That Wild Country
From prominent outdoorsman and nature writer Mark Kenyon comes an engrossing reflection on the past and future battles over our most revered landscapes—America’s public lands.Every American is a public-land owner, inheritor to the largest public-land trust in the world. These vast expanses provide a home to wildlife populations, a vital source of clean air and water, and a haven for recreation.Since its inception, however, America’s public land system has been embroiled in controversy—caught in the push and pull between the desire to develop the valuable resources the land holds or conserve them. Alarmed by rising tensions over the use of these lands, hunter, angler, and outdoor enthusiast Mark Kenyon set out to explore the spaces involved in this heated debate, and learn firsthand how they came to be and what their future might hold.Part travelogue and part historical examination, That Wild Country invites readers on an intimate tour of the wondrous wild and public places that are a uniquely profound and endangered part of the American landscape.

That Wild Country Details

TitleThat Wild Country
Author
ReleaseDec 1st, 2019
PublisherLittle A
ISBN-139781542043069
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, Travel

That Wild Country Review

  • Dee Arr
    January 1, 1970
    Years ago, I was fortunate to be on an overseas trip, visiting friends and taking in the sights of England and Scotland. I marveled at the age of buildings sometimes twice as old as the settlement site in Jamestown, sadly thinking that we didn’t have anything like that in America.How wrong I was.It is the natural wonders of the world that are there for us to enjoy, and Mark Kenyon’s book offers a mixture of details that is sure interest everyone. If history is your passion, Mr. Kenyon takes us Years ago, I was fortunate to be on an overseas trip, visiting friends and taking in the sights of England and Scotland. I marveled at the age of buildings sometimes twice as old as the settlement site in Jamestown, sadly thinking that we didn’t have anything like that in America.How wrong I was.It is the natural wonders of the world that are there for us to enjoy, and Mark Kenyon’s book offers a mixture of details that is sure interest everyone. If history is your passion, Mr. Kenyon takes us on a journey through the pitched battles between the businessmen and the conservationists, each pursuing a diametrically opposed path. The parks and monuments we visit today (and perhaps take for granted!) might not have been here if not for the efforts of people like Theodore Roosevelt, George Bird Grinnell, John Muir, and Presidents Harrison, Cleveland, and McKinley. When Roosevelt assumed the Presidency, he fought hard for what he believed in, extending by millions of acres the federal land earmarked for enjoyment by the American people. These initial steps were later taken farther by people like Aldo Leopold, Bob Marshall, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.If your interests lie in communing with nature (or perhaps you prefer the fishing or hunting aspects), you will not feel left out. Mr. Kenyon describes his fishing almost as if it were holy (and I am sure, to him it is), and even as one who does not fish, I can understand the essence of what he is feeling. Hunting trips are also described, although I enjoyed his detailed search to find antlers. The author shared that these searches also tell him much of where the deer might be once hunting season commences, certainly a huge advantage to those who walk the forests and mountains hunting with a bow.I found the mixture of history and life interesting and entertaining. Wherever Mr. Kenyon was hiking or fishing or whatever, he would interject slices of history before returning to what ever he and his wife or friends were doing. This kept the book moving forward and I liked the combination of personal life story mixed with historical background. This is a great read that just might cause you to begin a search for a good pair of hiking boots. Five stars.
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  • Carol Holdcraft
    January 1, 1970
    This historic overview of our national public lands was a great read.As a seventy year old female nature lover and birder, I was unsure if I would relate to this young hunter and fisherman's story. But one chapter into it I was hooked!He vividly describes his journeys into some well known as well as lesser known sites. Then he weaves in the history of how those places became publicly owned and preserved. He brings together the political battles and challenges in a meaningful way.Every person who This historic overview of our national public lands was a great read.As a seventy year old female nature lover and birder, I was unsure if I would relate to this young hunter and fisherman's story. But one chapter into it I was hooked!He vividly describes his journeys into some well known as well as lesser known sites. Then he weaves in the history of how those places became publicly owned and preserved. He brings together the political battles and challenges in a meaningful way.Every person who loves our National Parks and other natural areas should read this book. He makes a great case for how conservative hunting/fishing advocates and liberal nature lovers can and should work together to protect our wild and wonderful public lands.
