In East Central California, Yosemite National Park spans the eastern portions of Tuolumne, Mariposa, and Madera County. Approximately 3.7 million tourists have come to love and visit the park on an annual basis, spending time on a seven square mile sector of the 760,000 acre park. Yosemite is known for the enormous rocks dating as far back as ten million years in age, with one particular known site: The half dome, where hikers may climb the treacherous rock (Yosemite National Park, 2011). With such a large amount of tourists, the park calls for a well developed management team.
Yosemite Tourism and Ownership Establishment
Yosemite was officially discovered in 1855 by James Mason Hutchings, Thomas Ayers, and other tourists to the area. The two were among the first to create publicity for the area, making artwork and articles about the wildlife and experiences, and sending them to the more established areas of the American east coast. It was this publicity that helped Yosemite get the tourist attention it desired. Soon, lodging and roads were built, ignoring the already established Native American living areas (Harris, Tuttle, & Tuttle, 2003).
As tourism grew in the area, concern for its preservation caught political attention. President Abraham Lincoln began the preservation of the area by passing the Yosemite Grant, where it was decided that specific land would be reserved for tourist purposes, while the rest of the land in the area would remain protected and wild. The United States government determined in 1872 that California would name Yosemite as the second national park, following only behind Yellowstone National Park. The process of making the area a national park was not simple: It included evicting from the area those that had already established homesteads, including founder Hutchings. It was eventually determined that Hutchings would remain the park guardian, but others were still required to leave (Harris, Tuttle, & Tuttle, 2003).
As tourism increased into the early twentieth century, the federal government was unable to ignore the problems humans caused to the natural habitat and environment. In 1916, the United States National Park Service was formed, and it immediately took over responsibility for Yosemite Park. At the turnover, park tourism exploded, causing many problems for the new management to solve in decades to follow (Harris, Tuttle, & Tuttle, 2003).
3.0 Park Management Primary Issues
The United States National Park Service's main goal is to retain the life of the park, but one concern has been that of the animals. The California Golden Bear and the California Condor are among a few of the animals that have become extinct since the European-American colonization. After colonization, thirty seven other species have been harmed, being placed on the endangered species list (National Geographic, 2001).
Of greatest concern in recent years is the American Black Bear. With the growth of tourism and therefore human food, the American Black Bear has been increasingly stealing food from humans, whether it is abandoned food, disposed food, or edibles left in tents, backpacks, or automobiles. As the bear must become more creative to obtain the human food, it has become more aggressive to the human being. Not assisting in the problem, tourists are unaware of the significant harm they cause or the risks they run. Many of the tourists encourage the bears to take human food in an attempt to obtain a good photograph or snapshot (National Geographic, 2001).
3.2 Plant Life
Along with problems in the animal kingdom, the Yosemite plant life has also experienced problems. From when Hutchings and Ayers originally settled at Yosemite, nearly 130 non-native plants have been introduced into the Yosemite habitat. The non-native plants have come to interfere with the native plant life, some taking over others' communities entirely. The non-native plants have also increased nitrogen capabilities in the soil, making the soil harder to provide growth to the native plants. The nitrogen in the soil has raised concern for the park, as it raises the possibility for forest fires (Yosemite National Park, 2004).
The Great Sequoia is a species of tree that grows naturally within the park area. With an increase of tourists, and thus automobiles, the Great Sequoia is experiencing the damaging effects of air pollution. The tree has demonstrated tissue damage. Air pollution is able to thoroughly harm plant life by lessening chances of reproduction, quantity, and quality of the plant's full potential. The Great Sequoia's tissue damage has made it susceptible to insect invasion, which also raises concern for forest fires (Yosemite National Park, 2004).
3.3 Causes of Concern
The forest fire is considered a pest and a saint in Yosemite Park. East Central California, home of Yosemite, is dry and hot during its summer months, making the chance of a natural forest fire almost inevitable. The forest fire causes harm to the wildlife, and the fumes created add to the area's air pollution. Management has in more recent years set controlled fires on purpose in order to maintain the wildlife properly. For the Great Sequoia, this means the insect invasion will be virtually eliminated and their reproduction can continue. The controlled fires also offer the incapability for other wildlife to accidently catch fire, causing harm to all in its path (Yosemite National Park, 2004).
4.0 Management Philosophies
In order to protect its wildlife, the United States National Park Services has adopted the philosophy of education and protection. The overall goal is to educate the tourists and protect them, the animals, and the plant wildlife.
The American Black Bear has been the biggest animal threat to humans. To encourage the bear to believe it should avoid humans, rangers shoot the bears with rubber bullets, causing pain but not harm. The bears have since become less aggressive and less susceptible to entering campgrounds and other human established areas. Still, some of the American Black Bears are determined to steal human food. To make it more difficult, the park has replaced all food containers with bear-proof containers, including food storage bins for campgrounds and trash bins for waste. Also, the park has had to educate its tourists to respect the wishes of the park and not leave food in vehicles or other open areas (National Geographic, 2001).
The park has concern for the natural wild plants of the park as well. Though seemingly harmless, the invasion of new plants means potential harm and destruction of native plants. By destructing the life of native plants and the growth of the new, the entire eco-system of Yosemite has been weakened. With the increase of non-native plants comes the potential for natural forest fires, which may harm animals, plants, and humans alike. Among the most historically problematic to the area are the bull thistle, common mullein, and the Klamath weed, but in more recent years, the park has experienced more aggressive growth of the yellow star thistle, sweet clover, Himalayan blackberry, and large periwinkle. These plants are stealing the water sources of the native plants, causing risk of extinction or endangerment (Yosemite National Park, 2004). To control the issue, the park uses controlled forest fires. However, the chances of killing all non-native plant life are virtually impossible.
5.0 The Use of Product
5.1 The Use of Forest Fires
The use of the forest fire is the best and most commonly used tool that the United States National Park Service uses in the extraction of unwanted product to certain areas. Because the park is so large and uninhabited by human life, expect for a seven mile sector, a natural forest fire may start without the knowledge of park staff. The fire may grow to burn native wildlife, kill animal life, or burn uncontrollably to human life areas (Yosemite National Park, 2011). The fumes put off by the forest fire are…