There's a Book For That: Grand Canyon National Park Turns 100!
– John Wesley Powell
Happy 100th birthday Grand Canyon! The national park opened to the public on February 26, 1919 and centennial events will be ongoing throughout this year.
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, “Grand Canyon welcomes approximately six million domestic and international visitors each year. After 100 years, whether it’s hiking a corridor trail, taking a stroll on the rim or enjoying the landscape from an overlook, Grand Canyon continues to provide a space for all visitors to connect with the outdoors.” (NPS.gov)
To honor the centennial, we are featuring the following natural history titles that continue to educate and inspire readers of all ages:
THE EXPLORATION OF THE COLORADO RIVER AND ITS CANYONS by John Wesley Powell; Introduction by Wallace Stegner
The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons, recently ranked number four on Adventure magazine’s list of top 100 classics, is legendary pioneer John Wesley Powell’s first-person account of his crew’s unprecedented odyssey along the Green and Colorado Rivers and through the Grand Canyon. A bold foray into the heart of the American West’s final frontier, the expedition was achieved without benefit of modern river-running equipment, supplies, or a firm sense of the region’s perilous topography and the attitudes of the native inhabitants towards whites.
With The Promise of the Grand Canyon, John Ross recreates Powell’s expedition in all its glory and terror, but his second (unheralded) career as a scientist, bureaucrat, and land-management pioneer concerns us today. Powell was the first to ask: how should the development of the west be shaped? How much could the land support? What was the role of the government and private industry in all of this? He began a national conversation about sustainable development when most everyone else still looked upon land as an inexhaustible resource. Though he supported irrigation and dams, his prescient warnings forecast the 1930s dustbowl and the growing water scarcities of today. Practical, yet visionary, Powell didn’t have all the answers, but was first to ask the right questions.
RUNNING DRY: A JOURNEY FROM SOURCE TO SEA DOWN THE COLORADO RIVER by Jonathan Waterman (National Geographic)
In 1869, John Wesley Powell led a small party down the Green and Colorado Rivers in a bold attempt to explore the Grand Canyon for the first time. After their monumental expedition, they told of raging rapids, constant danger, and breathtaking natural beauty of the American landscape at its most pristine. In Running Dry, Jon Waterman combines sheer adventure and environmental calamity in this trailblazing cautionary account of his 2008 trip down the overtaxed, drying Colorado. As he follows Powell afloat and afoot, Waterman reaches out both to adventure travelers and to scientists, conservationists, environmentalists, and anyone interested in the fragile interplay between nature and humans.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PARK PROFILES: GRAND CANYON COUNTRY by Seymour L. Fishbein
Over 100 Full-Color Photographs, plus Detailed Maps, and Firsthand Information
Grand Canyon Country explores the spectacular 277-mile-long gash in Arizona’s red-rock country—noted by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 as “the most impressive piece of scenery I have ever looked at”—and much more. Along with the geological marvels, amazing views along the popular South Rim, and higher, cooler North Rim, the book probes ancient Indian cultures, remote forests of the Kaibab Plateau, lonely reaches of the Arizona strip, and the multihued landscapes of the Painted Desert. All the wonders of the Grand Canyon are captured in this first-person narrative—from the awe-inspiring sunsets to hikes on treacherous trails to an exciting trip down the Colorado.
HOW THE CANYON BECAME GRAND: A SHORT HISTORY by Stephen J. Pyne
Dismissed by the first Spanish explorers as a wasteland, the Grand Canyon lay virtually unnoticed for three centuries until nineteenth- century America rediscovered it and seized it as a national emblem. Acclaimed historian Stephen Pyne examines the major shifts in Western attitudes toward nature, and recounts the achievements of explorers, geologists, artists, and writers, from John Wesley Powell to Wallace Stegner, and how they transformed the Canyon into a fixture of national identity.
The remarkable classic of nature writing by the first man ever to have walked the entire length of the Grand Canyon.
FOR YOUNGER READERS
WHERE IS THE GRAND CANYON? by Jim O’Connor, Who HQ; Illustrated by Daniel Colon
There are canyons all over the planet, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona is not the biggest. Yet because of the spectacular colors in the rock layers and fascinating formations of boulders, buttes, and mesas, it is known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Starting with a brief overview of how national parks came into being, this book covers all aspects of the canyon–how it formed, which early native people lived there, and what varied wildlife can be found there now. A history of the canyon’s end-to-end exploration in the late 1860s and how the Grand Canyon became such a popular vacation spot (5 million tourists visit every year) round out this informative, easy-to-read account.
GOOD NIGHT GRAND CANYON by Adam Gamble, Mark Jasper; Illustrated by Cooper Kelly
Good Night Grand Canyon features hiking, mule riding, camping, the Colorado River, white-water rafting, fishing, park rangers, Mather Point, Grand Canyon Railway, Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon Visitor Center, helicopter tours, off-roading, and canyon wildlife. Young discoverers are invited to venture deep into one of the most spectacular canyons in the world. Readers will explore all aspects of canyon life while being lulled into a peaceful nice rest.
For more on these and related fiction and nonfiction, visit Grand Canyon
To learn more about centennial events visit Grand Canyon Events
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