Mountains Without Handrails
Reflections on the National Parks
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The standard, and excellent, history of the national parks is John Ise, Our National Park Policy: A Critical History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1961). A history of the national park idea, is Alfred Runte, National Parks: The American Experience (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979). For a view of the parks by an insider during the early days of the National Park Service, see Robert Sterling Yard, The Book of the National Parks (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1919). A fine descriptive book is Freeman Tilden, The National Parks (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968).

For more detailed information about park history consult Paul Buck, The Evolution of the National Park System of the United States (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1946); Donald C. Swain, "The Passage of the National Park Service Act of 1916," Wisconsin, Magazine of History 50 (1966):4; Alfred Runte, "The National Park Idea: Origins and Paradox of American Experience," Journal of Forest History 21, no. 2 (April. 1977):64; Joseph L. Sax, "America's National Parks: Their Principles, Purposes and Prospects," Natural History 85, no. 8 (October, 1976):57.

The history of recreation policy in the national forests is best detailed in the Ph.D. dissertation of James P. Gilligan, "The Development of Policy and Administration of Forest Service Primitive and Wilderness Areas in the Western United States" (University of Michigan, 1953); see also Harold K. Steen, The U.S. Forest Service: A History (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1976); Donald F. Cate, "Recreation and the U.S. Forest Service: Organizational Response to Changing Demands" (Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 1963). The leading scholarly book on national forests is Samuel T. Dana, Forest and Range Policy (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1956). There is much less literature dealing with recreation on Bureau of Land Management areas. Marion Clawson, The Bureau of Land Management (New York: Praeger, 1971); Preserving Our Natural Heritage, vol. 1 , Federal Activities, prepared for the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, by the Nature Conservancy (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977).

There are several fine books on the history of American attitudes toward nature that sharply illuminate the ideas underlying the establishment of national parks. The best of these are Hans Huth, Nature and the American: Three Centuries of Changing Attitudes (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1972), with an excellent chapter on the founding of Yosemite National Park; Roderick Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973); Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964); Cecilia Tichi, New World, New Earth: Environmental Reform in American Literature from the Puritans Through Whitman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979). See also Norman Foerster, Nature in American Literature (New York: Russell & Russell, 1923); Roderick Nash, ed., The American Environment: Readings in the History of Conservation (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1968).

The symbolism of the untamed West, parallel to but distinct from movements for nature preservation, is superbly limned in Henry Nash Smith, Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1950). See also Bernard DeVoto, Mark Twain's America (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., Sentry, 1967). A European perspective is provided by Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973).

The wilderness movement is a distinct subspecies of the larger American involvement with nature. Among useful books devoted solely to it are Michael Frome, Battle for the Wilderness (New York: Praeger, 1974), and Donald N. Baldwin, The Quiet Revolution: The Grass Roots of Today's Wilderness Preservation Movement (Boulder, Colo.: Pruett Publishing Co. , 1972). A wide range of references are provided in John C. Hendee, George H. Stankey, and Robert C. Lucas, Wilderness Management, U.S., Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Miscellaneous Publication no. 1365 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1978).

The early histories of national parks themselves are not generally highly illuminating. Yosemite and Yellowstone are the exceptional cases. On Yosemite, see Hans Huth, "Yosemite: The Story of an Idea," Sierra Club Bulletin 33, no. 3 (1948):47; Shirley Sargent, Galen Clark, Yosemite Guardian (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1964); Carl Patcher Russell, One Hundred Years in Yosemite (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1947); Holway R. Jones, John Muir and the Sierra Club: The Battle for Yosemite (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1965). On Yellowstone, see Aubrey L. Haines, The Yellowstone Story: A History of Our First National Park, 2 vols. (Yellowstone Library and Museum Association in cooperation with Colorado Associated University Press, 1977); Aubrey L. Haines, Yellowstone National Park: Its Exploration and Establishment (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1974); H. Duane Hampton, How the U.S. Cavalry Saved Our National Parks (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1971).

Hans Huth, Nature and the American, has a chapter on Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon. Frank Graham, The Adirondack Park (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977), is an excellent history of a state park. Carolyn de Vries, Grand and Ancient Forest: The Story of Andrew P. Hill and Big Basin Redwood State Park (Fresno, Calif.: Valley Publishers, 1978) also has useful information. Typical of other books on the national parks are Carlos C. Campbell, Birth of a National Park in the Great Smoky Mountains, rev. ed. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1969) and Robert Treuer, Voyageur Country: A Park in the Wilderness (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1979). See also Peter Wild, Enos Mills (Rocky Mountain National Park) (Boise, Idaho: Boise State University, 1979).

Early visitor attitudes and expectations are revealed in Earl Pomeroy, In Search of the Golden West: The Tourist in Western America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957.)

