For years national parks have offered the public
something which seems to be necessary to all human beings, be they young or
old, male or female, scientist or student. Whatever this basic human
requirement iswhether it takes the form of recreation or merely the
need to be outdoorsAmericans look to their national parks for its
fulfillment. It is apparent that more and more of us are aware of this
need, for as pollution and the pressures of urban living are rapidly
increasing, so are the visitation rates at the national parks.
This book is designed to serve as an introduction to
many of the natural and cultural aspects of Platt National Park. It is
intended to familiarize the reader with the diverse environments he will
encounter while traveling through the park. Perhaps more significant, it
is intended to create an awareness of the delicate yet vital ecological
relationships which not only are apparent in the park but exist in one
form or another throughout the entire world.
This guide is intended to go beyond the traditional
field guide. We feel that understanding environmental relationships is
far more important than merely identifying separate components of a
natural community. With this in mind, the reader will come to understand
some basic and underlying ecological assumptions, and we trust that,
through an understanding and appreciation of these concepts, the total
environmental picture of the world we live in will be more fully
realized and admired for what it is. In addition, it is hoped the reader
will have a greater appreciation of the role each and every
person has in this dynamic system.
This book is the result of the combined efforts of
several persons. The original idea, as well as many supportive ideas
and contributions, must be shared with our associates in the Department
of Geography of the University of Oklahoma.
Joseph B. Schiel, Jr., must be credited for the
initial proposal of preparing this manuscript, and it was largely under
his direction that much of the research in the park was conducted. John
D. Gunter deserves special credit for his interpretation of the
geological history of the area. Others who provided substantive
contributions were James B. Humphries, Jr., and Charles E. Webb. Chester
Weems was responsible for most of the photographs appearing in this
book. Many thanks are due the naturalists at the Platt National Park
Travertine Nature Center, who gave freely of their time to aid us in the
preparation of materials. Special gratitude is felt for John W. Morris,
who was responsible for the preliminary editing of the manuscript.
Without his help and encouragement this book would not have been
Lastly there is the debt owed our wives, Carol and Molly, who typed the
manuscript and tolerated the whole endeavor.
West Point, New York
July 31, 1974
Ballard M. Barker
William Carl Jameson