Uncertain Path: A Search for the Future of National Parks

Uncertain Path: A Search for the Future of National Parks

Uncertain Path: A Search for the Future of National Parks

Uncertain Path: A Search for the Future of National Parks

Synopsis

In this provocative walking meditation, writer and former park ranger William Tweed takes us to California's spectacular High Sierra to discover a new vision for our national parks as they approach their 100th anniversary. Tweed, who worked among the Sierra Nevada's big peaks and big trees for more than thirty years, has now hiked more than 200 miles along California's John Muir Trail in a personal search for answers: How do we address the climate change we are seeing even now--in melting glaciers in Glacier National Park, changing rainy seasons on Mt Rainer, and more fire in the West's iconic parks. Should we intervene where we can to preserve biodiversity? Should the parks merely become ecosystem museums that exhibit famous landscapes and species? Asking how we can make these magnificent parks relevant for the next generation, Tweed, through his journey, ultimately shows why we must do just that.

Excerpt

In the complex world of natural resource preservation, asking the right questions is the first step, and author William Tweed has done this well in the pages that follow. Like the iconic John Muir, Tweed hiked the High Sierra of California and found that the “very stones seem talkative and brotherly.” Tweed listened closely. His hearing refined by a lifetime of National Park Service experience as a writer and interpreter, he heard a disturbing undercurrent in the voice of the wilderness. His trek through the forests, and his evenings under an inverted bowl of stars, allowed him to ponder the future of these sacred places and the challenges facing their steward, the National Park Service. Unlike that of Muir, though, Tweed’s view was informed by a body of science that indicates all is not as natural or as healthy as it appears. As Aldo Leopold has said, “The penalty of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.”

How will the stewards of what the filmmaker Ken Burns so aptly called “America’s Best Idea” address the alterations produced by climate change that we are seeing even now? Already we are witnessing . . .

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