Celebrate national parks by fighting climate change

Originally featured as a guest editorial in The Oregonian. Written by Jana Gastellum, Climate Program Director, Oregon Environmental Council

This year our country is celebrating 100 years of national parks. They are special places woven into the fabric of American life — from the iconic view of California’s Yosemite Valley to our own Crater Lake. Yet these places are threatened by the ever-increasing impacts of climate change.

Young Jana at Petrified National Forest

Young Jana at Petrified National Forest

I had a fantastic childhood growing up in our national park system. My first home was in Grand Canyon National Park. I started school at Hubbell Trading Post, a national historic site on the Navajo reservation. I learned to ride a bike in Petrified Forest, a place with over 13,000 years of human history. And I graduated high school while living in North Cascades National Park. My parents started as park rangers. My dad became superintendent of Petrified Forest, and my grandfathers were both park administrators. My experiences instilled in me a lifelong love of the outdoors, science and exploration.

This May, The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Jamie Hale reported that climate change threatens Crater Lake, Oregon’s sole national park. Known for its deep, mesmerizing and clear-blue color, this feature, Hale reported, “could be a thing of the past someday. … Warming air temperature could threaten the water.” read more…

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1 Reply to "Celebrate national parks by fighting climate change"

  • Carolyn Gastellum
    October 16, 2016 (4:01 am)

    Jana is our daughter so consider this a proudly biased accolade. Jana captures the essence of what it means to live in a nation that has set aside significant ecosystems, landscapes, and places that are irreplaceable because they are woven into our collective histories as a people. Our national parks, monuments, historic sites, and recreation areas are more important now than ever before. There are those who want to undermine public ownership and access to public lands and instead privatize some of these places for personal economic gain. And climate change impacts would be worse without vast acreages of protected natural landscapes. Our family has been fortunate to live and work in some National Park Service areas. Thank you, Jana, for celebrating 100 years of the NPS with your heartfelt and important op-ed.