Creating the first generation of great marine parks

Joshua Reichert

Wallace Stegner, the celebrated writer and historian of the American West, once remarked that national parks were the ‘best idea we ever had’, a sentiment shared by countless others. For almost 140 years, since the establishment of the world’s first national park in Yellowstone in 1872, successive generations have been able to experience and enjoy some of the Earth’s most storied landscapes which, were it not for the decision to protect them, would long ago have succumbed to the axe, the pick and the plough. Today, more than 1,800 land-based parks exist in nearly 100 countries.

Setting aside spectacular areas on land from extractive activities such as logging, mining, farming, ranching, and the steady encroachment of cities and towns has long been accepted as an important way to protect some of the earth’s finest natural treasures.

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