There are many individuals who gave substance to a park idea through their work or their writing. A sketch of some of the major figures is found in Peter Wild, Pioneer Conservationists of Western America (Missoula, Mont.: Mountain Publishing Co., 1979).

John Muir, more than any other individual, symbolizes the parks in the American mind. There is no first-rate Muir biography, unfortunately. The best available work is Linnie Marsh Wolfe, Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1945). Muir's partial autobiography, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1965), is fascinating. Holway R. Jones, John Muir and the Sierra Club, is also very informative, though its scope is limited. There are several good dissertations on Muir: Edith Jane Hadley, John Muir's Views of Nature and Their Consequences (Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin, 1956) and Daniel Barr Weber, John Muir: The Function of Wilderness in an Industrial Society (Ph.D. diss., University of Minnesota, 1964). Though Muir"s writings are widely scattered in the periodical literature, there is a fine bibliography: William F. Kimes and Maymie B. Kimes, John Muir: A Reading Bibliography (Palo Alto: William P. Wreden, 1977). The most accessible selection of Muir"s articles is found in Edwin Way Teale, ed., The Wilderness World of John Muir (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1952).

John Burroughs, a contemporary of Muir's, was an extremely popular nature writer, and was in a sense a domestic counterpart to Muir, the explorer and mountain man. For a sense of Burroughs, see Clifton Johnson, John Burroughs Talks (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. , 1922); Clara Barrus, Our Friend John Burroughs (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1914).

There are two excellent biographies of Frederick Law Olmsted: Elizabeth Stevenson, Park Maker: A Life of Frederick Law Olmsted (New York: Macmillan Co., 1977) and Laura Wood Roper, FLO: A Biography of Frederick Law Olmsted (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973). Almost all Olmsted's important writings on nature park issues are found in rather obscure places. His great article "The Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Trees" appears in Landscape Architecture 44, no. 1(1953): 17. His writings on Niagara Falls are in "Notes by Mr. Olmsted,'" The Special Report of the New York State Survey on the Preservation of the Scenery of Niagara Falls and Fourth Annual Report on the Triangulation of the State for the Year 1879 (Albany: Charles von Benthuysen & Sons, 1880) p. 27; and "Report of Messrs. Olmsted and Vaux," Supplemental Report of the Commissioners of the State Reservation at Niagara Transmitted to the Legislature January 31, 1887 (Albany: Argus Co., 1887), p. 21. The fascinating movement to save Niagara is detailed in Alfred Runte, "Beyond the Spectacular: The Niagara Falls Preservation Campaign,'" New York State Historical Society Quarterly 57 (January, 1973):30; "The Movement for the Redemption of Niagara," New Princeton Review (New York: A. C. Armstrong & Sons, 1886), 1:233; and Charles M. Dow, The State Reservation at Niagara: A History (Albany: J. B. Lyon Co., 1914). See also Public Parks and the Enlargement of Towns (Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside Press, 1870; reprint ed., New York: Arno Press and The New York Times, 1970).

There is as yet, unhappily, no full biography of Aldo Leopold, the major figure in the establishment of forest wilderness. See Susan L. Flader, Thinking Like a Mountain: Aldo Leopold and the Evolution of an Ecological Attitude Toward Deer, Wolves and Forests (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1974). Like John Muir, Aldo Leopold scattered much of his writing in journals. A characteristic article is "The Wilderness and Its Place in Forest Recreational Policy," Journal of Forestry 19, no. 7 (November, 192 1):7 18. Leopold's best known book is A Sand County Almanac With Other Essays on Conservation from Round River (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966).

The best article of Robert Marshall, a founder of the Wilderness Society, is "The Problem of Wilderness," Scientific Monthly 30 (February, 1930): 141. He also wrote on his travels in Alaska: Alaska Wilderness Exploring the Central Brooks Range (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1973).

Among contemporary writers, none is more influential or widely read than Edward Abbey. The best of his nonfiction books is Desert Solitaire (New York: Random House, Ballantine Books, 1971); see also The Journey Home (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1977); Abbey's Road (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1979); and with Philip Hyde, Slickrock: The Canyon Country (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1971).

The American nature-writing genre is extensive, and no selection can do more than suggest the range and variety of its influence on preservationist thinking. Sigurd Olson, Reflections from the North Country (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976); Joseph Wood Krutch, The Voice of the Desert (New York: William Sloane Assoc., 1975); Gary Snyder, Turtle Island (New York: New Directions, 1974); John McPhee, Coming Into the Country (New York: Bantam Books, 1979); Wallace Stegner, "The War Between the Rough Riders and the Bird Watchers,"' Sierra Club Bulletin 44, no. 4 (May, 1959); and Margaret E. Murie, Two in the Far North (Anchorage, Alaska: Northwest Publishing Co., 1978) reveal the variousness of contemporary writing.

