Religious elements of national parks may not be obvious, but visitors’ experiences rely to some extent on traditions of religious travel and religio-aesthetic interpretations.
The current issue of Chebacco focuses on the history of religion on Maine’s largest island and includes my essay on religion in Acadia National Park.
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.
What happens between teacher and student, as well as between parent and child, between intimates and colleagues, at its best involves changes that bring “more enlightened living in the world.”
Travelers seeking the authentic in the places they visit are looking for evidence of an authentic self. They desire authentic experiences that reveal a meaningful essence inside themselves.
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. ♨
When I mention that I am working on a history of religion in Yellowstone National Park, people are often puzzled. They usually say something like, “Is there religion in Yellowstone?” And then they might remark, “Oh, you must mean Native Americans.” “Yes,” I reply, “I will include something about how Native American people regarded the area, but my project is…