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  • J.S.
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at page 89 (plus some skipping around). Just too much travelogue and not enough public land information. Kenyon, a hunter and outdoor enthusiast from Michigan, argues in support of federally-owned ("public") lands. Unfortunately, he seems to lump anyone who doesn't espouse his view in with Cliven Bundy and his radical followers, without delving into what most Westerners actually think. Growing up in Utah, I heard the arguments from both sides. Most do not disagree with protecting land but DNF at page 89 (plus some skipping around). Just too much travelogue and not enough public land information. Kenyon, a hunter and outdoor enthusiast from Michigan, argues in support of federally-owned ("public") lands. Unfortunately, he seems to lump anyone who doesn't espouse his view in with Cliven Bundy and his radical followers, without delving into what most Westerners actually think. Growing up in Utah, I heard the arguments from both sides. Most do not disagree with protecting land but are resentful of Eastern politicians locking up Western land simply for environmental/political points (Obama) or to enhance their "legacy" (Clinton). Pronouncements are never made with local input, but are done by political expediency. And Kenyon seems oblivious to the troubles such land designations cause for those who live there - such as the crowds, litter, and noise he complains about on his brief trip to Moab, UT (not to mention that few tourism jobs pay well, or that Nat'l Parks are woefully underfunded). Instead we read pages and pages of his driving (where he can't get a spot in crowded campgrounds) and trying to figure out how to dump the sewage from his camper/trailer. For the most part I agree with his view of the value of public lands, but the lack of balance and excess of travelogue was just disappointing.
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  • Schuyler Wallace
    January 1, 1970
    I suspect that when Mark Kenyon began writing his ode to the great outdoors, “That Wild Country,” he expected to arouse controversy. He did. Those who abhor hunting and fishing or the effort required to enjoy rugged outdoors activity, and dedicated, sometimes pompous, vegans, pooled their self-serving mini-minds to excoriate him for being a meat eater and a hunter. They claim he “hypocritically” writes praise for both the beautiful country and the animals he loves. Can there not be a passion I suspect that when Mark Kenyon began writing his ode to the great outdoors, “That Wild Country,” he expected to arouse controversy. He did. Those who abhor hunting and fishing or the effort required to enjoy rugged outdoors activity, and dedicated, sometimes pompous, vegans, pooled their self-serving mini-minds to excoriate him for being a meat eater and a hunter. They claim he “hypocritically” writes praise for both the beautiful country and the animals he loves. Can there not be a passion that goes both ways?When I read his book and basked in the glorious accounts of his outdoors adventures, some of which involve hunting, fishing, back packing, or simply enjoying nature’s glorious countenance, I saw neither lecherous nor unbridled passion as he shoots an animal for sustenance or hooks a glorious fish that, in most cases, he releases. Having been a hunter and fisherman all my life, I have reached the point of being slightly uncomfortable with the idea of killing something that lives and breathes in the wilderness, of eliminating a beautiful creature. But I understand the passion behind the process and, as long as it isn’t wanton and wasteful, I can live with it. And I sense the same reservations in Kenyon’s devotion, making me a believer and respecter of his position.Now, let’s talk about the book. It’s a marvelous examination of our protected wild spaces, both their existence and their formation. His examination of the lands that are threatened by private interests is thorough, interesting, and revelatory. Much of the positive political activity he talks about has gone unnoticed. He is quick to point out both violations and support for the protections put in place by past activists, including those of some Presidents of the United States. He talks about past and present dissenters to the safeguarding of property, pointing out their ragged excuses for objection, most of which are centered on self-interest.He also takes the opportunity to discuss his own rambles into the wilderness as he enjoys the quiet, the suspense, the beauty, the discomfort and the climate extremes. When recalled by old, crippled up outdoor enthusiasts such as myself, they provoke a shiver of past excitement and well-being. I’ve seldom enjoyed such glorious descriptions of personal experiences. His melding of experiential and historical events removes the dust from the historical aspects and gives them revitalization. You must read this book for the history and descriptive accounts of venturing into, delighting in, and protecting the wild. Thank you, Mark Kenyon, for the glorious opportunity to stay comfortably settled in my recliner as I relive my past. I appreciate the preservation efforts.