For a view of another contemporary leader in the parks and nature preservation movement, David Brower of Friends of the Earth, see John McPhee, Encounters with the Archdruid (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1971).

Theodore Roosevelt is the most prominent of those who played a central role in the political history of the parks. There is, of course, a superabundance of writing on Roosevelt, but a few books are focused on his role in conservation history. Paul Russell Cutright, Theodore Roosevelt the Naturalist (New York: Harper & Bros., 1956) and Francis Cevrier Guittard, Roosevelt and Conservation (Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 1930). An excellent book on the early Roosevelt is Edmund Morris, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1979).

Both the first and second directors of the National Park Service have been the subject of useful biographies. Robert Shankland, Steve Mather of the National Parks (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1951) and Donald C. Swain, Wilderness Defender: Horace M. Albright and Conservation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970). One of the great American figures, though he is not usually associated with parklands or recreation, is John Wesley Powell, the explorer of the Colorado River and head of the United States Geological Survey. His thinking has, though indirectly, been enormously influential. Wallace Stegner's fine biography of Powell is Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1954).

Towering above all others in influence and in the depth of his writing is Thoreau, and standing beside him is Emerson. The best selection of Thoreau's work appears in Carl Bode, ed., The Portable Thoreau (New York: Viking, 1975); and in Odell Shepard, ed., The Heart of Thoreau's Journals (New York: Dover Publications, 1961). Of course there is no substitute for reading Thoreau in extenso. A fine book about him is Walter Harding, The Days of Henry Thoreau (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965). A good selection of Emerson's writing appears in Ralph Waldo Emerson, Selected Prose and Poetry, 2d ed., ed. Reginald L. Cook (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969).

Many of the ideas about the importance of parks as public institutions found in the writings of conservation movement figures are paralleled in nineteenth-century thinking about places like universities, libraries, and museums. See, for example, Frederick Rudolph, The American College and University: A History (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962); Laurence R. Veysey, The Emergence of the American University (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965); Daniel M. Fox, Engines of Culture: Philanthropy and Art Museums (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1963); Sidney Ditzion, Arsenals of a Democratic Culture (Chicago: American Library Association, 1947); Nathanial Burt, Palaces for the People, (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1977); William B. Ashley, "The Promotion of Museums," Proceedings of the American Association of Museums 7 (1913):39.

Books about the recreational experience are legion. On fishing, the great book is Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton, The Compleat Angler (London: Navarre Society, 1925). An ample bibliography appears in Arnold Gingrich, The Well-Tempered Angler (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966). A beautiful American fictional story on fishing is Ernest Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River," in In Our Time (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1970). I also find Norman MacLean's "A River Runs Through It" splendidly evocative, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976).

The most stimulating book on hunting is José Ortega y Gasset's Meditations on Hunting (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1972), a book that is best understood when read in conjunction with the same author's The Revolt of the Masses (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1957). The great American hunting story is William Faulkner's "The Bear" in The Portable Faulkner, ed. Malcolm Cowley (New York: Viking Press, 1967). See also Paul Shepard, The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973); John G. Mitchell, "Bitter Harvest," Audubon 81, nos. 3, 4, 5, 6 (1979):50, 64, 88, 104.

There is no single mountain climbing book that stands alone, as does Walton and Cotton on fishing. Maurice Herzog, Annapurna (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1953) is among the best known. Chris Bonington, Everest the Hard Way (New York: Random House, 1976) and Galen Rowell, In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1977) are characteristic recent works. A very little article by Lito Tejada-Flores, "Games Climbers Play," Ascent, 1964, p. 23, may be the most revealing and remarkable work in the modern literature.

Typical books, illustrative of the participant's view, and striking in both their differences and similarities, are Colin Fletcher, The Man Who Walked Through Time (New York: Random House, Vintage Books, 1967), on hiking the Grand Canyon; Joe Henderson, The Long Run Solution (Mountain View, Calif.: World Publications, P.O. Box 366, 1976), on running; Sally Wimer, The Snowmobiler's Companion (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973), on snowmobiling; Charles Gaines and George Butler, Pumping Iron (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), on bodybuilding.

A striking contrast to the Wimer book is Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (New York: Bantam Books, 1976), a compelling evocation of the possibilities of man and machine in harmony. Of the "real" Zen sports books, the supreme exemplar is Eugen Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Archery (New York: Random House, Vintage Books, 1971), closely followed by Michael Murphy, Golf in the Kingdom (New York: Dell, Delta Books, 1972). In general, see Alan W. Watts, The Way of Zen (New York: Random House, Vintage Books, 1957).

