“You only have to watch the Democratic Convention, the Republican Convention with Donald Trump and read the GOP platform and gasp.”
Terry Tempest Williams is one of the American West’s most beloved writers. With her new book, The Hour of Land, part travelogue, part love story about public land, she turns her attention to America’s national parks on the centenary of the national park system. She says the parks are breathing spaces in a world in which such spaces are steadily disappearing. “You only have to watch the Democratic Convention, the Republican Convention with Donald Trump and read the GOP platform and gasp.”
The GOP platform calls for transferring public lands away from federal control to state control, something that Tempest Williams sees as an alarming proposal. “That is a heart-stopper for me. So the intention of this book is to look at the power of our national parks.”
The Hour of Land features some of the more famous parks such as the Tetons and Yellowstone, but also features some of the newer landmarks like Cesar Chavez National Monument and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park. “We’re seeing President Obama really honor diverse populations that have not been honored in the past with our National Parks and Monuments.”
Oil and gas extraction on public lands has been criticized by public lands advocates and environmental activists. Terry Tempest Williams says that is most visible in Utah “all you have to do is stand up at Dead Horse Point or Island in the Sky, and you look out over the Colorado Plateau and you look out over Canyon lands and Arches and lands adjacent to them and what you see is roads…it looks like an exposed nervous system because of all the oil and gas extraction. If you go up to Island in the Sky, to Big Flats at night, all you see are flares. It breaks your heart.”
Terry Tempest Williams will speak at a sold-out event at the Boulder Public Library on Friday July 29th.