Defining the Purpose of Parks: Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and the National Park System

A panel session with Moderator: Ethan Carr, PhD, FASLA, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. 

Panelists: Milton Chen, Senior Fellow and Executive Director, Emeritus at The George Lucas Educational Foundation. Shaun Eyring, National Park Service. Lucas St. Clair, President of the Board, preserving Maine's wilderness landscapes.

Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. had a long and profound influence on the National Park Service. He drafted the core of the agency's 1916 founding legislation. His influence on the theory and management of the NPS continued for decades and provided an important link to earlier chapters in American park history in which his father had been so prominent. What is the significance of Olmsted Jr.'s legacy in the national park system? What bearing does that legacy have for thinking about how the national park system will adapt to the environmental and demographic changes of the 21st century? This panel will address the meanings and purposes of parks as described by Olmsted Jr., and consider their relevance, adaptability, and usefulness for the changing uses, meanings, and publics of the parks today and in the future.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014