We have been watching the Ken Burns series on the National Parks. It’s great and I wish every American could watch this excellent story of our greatest national treasure.
We have been fortunate enough to visit many of the parks. Even though my father didn’t have a lot, he managed to take me and a high school classmate on one of my most memorable trips after my junior year. For two weeks we traveled through the west, seeing places like Carlsbad Cavern, The Grand Canyon, The Petrified Forest, Rocky Mountain National Park and several of the parks in Utah. It was a grand trip.
In my adult years we have seen multiple parks ranging from Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Everglades, Big Bend, Volcanoes on Hawaii, Smoky Mountains and most of all the national monuments and Battlefields of the Civil and Revolutionary Wars. It has been a grand journey and the television series brought back many great memories. Our favorite is still Yosemite. Now, my book of Ansel Adams photos of the parks takes me back to places like Yosemite without leaving the porch.
The struggle to create the parks has been difficult. We complain about the government but if it had not been for government intervention and regulations the parks that we know would have been raped in the name of progress. In the past it’s like a bunch of greedy wall street bankers had been turned lose on the parks. Forest were devastated, wildlife slaughtered, and rivers polluted in the name of progress. Thank God for the government who helped protect us from ourselves and preserve the natural beauty of our land for generations to enjoy.
The wildlife in many of the parks was nearly destroyed and many species brought to the brink of extinction. Humans either shoot the animals for fun or feed them, which entices them away from their natural habitat. The animals become dependent on humans, which is against the natural order of things. Their predators, like the wolf have also been destroyed which further upsets the balance of nature. Fortunately, the Park Service reversed this trend.
The same has happened with the deer who inhabit my back yard. People who feed them have made them a weak, dependent bunch of scrawny pest who live off our handouts. With all the good things the government has done, unfortunately, it has also made us humans like the deer in my back yard. Many have become dependent on the government for a handout and are unable to hunt for themselves. The whole thing is a paradox. Government is essential for a society but it must also be restrained. One of the great responsibilities of government is to protect us, not only from foreign powers but from ourselves. Like Pogo said, “we have met the enemy and he is us.” That should be another slogan on our currency along with, “In God We Trust.”
Anyway, The National Park series is great. The National Parks are truly our national treasure.