Romance of the National Parks


I HAVE had the good fortune to be intimately connected With national parks ever since I first went to Washington in 1913 as a member of the staff of Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior. I had the privilege of assisting at the birth of the National Park Service, which I served for seventeen years.

Only one who is thoroughly familiar with the inside history of the national parks can appreciate how faithfully Miss James has translated to the public the trend of Congressional legislation during the past sixty years, and the significance of the development of the National Park Service under the guidance and with the support of succeeding Secretaries of the Interior.

We have in national parks today a widely recognized form of land-use which includes recreation, inspiration and education, and which rules out certain conflicting uses appropriate in a multiple-use program applied to other lands. Miss James shows clearly that the National Park System is built upon this recognition.

When I resigned from the Directorship of the National Park Service to enter the business field, I was very glad to accept the invitation of the American Civic Association to become a member of its Executive Board, for I was thoroughly familiar with the active part that Dr. J. Horace McFarland, its President for twenty years, had played in the educational campaign leading to the establishment of the National Park Service. When I was invited in 1937 to become President of the American Planning and Civic Association, to succeed the Honorable Frederic A. Delano, who then became Chairman of the Board, I was proud thus to become the successor of Mr. Delano and Dr. McFarland, and to aid in giving continuing cooperation to the Department of the Interior for the protection of national park ideals and for the defense of national park areas from destructive adverse uses.

For eighteen years, in association with three presidents, Miss James has served the American Civic Association and its successor, the American Planning and Civic Association. During these years millions of American citizens have visited national parks and have become familiar with them. Miss James not only traces the past history and present service of national parks and monuments; she looks into the future and shows what may be accomplished to guarantee to this and future generations the effective preservation of adequate national parks which meet the high standards developed by Congress and the Department of the Interior.

Thus, the pages which follow do read as romance to me. I can hear testimony to the accuracy and spirit of what Miss James has written, and I commend to the reading public the perusal of this book on the "Romance of the National Parks."


New York, April, 1939

MARIPOSA GROVE OF REDWOODS IN YOSEMITE Photograph—Department of the Interior, Courtesy—Portfolio, American Planning and Civil Association

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Last Updated: 18-Nov-2009