Permanent Vacation: The Impermanence of Life in the National Parks

Permanent Vacation: The Impermanence of Life in the National Parks

Review of Permanent Vacation: Twenty Writers on Work and Life in Our National Parks, edited by Kim Wyatt (Bona Fide Books, 2011), an assortment of short recollections by writers who lived and worked in national parks. Sometimes adventurous, even frightening, often poetic, this collection offers intimate views rarely experienced by the millions who enjoy American national parks each year. ♨

Yellowstone pilgrimage in 1866 by Jesuit ‘Black Robe’ Missionary

Yellowstone pilgrimage in 1866 by Jesuit ‘Black Robe’ Missionary

A Piegan hunting party took the Jesuit missionary Francis Kuppens to Yellowstone in 1866. Awestruck by the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, amazed by the steaming fountains of geysers erupting skyward and the brilliant colors of scalding hot springs, the young Black Robe understood the glory of a God who had created such a magical and mysterious land of wonders. ♨

The Politics of Funding National Parks

The Politics of Funding National Parks

Voters seem much more in agreement about national parks than just about anything else, but the politics of funding our parks have left them with an enormous backlog of “deferred maintenance.” As a nation we have not been very good at putting our money where our mouth is. The immeasurable value of national parks, though, more than justifies an investment in their future.

Religion in Yellowstone

Religion in Yellowstone

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…

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…