its origins to the present day, which includes pressure to change the designation of some of our parks.

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