Nature Noir: A Park Ranger's Patrol in the Sierra

Nature Noir: A Park Ranger's Patrol in the Sierra

by Jordan Fisher Smith


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618711956
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/03/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 226
Sales rank: 275,746
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Jordan Fisher Smith has been a park ranger for more than twenty years in Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, and California. Nature Noir is his first book. He lives with his wife and two young children in the northern Sierra Nevada.

Table of Contents

1A Day in the Park7
2It Never Rains in California21
3Career Development43
4Occurrence at Yankee Jims Bridge62
5Rocks and Bones82
6The Bridge over Purgatory104
7A Natural Death120
8Finch Finds His Roots136
9Crossing the Mekong156
10As Weak as Water168
11Eight Mile Curve190

Customer Reviews

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Nature Noir: A Park Ranger's Patrol in the Sierra 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
justpeachy on LibraryThing 20 days ago
In this informative book, Smith tells of his 13 years working as a park ranger in California's Auburn State Recreation Area. His job is to protect the land from the people, the people from the land, and the people from each other. He is 15 times more likely to be killed or injured on the job than a DEA agent. As if that wasn¿t challenging enough, he patrols two river canyons that are doomed to be flooded by a dam whose construction has been stalled by politics and environmental concerns. He deals with backcountry miners armed to the teeth, a cougar attack on a jogger, illegal tree cutting, and drunk and belligerent campers. He also gives historical and political background on the dam and the area's unique geology. This is a captivating look into the life of a park ranger as well as a tour through the beautiful river canyons where he works.
nkmunn on LibraryThing 20 days ago
Just when you thought you'd seen every side of human nature displayed by californians in their native environment Smith describes some people, circumstances, and politics that prove we can always get a little crazier than we thought was possible.
fooeynet on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Wasn't too impressed, perhaps it was just the writing style? Enjoyed 'The Last Season' much more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nature Noir is a beautiful example of the merging environmental history and storytelling.  Jordan Fisher Smith spent fourteen years as a park ranger in an ephemeral place where the disparate elements of wild nature and wild people are swept together within the tumbling waters of the American River. This chaotic conflict intensifies as plans are laid for a large dam, one that would smother the good with the bad. Smith weaves together compelling insights, detailed histories, breathless action, and a distinct feeling of meaning to such an effect that I had to put the book down after many chapters to exhale and look out my window, letting the gravity of it seep into the deepest recesses of my mind. Sometimes he introduces tangential narratives which sort of disrupted the flow but he used them to good effect. Overall, Smith’s first book is one of the best I’ve read this year. I wish that I could’ve found it sooner.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is fascinating and beautifully written. I hope to see more from this author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
being that its just over 200 pages, its easy to knock it out in a day or 2, but i never found myself wanting to put it down. it does go back in forth a lot, but its by design and i think it improves the book. buy it
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was taken aback initially by the somber tone and almost angry ( at times ) writing style. But the stories of the Auburn SRA and the Auburn Dam are beyond compare for their honesty and history. I particularly liked the recount of the search for the killer of Barbara Schoner, one of the few mouintail lion deaths in Ca., and the description of the scene as it happened reads beutifully. Ranger Smith's tone is understandable and justified by the end of the book and I feel the pain in his writing....
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a slight book -- just topping 200 pages -- I read it in about half a day. Divided into almost essay-like chapters, Smith reviews his time as a California park ranger on the American River. In a way it is a dead-end job -- the park itself is supposed to be flooded when the Auburn Damn is built, and there is little chance of promotion for Smith or his colleagues. And in some ways this shows up in the book -- most of the chapters involve some detective work, but the only real 'sensational' event is when a jogger becomes the first person in a century to be killed by a mountain lion. But Smith's writing is very thoughtful and evocative -- about nature, and man's place in it. He and almost all his fellow ranger's love their jobs, and this shows throughout the book, which contains some history of the ranger system as well as geographical details of Smith's park. Nature Noir doesn't knock you off your feet, but it does get under your skin. Smith is a caring and careful writer. I would agree that the book would have benefited from more details about his personal life -- for instance, we learn he is divorced, but not why. We are told he has children, but they really aren't described. Overall, however, this is a well-written book with more than enough interesting occurrences to cover it's length. Smith may not have hit the ball out of the park, but he's clearly standing on second anyway, and he's driven in a run.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a good perspective of a park rangers life and as someone trying to go into the field, it was an eye opening read. I would agree that the book does have a heavy focus on the history of the dam and it also does jump back and forth quite a bit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author is a good writer but the disappointment lies in the endless history of the flooding and the building of the dam. There is very little personal history, which would give an understanding of the man and a warmth to his stories. Many of the events he relates are interesting. I would have been interested in more follow up on the individuals involved. Perhaps he never knew what happened to them so, the stories seem to end prematurely.