Recreation Policy on Federal Lands

Joseph L. Sax

Given at Berkeley, California, May 10, 1978

The public recreation lands provide a distinctive op-portunity to think about the fashioning of public policy. Unlike the intractable problems that absorb most of our attention - controlling crime, abating poverty, or restraining the imperial ambitions of other nations - solutions to public recreation questions are easily within our power. Shall we install a ski resort in California's Mineral King Valley, remove over-night cabins at Zion National Park, or keep off-road vehicles out of the Hoosier National Forest in Indiana? The difficulty is not in effecting a solution, but in identifying the problem to be resolved.

Recreation has been a federal concern for over a hundred years - since 1864 when Congress entrusted Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove to California "for public use, resort and recreation." Yet the question why we made it a public task to provide people with opportunities for an encounter with nature is one that neither the Congress nor the public land management agencies have ever probed very deeply.

The great promise of engagement with nature has been a permanent theme in American literature, from Cooper and Melville to Faulkner and Hemingway. The nature writers - Muir, Thoreau, Burroughs, Leopold, and Abbey - have always attracted a substantial and devoted readership. The idea that encounters with nature are profoundly important to us is deeply implanted in the American consciousness. Nonetheless, one searches our public land policies in vain for any specific notion of how the great promise of nature is to be fulfilled.

Goals for Public Recreation

To look at the public recreation lands in operation is inevitably to wonder what goals are being sought. At some major National Parks - at Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon - tens of thousands of people are to be found on a single summer day, with traffic jams, long restaurant and shop lines, noise, congestion, litter, and banal standardized tourism. The style and rhythm of urban life have been imposed on a series of highly scenic backdrops.

On the California desert, or in the snow-covered north coun-try, recreational vehicles import the noise, intensity, and high- speed freeway style onto the public lands.

Nightclub entertainment in the parks; a golf course on the desert at Death Valley; and motorized trips down the timeless Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, all defended on the ground that they are necessary to meet tight vacation schedules, complete a picture of incongruity.

Of course there is nothing new in this. The success of the public recreation lands in attracting large numbers of visitors has always been accompanied by an uneasy sense that their use and their "real purpose" were out of harmony with each other. A hundred years ago, seeing western scenery was a "thing to do" for the affluent, and critical reports were common of travelers who remarked that "all the celebrated features of Yosemite can be enjoyed from a carriage" or that the marvels of Yellowstone were "certainly a curiosity, a marvel; a three-legged calf;...once [sic] seeing is satisfactory for a lifetime."1 Contemporary critiques of industrial tourism2 were all foreshadowed in Robert Sterling Yard's 1919 Book of the National Parks, which described us, not kindly, as "a nation of sightseers."3 Even the gentle John Muir, in a letter to a friend, remarked on the "blank, fleshly apathy" of most of those who came to Yosemite in the early days. "They climb sprawlingly to their saddles like overgrown frogs," he said, "ride up the Valley with about as much emotion as the horses they ride upon and comfortable when they have 'done it all,' and long for the safety and flatness of their proper homes."4

The familiar comment that the parks have been the victim of their own success thus turns out to be a cliche with more bite to it than is usually recognized. The problem is not simply that the public recreation lands are so popular that their physical capacity to meet demand is being strained; rather, their popularity is largely built upon uses quite at odds with the fundamental idea - the idea of an engagement with nature as something profound and distinctive - that underlies their very existence.

Philosophies Underlying Public Recreation Policy

Our reluctance to recognize that something incongruous is occurring on public recreation lands rests on a tension between two very different public philosophies - a tension that has been little recognized because there is so little public enterprise in America. The first of these is a prescriptive tradition. Explicated by figures like John Muir, Frederick Law Olmsted, and Theodore Roosevelt, it holds that encounters with nature are important to us, and that it is the task of government to provide encouragement and opportunity for such encounters. It also holds that these encounters consist in particular kinds of experiences, rather than in whatever people happen to do when they come onto the public lands.

Olmsted and Roosevelt, both public men, the first the principal theoretician of the national parks idea and the second its most successful political advocate, both passionately favored the park idea as a democratic ideal. Echoing what Olmstead had said nearly forty years earlier in his brilliant Yosemite Report5 Roosevelt, on laying the Yellowstone cornerstone in 1903, remarked:6
I cannot too often repeat that the essential feature in the present management of the Yellowstone Park, as in all similar places, is its essential democracy-it is the preservation of the scenery, of the forests, of the wilderness life and the wilderness game for the people as a whole, instead of leaving the enjoyment thereof to be confined to the very rich who can control private reserves.