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  • Kirsten Cutler
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! This is a wonderful book extolling the beauty of our public lands, and advocating passionately for all of us to protect our incredible heritage, so carefully preserved over more than a century. It is filled with detail about the evolution of the Public Lands preservation movement, and the current horrific assault by some rapacious corporations and politicians to privatize, exploit, and to sell to developers our incredible natural legacy. The author is an avid outdoorsman, a hunter of meat Wow! This is a wonderful book extolling the beauty of our public lands, and advocating passionately for all of us to protect our incredible heritage, so carefully preserved over more than a century. It is filled with detail about the evolution of the Public Lands preservation movement, and the current horrific assault by some rapacious corporations and politicians to privatize, exploit, and to sell to developers our incredible natural legacy. The author is an avid outdoorsman, a hunter of meat to feed his family, and also a hiker and backwoods camper who loves the serenity and beauty of wild habitat. Admittedly, I am uncomfortable with the occasional brief description of a hunt (I am a vegetarian, leaning toward vegan) yet I unquestionably have an admiration for this man who writes so beautifully about his forays into the wilderness, and advocates so eloquently for everyone to join together to protect our public lands. The author presents a clear case for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to join together to preserve our common heritage of public lands for future generations. Highly recommended!
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  • Whistlers Mom
    January 1, 1970
    The fight to save the wild places has been a wild ride, and it's not over yet!In the "Friendly Persuasion," there's a touching scene where the ageing Quaker farmer looks around at his Indiana farm, his children and grandchildren, and asks his wife in bewilderment, "How did it all happen, Eliza? How did we all get here?" It's a question every thoughtful person asks sooner or later.For this author - a Michigan native, a Google-employee-turned-outdoor-writer, and an active hiker, fisherman, and The fight to save the wild places has been a wild ride, and it's not over yet!In the "Friendly Persuasion," there's a touching scene where the ageing Quaker farmer looks around at his Indiana farm, his children and grandchildren, and asks his wife in bewilderment, "How did it all happen, Eliza? How did we all get here?" It's a question every thoughtful person asks sooner or later.For this author - a Michigan native, a Google-employee-turned-outdoor-writer, and an active hiker, fisherman, and hunter all his life - it came when he thought of the vast undeveloped lands owned by the U.S. government and enjoyed by millions of people every year. An amazing 640 MILLION acres of land in the U.S. is publicly owned. That's 28% of our country's land and Americans flock to those public parks and forests. Every year, 588 MILLION Americans visit national parks, national forests, BLM lands, and national wildlife refuges. Almost one TRILLION dollars is spent every year on outdoor recreation, which creates millions of jobs. But where did it all come from?This fascinating book traces the movement to preserve wild lands and wildlife from its beginnings in the 19th century to the present-day stormy political scene. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the only problem seemed to be disposing of all that land west of the Mississippi. The Homestead Act gave land to anyone who'd settle on it. Huge tracts were given to railroad, mining, and timber companies. Civil War soldiers were given land instead of paychecks. One billion acres quickly passed from public to private ownership.Even then, some voices were raised to protect the wild lands in the American West. In 1964, President Lincoln signed the bill creating Yellowstone National Park. Surprisingly, the railroad companies promoted the bill and even donated land in the interests of creating tourist attractions along their lines, thus gaining paying customers. Conservationists and business interests pulled together on that one, but it was never as simple again.The American West found a energetic promoter in the person of Theodore Roosevelt. An Eastern Establishment type and a Republican, he fell in love with the West and fought to preserve the undeveloped land and its wildlife. Backed by his powerful friends in the Boone & Crockett Club, he fought for stricter game laws and laws slowing deforestation. They achieved the Forest Reserve Act of 1891, still considered one of the most important pieces of conservation legislation.As President, Roosevelt turned the U.S. Forest Service into a force for forest protection and used his executive power to create the Grand Canyon National Park over the shrill opposition of the governor of Arizona. Western business interests called him a "Judas" and accused him of socialism, launching a huge, expensive smear campaign against him. Teddy stood firm, but in the end, he was forced out of the Republican party.WWII, the lawlessness of the Roaring Twenties, and the start of the Great Depression meant environmental protections eroded during what the author calls "an era ruled by greed and fear." Then another Roosevelt (Franklin D.) combined his plans to combat the Depression by creating employment with a new wave of conservation. