The idea of a national park as a place to protect ecosystems and conserve landscapes for future generations has been around for over a hundred years. Originally conceived as a place for conservation and recreation, national parks and other protected areas have come a long way since then.
While biodiversity protection and conservation are still important cornerstones, increasingly these are tied into local community rights, co-management between national park/conservation authorities and local communities/First Nations people, and sustainable visitation.
Still, having said that, national parks and other protected areas have their challenges. Co-management is sometimes a balance between local rights and government authorities/priorities, recreation is sometimes at odds with re-creation, industries and policy-makers see opportunities for extraction of ‘natural resources’ found within them and climate change threatens the ecosystems that are being protected.
As LoST travellers, our actions can contribute not only to national parks, but to the communities who live in or around them. Our challenge is to cut through the marketing slogans to make sure we reflect the ideas of LoST.