This is a history of beginnings, but it doesn't come from 1879. Rather it is about the politics of the World Centennial of National Parks in 1972. Not in 1964 - 100 years after the first national park in the world, Yosemite. Nor in 1979 - 100 years after Royal National Park was legislated as the first national park in the world. The politics of the decision to rewrite history to make Yellowstone National Park the signature ‘first’ national park in the world is entangled with the perception of RNP's history. This decision reveals much about the workings of Earth Day politics in USA in 1970, and also the networks between national parks managers in Australia and in the United States in this period. The story speaks to the tensions between the national and global in the politics of biological diversity at a time when national parks were seen as the primary solution to a crisis of extinctions. It also reflects the tensions in Australia inherent in the constitutional responsibility for ‘national’ parks being vested in the states and the issues this still raises for Australia's international responsibilities for global biodiversity.
Being first: why the Americans needed it, and why Royal National Park didn't stand in their way
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Libby Robin; Being first: why the Americans needed it, and why Royal National Park didn't stand in their way. Australian Zoologist 1 January 2013; 36 (3): 321–331. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2012.025
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