The First National Park? Maybe Not What You Thought

The First National Park? Maybe Not What You Thought

Journalists and many historians like to say that Yellowstone reigns as America’s, indeed the world’s, first national park. Yellowstone’s standing as originator of national parks, though, comes with some contingency. At least two parks came before Yellowstone, an easily ignored fact that sometimes shows up as a footnote in the accounts of more astute historians. Yosemite National Park, more widely…

100 Years of the National Park Service

100 Years of the National Park Service

Happy centennial day for the National Park Service! On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson took up his pen and made official the National Park Service Organic Act. To be clear, Wilson’s autograph did not originate our national parks system. That distinction goes to the establishment of Yellowstone in 1872, or to federal protection of Yosemite in 1864, or to…

Viewing the Underworld

Viewing the Underworld

Gazing into the blue-green depths through this watery portal to the underworld, we don’t see the fiery hell of our imagination, but instead only reflections of our own worlds. Our demons do not dwell in the boiling, stinking waters that ooze from the earth’s bowels. They dance instead in the forests and meadows that surround us. ♨