How Our View of National Parks Shapes American Identity

What We Seek and Find in Our Sacred Environments Reflects Our Country’s Character

Few natural regions have been photographed as often, or in such varied ways, as the American West. Many of these alluring, emotionally resonant landscapes lie within the boundaries of national parks, and photography has played a crucial role in promoting this heritage, thereby helping to articulate a crucial aspect of American identity. Frank Jay Haynes, Carleton Watkins, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston and Lee Friedlander are among the masters who trained their lenses on the granite face of Yosemite, waited patiently to capture the burst of a Yellowstone geyser, …

Why Americans Invented the RV

In 1915, New Creature Comforts Created by Technology Merged with the Back to Nature Movement

On August 21, 1915, the Conklin family departed Huntington, New York on a cross-country camping trip in a vehicle called the “Gypsy Van.” Visually arresting and cleverly designed, the …

America’s National Parks Were Never Wild and Untouched

Montana's Emblematic Glacier National Park Reveals the Impact of Human History and Culture

In 1872, Congress created the first national park, Yellowstone, so that its scenic features would be “dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and …

What America’s National Parklands Taught My Three Boys About Their Country

A Michigan Teacher Wanted His Sons to Roam the Nation's Expanses, Grasp Its Opportunities, and Understand Its Injustices

Last August, my sons and I paddled canoes through the Missouri River Breaks National Monument in eastern Montana. The Breaks is remote country, a prairie river cutting through coulees and …

Sixteen Years After His Death, a Renowned Environmentalist Won His Longest Fight

David Brower, Founder of Friends of the Earth, Spent His Career Negotiating Between Nature and Power

Earlier this year, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, which built and operates the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors on the central California coast, announced that it will phase them out by …