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the country's most visited park) was created and the Civilian Conservation Corps provided jobs for thousands of unemployed men and improved both new and existing parks. Like his cousin, he faced smear campaigns by business interests and charges of being a land-grabbing socialist. And like Teddy Roosevelt, he went right on doing what he believed was right.WWII and the post-war economic boom brought new challenges for conservationists. Public lands were given away to developers. Pollution increased as new chemicals became available and America's national symbol - the Golden Eagle - almost became extinct. Finally, there was a backlash and the 1960's and 1970's were a golden period for conservationism. What's interesting is how often the movement was bi-partisan. President Richard Nixon has received little credit (and none from this author!), but the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act were passed during his administration, along with a number of other important conservation bills.Not only was conservation a bi-partisan effort then, but conservationists, business interests, and land users cooperated. The Pittman-Robertson Act taxed guns and ammunition (and even bows and arrows) to fund wildlife preserves. In 1950, the similar Dingell-Johnson Act taxed sport fishing equipment and boats. Both bills were passed with the full cooperation of hunters and fishermen and have generated billions of dollars in revenue. Today, they provide 80% of the funding for state wildlife preserves.When did it change? When Ronald Reagan ran for president and declared himself a "Sagebrush Rebel." The Sagebrush Rebellion is a movement of Westerners who resent laws created by the federal government. It started with people like the Clive Bundy family who illegally grazed cattle on public land for decades. When the BLM tried to stop them, they called for an armed rebellion against the federal government.It's a complicated issue and I think the author tries to be fair to both sides. The then-governor of Colorado Richard Lamm, summed up the difficulty of characterizing the movement and its adherents, "Only one certainty exists - that the Stagebrush is a revolt against federal authority, and at the taproot grows deep in the country's history. Beyond that, it is incoherent. Part hypocrisy, part demagoguery, partly the honest anger of honest people, it is a movement of confusion and hysteria and terrifyingly destructive potential." When the Bundy family took over federal facility and held it by armed force, resulting in one death, the nation learned just HOW destructive the movement could be.Now "conservation" (like "climate change") is a dirty word for the Republican Party and the party's "plank" states firmly that the party supports the "land-transfer movement" which sells public lands to developers, timber companies, and mining interests. Leaving conservative-leaning conservationists like the author of this book out in the cold. Every Republican administration since Reagan's has followed the "death by a thousand cuts" policy of selling lands and cutting funding for conservation programs. Then Democratic administrations do what they can to reverse the damage. Is this the best we can do?To some extent, this is an "Easterner against Westerner" conflict, since the great majority of public land lies west of the Mississippi River. But we Easterners are bleeding, too. FDR created the Tennessee Valley Authority to dam rivers, control flooding, produce electricity, and create recreational lakes. The land was taken from private owners and the promise was made that it would always be public land. Now politicians are finding loop-holes to sell that land to developers. "Let's get it back on the tax rolls" is their cry, politely ignoring the inevitable tax breaks given to large developers.Working together for conservation requires compromise and that's something Americans aren't good at. Can tree-hugging vegans partner with hunters and fishermen? Can purists who want NO "improvements" in parks find common ground with those who want to build roads and pave paths so that the disabled or elderly can enjoy them, too? Can people in the rural West be brought into the process and made to feel that they have a voice? Or will we continue our current practice of see-sawing back-and-forth?Don't be discouraged from reading this book because it has a political message. That's less than 20% of the total narrative. The bulk of the book is wonderful descriptions of the author's experiences in wild places. Childhood trips to the Adirondack Mountains. Hikes in the Michigan woods with boyhood friends. Travels out west with college friends, exploring territory so wild and rugged it took their breath away in more ways than one! Camping trips with his wife, a VERY good sport. Buffalo are majestic creatures and we all want to preserve them, but a 2,000 lb behemoth scratching his back on your tent poles is another matter. Preserving habitat for grizzly bears is something most of us can agree on, but those suckers WILL kill and eat you under the right circumstances.Best of all was the wilderness hiking trip he and his sister took with their vision-impaired father. There are many ways that a family can enjoy each other, but a hike in the woods will teach you things about your loved ones that you never imagined. This is a great book.
