Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review; "Uncertain Path: A Search for the Future of National Parks" by William Tweed

I found this book to be informative, thought provoking, and a good read.  The author eloquently describes his hike of the Muir Trail in the Nevada Sierra Mountains in a way that makes you feel that you are walking right along with him.  I know it inspired me to hope to retrace his steps some day. 

William Tweed creatively and vividly intertwines his observations during this hike with the confirmation of lessons he learned during a career with the National Park Service causing him to question the foundation and purpose of our National Park System.  Mr. Tweed and I never worked together, but I found that I share many of his insights and concerns for our parks.

Uncertain Path relates to the reader the affects global changes that are impacting the habitats of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.  Issues of air quality and climate change are two that are well beyond the control of the National Park Service.  Mr. Tweed then explains how these issues challenge what is becoming the impossible mission of the National Park Service to preserve our parks in the same condition for all future generations.

Although Mr. Tweed focuses on the Western United States, reading this book caused me to look back at my own experience as a National Park Ranger and the increasingly impossible task of preserving parks in the East.  As an example the Southern Appalachians and the parks found there are under constant attack from decreasing air quality, invasive species of flora and fauna, and encroachment of human development.

Anyone who has an interest in the physical future and relevancy of our National Park System to our changing society should read this book. 

This book can be found at Amazon.com

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