The National Parks Service was created on Aug. 25, 1916, by President Woodrow Wilson, meaning these natural treasures are celebrating their centennial this summer. In honor of the 100th anniversary, here are three recent books honoring the milestone:
▪ Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America’s National Parks, by Mark Woods (Thomas Dunne Books, $26.99) — The author set out to explore the future of the national parks, and he visited 15 for the book (including Big Bend). But, instead, he dealt with his mother’s illness and wrote a coast-to-coast memoir that included sunrise at a park in Maine to sunset in Hawaii. His is a love story “about spending a year finding solace not only in the parks’ serenity, but also in their constant reminders of death and life.”
▪ Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight Over Controlling Nature, by Jordan Fisher Smith (Crown, $28) — The author, a former park ranger, uses a fatal grizzly bear attack in Yellowstone in 1972 — and subsequent civil trial — as the narrative of his book. But it’s man’s struggle to control and preserve nature through wildlife management that’s at its heart. Even the experts are at odds.
▪ National Parks of America: Experience America’s 59 National Parks from Lonely Planet ($29.99) —From Acadia to Zion, take a tour of all 59 national parks in this 328-page collectors’ book that’s filled with color photography, illustrations of plants and animals, and helpful tips on planning an adventure to the wild space of your choice, including West Texas’ Big Bend and the Guadalupe Mountains.