I've had the great opportunity to visit 11 of the previous tentative sites. While the 1982 list is deeply flawed, there are some fantastic places that make a worthwhile visit.
Out of interest I have established (not in a "competitive" way I might add!!) that we have visited 18 of the old T List -
Joshua Tree National Park
Sequoia/King Canyon National Parks
Death Valley National Park
Rocky Mountains National Park
South Dearborn Street – Printing House Row North Historic District Chicago
Acadia National Park
Prudential (Guaranty) Building, Buffalo
Crater Lake National Park
Arches National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Zion National Park
Mount Rainier National Park
North Cascades National Park
Grand Teton National Park
Yes, all are certainly worth visiting (and preserving). Many are in the "worth a journey" category and none is less than "worth a detour"!!
The list gets one thinking again about the way in which the World Heritage concept has developed/changed over the years. This has been both positive and negative - it does seem to have got itself into something of a "rut" in its regular inscription of what are often really pretty mediocre sites either because the country has done a good job at preparing a Nomination File or on the basis of sharing the accolade around the World! Given the make up of the WH Committee and the views of those employed by UNESCO, one wonders if it can ever escape from this situation
And the US has also gone through major changes in that period - could it even consider putting forward the Washington Monument and Brooklyn Bridge now with the realisation that (for better or worse!)much of the World isn't really very impressed by such "National symbols" of democracy and power!
We have already discussed the issue of US nominations which are private property but that issue also impacts on nominations for National Parks and other Federal/State property via the development, since the original T List, of the concept of Buffer Zones and the realisation of what these can mean. This aspect led to the passage of the "American Land Sovereignty act of 1996" (plus later amendments).
We are all aware of the somewhat unthinking "redneck" anti-UNESCO views which exist in parts of the US but this document, dated 1997, provides a rather better reasoned critique of the World Heritage (and Biosphere Reserve) System as it has developed. In my view it justifies consideration! In the US there may have been something of a retreat in recent years from its conclusions but I suspect the general antipathy towards the schemes which it describes is more widespread than solely among the ultra Right - and perhaps not totally without justification!!!http://cei.org/sites/default/files/Jeremy%20Rabkin%20-%20The%20Yellowstone%20Affair%2 0Environmental%20Protection,%20International%20Treaties,%20And%20National%20Sovereign ty.pdf