TheBigOutside Blog

Michael Lanza, creator of TheBigOutside.com and Northwest Editor of Backpacker Magazine, writes about hiking, backpacking, climbing, backcountry skiing, paddling and other self-powered outdoor adventures

The Interview: Park Service Director Jarvis dishes on climate threats, politics, and watering giant sequoias

National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis calls climate change “the greatest threat to the integrity of the national park system that we’ve ever faced.”

NPS Director Jon Jarvis

Jarvis, who began his NPS career in 1976 and took over as director in October 2009, oversees America’s 58 national parks and more then 300 other units of the park system at a time when scientists are learning more about the myriad threats posed by warming temperatures. Those include the expected disappearance of Glacier National Park’s glaciers within a decade; snowpack declining virtually everywhere and the sweeping impacts of that on rivers, recreation, and ecosystems; more, larger wildfires and invasive species devastating forests across the West; and the gradual inundation by rising seas of park lands from the Olympic coast to Acadia to the Everglades.

Jarvis has served as a park biologist, chief of natural and cultural resources at several parks, superintendent at Craters of the Moon National Monument, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, and Mount Rainier National Park, and director of the Pacific West Region. He says he began working on climate issues 20 years ago. In an exclusive interview with TheBigOutside.com for my upcoming book on parks and climate change, he talked about how the National Park Service is responding to the climate threat, and the possibility of employing drastic measures like irrigating giant sequoia trees.

Read the complete interview and find stories and images of outdoor adventures at TheBigOutside.com.

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National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis calls climate change “the greatest threat to the integrity of the national park system that we’ve ever faced.”

Jarvis, who began his NPS career in 1976 and took over as director in October 2009, oversees America’s 58 national parks and more then 300 other units of the park system at a time when scientists are learning more about the myriad threats posed by warming temperatures. Those include the expected disappearance of Glacier National Park’s glaciers within a decade; snowpack declining virtually everywhere and the sweeping impacts of that on rivers, recreation, and ecosystems; more, larger wildfires and invasive species devastating forests across the West; and the gradual inundation by rising seas of park lands from the Olympic coast to Acadia to the Everglades.

Jarvis has served as a park biologist, chief of natural and cultural resources at several parks, superintendent at Craters of the Moon National Monument, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, and Mount Rainier National Park, and director of the Pacific West Region. He says he began working on climate issues 20 years ago. In an exclusive interview with TheBigOutside.com for my upcoming book on parks and climate change, he talked about how the National Park Service is responding to the climate threat, and the possibility of employing drastic measures like irrigating giant sequoia trees.

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