Romance of the National Parks


THE purpose of this book has been to bring together in brief form the history of the movement which led to the creation of national parks and to outline the development of the system. The legislation of Congress and the administration of national parks by the Department of the Interior have contributed to a substantially consistent policy which recognizes national parks as a definite and separate form of land-use.

The space devoted to the different parks and monuments is in no wise a measure of their importance and interest. Certain parks have achieved significance because of the part they have played in the development of the national park idea.

No attempt has been made to present all of the functions of the National Park Service, or to outline all of the additional services rendered during the recent emergency years. Not all of the areas administered by the Service have been mentioned, as the mere catalogue of these is so long that it would make tedious reading. There is, however, on pages 234-5, a map which presents a comprehensive picture of the National Park Service Areas and Projects.

Acknowledgments are made to Dr. Harold C. Bryant, of the National Park Service, for aid in finding source material; to Horace M. Albright, former Director of the Service and now President of the American Planning and Civic Association; to Arno B. Cammerer, Director, Arthur E. Demaray, Associate Director, and George L. Collins, all of the Park Service; to Mrs. Edward R. Padgett, Editor of Planning and Civic Comment and to Mrs. Charles W. Williams, of the staff of the American Planning and Civic Association, who read the manuscript and made valuable suggestions; to the many park rangers who all unknowingly and anonymously contributed to the making of this book; to the American Forestry Association, Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, American Society of Landscape Architects, and the American Planning and Civic Association, all of which organizations furnished plates for the illustrations.

The author is grateful for the opportunity to consult and quote from the John Muir books, the bulletins issued by the National Park Service, and the many other publications on which she drew heavily in order to bring together the heterogeneous types of material included in the narrative.

It is hoped that those who read the volume may be influenced to visit the parks, and find there inspiration and understanding of the great forces which created them. To become acquainted with the National Park Service field men in the gray-green uniforms is an experience worth remembering. These men are the interpreters of the parks to the public.

If those who visit the national parks and monuments find in this volume the impulse to penetrate beyond the paved highways, and to find in them something of the rest, recreation and knowledge which is there for the taking, the author will feel that in some small measure the book is justified.

But for Dr. J. Horace McFarland this book would never have been written. He suggested the preparation of the manuscript. He helped to make part of the history recorded in it.


Washington, D. C., April, 1939

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Last Updated: 18-Nov-2009