Between Stewardship and Exploitation: Private Tourism, State Parks, and Environmentalism


Focusing on how people come to know the environment through work, DeWitt explore tensions between national parks and private sector tourism. Private sector activity, particularly on the periphery of parks, is typically viewed with suspicion, but the private business owners DeWitt interviewed in Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania, feel connected to nature and to parks and play a role in park guardianship. Yet, as demonstrated by DeWitt’s study of a political battle over the proposed building of a new lodge in the park, the voices of environmentalists and activists were given more weight than those of local business owners whose livelihoods rely on the park. The article calls for greater attention to the significance of gateway communities, which are often overlooked.