But like Olmsted, Roosevelt never for a moment thought of the public reserves as places that would be managed for whatever uses people might make of them. They believed the lands should be reserved for particular purposes - as settings in which the American people could test and affirm fundamental social values; not merely as amenities, but as necessities for a nation of free, independent people.

In contrast to this prescriptive tradition, which lies at the heart of the establishment of our Parks, is a libertarian, neutralist tradition, far more familiar to us; a tradition built on deep suspicion of the propriety of government trying to make people good, and on an even deeper suspicion that public officials know what is good for people.

Much of what we see as the fashioning of public policy for the public recreation lands is an effort to reconcile these two conflicting traditions without admitting that any real conflict of political philosophies need be faced. We continue to be captivated by the idea that our parklands should be managed to promote an encounter with nature as something fundamentally important to the citizens of an urban, industrial society; and to resist their assimilation into the model of industrial tourism, however great and popular the pressures in that direction may be. At the same time we resist diligently the accusation that some "we" - the government or the National Park Service - knows better than the visitor how he or she ought to experience the public recreation lands.

The dilemma has created some strange anomalies. The first and most common of these is the assumption that we don't really have to make recreation policy at all. Rather, it is thought, we must "manage the resource" by scientific principles. The seeming value-neutrality of scientific land management appears to avoid the painful necessity of having to choose among various visitor preferences, and at the same time it permits us to deny or limit access to public lands for certain categories of recreation. Of course any intelligent policy must prevent uses that destroy the land; and of course it is appropriate to have a preservation policy - to maintain species, to promote scientific study, or to reserve options for the future. But it is essential to recognize that while such policies are to some extent necessary for, and consistent with, a recreation policy, they are not themselves a recreation policy; and it is disingenuous to treat them as if they were.

Balancing Uses of Public Land

Every human use affects the resource to some extent, and no scientific principle can tell whether 500 or 5,000 or 15,000 people should be allowed to boat down the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon; whether a ski lift should be installed in an alpine valley, or a cross-park highway be permitted. Land management knowledge may tell us how severe and how long-lasting the impacts of such decisions will be. But recreation policy necessarily asks a different question: How shall we find a balance between impact on the land and the sustenance of some kind and level of human experience? Whether we ought to have ski lifts in the National Forests, or trails and campsites, or some hotel facilities in Yosemite Valley, are questions of what we are prepared to give up - some visual amenity, some untrammeled wildlife habitat, some water purity; and these are questions of policy, not of science. They require us to ask what kind of human experience we want our public lands to provide.

Nor can recreation policy choices be avoided by referring to something called public demand. Demand is simply a measure of how people are willing to spend their time and money, There is no doubt that if we were willing to build gambling casinos, elegant restaurants, race tracks and carnivals in the parks, they would attract a large clientele. There is public demand - perfectly legitimate, it may be assumed - for all these activities. But to meet such demands would put government in the position of any ordinary landlord. To be sure, it is possible to conceive of a government landowner which simply auctions off its land to the highest bidder, or gives it away first-come, first-served. But such a conception is inconsistent with public reservation of the land altogether. To follow such a plan would be a policy of disposition rather than reservation.

Neither is it sufficient to claim that public recreation lands ought to be reserved for those demands that cannot, or will not, be met by private entrepreneurs. No entrepreneur can offer the opportunity for a renewal of the spirit in the setting of Yosemite Valley, or on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The question remains, which of the various and conflicting demands to use those resources should be preferred?

Nor, finally, can we avoid the difficulty of choosing by asserting that we will simply hold the resources available, and permit the users themselves to decide how to enjoy them. Management decisions must perforce be made, and those decisions themselves imprint an agenda on the landscape for visitors. If the government decides to build hotels, supermarkets, restaurants, and shops in Yosemite Valley, the Valley will necessarily provide a different kind of experience than if it were left undeveloped; and it will attract different numbers and a different mix of visitors. Demand is not some ethereal presence; it is generated in significant part by management decisions. A park with an elegant hotel generates a demand for certain kinds of supportive services; just as a park filled with roads generates a demand for a number of service stations; and as a park managed to serve many thousands of visitors requires measures for crowd control.