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  • Kelley
    January 1, 1970
    Clear and concise up to the moment history and defense of public lands in the US by a hunter/fisherman/environmentalist. The author recognizes the ongoing war against our public lands by a small number of representatives of private extractive industries. "...ceding wild places to industry would strip America of its natural resources, and leave it a shell of a country, no longer self-sufficient and prosperous." The author tacks back and forth between his own adventures and explorations of public Clear and concise up to the moment history and defense of public lands in the US by a hunter/fisherman/environmentalist. The author recognizes the ongoing war against our public lands by a small number of representatives of private extractive industries. "...ceding wild places to industry would strip America of its natural resources, and leave it a shell of a country, no longer self-sufficient and prosperous." The author tacks back and forth between his own adventures and explorations of public lands and well-researched historical narrative. This is the clearest explanation I have read of the history of our public lands and land management agencies, the past and current threats to them, and both sides of the argument about their future. You might expect this topic to be dry, but not here. It's just clear and well-reasoned, concise, and even entertaining at times. Highly recommended reading for those on all positions on the political spectrum.
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  • D. E.
    January 1, 1970
    An MK. Non Fiction Western Action Adventure (TWC) (AEJTTP, P, and FOAPL)MK. has Penned a modern expose about the public lands owned by the taxpayer. These lands are our national parks, land reserves, important rivers !and other famous land sites. He covers the history, or if you prefer, the development and ownership of these lands owned by American citizens. If you are a hunter or fisherman this book will explain how things were formed for your use today. If you are a novice this book will An MK. Non Fiction Western Action Adventure (TWC) (AEJTTP, P, and FOAPL)MK. has Penned a modern expose about the public lands owned by the taxpayer. These lands are our national parks, land reserves, important rivers !and other famous land sites. He covers the history, or if you prefer, the development and ownership of these lands owned by American citizens. If you are a hunter or fisherman this book will explain how things were formed for your use today. If you are a novice this book will introduce you to the many advantages of these lands. This is an excellent read for the genre.....DEHS
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  • Catherine Nelson
    January 1, 1970
    InspiredThe ability to describe and connect me to these wild and wonderful places makes me want to pack up and go. It reminded me of my own adventures, the calm and contentment the self efficiency the wonder and awe inspired by the wild beauty the feeling of responsibility to "leave only footprints behind" the feeling of accomplishment arriving exhausted and sore to my next destination . The lessons learned on the trail have helped me in so many aspects of my life. Even more importantly however InspiredThe ability to describe and connect me to these wild and wonderful places makes me want to pack up and go. It reminded me of my own adventures, the calm and contentment the self efficiency the wonder and awe inspired by the wild beauty the feeling of responsibility to "leave only footprints behind" the feeling of accomplishment arriving exhausted and sore to my next destination . The lessons learned on the trail have helped me in so many aspects of my life. Even more importantly however is my responsibility to join my voice and effort in ensuring that our public places remain intact untouched unmolested so that every one now and forever have them to enjoy
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  • jastanley
    January 1, 1970
    Just finished That Wild Country in one sitting. I order second book to give for a Christmas present. It is an up to date history of our public lands. It tells the wonderful story of the events and people that set these lands aside for us and our children. I love the southwest and have enjoyed the parks and rivers thru out the United States. They are under increasing pressure to be used by special interest. It was wonderful to know the groups and organizations that are fighting to protect them Just finished That Wild Country in one sitting. I order second book to give for a Christmas present. It is an up to date history of our public lands. It tells the wonderful story of the events and people that set these lands aside for us and our children. I love the southwest and have enjoyed the parks and rivers thru out the United States. They are under increasing pressure to be used by special interest. It was wonderful to know the groups and organizations that are fighting to protect them for all of us and for the future. A great read!
