National Geographic : 1966 Jul
plastic, and must be periodically scraped clear of sea growth, for they lie 15 feet underwater. Don't bring a spear gun, for you can't hunt fish in this national park. To enforce the rules, we've trained the rangers to be crack divers. "I work so much in swim trunks I should have my badge tattooed on my chest," jokes Art Johnson, one of them. We'd like to have another underwater park a little closer to where most of us live. In the Florida Keys south of Miami, a collec tion of coral reefs and tiny islets known as Islandia seems to be the perfect locale. Florida's marvelous John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is already successfully established in this area. However, resort de velopers and even major industries are mov ing in fast. Skin divers are decimating the fish and destroying the fragile coral forma tions of adjoining waters. It may be difficult to acquire the reefs before it is too late. From tropical seas I want to take you across the continent to Alaska. As the scenery changes, so will the subject. I'd like now to discuss not new kinds of parks, but the classic nature parks, the type on which the National Park System was founded. We need more of them. We still have un protected scenic masterpieces that should be preserved-and could be preserved under the mantle of the National Park Service. This, in turn, would relieve some of the future's pressure on our existing nature parks. Alaska, of course, affords us our best op portunity to add nature parks to the system with the least disruption of human affairs. Vast areas of wilderness in the forty-ninth state have scarcely even been explored. Personally, I favor a park in the Wood Tikchik area north of Bristol Bay, a paradise of trout-filled lakes and of forest and moun tain scenery to take one's breath away (page 79). I flew into Wood-Tikchik last summer with members of the Advisory Board on Na tional Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings and Monuments. The board, which advises on national park policies and programs, also inspects proposed acquisitions. As our floatplane circled for a lake land ing, moose looked up at us with curiosity rather than fear, for the hunter is still rare in these parts. We ate lunch on a gravel beach I doubt any but Indians had visited before. Huge trout dimpled the lake surface nearby. Clouds tumble like a waterfall down Cascade Pass. Even in August, snow patches the sky-probing summits. Lunching on a grassy knoll, backpacking Seattleites drink from a brook and breathe evergreen-spiced air. White-water buff, a member of the Washington Foldboat Club runs rapids in the Skagit River near Newhalem. A hump of icy water hides Jo Yount's Fiberglas kayak as she flashes past rocks. Neoprene wet suit under the striped shirt keeps her warm. A por tion of the Skagit would be included in the proposed national park of the North Cascades. KODACHROMESBY BOB AND IRA SPRING ) N.G.S.