- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Back in November, I wrote about The Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges by David L. Scott and Kay W. Scott. The Scotts also write guides to the parks themselves, and the new fifth edition of their Guide to the National Park Areas: Western States has just been published.
"Western" here means west of the Mississippi River and includes coverage of 185 areas. And when they say "western," they're not kidding. If you need a quick overview of National Park facilities in American Samoa, Guam, or Saipan — to make no mention of Hawaii or Alaska — this is the place to look.
If you're thinking about laying in a supply of canned goods, gassing up the RV, and hitting the highways to see some of nature's wonders, you'll probably consider this book an essential part of your gear.
A handy map at the front of the book pinpoints all the park areas, so you can target your larger region and see at a glance which park areas are within your range. (Yes, I know you won't be driving the ol' RV to Guam, okay?) Then you can flip to the back of the book and use the comparison charts of facilities to see which of the areas on your list best suit your own interests and tastes.
Most have a visitor center, self-guided trails, picnic areas, hiking, and campgrounds. But if you want horse trails, a boat ramp or boat rental, fishing or hunting, a snowmobile route or cross-country ski trail, or a cabin for rent, you better check the chart and know before you go.
The individual entries have plenty of information. The listing for one of the most popularparks,Yosemite in California, mentions, for example: roads that are closed in winter, shuttle-bus service, several groves of giant sequoias, living-history demonstrations, the largest subalpine meadow in the High Sierra, rock climbing, hang gliding, guided horse rides, restaurants, filling stations, and a kennel. Plus a bunch of other stuff I haven't listed here, including mountains and the ever-popular waterfalls that people come to see in the first place.
The areas in the Pacific, as well as the most difficult-to-reach ones in Alaska, get shorter entries than the more accessible places, but everything is here, from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado, Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, Padre Island National Seashore in Texas, and the George Washington Carver National Monument in Missouri.
Our national parks are a unique treasure, with something for everybody. The Guide to the National Parks: Western States is a good place to start looking.