Danger and Romance in America: A US National Park Profile

by krm | Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 7:00 AM

If you could explore another world, would you?

Last year, a staggering 307 million people hiked, paddled, skied and meandered through our 58 US National Parks - the highest number of annual visits in history. The National Parks Service is in charge of protecting all these marvels, and no group does more to ensure that the natural world remains accessible to all Americans, so cheers to the NPS on its 100th anniversary!

In addition to their pivotal role protecting vital natural resources, the awe-inspiring vistas and diverse ecosystems of our national parks allow us to experience a different, wilder world that exists alongside our mundane human hustle of flatscreens and fluorescent cubicles.

I fear that too many people have a trite view of US National Parks- conjuring images of cartoon bears pilfering picnic baskets from camping Cleavers. To counter this misconception, I’d like to pay homage to our national parks by sharing an extraordinary adventure I had in one. Hopefully, it will get you wondering about what amazing journeys might await if you choose to step through these portals into other lands.

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Beyond Yosemite

by krm | Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - 7:00 AM

The National Park Service (NPS) celebrates its centennial anniversary in the month of August! NPS has served as a valuable resource for many of our authors, both professionally and recreationally. To commemorate the occasion, our authors have taken to the blog to pay homage to “America’s best idea”! Check back with us throughout the month of August for more #JHUPressOnNPS! ( Series photo credit: Wikimedia )

Just recently an email came to my inbox announcing the National Park Service’s 100 th anniversary and gave some info on the ensuing celebrations. It made me think back about my association and memories of America’s national park system. I believed that my very first national park visit was to Acadia National Park in Maine during the 1970’s. It actually was in August 1974. I remember that because as we set around a campsite under the moonlight, we had a small transistor radio and struggled to find a station. And when we did, Richard Nixon was on the airwaves resigning his presidency.

My recollection of that visit was of immense beauty....Read More

“Really, is there anything new?”

by krm | Friday, August 19, 2016 - 7:00 AM

That’s what plenty of people who should know better have been asking us since we started work on this new edition of Women’s Life in Greece and Rome , some forty years after the first. Is there ever! The whole point of the book is the search for the hidden stories of ancient women and their lives, and there are so very many interesting women yet to meet. In college we became friends with the celebrities—Penelope and Alcestis, Medea and Clytemnestra, Claudia and Clodia, all of whom have been in the book for years. But there’s a special place in our hearts for the women and girls we had to dig to find in collections of papyri, inscriptions, and even obscure corners of the mainstream literature. These are the ones the famous writers never mention, the wives and daughters of men who loved them and honored them in stone inscriptions, many of them recorded with their jobs (yes, jobs).

We’re also intrigued by the women intellectuals like Diogenes Laertius’ patroness, who “eagerly sought out his doctrines beyond all others,” or the empress Plotina, who was an enthusiastic Epicurean, and some of the other...Read More

Fifty Years of Fond Memories

by krm | Thursday, August 18, 2016 - 7:30 AM

The National Park Service (NPS) celebrates its centennial anniversary in the month of August! NPS has served as a valuable resource for many of our authors, both professionally and recreationally. To commemorate the occasion, our authors have taken to the blog to pay homage to “America’s best idea”! Check back with us throughout the month of August for more #JHUPressOnNPS! ( Series photo credit: Wikimedia )

My affection for America’s National Parks began nearly half a century ago. Growing up in New England, which had few national parks, I could only read about the magnificent parks in the West. But while still in my teens I was fortunate to visit one, Yosemite, and resolved that I would see more when I had the time, and my own wheels. In 1967, just before entering graduate school at Johns Hopkins, I decided to take a summer tour of as many parks as I could see. This was a solo venture, tenting in park camp grounds and occasionally backpacking into the interior. In two months I saw Yellowstone, the Tetons, Glacier, Crater Lake,...Read More

Are our National Parks for animals or people?

by krm | Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - 7:00 AM

A bobcat photographed by a camera trap set on a park trail to test if animals are disturbed by hikers. (Photo credit: eMammal)

The National Park Service (NPS) celebrates its centennial anniversary in the month of August! NPS has served as a valuable resource for many of our authors, both professionally and recreationally. To commemorate the occasion, our authors have taken to the blog to pay homage to “America’s best idea”! Check back with us throughout the month of August for more #JHUPressOnNPS! ( Series photo credit: Wikimedia )

Our National Parks are more popular than ever. This is a good thing - more people visiting our country's natural areas means more people getting exercise, connecting with nature, and contributing to the outdoor recreation being the 3rd most important part of our economy. But you can also have too much of a good thing, and park rangers are challenged with making sure we don't love our parks to death. Too many people and cars not only reduce the natural beauty of an area, they can also scare away the animals.

Parks are not just for our enjoyment, but also need to protect the other species that rely on...Read More