Political Science 224: Comparisons

A student may take PS 224 twice, if they are different experiences. These are the three experiences that Professor Pahre offers; you may take up to two of them.

PS 224, Politics of the National Parks: Colorado’s National Parks

Sunset on the Devils Garden Trail

This experience exhibits the greatest diversity of parks, emphasizing the similarities and differences among them. It entails significant driving (about 3000 miles), which makes it more like a guided tour bus than the other experiences. The Yellowstone course usually entails about 3000 miles, but 2700 of those miles are the long days getting there and back, with daily drives less.

Chiefs and Medals, at JNEM

This experience has much more emphasis on Native American relations with the parks, and includes much more history. It focuses less on the environment and wildlife than the Yellowstone course does.

PS 224, Politics of the National Parks: Greater Yellowstone Area

Tourists at Grand Prismatic

This experience offers the greatest depth in a single area, emphasizing themes such as wildlife, wilderness, and the impact of tourism. It uses hiking to experience Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, and it has the most sustained physical exertion of these field courses. Mileage has varied from 20 to 35 miles hiked in a week, and the group has climbed mountains, forded knee-deep rivers, and scrambled off-trail to a petrified forest.


PS 224, Politics of the National Parks: Freshman Discovery

Lantern Tour

This on-campus course covers the national park system as a whole. It includes a weekend field trip to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. Themes in the field experience include the impact of tourism, conflicts among different kinds of users, the connections between parks and their surrounding communities, and diversity in the national parks.


Other courses

This is not relevant for the question of repeating PS 224, but students who are interested in field experiences as part of a conventional on-campus course may also be interested in these options:

PS 225 (Environmental Politics) and PS 300 (Midwest Environment) have sometimes included day or overnight trips to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Themes include biodiversity, the relationship between humans and nature, and tradeoffs between economics and the environment. These courses complement PS 224, but do not count against the limit of two versions of PS 224.

The department also offers an online “virtual field trip,” PS 224 Politics of National Parks: Yellowstone.

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East Buttress of Hallett Peak from Flattop Mountain