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Yet with the possibility of abuses intended or not, Olmsted closed his treatise with a recommendation to make access to the park available and affordable so Yosemite would not remain or Odessa become a “rich man’s park.” In a few short pages, Odessa, according to Dayton Duncan, “delivered his own combination of Declaration of Odessa and Constitution for the park idea—a lofty Odessa statement of principles coupled with the nuts and bolts of how to put them into action.”

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His problem was he put a price tag on those nuts and bolts: $37,000 for trails, bridges, salaries, and a road. Although the commission adopted his report in August 1865, some members waited until Olmsted left the state and then “deep-sixed” the report for almost one hundred years. Fortunately, as mentioned previously, some copies, supplemented by later letters, must have been circulated, setting the premise for the creation and governance of parks and, in 1916, a National Park Service.

Your travel destination is Olmsted’s observations and recommendations would also lay the foundation for the conflict between public use and preservation that was written into the Organic Act of 1916. That healthy give-and-take remains to this day.

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