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  • Patty
    January 1, 1970
    A GEM. Well written, intertwined with history and vigorous adventureA moving and important read which captures the essence of the public land story, which is an significant issue for future generations. This first novel is remarkable in many ways, descriptive, informative, passionate, and experiential. Anyone who loves the wilderness should own this with the caveat of, must share with others. It very well may fire up the passion for others to explore the treasures of our public lands.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    This book was very well written and made you feel like you were in the book on the public lands with him. It was very descriptive and I really enjoyed the wildlife parts. He makes the important point that we need to fight for our public lands through social media etc. or they will be given back to the states or sold to private interests or just exploited for timber etc. Our public lands are important for our nation.
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  • shari lee
    January 1, 1970
    If only everyone knew what treasure we ownI have been a casual outdoor individual for most of my 77 year life first as a cub then boy and then explorer scout. I have pursued a camping vacation lifestyle with my wife and give children and greatly enjoyed our many National parks. I have taken them for granted. Mark's book tells me I must become more proactive and I will do so by engaging more with my elected officials.
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  • Laurie Blacker
    January 1, 1970
    I’m a kindred soul when it comes to protecting and enjoying our public lands. Mark Kenyon - a fellow Michigander - alternated between visiting wild places and telling the story of how these lands were protected in the first place, as well as what we need to do to keep them safe and unspoiled. Wonderful book, I highly recommend it.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    An informative and soul-grabbing account of our public landI love the outdoors; but wouldn’t have called myself a conservationist before, but I am now. The author has grabbed and pulled me into his cause. The history of the fight is interesting, and the on-going battle is so important. I am in!
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  • Kellie Allen
    January 1, 1970
    Enlightening Endeavor!!!I am so very glad to have crossed paths with you and your book. You have turned a spark in me into a bonfire! I now have a mission!!! My wife and I started on a journey last year to visit all the National Parks. Been to Alaska. U.S. Virgin Islands. Going West next summer. R.V. Trip!!!! Thank You! Good luck Mark.
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  • Maura
    January 1, 1970
    What an impressive first book by Mark Kenyon! And the topic of our national public lands is such an important issue. Mark mixes historical events and information with current trends and concerns in an easy to read/grasp writing style. A must read for anyone who wants to know more about our national park system and wilderness areas and how these lands are currently being threatened.
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  • Mj
    January 1, 1970
    Inspiring and Awe READ THIS BOOKI have no words to adequately describe how much this short book has affected me. My biggest contribution to this positive review is I have purchased 3 for presents and encouraged 5 people who have also purchased multiple books.
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  • Marty
    January 1, 1970
    Very informativeEnjoyable reading and terrific subject. Anyone that loves the USA and it's pristine wilderness will identify with the descriptions and picturesque beauty written about in this book. Well done!
  • Jason S Barron
    January 1, 1970
    Great readMark Kenyon's passion is infectious. Not only is this a great read, it is also an inspiring reminder of why it is so important for outdoors men and women prevent the loss of our nation's greatest treasure. Our public lands!
  • Sinclair Duncan-Mercer
    January 1, 1970
    Very informative and really puts you inside the parks, I just wish it had more pictures!
  • Laurie Rolnick
    January 1, 1970
    Save our public lands!An important, well researched and well written book. I am hoping millions will take up the call to action and continue the fight for our wild public spaces.
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