Check out this recent article from Slate:
It brings up some interesting points: Can there be a balance to experiencing nature – and the risks to the place that come with that – and protecting it? Can a child learn to love the woods from the trail? What if every person who visited a National Park took a flower, or a pinecone, or a rock? Does that place lose its magic? Or do more people truly get to experience/remember that magic?
My first reaction is that these parks are protected for a reason. As my parents always said when telling me to be careful, or presenting a new rule, “It’s not YOU we’re worried about.” What they meant is that they trusted me, but they worried about the other drivers, skiers, soccer players, teenage girls, etc. out there. In other words: Rangers can’t be expected to know the intentions and behavior of each and every visitor, and we’ve all seen enough litter and graffiti to know that not everyone makes good decisions.
My second reaction: John Muir didn’t exactly stay on the trail.
What say you?