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It's Time to Go



Amazon Book Review: See AmericaIf you are reading this, you are wasting your life. Hold that commentary for a moment.

July: Summertime in the Northern Hemisphere, and nearly summer in Seattle. As I type this--despite pining for Sun almost incessantly through the wettest winter in this city's rain-soaked history--I am not outside. And if you are reading this, neither are you. (Unless you're on your phone, in which case you're missing the point. Put your phone in your pocket.)

We have lost our points of reference.

Let's do something. 2016 marks 100 years of the National Park Service (not of the National Parks themselves--Yellowstone was established in 1872, others soon followed). While the official date is August 25--the NPS will be celebrating throughout August with commemorative stamps and coins and activities--now is the time to go. With 59 parks to choose from, from the iconic granite walls of Yosemite to the isolated waterworld of Florida's Dry Tortugas, there is space for everyone, even if you're not that much of a people-person. Here's a list to inspire adventures before the summer is over. 

 

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Ansel Adams in the National Parks: Photographs from America's Wild Places by Ansel Adams, edited by Andrea G. Stillman
More than 200 iconic photographs from the legendary photographer, including notes on the making of the images and commentary from Wallace Stegner. 
 

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National Parks of America: Experience America's 59 National Parks by Lonely Planet
Many books about the National Parks count 58. This one goes to 59 (Pinnacles having been upgraded from National Monument status). This book will give you a introduction to all of them, including directions, suggested itineraries, and wildlife "to watch out for." Whatever that means.
 

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National Geographic The National Parks: An Illustrated History by Kim Heacox
Along with astonishing images illustrating the vast range of landscapes protected by the National Park System, former ranger Heacox provides stories of the people and history behind the Parks.
 
 
 

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The National Parks Coloring Book by Sophie Tivona
"Are we there yet?"
 
You catch my drift.
 

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See America: A Celebration of Our National Parks & Treasured Sites by Creative Action Network
To celebrate the centennial, the National Park Service partnered with the Creative Action Network to re-imagine the WPA travel posters of the 1930s. Including National Monuments, this one goes to 75.
 
 
 

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The National Parks: An American Legacy by Ian Shive
An heir to Ansel Adams, Shive is considered one of the premier photographers of the National Parks. Like the Adams book mentioned above, this book contains over 200 photographs ranging from Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon and beyond--but these are in color.
 

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National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States, 8th edition
Never--EVER!--ask for directions.
 

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The National Parks: America's Best Idea by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan
In addition to breathtaking photographs (there is no shortage, apparently), this companion volume to the expansive PBS series introduces readers to the personalities and politics throughout the history of the Parks, from the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 to the modern system that encompasses more than 84 million acres.
 
 

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The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams
One of our most celebrated nature writers, Williams has created an intensely personal portrait of the Parks, one that examines not only their natural history, but also our relationship to them and the importance of their ongoing existence, now and for our future.
 

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The Last Season by Eric Blehm
This book isn't like the others, but it's so good that I had to include it. Blehm dives deep into the disappearance of veteran National Park Ranger Randy Morrison in the Sierra Nevada, wrapping a gripping mystery around a biography of a complex man and a view into the solitary lives of rangers.
 

 

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