Alternatives for Public Land

The notion that public recreation lands inevitably become what they are, therefore, cannot be sustained. Doubtless the Grand Canyon has more "natural" power to attract visitors than the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. But it is equally true that the South Rim of the Grand Canyon would look quite different today on a summer afternoon if Theodore Roosevelt's advice had been heeded: "to keep this great wonder of nature as it is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel, or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the Canyon."7 Likewise, Guadalupe Peak would be a very different place than it is now - lonely, quiet, and modestly visited - if a (now shelved) Park Service proposal to build a mechanical tramway to the top of the mountain had been implemented; a decision, the Park Service estimated, that would increase the number of visitors from about 60,000 to some 500,000 persons per year.8

The fact is that demand exists, in its most important form, simply as an enormous quantity of leisure time that Americans have to spend. The public lands have the capacity to provide space to fill as much or as little of that time as we wish to make available. The documents underlying the now moribund Guadalupe Tramway proposal make this clear. Large numbers of people with leisure time to spend drive between Carlsbad Caverns and El Paso. Most of them now simply pass by the park because it is undeveloped. They spend their leisure elsewhere. The park could, certainly, be managed to absorb more of that time; and one can imagine a range of choices from the present situation to something like a Disneyworld complex. No principle of science, or economics, or democracy, tells us where on that spectrum we must alight. Certainly no catch-phrase like "meeting the recreation needs of the American people" tells us anything decisive.

Ultimately we have to decide what we want our public recreation lands to accomplish. The possibilities are numerous. We could try to maximize revenues to the federal treasury; or conversely to lower the cost of leisure to the public; to increase the numbers of people served; to promote opportunities for social interchange by dense development; to permit those forms of recreation that are consistent with the maintenance of certain habitats for wildlife; or any of scores of other possibilities.

None of these choices intrude upon fundamental freedoms significantly, except perhaps in the eyes of the most vehement libertarians for whom the very idea of a public park is questionable. The venerable example of taxation for the support of the British Museum persuades almost everyone that the modest coercion involved in having a public park (tax exactions and the choice not to allow every possible use any citizen might desire) is not excessive. The real question is what common purpose might exist to justify the preference of some recreational uses to others - walking to motoring, less- to more-developed forms of camping, a natural area to an intensely built-up resort? In short, is there any idea of an authentic encounter with nature worthy of our support?

Encounters with Nature

I began with the observation that our parklands reflect a desire to provide people with some distinctive kinds of experience called an encounter with nature, and I would now like to return to that proposition. Surely one needs to be very cautious in suggesting that any single idea was responsible for the development of public recreation lands. The National Parks came about as a result of a number of quite diverse views all of which happily converged in the latter decades of the 19th century.9 The awesome grandeur of places like Yellowstone and the Yosemite Valley had come to be admired following a period of romantic naturalism. Ruthless exploitation of natural resources prompted a concern about conservation as well as a longing for the fast-disappearing American wilderness. America was eager to demonstrate that it had attractions every bit as striking as the Swiss Alps; and American railroads saw the Parks as a source for a growing domestic tourist industry.

It is easy enough, in this way, to understand how a political constituency could have been brought together for the Parks, noting in addition that many of the early parklands were remote and thought to be of little value for economic development. But the more interesting question is why the idea of parks should have made, and should continue to make, such a strong appeal to such a large and diverse citizenry? The answer, I suggest, is that there is something about the idea of an encounter with nature that has a powerful hold on the American imagination - an idea of independence, of self-reliance, self-sufficiency and autonomy. These are ideas that lie very close to the heart of the culture values we prize most, and that seem peculiarly to be threatened by the style of modern, urban, industrial society. The opportunity for engagement with nature - of which the Parks are a physical symbol - can be seen as an act of resistance against the threat. Rather than being a symbol of escape from the harsh reality of the real world, the parklands can be seen as a culture-bearing medium, a setting in which deeply held values can be renewed, reaffirmed, and realized as a source of strength and confidence to bring to bear on the pressures continually being exerted against them in the workaday world.

