|Awesome Bryce Canyon National Park, one of five|
National parks in Utah, visited with my brother
Loren and friend Bill several years ago.
|Yosemite, one of naturalist John Muir's stunning legacies. |
California has 9 National Parks, the most of any state.
Our National Parks encompass the glorious natural beauty of our country, from sea to shining sea. They have been called by pioneer naturalists like John Muir "our national cathedrals," counterpoints to the built environment and monuments of old Europe, open and accessible to one and all.
|Zion National Park, which I'm so glad I visited with|
my brother Loren. Incredible beauty.
|At the Grand Canyon, cold but awestruck |
by its vastness, ancient geology, layered beauty.
|Love this North Carolina Park.|
Jon Jarvis, the current director of the NPS, says that his agency's purpose is to tell America's story as well as protect our natural environment and natural historic places. "If not us, who else? It's our job."
Maybe our next president will jump on the National Parks bandwagon and advocate for huge budget increases, and a new Congress will approve it. This would be the best birthday gift of all! NPS could continue to update and upgrade the parks, support deferred maintenance, including damage being done by climate change, and improve the amenities that draw us into the parks. The lodges themselves are magnificent historic structures, built over the years on some of the most beautiful land in the world. And National Park Service rangers, and we need many more, are among the best teachers and quardians of these natural resources on earth.
Yes, our federal government's smallest agencies give us the biggest bang for the buck. What's more important than preserving our natural environment (NPS), promoting civic discourse (NEH), and fostering peaceful relations in the world (Peace Corps)? Let's put our money where our deepest values lie. Let's celebrate our National Parks in a big way!
http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/about/ for Ken Burn's documentary on our National Parks.
National Geographic, "The Power of Parks," January 2016.