Outdoor Dynamics: Issues in Sustaining Wilderness

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Course Number: 
DYNM 650 900
Registration permits will be issued upon receipt of a signed travel agreement.
Course Note: 
DYNM Category: A; DYNM Concentrations: LMC, SD. Travel Course Dates: 8/4-12. Special session: 06/30/2017 to 08/14/2017
Course Description: 

This course explores the implications of past and future changes in land use and population changes over time in one of the least densely populated areas of the country, but which serves as both a winter and summer playground for millions of urban residents each year. Set in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, only a day's drive for over 10 million Americans, the area boasts some of the most pristine and exotic microenvironments in the world, left from the last Ice Age. Over 250,000 people visit the summit of Mt. Washington, the region's highest peak, every year, driving, hiking or riding the cog railway to the top. The focus of this course is the growing interest in promoting "sustainable development," which most people envision as protecting the environment and wild species from human encroachment and pollution. The course will examine the human sphere and the natural sphere as common ground in the analysis of competing issues; areas of compatibility; and future plans to promote a sustainable environment in this region. The course will focus on three themes: 1) how the people and institutions tasked with being the environment's guardians go about their jobs; 2) how the area is used by visitors; and 3) how industry and its stakeholders have worked with local regulators and politicians to create jobs and promote growth. The course will ask students to overlay the principles of sustainability and issues management, in managing the increasing concern that the trajectory of land use and industrial growth will compromise the region's native ecology and wilderness and backcountry attractiveness. Left to its own momentum, how will the future of the area fare versus promoting and implementing more sustainable goals? Changes in behavior will be needed to bring the two into line, and that leads to organizational dynamics. How will stakeholders resolve the natural tensions of the institutions' (primarily those that operate in the region) mission and development goals with outsiders' desires? What leverage do they and others have in the debate over the future of the region? In addition to an active outdoor week in the White Mountains, participants will meet with key players and leaders from the area and come away with a deeper understanding of the major issues in the tentions between "the place no one knew and the place that got loved to death."

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