Preview Magazine - WINTER 2016On Newsstands
This year, the National Park Service celebrates its centennial.
One hundred years ago, the agency was formed to manage lands previously administered by the Department of the Interior. Tradition says that Stephen T. Mather, the man who lobbied for the creation of the National Park Service and became its first director, took much of his inspiration from a 1912 climb he'd undertaken up the side of Mount Rainier. Toward the clouds he ascended, through subalpine meadows and into a wonderland thick with timeless snow. Mather was an advertising wunderkind who'd grown rich as the sales manager for the Pacific Coast Borax Company. To him, the big beautiful mountain looked like America with icing on top.
"Who will gainsay that the parks contain the highest potentialities of national pride, national contentment, and national health?" he later wrote. "A visit inspires love of country; begets contentment; engenders pride of possession; contains the antidote for national restlessness. It teaches love of nature, of the trees and flowers, the rippling brooks, the crystal lakes, the snow-clad mountain peaks, the wild life encountered everywhere amid natural surroundings. He is a better citizen with a keener appreciation of the privilege of living here who has toured the national parks."
We at American Road agree with Mather's assessment. In this issue of our magazine, we salute the public lands that ring our nation with purple mountains, emerald forests, blue glaciers, and a rainbow geyser or two. Our excursion into the wild begins with "Revisiting the National Park-to-Park Highway" a feature that examines the path taken by early motorists-turned-outdoor-enthusiasts. Mather himself stitched the route together a 5,600-mile loop that visited the twelve western parks existing at the time. We revisit the eleven parks that survive and the one that hides today under a new designation, General Grant National Park, named for the towering tree at its heart.
Over the course of the past one hundred years, some national parks and monuments have been disbanded or abolished. We recount those that exist no more in "Lost Park Postcards", a feature that peeks at the past through pictures. What did William "Buffalo" Bill Cody have to do with Wyoming's Shoshone Cavern? What's the legend behind Arch Rock on Michigan's Mackinac Island? And what did Lewis and Clark miss in the middle of Montana? Bring a postage stamp and have a look.
Our "National Parks Photo Contest" reveals what our readers can do with a camera and the whole outdoors as their subject. Our road departments march through Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida; dig up Dinosaur National Monument along the Utah-Colorado state line; and trace Mark Twain's adventure in Pu'uhonua o Honaunau on the island of Hawaii. Don't miss this issue's installment of "America's Playgrounds" and its tribute to Smokey Bear's icon who has asked campers to prevent forest fires some seventy years.
After his tenure as director of the National Park Service, Stephen T. Mather le the agency in the capable hands of successors such as Horace M. Albright and Arno B. Cammerer. As for Mount Rainier, he left that to his fellow citizens. The great Washington mountain still looks like America with icing on top, or a frosted birthday cake for a country celebrating its national parks and national pride.
Copies are available at your favorite newsstand location, or you can subscribe and have them delivered.