2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service. Not to be mistaken with the designation of national park land, which began more than a century ago, the National Parks Service is composed of all the people who keep those parks functioning and open to the public: park rangers, visitor center interpreters, maintenance staff, fire crew, fisheries and wildlife crews, and many more. Here at the Library our favorite way to celebrate something is to read about it, so enjoy these suggestions of books set in national parks and featuring employees of the National Parks Service.
Nevada Barr has a 19 book series featuring National Park Service Ranger Anna Pigeon. Anna travels from park to park, often stumbling onto murders or other crimes to solve. Barr does a fantastic job of evoking the different parks, from Mesa Verde National Park to Glacier Park, Cumberland Island National Seashore, and many more. The first book in the series, Track of the Cat, places Anna in Guadalupe Mountains National Park in west Texas.
Temple Grove by Scott Elliot is set in our very own Olympic National Park, pitting a logger with his sight set on a stand of old-growth Douglas fir against a young environmentalist from the Makah tribe and his park ranger mentor. Library Journal praised its “exploration of the conflicting interests of tradition, commerce and the environment.”
If nonfiction is more your speed, spend some time with Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness. Abbey worked off and on as a seasonal park ranger in the 1950s and 60s, and here recounts vignettes of his time in Arches National Monument, accompanied by musings on the nature of the desert and man’s relationship to wilderness.
Now you’ve got the books, but where will you read them? Check out the Find Your Park tool and explore other fun things at the National Park Service Centennial website. And, if you have a 4th grader in the family, don’t forget the Every Kid in a Park program!
~ posted by Andrea G.