Mountainfilm

Moving Mountains Symposium: Morning Session: Past, Present And Future Of Our Parks

Date: May 27, 2016
Start Time: 9:00 a.m.
Glacier National Park, 1932 [George Grant/NPSHPC]

In 1916, the National Park Service was founded, creating what has become, 100years later, a stunning assemblage of some of the most breathtaking and essential landscapes in the world. Mountainfilm has always had a deep interest in wild lands, and this centennial celebration of our national parks offers an opportunity for the Moving Mountains Symposium to examine the past, present and future of this remarkable system. Our parks are home to graceful arches of sandstone and otherworldly badlands, of alligator-infested mangrove forests and bison-studded plains. Immense river canyons where time stretches beyond imagination, massive caves draped with stalactites, historic battle sites, the country’s hottest deserts and the tallest mountain in North America. While it would be easy to focus the conversation on postcard images and self-congratulatory tales of idyllic places saved, there are many thorny issues that face the parks. As a result, we’ll also explore use conflicts, wildlife threats, minority engagement, the future of conservation and our stewardship role heading into the next 100 years. And in the second half of the symposium, we’ll take a deeper look at the world’s first national park, Yellowstone. We’ve gathered a slate of experts, photographers, storytellers and individuals who have formed unbreakable connections to our parks. Cheryl Strayed, the award winning author of Wild and a previous Mountainfilm guest, will lead the program as emcee. We hope this symposium will spark meaningful, game-changing dialogue and action to ensure that America’s iconic wildscapes remain intact and thriving for another century.

Tonisha Draper: Performance

Symposium

Tonisha Draper is a 12-year-old Navajo singer who has grown up learning the language and ceremonies of her ancestors within the sacred walls of Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

In Person:
  • Tonisha Draper
  • Douglas Brinkley: The Origins

    Symposium

    Award-winning author, professor and CNN Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley will kick off the morning conversation by painting a rich history of America’s national parks: the hatching of the great idea, the formation of the NPS and the larger-than-life individuals instrumental in its creation.

    In Person:
  • Douglas Brinkley
  • Betty Reid Soskin: History

    Symposium

    Through Her Story In her early 20s, Betty Reid Soskin worked for the all-black auxiliary of a segregated boilermakers union. In the ’60s, she was an activist and civil rights songwriter. And late in life, she helped create The Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California. Today, at 94, Reid is the oldest active ranger with the National Park Service. She will share her perspective on national history — and national parks history — that was informed by her own life.

    In Person:
  • Betty Reid Soskin
  • Michael Gauthier: A Growing Demand on Parks

    Symposium

    Being a climber, guide book author, and a park ranger who has worked in Mt. Rainier, Denali and now Yosemite National Park — where he is chief of staff — Michael Gauthier straddles two worlds: recreation and park management. That gives him a unique perspective on an issue that’s growing evermore urgent: how to meet the increasing demands and widely varied interests of the nearly 300 million people who visit and recreate in the parks each year. Gauthier will tackle this tricky issue of balance, growth and stewardship.

    In Person:
  • Mike Gauthier
  • Vanessa Torres: Relevancy, Diversity and Inclusion

    Symposium

    The U.S. Hispanic population has reached the 50 million mark, and other ethnic populations are growing as well. Despite that, the majority of visitors in — and employees of — our national parks are Caucasian. Vanessa Torres, Santa Monica Mountains NRA Los Angeles district supervisor, will talk explain why attracting a diverse crowd is important for securing future park stewards.

    In Person:
  • Vanessa Torres
  • Tom Butler: The National Park

    Symposium

    Idea Goes Global The national park idea began in America but quickly spread around the globe, and some park advocates believe we may beentering a new golden era of park creation and expansion. One of the most prominent examples is the unprecedented private initiatives of Kristine and Doug Tompkins to create new parks in South America. Writer and conservationist Tom Butler, long-time staffer of Tompkins Conservation, describes these parkland protection milestones.

    In Person:
  • Tom Butler
  • Kevin Fedarko and Pete McBride: Parks in Peril

    Symposium

    Despite the fact that The Grand Canyon is widely recognized and universally loved, it’s surrounded on all sides by threats: mining activity, helicopter traffic and development proposals. In order to explore this paradox, filmmaker Pete McBride — Holy (Un)holy River and Martin’s Boat — and author Kevin Fedarko decided to do something drastic: Walk a mega-transect through the heart of the canyon, from Lee’s Ferry to Grand Wash Cliffs. Setting off in the fall of 2015, they embarked on what turned into an epic, illuminating, blister-inducing and arduous adventure of nearly 650 miles. They’ll discuss how the challenges facing the Grand Canyon are emblematic of the country’s entire national park system.

    In Person:
  • Kevin Fedarko
  • Pete McBride