Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Phil Condon

Commitee Members

Laurie Yung, Tom Roy


Yellowstone, Siberia, zapovedniki, Baxter State Park, Organic Act, National Park Service


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Environmental Studies


This thesis seeks to examine issues of resource conservation and recreational access in three regions of immense historical and ecological significance: Yellowstone National Park, the North Woods of Maine, and the protected nature reserve system of Siberia. By applying a combination of direct professional experience, current research and ongoing environmental policy action, the thesis attempts to provide an accurate picture of current and future challenges facing the three regions. Part I, “Yellowstone Paradox,” traces the roots of Yellowstone’s restrictions on recreational boating access in a post-WWII discourse of consumer recreation, the development of a sustainability ethic and its deployment as a rhetorical tactic by both advocates and opponents of park paddling access. Part II, “The Mill and the Mountain,” examines the transition from logging to tourism in an economically depressed former mill town outside of Baxter State Park, where land managers struggle to balance visitor use and safety with the “forever wild” vision of the park’s founder, Percival Baxter. Playing a key role in the region’s future is Roxanne Quimby, founder of Burt’s Bees Cosmetics, who proposes to found a 75,000 acre North Woods National Park adjacent to Baxter State Park. Part III, “Zapovednik,” examines the zapodvedniki (biological reserves) of the Russian Federation, where no-access conservation areas long protected by the Soviet government now face new pressures from resource extraction, poaching, and international ecotourism. As we continue into the 21st century, the three areas grow ever more vulnerable to resource degradation, climate change, and growing human impact. On a policy level, ongoing conservation efforts will require reevaluation of access regulations and new strategies for balancing the needs of visitors with protection of the resource. On a more abstract level, the future preservation of these areas demands an increased sense of stewardship through environmental education and engagement.



© Copyright 2015 Lily S. Vonderheide