National Park Roads: A Legacy in the American Landscape

September 26, 2016 7PM

U.S. National Park Service roads have made national wonders and historic sites available for generations of visitors. National parks roads determine what most people see and how they see it, but parks road development epitomizes the central challenge of national park management: balancing preservation and access in America’s most treasured landscapes. While the roads have been celebrated for providing access to many of America’s breathtaking landscapes, they have also been criticized for bringing pollution into the wilderness. Dr. Tim Davis, National Park Service historian, highlights the unique qualities of parks roads, details the factors influencing their development, and shows how debates about when, where, how, and why to construct them helped determine the nature and meaning of America’s national parks. Of special interest to local audiences, he explores the Historic Columbia River Highway’s influence on national park road design. The centennial of the National Park Service is August 25, 2016, making this year an ideal opportunity to reflect on the breathtaking natural wonders across our nation.