It has been suggested to me that such a view describes the parks as an artifact of secular religion, and I am prepared to accept this as an apt description. The encounter with nature, in these terms, is very much like a sabbatical experience; a venture out of the everyday world, not as an act of rejection of that world, but as an experience of reaffirmation. It is significant, I think, that John Muir entitled one of his most celebrated articles "The Gospel for July," and in it invited those who were "business-tangled and...burdened by duty" to take time out for an experience of renewal.10

In the same vein, in what is perhaps the greatest of all American nature stories, Hemingway's "The Big Two-Hearted River,"11 Nick undertakes his fishing venture as a means to restore contact with authentic values, knowing full well that he soon must and will return to the conventional, and brutal, world; but using the experience as a needed opportunity for renewal of the values that come from what Thoreau called, in Walden, the art of living deliberately. There has probably never been a more beautiful description in literature of deliberateness than that in "The Big Two-Hearted River" - the camping, the cooking, the preparation for the fishing ritual. And with it, the powerful feeling of self-renewal: "Now things were done... He had made his camp. He was settled. Nothing could touch him... He was there, in the good place. He was in his home, where he had made it."12

Aldo Leopold, in his essay "Wildlife in American Culture,"13 has described this same experience in another form. "There is value," he said, "in any experience that reminds us of our distinctive national origins and evolution, i.e., that stimulates awareness of history... For example, a farmer boy arrives in the schoolroom reeking of muskrat; he has tended his traps before breakfast. He is reenacting the romance of the fur trade. Ontogeny repeats phylogeny in society as well as the individual... On [these experiences] is based a distinctively American tradition of self-reliance, hardihood, woodcraft and marksmanship. These are intangibles, but they are not abstractions. Theodore Roosevelt was a great sportsman, not because he hung up many trophies, but because he expressed this intangible American tradition in words any schoolboy could understand... It is not at amiss to say that such men create cultural value by being aware of it, and by creating a pattern for its growth."14

These observations suggest a content for an authentic idea of the encounter with nature, drawing upon culture values that have both contemporary vitality and practical (rather than merely escapist relevance). It is an idea of personal engagement with, and testing of, the most basic culture values in the form of a ritual of self-discovery and reaffirmation. It rests upon a conscious detachment from the values, expectations, and preconceptions we carry around from our daily experience, with the goal of finding a gauge against which to test our goals, our behavior, and our institutions.

Like literature and art, the encounter with nature is a means for self-discovery, unburdened by conventional expectations; though, notably, it is more accessible to the general population than the bulk of high culture. Discovery may take any of a number of forms. It may unfold as challenge - finding out what we can do, measured against standards we set for ourselves. It may express itself as discovery of what interests us, abstracted from conventional ideas of what ought to be interesting. It may involve a means to provoke understanding, looking at the world, and seeing it whole; seeing it as complexity, as ambiguity, as struggle, serenity, continuity, repose, or change.

Such encounters offer the opportunity for freshness of perception, for individualization, and for intensity of experience. The, encounter with nature is - at its best - distinctive to the extent that it offers what art offers: a fresh vision of the world, independent of customary moral and aesthetic views, demanding effort and a creative response from its audience. It is everything that differs from the packaged, familiar, standardized recreation, offering only what is accepted, predictable, and unproblematic, its end implicit in its beginning.

Backpacking and Nature

Perhaps I can give some concrete content to these reflections, by describing what I have called an authentic encounter with, nature in the setting of the increasingly popular recreation of backpacking. Hiking, with a pack on one's back, appears from the outside to be a strangely unappealing activity. The hiker carries a heavy load over rough terrain, vulnerable to insects and bad weather, only to end up in the most primitive sort of shelter where he or she eats basic foods prepared in the simplest fashion. Certainly there are often attractive rewards, such as a beautiful alpine lake and especially good fishing. But these are not sufficient explanations, for there are few places indeed that could not be made easily accessible by much more comfortable means.

The essence of the appeal of packing-in is explained by what is distinctive to the burden of going it alone. To the uninitiated back-packer a day in the woods can be, and often is, an experience of unrelieved misery. The pack is overloaded; his tender feet are blistered; he stumbles; he finds in retrospect that he has climbed when he should have stayed low; or he finds himself in a marshy lowland when he should have taken the high ridge. He is alternately too hot, bundled in heavy clothes, or too cold. If it rains he is miserable. He has the wrong gear, or he has packed what he needs in the wrong place; he puts his tent where it attracts every gust of wind and rivulet of water. He can't get a fire started, or his stove fails him just when he needs it. And the turns that seemed so clear-cut on the map have now become utterly confusing.

Such experiences, familiar in one form or another to all beginners, are truly unforgiving; and when things go wrong, they do so in cascading fashion. Yet he looks around and sees others who are suffering no such miseries. Though their packs are lighter, they have an endless supply of exactly the things they need. Their tents go up quickly; they have probed the mystery of wet wood; and they sit dryly under a deceptively simple rain shelter eating their dinner in serene comfort. What is more, they are having a good time. The woods, for the beginner an endless succession of indistinguishable trees apparently designed to bewilder the hapless walker, nevertheless conceal a patch of strawberries or an edible mushroom; nearby, but unseen by him, are beautiful grazing deer, overhead an eagle soars.

