Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire was a very relaxing and sometimes, although welcomed, slow read. I thoroughly enjoyed his detailed descriptions of his encounters in the deserts of Utah, an area that is sometime misrepresented. Abbey allows the reader place one self in a timeless environment full a of rich history and soon to be epic future.
An area of the book I found to be the most interesting was Abbey’s take on Industrial Tourism. although rude and inconsiderate, I was enlightened with the stance Abbey takes on the current issues that confront today’s National Park System. Even though Abbey’s three proposals for the future of National Parks (i.e. No more cars in national parks, no more new roads in national parks and put park ranger to work) are very aggressive and improbable, it definitely has the reader think about what possibilities are available to keep our parks and recreation areas pristine.
The first time I heard about Abbey’s account of industrial tourism was when I was on my NOLS course. Late one afternoon in the middle of theWind River Mountain range in Wyoming my instructor Jared sat our group down and read the better part of the Industrial Tourism chapter aloud to our group. After a short discussion he ended the session with a statement I still remember to this day. He told us to take the less traveled path as often as we could and then he said to us, if you are only able to visit one of the parks for a short time to “Park your car, hike into the woods and just sit and listen.” Similar to Edward Abbey, Jared and now I agree that the only way to visit and fully appreciate natures beauty is outside of your car or truck in the heart of the wilderness.
Questions to ponder:
What can we do to limit the future industrial tourist?
How can we convince people to take their time when visiting these beautiful places?