Add Stars Above, Earth Below, a Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks to your library and you'll not only gain a better appreciation of the dark skies over national parks, but you'll also be better informed on the stars twinkling at you.
In Dream Hikes Coast to Coast author Jack Bennett has done something more than a few folks would like to do: Head out on some great hikes, and then write about them. In assembling his hiking list, he took an approach that is both laudable...and disappointing.
Before Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan came out with their view of the National Park System, many others were turning their cameras on the parks. One collection I've found that is worthy of space in your DVD collection is Treasures of America's National Parks, a six-disk collection of some of the system's icons.
Television shows love to portray park rangers as fit and polite, beaming dazzling smiles, displaying knowledge that knows no bounds, nerves of steel, and with dashing personalities. And then there are the realities, as Andrea Lankford describes in her latest book, Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks.
Part of FDR's "New Deal," the Blue Ridge Parkway was envisioned as an economic development tool that would pump both life and dollars into the Appalachian Mountain Range between Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks. But the long and winding road with the fantastic vistas also took a good deal of life out of the landscape as farms that stood in the path were razed and the families moved off.
I remember clearly hurrying to the Yellowstone River after finishing a shift as a seasonal ranger with fly rod in hand. I would rent a rowboat from the Fishing Bridge boat dock and row downstream a bit to clear the lines of the people fishing from the bridge. And then I would begin to cast — not too skillfully I might add — and catch a cutthroat on every second or third cast. It was absolutely the best fishing in the world.