Understanding the National Park's External Threat Problem as a Policy and Management Issue.

Islands Under Siege: National Parks and the Politics of External Threats, John C. Freemuth, (Kansas: University of Kansas Press, 1991), 178 pp.


Understanding environmental problems; administrative procedures; politics; of general applicability to environmental problems; written for the first party participant.


Islands Under Siege: National Parks and the Politics of External Threats is an examination of external threats to the health and integrity of the ecosystems represented in, and to the whole of individual National Parks. The author examines: the historical view, and the continuing process of legislative and regulatory efforts to protect National parks from these threats..

Islands Under Siege: National Parks and the Politics of External Threats will be of interest to those who seek an understanding of the external threat problem as a political and management issue. The first chapter addresses the need for study of the external threat problem. This is followed by an examination of the emergence of external threats as a policy and management issue. Herein, the author discusses: the creation of the National Park Service, its early policy direction, the early warning signs of external threats, the beginning of the environmental movement in the 1960s and the resultant attempts by Congress to address the external threat problem. The second chapter addresses the creation of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The author discusses the Colorado Plateau and the tar-sands of Utah, prefatory to examination of the Glen Canyon Area. Chapter four addresses the tar-sands leasing controversy. This begins with an examination of The Combined Hydrocarbon Leasing Act of 1981 and the "... the promulgation of a set of regulations on leasing of the tar-sands resource". The author considers, in some depth, the joint Bureau of Land Management's and National Park Service's draft of an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed development.

Chapter five is an examination of the protection of National Parks from visibility impairment. In this context, the author addresses: the Clean Air Act amendments of 1977, the Environmental Protection Agency's involvement in the formulation of visibility regulations in 1980, and the political nature of visibility since those regulations. This chapter includes discussions of visibility impairment issues in: Vermont, Arizona, and Utah. Chapter six is the conclusion of the book and examines the policy responses on Reagan's administrative presidency and closes with the author's thoughts on resolution of the external threats problem.

Islands Under Siege: National Parks and the Politics of External Threats is a careful consideration of the title problem with special focus on National Parks in the Western United States. The work is nicely supported by maps and photographs.

T. A. O'Lonergan