A tension lies at the heart of the national parks idea. On the one hand, the parks exist to preserve nature, protecting it from development or destruction by humans. On the other hand, the parks also exist to be available to everyone. Opening National Parks to all Americans is part of the democratic ideal of equality – in this case equal access to natural beauty. This lesson focuses on that tension: how to preserve nature and at the same time make the parks available to all Americans who want to visit them. Grounding their work in historical examples, students participate in a deliberation activity to solve the problem of overcrowding at the national parks.