Nature preserves should never be named for people


The title of this post might sound a bit harsh, but here’s the thought process behind it:

  • Humans rarely, if ever, have contributed to the long-term growth and maturation of a natural site – that’s Mother Nature’s handiwork.
  • More often than not, humans have damaged and degraded natural sites for economic gain.
  • A nature preserve or similar conservation area is open to the public and is essentially a public benefit and domain. Naming a nature preserve after one person or family makes it sound more like a possession.
  • While no one should dismiss the generosity of those who help(ed) preserve a natural site, naming it after a single, large donor fails to properly and fairly recognize the many smaller donors, as well as those who may have contributed countless volunteer hours. A non-obtrusive sign can be dedicated to those all who made the nature preserve possible, including large donors.
  • A nature preserve’s name should depict and celebrate its environmental uniqueness, not serve as a personal ego boost or branding idea.
  • Humans can have plenty of things named after them, such as buildings, landscaped gardens, cities, historic sites, airports, parks, and a myriad of other human-built items. Let Mother Nature’s delicate handiwork be enjoyed and celebrated without human interference, including in its name.

Am I wrong? Please feel free to disagree respectfully.


If this topic interests you, here’s an excellent book about one particular preserve in Michigan.


*A small commission is earned from purchases that are made using these links to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


This entry was posted in Advocacy, Animals, branding, environment, geography, Geology, hiking, historic preservation, history, humanity, infrastructure, land use, nature, opinion, place names, placemaking, planning, recreation, rivers/watersheds, social equity, spatial design, third places, topography, tourism, trails, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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