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Rediscovering National Parks in the Spirit of John Muir

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Copyright: 2015
Trim: 6 x 9
Pages: 272 pp.



Rediscovering National Parks in the Spirit of John Muir

Michael Frome

Nature and Environment

As a journalist, advocate, and professor, Michael Frome has spent decades engaged with conservation topics and has taken particular interest in America’s national parks. He draws on this experience and knowledge to address what remains to be done in order to truly value and preserve these special places. Part memoir, part history, and part broadside against those who would diminish this heritage, Rediscovering National Parks in the Spirit of John Muir, through thoughtful reflections and ruminations, bears witness to the grandeur of our parks and to the need for a renewed sense of appreciation and individual responsibility for their care.

In recollections of his encounters and conversations with key people in national park history, Frome discusses park politics, conflicts between use and preservation, and impacts of commercialization. He proposes a dedicated return to the true spirit in which the parks were established, in the manner of John Muir. He advocates maintaining these lands as wild sanctuaries, places where we can find inspiration, solitude, silence, balance, and simplicity, reminding us why we must preserve our national treasures and why we need to connect with the deeper values they hold.

Michael Frome is an author, educator, and tireless champion of America’s natural heritage. He has been a featured columnist in the Los Angeles Times, Field & Stream, American Forests, and Defenders of Wildlife, and has written twenty-two books, including Battle for the Wilderness (1997) and Green Ink: An Introduction to Environmental Journalism (1998). In 1995 he retired from the faculty of Western Washington University, where he directed a pioneering program in environmental journalism and writing.

Table of Contents:

Preface and Acknowledgments

1. Feet on the Ground, Eyes to the Sky
2. Institutions Breed Conformity and Compliance
3. My Friends Harvey and Carsten, Superlative Park Advocates
4. A Superintendent’s View of Park Priorities
5. “Politics is the Problem, and Getting Worse”
6. I Discover National Parks, the Parks Discover Me
7. Parkways, Monuments, and Memorials Are National Parks, Too
8. John Muir Comes into My Life
9. No Glaciers or Geysers in the Everglades, but . . .
10. Tough to Make a Living, Tougher to Say Something That Counts
11. I Become an Author
12. Horace Albright: Portrait of a Conserver
13. Drury in Defense of Dinosaur
14. Hetch Hetchy Again, Now in Utah
15. Whose Woods These Are
16. On Becoming a Columnist
17. Speaking at Yale
18. The Timid, the Hesitant, the Compromisers Have Failed
19. “Parks Are for People” Makes the Great Society Look Good
20. Building an Empire through Political Patronage
21. Saving the Smokies
22. “Wilderness is My Lifestyle”
23. The Voice Crying in the Wilderness
24. Those Endless Compromises Really Do Not Help
25. Fire, Changing Land into Landscape
26. Yellowstone—Heritage or Honkytonk?
27. Concession Power
28. Charles Eames Had a Word for It
29. The Outcasts Felt Pain, and Found Salvation
30. A Christmas Gift, Anything but Small
31. Muir Found the Icy Wilderness “Unspeakably Pure and Sublime”
32. Tourist Boomers Like Action and a Good Show
33. The Scientist Who Speaks from Conscience Pays a Price
34. The Vail Call to Arms, Unheard
35. “Their Labors Were Not in Vain”
36. Could My Words Possibly Make Any Difference?
37. When a Whistleblower “Goes Public”
38. Citizens Challenge the Parkway Center
39.Horace Albright Typing on His Aged Portable
40. The Coalition Brings Its Experience to the Table
41. Artists and Photographers Direct Us to a Sense of Place and of Spirit
42. Brower, Without Fear or Favor
43. Failing to Safeguard the Sacred, Ancient, and Fragile
44. Sometimes Rules and Regulations Are Bent and Broken
45. Going Home


Praise and Reviews:

“Very engaging. Frome is a significant figure in modern park and environmental history, having been preeminent as a journalist in the field for many, many years. What he thinks on these matters is worth pondering.”
—Joseph L. Sax, author of Mountains without Handrails: Reflections on the National Parks

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