"National Parks: The American Experience" by Alfred Runte

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Title: National Parks: The American Experience
Author: Alfred Runte
Start Date: 7/22/16
End Date: 7/30/16
# of Pages: 336
Edition: Taylor Trade Publishing 4th edition paperback (2010)

Favorite Quotes: (1) “Because their defenders have thus persevered, the parks continue to exist. The moment we think otherwise, they and the land will be gone.” (2) “Thoreau wrote ‘We go eastward to realize history and study the works of art and literature, retracing the steps of the race; we go westward as into the future, with a spirit of enterprise and adventure.’” (3) “It followed that the Rocky Mountains, as earlier the Sierra Nevada, might lead the country out of its cultural doldrums.” (4) “‘…the millions who are hereafter to benefit by the Yosemite Act have the largest interest in it, and the largest interest should be first and most strenuously guarded…’” (5) “‘Our National Parks are wilderness preserves where true natural conditions are to be found.’” (6) “Stemming the tide of urban development hinged on educating Americans to appreciate the natural world being sacrificed in their own backyards. The loss of more than a million acres of open space annually indeed alarmed preservationists. Suddenly, Yellowstone’s 2 million acres, for example, did not seem very large…” (7) “Although emotionally he wished it otherwise, Muir had honestly read the history. Civilization is the problem parks solve.”

Why I Chose It: I love America’s National Parks. The ideas and concepts and the Parks themselves. This book helped script Ken Burns’ documentary, which is excellent, and naturally lead me to be interested in it.

Other Notes: Although a bit dry at times, this book is a good primer on the history of the Parks. It definitely lands on the preservationists side (in my opinion), but then again, so do I for the most part.

BooksKarl Magnuson