Our National Parks

August 23, 2015

Wallace Stegner put it this way. “National Parks are the best idea we ever had.”  This weekend, the National Park Service celebrates its birthday by making the parks free for a day. We're celebrating with an hour on the history and politics of national parks.  And we'll meet some folks whose lives have been changed by experiences they had in the parks.

 

 

  1. National Parks: The Greatest American Invention

    Ahhh, the sound of grizzly bears fighting over salmon in a tidal pool. Incredible! When you listen to those grizzly bears you are listening to one of the greatest, if not thee greatest, resource American has. It’s land. William Cronon says our land IS who we are. So it makes since, that in the 19th century a bold and visionary invention was created: the National Park. Cronon told Steve Paulson that National Parks are America's greatest invention.

     

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  2. No More National Parks!

    So, National Parks are the greatest thing since sliced bread. And everyone loves them. Right? Well, not so fast.  In the past couple years, a small group of Republicans have introduced bills that would seriously curtailing the creation of new National Parks and roll back protections of existing ones. These have been dubbed the “No More National Parks” bills. None of these bills have become law. Yet.Claire Moser works for the Public Lands Project for The Center for American Progress and she is trying to steop those bills.

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  3. Cheryl Strayed on her memoir "Wild"

    A discssion about National Parks can be kind of abstract. But it doesn’t have to be. Part of the intention of National Parks is that we use them. Day hikes. Sightseeing. Camping. Or, walking over 1,000 miles. Alone. To say Cheryl Strayed’s memoir called “Wild” struck a nerve would be the understatement of the year. The best-seller turned major motion picture blew many Americans away. The core of “Wild” is about a journey. One foot in front of the other – literal and otherwise.

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  4. El Capitan Daredevils – The story of the few who have climbed the 3000 foot granite wall of Yosemite National Park.

    Hiking. Fishing. Camping.  What about using the parks for, well, being a bad ass. The documentary “Valley Uprising” tells the story of the rock climbers who have dared El Capitan – the 3000 foot granite wall of Yosemite National Park. Nick Rosen is the film’s director. He told Steve Paulson that the story starts back in the 1950s. Before climbing wall gyms. Before it was even legal to climb in Yosemite.

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  5. Listening in on One Square Inch of Silence

     One of the most amazing things about National Parks is what you can hear. Or as acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton would put it, NOT hear. He's is the founder of the organization One Square Inch of Silence. The once square inch is an actual place located in the Hoh Rain Forest at Olympic National Park. The exact location is marked by a small red-colored stone placed on top of a moss-covered log. And after you hear (or don't hear) this piece you will want to go. So, here's a map.

     

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  6. The Adventure Gap: Why do so Few African-Americans go to National Parks?

    National Parks are important to America. And not just for the environment. But for the well-being of those who visit.  Yet a large portion of the US popular has never set foot in a National Park. Especially African Americans. Independent producer James Mills wanted to know why. And he went all the way back to the Buffalo Soldiers, exploring what he calls "The Adventure Gap
     

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