Publication Date


Committee Members

Ethan Carr, Chair - Frank Sleegers, Member


On October 27, 1972, Gateway National Recreation Area (NRA), located in New York and New Jersey, was established as one of two national recreation areas intended to serve urban areas. Along with Golden Gate NRA in San Francisco, California, these were the first two national parks to be brought closer to large, urban populations. The creation of these urban parks was the result of a social objective: creating parks that were truly in reach of large populations of people (Rothman, 2004). Thirty-five years later, while Golden Gate NRA thrives as an active recreation area for the people of the San Francisco area, Gateway struggles "to meet the aspirations of its founders, to negotiate its relationship with the communities that surround it, and to balance the goals of historic preservation, environmental conservation, and active recreation" (Van Alen competition brief). In a poll of New York City residents, conducted in 2006 (Zogby, 2006), under the collaboration of the National parks Conservation Association, 47% of the residents polled were not aware that the Gateway NRA existed. This differs from the pro-active Bay Area residents that greatly identify with the GGNRA and who pride themselves in their very own national park.