With time, patience, and effort he recognizes that all these things are available to him; that he can gain control of his experience. His pack lightens as he learns the tricks of substitution, and how to fashion quickly out of available materials the things he had previously lugged on his back. The more he knows, the less he needs. Everything he puts in his head limits, what he has to carry on his shoulders. He loses the sense of frustration and fear at things breaking down, and his dependence on having someone else fix them, because he knows how to adapt. He finds the pleasure of adaptation considerable in itself because it has freed him from dependence; he is able to take advantage of conveniences, but he isn't a captive of them. He can take the unexpected as it comes.

It isn't just a lifting of burdens. He finds that the positive quality of the voyage is directly related to his own knowledge and resources. He recognizes - in what is often a dramatic revelation - that the woods in which he has been walking are full of things to see, but that they are there only for those who know how to see them. The discovery that experience is interest-ing, or dreary, in relation to what we are capable of doing and seeing is a powerful message about the development of inner resources.

Motorized Encounters with Nature

The kind of encounter with nature that routinely takes place in the modern motorized vehicle (or in the managed, resort-type setting), though superficially similar, differs fundamentally. Rather than exposing us, it insulates us from immediacy o experience and makes it unnecessary for us to see and feel the details of our surroundings with clarity. Nothing distinctive about us as individuals is crucial. The margin of error permitted is great enough to neutralize the importance of what we know. I we roar off in the wrong direction, we can easily roar back again for none of our energy is expended. It isn't important to pay close attention to the weather, because we are insulated from it. We need not notice a small spring because we are not at the margin where water counts. The opportunity for intensity of experience is drained away; we lose control in the affirmative sense of a need to experience our surroundings distinctively, and in the negative sense that we are made vulnerable to events to which we are not equipped to respond.

It is not that the motorized tourist, or the visitor at a highly developed site, must necessarily find himself out of control; or that he is compelled to experience his surroundings at a remove (just as it is not inevitable that backpacking will be an experience of authentic self-discovery). Rather it is the power of the circumstances we impose on ourselves to shape our experience. The automobile visitor, as Edward Abbey has noted, is routinely drawn into an experience of "tedious traffic jams, the awful food of park cafeterias and roadside eateries, the nocturnal search for a place to sleep or camp, the dreary routine of One-Stop Service, the endless lines of creeping traffic, the smell of exhaust fumes, the fees and bills and the service charges, the boiling radiator and the flat tire and the vapor lock, the surly retorts of room clerks and traffic cops, the incessant jostling of the anxious crowds...."15 He becomes a victim, an object acted upon. And for this reason, the questions he asks change; as Abbey puts it, with his usual sharpness of tongue, the three things the motorized tourist most often wants to know are: "(1) Where's the john? (2) How long's it take to see this place? and (3) Where's the Coke machine?"16

The Challenge for Public Land Recreation

The challenge for public land recreation then is this: If the great promise of the lands is to be kept, the experience they offer must be uncommon and must demand a good deal from the visitor. For what the encounter with nature essentially means is the opportunity for self-discovery, engaging the world freshly and on one's own. Nothing in public land management should suggest that the familiar, predictable, comforting facilities and, activities many visitors expect are improper or unenjoyable. Rather, the visitor should be told that in these places he is offered something distinctive, the whole purpose of which is to present a contrast to what is familiar and predictable.

This does not by any means suggest that our recreation lands should be managed only for experienced backcountry hikers or those who are prepared to go ski-touring in the wilderness.17 Perhaps the most important management task is dealing with those who are just trying out encounters with nature. As to them the task is one of introduction and encouragement. They come as novices, often understandably hesitant and fearful, for the woods are dark and deep. The danger here is that in seeking, to make the lands accessible we make them familiar - and that the visitor who comes to a park (often hesitant, often without clear expectations) to find out what John Muir was talking about, finds himself confronted by a full panoply of urban", facilities and services designed (with every good intention, to be sure) to put his fearfulness at rest; but with the result that he finds himself in a version of the protected urban environment to which the public land should be a contrast.

