Monday, August 4, 2014

Securing A Piece Of Nature

The National Parks: America's Best IdeaThe National Parks: America's Best Idea by Dayton Duncan
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The glories of nature versus the all mighty dollar, this is the story of America. This is story of The National Parks: America's Best Idea.

Having just read a book by John Muir, the savior of Yosemite, and having an ingrained love of nature, I was naturally driven towards The National Parks. I've always wanted to see them for myself, but lately I've developed a desire to know their history. I was thrilled to find this book in audio format at my local library.

This book exists in conjunction with Ken Burns' 2009 documentary. In fact Burns narrates the bulk of this audiobook. While not possessing the most commanding of voices, Burns is nonetheless effective. He makes documentaries on subjects that have great meaning to him and in turn he conveys his love to his viewers, and in this case, his readers.

That the U.S. was the first nation to preserve land as national parks is a point of pride. It's heartening to hear of humans doing the right thing for the good of our planet. It's disheartening to hear of the many humans willing to pave over all of nature in order to make a fast buck in the moment without regard to others or the future. The battle, who waged it and how it was won or lost gives the reader a greater appreciation for the struggle.

Each park has an Interesting story. The book starts off with Yosemite and John Muir, the Scotsman who was so instrumental in kicking off the preservation moment in America.

It then moves on to Yellowstone...






The Everglades...




The Grand Canyon...


The Grand Canyon did not immediately become a National Park at first opportunity. Arizonans didn't want it. Some of them wanted to profit from the Canyon via mining, grazing, and putting up their own houses and hotels on the rim to leech off the rise in tourism as roads and rail plowed their way right up to the edge of the precipice.

That is the story of so many of our national parks. Today we sometimes take them for granted, forgetting that their existence was at one recent time very much so in the balance. The National Parks is an excellent reminder of the struggle for preservation and a great way to verbally experience the parks vicariously.

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