For millions of people across the Americas and around the world, a vacation often means a visit to a national park. These are special spaces that countries have set aside for preservation or conservation with the goal of protecting them for future generations. But what happens when climate change starts to fundamentally alter these protected areas? How will that change the experience for visitors, and is there anything that the stewards of these priceless resources can do about it?
Nearly four years ago, Hurricane Maria dealt a heavy blow to the Nature Island of the Caribbean, as Dominica calls itself. The storm slammed into the island with Category 5 ferocity, causing dozens of deaths, leveling structures, uprooting trees, and stripping the leaves off of those still standing. Fast-forward to today, and Dominica is as green as ever. From a distance, a forestry official says, the forests in Morne Trois Pitons National Park look much as they did pre-Maria. But step a little deeper into the trees and it’s clear that nature will need more time to fully recover.