Doubtless he is awed and impressed with the majesty of the scenery and takes something of value home with him, even if he has only seen it from the hotel veranda. But frequently he soon tires of mere scenic overload; how long can one peer at the Grand Canyon, even if it is the greatest hole in the world. He has, stopped short of the very intensity of experience, of engagement, that is of the essence of the process of self-discovery. He is like one who tries to experience Shakespeare by holding one of the plays in his hand.

For such visitors the task of the land manager is to provide a more provocative and unfamiliar setting - a desert where one is made aware of the beat, the geological and biological complexity, and the sparseness of life rather than as a place where he can go from air-conditioned room to roadside scenic overlooks to an irrigated golf course; a valley where the sounds of the birds and the water, rather than of motors, predominates; a place where - if dangerous wildlife lives - it is the visitor who must accommodate; mountains without handrails.

The challenge is to resist seeing the public lands as a static resource in which various visitors simply find a comfortable niche, and instead to manage the lands as part of a progressive experience over time. Nearly forty years ago, the Forest Service published a book entitled Forest Outings, in which the task of mediation that faces public management officials was captured precisely, spelling out policy objectives that steer the middle course between making the lands familiar and unchallenging to the novice, and ignoring his needs altogether. The goal, it said, was "to provide graded steps through which the individual may progressively educate himself from enjoyment of mass forms of forest recreation toward the capacity to enjoy those demanding greater skill, more self-reliance, and a true love of the wild. Most men or women previously unacquainted with the forest in its natural state would experience discomfort and fear.... But if progressively they may experience the urbanized forest park, the large forest campground, the small camping group, the overnight or week-end hike, and so gain a sense of confidence in their own resourcefulness and lose the fear of wild country, then the final step is simple and natural,"18

Converting this illustrative suggestion into a coherent set of management decisions is the central task for a public land recreation policy.


1 Earl Pomeroy, In Search of the Golden West: The Tourist in Western America (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1957), 51

2 E.g., Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire. A Season in the Wilderness (New York, Ballantine Books, 1971), 52.

3 (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1919), 4.

4 John Muir, Letters to a Friend (Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1915), 80-81.

5 "The Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Trees," Landscape Architecture (Oct., 1952), 12-25.

6 Review of Reviews, Presidential Addresses, 1, 328.

7 Id., 370.

8 U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, "Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Environmental Assessment, Devel-opment Concept Plan" (Sept., 1975, 58, 117.

9 Joseph L. Sax, "America's National Parks, Their Principles, Purposes and Prospects," Natural History Magazine (Oct., 1976), 59-87.

10 "The Gospel for July," Sunset Magazine, v. 23, no. I (July, 1909), 1.

11 Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1970) 133-56.

12 Id. , at 139.

13 Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac With Other Essays on Conservation From Round River (New York, Oxford Univ. Press, 1966), 195-206.

14 Id., at 196, 198.

15 OP. cit. supra, note 2 at 58.

16 OP, cit. supra, note 2, at 52.

17 Nor does it suggest that public recreation lands need be reserved exclusively for intense, self-discovering activity. Certainly facilities for casual visitors-picnic and beach sites, transient camping facilities and the like-are appropriate. It is only to describe the central mission of public recreation; to urge that it be pursued affirmatively, and that other sorts of claims not be permitted to interfere with that mission.

18 Forest Outings: By 30 Foresters, ed. Russell Lord (Washington, D.C., Government Print. Office, 1940), 3 1.

Introducing: Joseph L. Sax

Environmental Law is a discipline within the profession which has deepened and broadened, together with general public awareness of the importance of the environment and its treatment, in recent years. Joseph L. Sax has contributed much to discussion and analysis of the problems in the field. He is the first of the Albright lecturers to deal with the legal aspects of wildland use and brings a wide-ranging and keen intelligence to bear on the topic.

He was born in Illinois and received his J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1959. After a period of professional practice in Washington, D.C. and teaching in Colorado, he served as visiting professor at Boalt Hall, University of California at Berkeley, 1965-1966. He then became a member of the law faculty at the University of Michigan, and has served there with distinction to the present.

He has served on the board of legal advisers to the President's Council of Environmental Quality (1970-1972) and on the Environmental Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences (1970-1973); he is also a member of the Board of Directors, Environmental Law Institute and an active participant in the Conservation Foundation and the International Council on Environmental Law.

Dr. Sax has published several distinguished contributions on the subject of environmental law. Among other works he is the co-author of Water and Water Rights (196 7), Water Law, Planning and Policy (1968), and Defending the Environment (1971).