The Book of the National Parks

Robert Sterling YARD (1861 - 1945)

Robert Sterling Yard was an American writer, journalist, and wilderness activist. Born in Haverstraw, New York, Yard graduated from Princeton University and spent the first twenty years of his career in the editing and publishing business. In 1915, he was recruited by his friend Stephen Mather to help publicize the need for an independent national park agency. Their numerous publications were part of a movement that resulted in legislative support for a National Park Service (NPS) in 1916. Yard worked to promote the national parks as well as educate Americans about their use. Creating high standards based on aesthetic ideals for park selection, he also opposed commercialism and industrialization of what he called "America's masterpieces". In 1935, he became one of the eight founding members of The Wilderness Society and acted as its first president from 1937 until his death eight years later. Yard is now considered an important figure in the modern wilderness movement.

In the preface to this book, published in 1919, he writes, "In offering the American public a carefully studied outline of its national park system, I have two principal objects. The one is to describe and differentiate the national parks in a manner which will enable the reader to appreciate their importance, scope, meaning, beauty, manifold uses and enormous value to individual and nation. The other is to use these parks, in which Nature is writing in large plain lines the story of America's making, as examples illustrating the several kinds of scenery, and what each kind means in terms of world building; in other words, to translate the practical findings of science into unscientific phrase for the reader's increased profit and pleasure, not only in his national parks but in all other scenic places great and small." (summary from wikipedia)

Genre(s): *Non-fiction, History , Nature

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Preface J. M. Smallheer
Play 01 On the Appreciation of Scenery J. M. Smallheer
Play 02 The National Parks of the United States J. M. Smallheer
Play 03 The Granite National Parks - Granite's Part in Scenery J. M. Smallheer
Play 04 Yosemite, the Incomparable J. M. Smallheer
Play 05 Yosemite, the Incomparable, continued J. M. Smallheer
Play 06 The Proposed Roosevelt National Park J. M. Smallheer
Play 07 The Heart of the Rockies J. M. Smallheer
Play 08 McKinley, Giant of Giants J. M. Smallheer
Play 09 Lafayette and the East J. M. Smallheer
Play 10 The Volcanic National Parks - On the Volcano in Scenery J. M. Smallheer
Play 11 Lassen Peak and Mount Katmai J. M. Smallheer
Play 12 Mount Rainier, Icy Octopus J. M. Smallheer
Play 13 Mount Rainier, Icy Octopus, continued J. M. Smallheer
Play 14 Crater Lake's Bowl of Indigo J. M. Smallheer
Play 15 Yellowstone, A Volcanic Interlude J. M. Smallheer
Play 16 Yellowstone, A Volcanic Interlude, continued J. M. Smallheer
Play 17 Three Monsters of Hawaii J. M. Smallheer
Play 18 The Sedimentary National Parks - On Sedimentary Rocks in Scenery J. M. Smallheer
Play 19 Glaciered Peaks and Painted Shales J. M. Smallheer
Play 20 Glaciered Peaks and Painted Shales, continued J. M. Smallheer
Play 21 Rock Records of a Vanished Race J. M. Smallheer
Play 22 The Healing Waters J. M. Smallheer
Play 23 The Grand Canyon and Our National Monuments - On the Scenery of the Southwest J. M. Smallheer
Play 24 A Pageant of Creation J. M. Smallheer
Play 25 A Pageant of Creation, continued J. M. Smallheer
Play 26 The Rainbow of the Desert J. M. Smallheer
Play 27 Historic Monuments of the Southwest J. M. Smallheer
Play 28 Desert Spectacles J. M. Smallheer
Play 29 The Muir Woods and Other National Monuments J. M. Smallheer