Do National Parks Have a Role in an Agrarian Future?

Do National Parks Have a Role in an Agrarian Future?

A few years ago I listened in on a conversation with poet, novelist, and essayist Wendell Berry, introduced that day as “without question the leading agrarian of our time.” He suggested a definition of this term agrarian as a “love for farming” that includes an inclination to put land first as our highest value. “Access to land,” Berry surmised, “provides…

Religion in the National Parks

Religion in the National Parks

Religion has been an implied value in America’s national park idea from the time of the earliest nineteenth-century parks to the present. But the religious element usually remains buried in visitors’ private aesthetic responses to park experiences and attractions. Rarely do specific theological views appear in the parks, even in unofficial activities or park uses. Certainly, the National Park Service…

“Only God Can Create A National Park”

“Only God Can Create A National Park”

There has been a persistent sense among many Americans that national parks are special places, even sacred. It was Horace Albright, the second Director of the National Park Service, who said in 1930 that “Only God can create a national park.” Such theologically tinged interpretations, of course, borrow on the leftover patriotism of nineteenth-century Manifest Destiny. This story of the…