There is a large, serious literature both about sports and "play," a more embracing term whose boundaries are not fully clear. The classic work is Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1949). A critique and expansion of Huizinga's thesis is provided by Roger Caillois, Man, Play and Games (New York: Free Press, 1961). See also Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, Beyond Boredom and Anxiety (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1975) and Josef Pieper, Leisure, the Basis of Culture (London: Fontana Library, 1965). A glimpse of the extensive psychological and psychoanalytic literature on play may be had in Franz Alexander, "A Contribution to the Theory of Play," Psychoanalytic Quarterly 27 (1958): 175; and from Rueben Fine, The Psychology of the Chess Player (New York: Dover Publications, 1967).

For serious views of organized sports, see Paul Weiss, Sport: A Philosophic Inquiry (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969); Allen Guttman, From Ritual to Record: The Nature of Modern Sports (New York: Columbia University Press, 1978); and Michael Novak, The Joy of Sports (New York: Basic Books, 1976). An interesting historical account is E. Norman Gardiner, Athletics of the Ancient World (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1930).

Mass entertainment and its meaning has been the subject of much writing. Two extensive gatherings of articles are Bernard Rosenberg and David Manning White, eds., Mass Culture: The Popular Arts in America (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1957), and Eric Larrabee and Rolf Meyersohn, eds., Mass Leisure (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1958) (containing a comprehensive bibliography). Two related books worth reading are George A. Pettitt, Prisoners of Culture (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1970) and R. M. MacIver, The Pursuit of Happiness (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1955). Gilbert Seldes, The Great Audience (New York: Viking Press, 1951) offers an unconventional view. Tibor Scitovsky's The Joyless Economy: An Inquiry into Human Satisfaction and Consumer Dissatisfaction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977) is a rare look by an economist into the phenomenon of mass leisure.

The broader psychological implications of the issues raised by the literature on play and on mass culture are explored by Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person (New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1961). A more detailed statement of Rogers's views appears in "A Theory of Therapy, Personality, and Interpersonal Relationships, as Developed in the Client-Centered Framework," in Psychology: A Study of a Science, ed. Sigmund Koch, vol. 3 (New York: McGraw Hill, 1959). See also A. H. Maslow, Motivation and Personality (New York, Harper & Bros., 1954); idem, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (New York: Viking, 1971); Erich Fromm, The Sane Society (New York: Rinehart & Co., 1955); Sigmund Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, trans. and ed. James Strachy (New York: Norton & Co., 1959); Richard Locke, "From TV to Lionel Trilling," New York Times Book Review, June 12, 1977, p. 3.

Professional literature on recreation policy is extensive. A highly selected, and representative sample, would include: Marion Clawson and Jack L. Knetch, Economics of Outdoor Recreation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1966); Anthony C. Fisher, The Economics of Natural Environments (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975); Charles J. Cicchetti, Joseph J. Seneca, and Paul Davidson, The Demand and Supply of Outdoor Recreation (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1969); B. L. Driver, ed., Elements of Outdoor Recreation Planning (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1974); John C. Hendee, George H. Stankey, and Robert C. Lucas, Wilderness Management, U.S., Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Miscellaneous Publication no. 1365, October, 1978; Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission, Wilderness and Recreation—A Report on Resources, Values and Problems, ORRRC Study Report 3 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. 1962): U.S., Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Proceedings: River Recreation Management and Research Symposium, January 24—27, 1977, Minneapolis, Minn., North Central Forest Experiment Station, General Technical Report NC-28; U.S., Department of the Interior, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Recreation: A Legacy for America. appendix A, "An Economic Analysis" (December, 1973); William E. Shands and Robert G. Healy, The Lands Nobody Wanted (Washington, D.C.: Conservation Foundation, 1977); National Parks for the Future (Washington, D.C.: Conservation Foundation, 1972); Toward an Environmental Policy (Washington, D.C.: National Parks and Conservation Association, 1971); Preserving Wilderness in Our National Parks (Washington, D.C.: National Parks and Conservation Association, 1971).

For a view of the preservationist position in the making, the following (selected) periodicals are revealing and informative: National Parks and Conservation (National Parks and Conservation Association, 1701 18th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009); Sierra (Sierra Club, 530 Bush St., San Francisco, California 94108); Not Man Apart (Friends of the Earth, 124 Spear St., San Francisco, California 94105); The Living Wilderness and Wilderness Report (Wilderness Society, 1901 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006); High Country News (331 Main St., Lander, Wyoming 82520).


Mountains Without Handrails
©1980, The University of Michigan
Published by The University of Michigan Press

sax/bibliography.htm — 22-Jan-2003