Yosemite and the future of the national park


Having expanded Emerson’s ideas into what we now call “conservation,” Olmsted advocated for open public access. He located the source of this new principle in what might seem an unexpected text: the Declaration of Independence. As Olmsted argued, it was “the main duty of government … to provide means of protection for all citizens in the pursuit of happiness against the obstacles … which the selfishness of individuals or combinations of individuals is liable to interpose to that pursuit.” Olmsted believed that public access to nature was, in the famous language of the Declaration, an “unalienable Right.”

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Tyler Green — Places

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