The National Park Service’s management of nature offers America’s wild places as contrived experiences to meet the spiritual expectations of the consumer public.
Visitors who delight in nature and stunning scenery at places like Acadia National Park often do not realize their aesthetic debt to Protestant reformer and theologian John Calvin.
The land is philosopher. It teaches through patient being that knowing is as futile and useless as believing. Things are, circumstances unfold and collapse, and reality persists.
Acadia National Park has become infested with an epidemic of automobiles, but many visitors escape the traffic on the refurbished carriage roads where they can enjoy the park by equine-powered carriages, on foot or bicycle.
Cars have been both a blessing and a curse for national parks. They are how most of us get to the places we love, but they also hurt the places we love.
Nature allows us to be undisguised and naked, without judging us or demanding that we be something other than the vulnerable, frightened animals that we are.
Deer in the city are not so rare. Nor are coyotes, rabbits, squirrels, even the occasional fox. But wildness, even in its most positive romantic conceptions, usually ends up being about us.
Acadia National Park offers unique attractions that have made it a premier destination, and, despite my initial ambivalence, I am glad to have gone there. It is a treasure not to be missed.
Spirituality and the State by Kerry Mitchell examines state power through a lens of “spirituality” in America’s national parks. This book shows how affection for parklands relies on a love of nature which is also a love of oneself and of one’s nation. Though intellectually engaging, Mitchell grounds his analysis in stories of people enjoying national parks. ♨