Stegner Center 19th Annual Symposium on “National Parks: Past, Present and Future”

The Wallace Stegner Center’s 19th annual symposium will address the topic of “National Parks: Past, Present, and Future.” The symposium will be held on Thursday to Friday, March 27 to 28, 2014, in Salt Lake City, Utah and will bring together some 20 scholars, scientists, park service officials, historians, and advocates for an in-depth two-day discussion of the national parks. The symposium will be held in advance of the 2016 Centennial of the National Park System. According to Stegner Center Director and Professor Robert Keiter, “With the centennial looming, it is time to take stock of America’s wonderful national park system and to begin charting its next century of existence.”   

 This year’s symposium will explore the evolution and future of the national park system. It has been nearly a century since Congress passed the National Parks Organic Act of 1916, giving legal expression to the idea of a national park system and the National Park Service to oversee it. Much has happened since then; the system has grown to encompass more than 400 units that extend across all fifty states and cover more than 84 million acres. Roughly 280 million people visit our national parks annually, and the national park idea now extends across the globe. Although much beloved, the national parks face significant challenges that include seasonal visitation pressures, incompatible recreational demands, intense political and economic pressures from adjoining communities, potentially destructive external development activities (including climate change), an aging and non-diverse visitor pool, and diminished financial support. And yet another issue is whether and how the system should grow in the future. The Stegner Center symposium aims to examine and to untangle these matters to ensure future generations enjoy the benefits of a top notch national park system.

The symposium speakers include the following:

  • Mark Fiege, Professor, Department of History, Colorado State University
  • Deny Galvin, National Park Service (retired), National Parks Conservation Association Board Member  
  • Robert Fischman, Professor, Maurer School of Law, Indiana University
  • Jodi Hilty, Executive Director, North America Program, Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Destry Jarvis, President, Outdoor Recreation and Park Services
  • Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service (Keynote)
  • Robert Keiter, Wallace Stegner Professor of Law and University Distinguished Professor, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
  • Healy Hamilton, Senior Research Fellow, Marine Conservation Institute; Senior Associate, Sound Science, LLC
  • Gary Machlis, Science Advisor to the Director, National Park Service; Professor of Conservation at the University of Idaho
  • Audrey Peterman, Author and National Parks Conservation Association Board Member
  • Steve Trimble, Author, Photographer and Conservationist

For additional information on the symposium, including a full list of speakers, agenda, and registration information, visit the Wallace Stegner Center website at www.law.utah.edu/stegner. Registrations will be accepted after the first of the year. Continuing legal education will be available.