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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Introduction. Special Places and Protected Spaces: Historical and Global Perspectives on Non-National Parks in Canada and Abroad

Keith Thor Carlson and Jonathan Clapperton

Environment and History 18 (2012): 475-496. doi: 10.3197/096734012X13466893037026

In October 2010, a group of scholars representing a variety of disciplines gathered to discuss the history of non-national parks in Canada and beyond. The following introduction draws together common threads tying the articles making up this collection together and arrives at some conclusions surrounding the history of non-national parks. Specifically we contend: 1) heterogeneous jurisdictional control seems to produce heterogeneous parks; 2) park creation and management, by definition, are exercises in boundary maintenance – rhetorics of inclusivity ignore the reality of exclusion; and 3) non-national parks are expected to provide economic return as much as preserve ecological/heritage value. We then suggest possible avenues for future research. To address some of these issues, the greater part of this atypically long introduction provides an analysis of recent non-Native attempts to understand Aboriginal epistemologies surrounding environmental protection and protected areas strategies.

KEYWORDS: Non-national parks, protected areas, heritage values, Native and non-Native environmental epistemologies


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