Recently, we published a research paper on national parks that talked about the development of the Blue Ridge National Parkway. But, it’s important to also understand the implications of industrial development. There have been many arguments for and against national parks and tourism, but many of them center around the main question: does it destroy the environment? The following sample research paper outlines the argument with all of the main factors. If you enjoy it and need help with a model paper, consider using our sample research paper writing services.
Industrial Tourism: Balancing the Argument
In defining the epitome of a natural park, is it appropriate to associate it with pure naturalism or is the industrial tourism model more adequate? The preservation of National Parks has been an ongoing issue in the United States for hundreds of years. As tourists flood in with campers, electronics and other man made devices, it raises the question whether or not this compromises the overall natural park experience. Edward Abbey, in Polemic: Industrial Tourism & the National Park, argued that national parks should not be subject to the evils of industrial tourism and city life. This research paper will define industrial tourism as the implementation of paved roads, the use of cars and crowding similar to a city like environment. Moreover, Abbey clearly outlined the negative implications of such actions while offering plausible solutions to alleviate the issues surrounding industry. While Abbey’s experience in working with national parks gave his argument authoritative credibility on the issue, his generalizations about what National Parks should be (free of clutter and industry) are based more on emotional evidence than logical; moreover, Abbey’s latter argument on how the future of natural parks was threatened was logical and persuasive.
Abbey’s Perspective on Tourism
Abbey strongly argued that the national parks should remain untouched by paved roads and cars. In fact, Abbey remarked that “it is the primary responsibility of the national park system to preserve intact and undiminished what little still remains” (par. 26). This means that the parks should not be subject to increased congestion with cars and paved roads (a product that started with the industrial revolution). However, this view is not shared by the national park committees, which look to draw large numbers of visitors every year. Abbey believes that there is a grand assumption that “the majority of Americans, exactly like the managers of the tourist industry, expect and demand to see their national parks from the comfort, security and convenience of their automobiles” (Par. 33). In essence, while Abbey values the untouched scenic landscape free of cars and pavement, the park service would prefer to draw more visitors, and the only way they can is through applying industry.
However, Abbey argued that this does not justify the erosion of the parks. Of particular interest to Abbey is the motor vehicle in general. First off, the motor vehicle is responsible for taking over 50,000 lives every year, so Abbey believes it is dangerous. He also believes that “the automobile combine has almost succeeded in strangling our cities; we need not let it also destroy our national parks” (Par. 37). He further argued that the overall experience of tourists is compromised with the use of motor vehicles. For instance, “the chief victims of the system are motorized tourists” because if they never leave their cars, they will never escape the turmoil of city life (Par. 35). Here, Abbey’s book examples draws on his experience of living in the wilderness and comes to the conclusion that it does not belong there. Not only is the motor vehicle a dangerous part of city life, but it compromises the overall experience of the tourists.
While this argument appeals to the credibility of Abbey, the argument loses effectiveness when evaluated on logical grounds. Surely, Abbey has spent lots of time interacting with tourists and working in the parks. Consequently, we can accept his authority and overall opinion that industrial tourism is bad for the parks because it compromises the natural experience. However, it is not entirely logical to assume that cars and roads fully compromise the experience for everyone else. Because Abbey compared cars and roads to city life, he assumed the same negative externalities of city life would transfer to national parks. However, Abbey only offered his own anecdotal experience of watching tourists and interacting with them. It would be a hasty generalization to assume that people are in fact experiencing turmoil in city life and wish to escape all aspects of it by going to a national park. While this may be Abbey’s viewpoint, it does not deductively apply to everyone else. Perhaps tourists enjoy the scenery from their vehicles and do not want to have to walk on their feet all day long with a backpack.
Moreover, the contextual evidence of Abbey’s description suggests that he did have an inherent bias in writing the essay because he relied on emotional evidence. For instance, in paragraph eight, after describing the landscape at Arches, he rhetorically asked the question, “what better sinecure could a man with small needs, infinite desires, and philosophic pretensions ask for?” This statement suggests that Abbey himself prefers a rural environment and does not have a clear understanding of the needs of others. Furthermore, Abbey clearly outlined his distaste for city life by lamenting that the automobile has tainted city life (Par. 42). For instance, besides being dangerous and compromising the experience of travelers, it also compromised the natural beauty.
