I picked this book at random when I saw it on the "NEW" shelf at the library a few months ago. There's so much to write in it that I have been postponing to write about it. I had no idea who this person was before I read the book. But the topic of national parks & politics intrigued me. I am glad I picked it up!On Politics & Parks by George Bristol
. There's so much in this book. So much life. So many stories! It was a nice pleasant read. A life story of George Bristol. It narrated like the story of Forrest Gump. How one man encountered so many big people and big milestones of history.
The book gave such insights into the inner workings of political campaigns of those days. Through his story we get insight into how the national parks were set up. Through his story we got a little insight into his pursuit for education.
He doesn't preach about anything, he just shares the stories and drops a few pointers of advice here and there.
Even before I picked up his book, I really value how this country takes care of its national parks. That it even has one. N
& I have been to so many and we love it. We are both city kids and NPS programs helps people like us learn about nature and get outdoors. We took advantage of their talks/programs whenever we visited a park, either here on the National Mall, at the Everglades National Park, Grand Canyon and a few others. Again in May we will be. Of course, having a friend who is a Park Ranger camp with us is also a bonus!
In the book he shares how the Park Systems' funding was at risk and some of the things that were done to help, by setting up park foundations, for example, and allowing corporations being sponsors for various activities. He noted how the school system's change in academic year has affected the opportunities of youngsters getting experience at the NPS. NPS always looks for employees from Memorial Day weekend till end of Labour Day weekend - since those are the two busiest times. But the simple change of schools (especially college/universities) going into June and starting in August has cut dramatic number of youth to get some experience at the NPS.
He praised the Civilian Conservation Corps
for providing so many young men returning from war and otherwise work and training. And he wonders why we don't have something like that to revive the economy again today.
He also comments on costs of education. One reason he gives is the changes he sees in towns. The mom and pop shops have closed to make way for big chains that have no roots in the city. They don't end up contributing to taxes locally really (aside from sales tax). And hence the universities who have lost a lot of funding from the government have passed on the cost to the student. Recently, I remember meeting someone who shared the same dismay. He remembers working for a summer and being able to cover the cost of the semester and work through college that way. Today, it's unthinkable to even attempt that.
And a lot of insight about working of campaigns, fundraising, national conventions, etc. All was interesting to read. As an epilogue she shared his personal story but the book itself focused on his work/career. Nice read.
ETA: Completely forgot, which is bad but in politics part he constantly shared how politicians in Congress at State & National levels mingled with each other, knew each other regardless of their political background. Sure, they had differing opinions on what was good or bad for the country, but they got along. Today, it's almost the end of the career if a Republican is caught shaking hands with President Obama. He put it very well, that distance makes it easier to demonize the opponent causing a greater divide between people.