The Evolving Corporate Role In US National Parks: Yosemite, A Case Study Of Advancing From Corporate Responsibility To Corporate Resilience
Stones, Richard Ian
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
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This thesis examines the evolving relationship between protected landscapes and the corporate through the lens of tourism in US national parks, with Yosemite National Park as the empirical case study. It provides an understanding of how protected landscapes are managed by examining wise-use, its connection to responsible actions and sustainable development, and the role ‘corporate natures’ have within this management process - framed around corporate social and environmental responsibility (CSR). This work is concerned with how wise-use is employed alongside the national park priorities of protection and access, so as to understand why private capital is invested in public lands to maintain public good. Such investment is examined through the role of the corporate, to show how making landscape dollarable, its commodification through tourism [visitation and access] has actually provided a safety net and enhanced protection, rather than being the antithesis to it. Tourism has not only created landscapes of economic value but also ones of social and cultural value, places that people connect with and appreciate through an identity of both place and feeling. The main findings of this thesis are that wise-use and corporate actions have evolved and are driven by a new process of CSR, representing corporate social resilience. This new process of CSR is determined by the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders, and advances adaptive co-management, offering a more robust process than the subjective and voluntary ideals of responsibility. This thesis approaches this work through a qualitative empirical study undertaken through archival research, literature reviews and research in the field at Yosemite National Park, which included documentary analysis, interviews and meetings with the main stakeholders in commercial and governance activity. This research forms an important and valuable contribution to environmental management strategies, not only for tourism but also a wider audience.
PhD in Geography
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