A great example is the canyon by the Fremong River, “a great place for hiking, camping, exploring. And what did the authorities do? They built a state highway through it” (Par. 24). Clearly, he does not enjoy city life and is more inclined to preserve natural settings rather than support industrial development. However, it is inappropriate to generalize this attitude towards everyone else. Therefore, his argument loses merit based on the fact that Abbey’s writing suggested that he disliked the urban environment. Finally, by labeling industrial tourism as a “sinister master plan” (Par. 11), he clearly indicates that there were no positive aspects of the whole industrial initiative. Such contextual evidence suggests that his emotional perspective (to preserve rural life) was based on his own attitudes and beliefs and not others’.
Logical Solutions to Tourism Problems
Despite these criticisms, Abbey gave several examples of how natural parks were destroyed as a result of industrial tourism and offered logical solutions. For instance, he specified how Navajo National Park, Natural Bridges National Park, Zion National Park as well as a few others were destroyed because business oriented individuals were attempting to accommodate “wheelchair explorers” (Par. 19-23, 35). These competing visions about the future of national parks among developers and preservers resulted in “unnecessary destructive development” which completely undermined the Wilderness Preservation Act (Par. 30). As the developers were trying to monetize the land by making it more accessible, they were simultaneously destroying their natural beauty as well. Despite this, Abbey quickly offered a feasible solution in order to re-establish the status quo of national parks before the days of industrial tourism.
First off, Abbey delivered an ominous forecast that “wilderness preservation will be forgotten under the overwhelming pressure of a struggle for mere survival and sanity in a completely urbanized, ever more crowded environment” (Par. 43). The assertion here was that over population alone would be detrimental to the natural landscape because of the emergent properties associated with it. The solution for the long term was relatively simple according to Abbey: (i) no motorized vehicles (ii) packing light (iii) no children or older individuals (iv) no paved roads (v) and finally, more park rangers to enforce the guidelines (Par. 45-50). With these suggestions, the lands would be utilized by foot and bicycle without the need for excessive electronics. Moreover, no paved roads or manmade accommodations would preserve the natural aspect. Finally, the financial restrictions would not be an issue because the funds intended to pay for industrial purposes would be utilized for preservation instead (Par. 56).
Abbey’s argument was effective and logical on the grounds that he drew on inductive reasoning. Accommodating natural parks to people driving in vehicles requires roads. These roads mean that the natural scenery must be changed, and ultimately, compromised. This also goes against the wilderness preservation act. Based on these premises, it is inductive to conclude that over time, more people would be drawn to these natural landscapes and they will be only a mere shadow of what they were. Therefore, Abbey offered not only logical grounds for why parks shouldn’t be industrialized, but also offered solutions to fix it. This contributed heavily to his overall persuasiveness because he relied on the cause and effect logic of industrializing the parks and then offered feasible solutions.
Conclusion and Discussion
In arguing for preserving natural landscapes, Abbey argued industrial tourism with cars and pavement was not only detrimental to the park and also dangerous, but it compromised the overall tourist experience as well. Abbey also argued that industrial tourism threatened the natural integrity of parks and that it would only get worse over time if it was not stopped. His main argument against cars and pavement was that users would not experience the park as it should be experienced (on foot) and that it would mimic the negative characteristics of city life. Although Abbey’s viewpoint deserves credibility because of his experience in working in national parks, his analogy and apprehensiveness to city life should be noted as a biased opinion. Despite this, Abbey offered countless examples of destroyed natural parks and suggested that they would be subject to overpopulation very quickly. His latter argument, along with his proposed solutions, was very persuasive because they argued inductively that the natural landscape and overall experience would be compromised if industrial tourism continued.
Abbey, Edward. “Polemic: Industrial Tourism & the National Parks.” Desert Solitaire: a Season in the Wilderness. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968. 39-60.
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