National Parks and Monuments

“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his work dominate the landscape is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain“ from the definition of wilderness. The Wilderness ACT public law 88-577 88th Congress 2nd session September 3rd 1964

Much of the land around us can be divided into that which humans have modified, and that which nature still owns. It is the observation and visitation into the latter that I find most intriguing. At the end of the day or life, there is this spiritual quest, a desire at some point for me to have some answer to the question: “Well, what did you think?” My only response seems to be. “It’s incredible, beyond words, this is what I saw, and tried to savor. Thank you.” I have yet to find or observe something of the natural world that is not something of beauty, that evokes a rawness in the soul, that when merged with my senses provides a satisfaction and deep-seated purpose felt emotion.

The National Parks and monuments with few exceptions, are pure, untouched and represent that untrammeled community of life. They are a subset of the greater world and an attempt to preserve and showcase slices into the geological history of our nation. Beyond the visual appreciation the National Parks represent a connection through our senses, not just visual, but auditory. Pure sounds or silence, the National Parks can let us hear the wildlife and forces of nature at work. Our sense of smell can breathe air perfumed by the plants and animal life, or just the freshness with no man-made odors. We can feel the wind, endure the cold and heat with the same animals that make the home in this wilderness.

Their preservation is in the hands of us all. Ken Burns the American Filmmaker equated the National Parks as our “stone cathedrals”, and as such we must show them reverence. To share these great wonders in ways that respect and protect them for future generations. As important is to create a sense of wonderment which inspires others to experience these as we have seen them. There is a great precedent for this. Thomas Moran (19th century painter) captured Yellowstone in 1872 in sketches and paintings that led congress to protect the lands. Ansel Adams (20th century) captured the stunning vistas of Yosemite, Kings and Sequoia in iconic photographs to further their safeguarding.

Following in the footsteps of such great masters, I humbly and modestly present some of my views of these landscapes in this portfolio. Hopefully some will be inspired to visit, and all will understand the need to protect. JP

For another interesting site visit #59IN52 or 59 parks in 52 weeks

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