Middle Parks: Development of State and Provincial Parks in the United States and Canada, 1890-1990
DeWitt, Jessica M 1986-
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This dissertation is a comparative study of the development of state parks in the United States and provincial parks in Canada from 1890 to 1990. The study focuses on four park system cases studies: Pennsylvania and Idaho in the United States and Ontario and Alberta in Canada. This study relies on three main levels of comparison. Firstly, it compares the development of parks at the national level. Secondly, it compares the development of parks in the East and West. Thirdly, it compares the development of rural and urban/near-urban state and provincial parks. These comparative levels of analysis are aided by two primary methodological techniques. The first method is a timeline visualization of park development through time that relies on a colour-coded categorization system. Under this system, each park in each park system is mapped on the timelines based on the primary reason each piece of land was chosen. The eight categories are as follows: Education (Environment), Historical, Post-Agriculture, Post-Industry, Post-Timber, Preservation, Recreational, and Resource Extraction. This methodology is paired with an individual park case-study approach that illustrates how the patterns identified by the timelines affected individual parks, both socially and materially. In the first half of the century, all four park systems prioritized the acquisition of affordable land in rural regions. By the second half of the century, all four park systems had altered their park development priorities to accommodate geographic accessibility over economic viability. In both cases, preservation was not the primary objective of park development. The timelines demonstrate that preservation did not become a priority of any of the park systems until the 1980s. This study asserts that park history should look beyond park borders to the peripheries and greater regions in which each park lies in order to fully understand each park in its entirety and how each park relates to broader historical forces. This study shows that parks were not simply tools of preservation or recreation. Rather, forces that supported use of these parks and protection of these parks coexisted and were often one and the same.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeCunfer, Geoff; Smith, Martha; Walker, Ernest; Carlson, Keith T
Copyright DateMarch 2019
history, environmental history, parks, park history, provincial parks, state parks, american history, canadian history, alberta, idaho, ontario, pennsylvania
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