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Download Trains of discovery: Western railroads and the national parks epub

by Alfred Runte

Book by Runte, Alfred
Download Trains of discovery: Western railroads and the national parks epub
ISBN: 0911797610
ISBN13: 978-0911797619
Category: Engineering
Subcategory: Transportation
Author: Alfred Runte
Language: English
Publisher: Robert Rinehart; Revised edition (1990)
Pages: 86 pages
ePUB size: 1503 kb
FB2 size: 1495 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 189
Other Formats: mobi lrf lrf rtf

This book is simply great. Lots of historic pictures, and an easy to read and well researched text. Great book and I'll be looking up other books by the same author.
The book came timely however it's condition was not as described. Had a little more wear than we expected.
In the era when railroads were the primary method of arriving to a national park, railroad companies encouraged the designation of national parks and were the allies of preservationists, though their motives were not altruistic. The railroads sought more passengers and in turn, more profit. National parks proved the ticket to achieve their aims. Though not driven by preservationist aims, railroads had a hand in raising ecological awareness among their passengers and even magazine readers, with striking, sometimes full-color advertisements in periodicals nationwide. In Trains of Discovery: Western Railroads and the National Parks Alfred Runte looks not only at history, but shows the price the nation has paid, both socially and environmentally, for its love affair with the automobile.

Runte details the crucial role railroads played in the establishment, protection and improvement of national parks. The Northern Pacific was at the forefront of efforts to designate Yellowstone a national park. Other rail lines played similar roles, such as the Great Northern's vociferous campaign to designate Glacier National Park. Railroads unwaveringly supported the National Park Service legislation, looking forward to working with one government agency committed to promoting national parks (49). Stephen Mather, the first director of the Park Service, teamed with railroads to promote the national parks. The railroads rarely portrayed environmental consciousness in their guidebooks, but dependence on unspoiled scenery to sell national parks as a destination restrained more extractive aims, such as logging and mining (24). Railroad support of Yellowstone as a breeding ground for big game heightened awareness that the West was a refuge for wildlife (29).

In the 1960s, rail transportation to national parks and the NPS alliance with the railroads dimmed. As early as 1916, automobile passengers exceeded train passengers in Yosemite National Park (66). Opponents of the Yosemite Valley Railroad were misguided into thinking the line would have a negative impact on the valley. By 1945 the Yosemite Valley Railroad ceased operations and the NPS was given no choice but to accommodate more automobiles to please the surmounting hoard of tourists. At first, preservationists sided with auto accommodation, thinking it would be better than alternatives such as reservoirs and power lines. It is clear the automobile has degraded the environment more than any rail line ever could. The National Parks have intensely suffered from Americans' desire for greater independence behind the wheels of their cars.

Runte advocates public transportation as the only way to serve both access and preservation (7). He details how the shuttle service instituted in Yosemite in 1970 became popular once tourists realized the convenience and lack of auto congestion. The mandatory shuttle service in Zion National Park has seen similar positive reception.

Though the narrative is engaging and informative, Runte's treatment is light. He leaves the reader wanting more. The volume lacks thorough detail, such as the perceptions of the national park railroad experience from its early passengers. The narrative clearly utilizes a "top-down" approach. The book's main strength is its reprints of period railroad advertisements and photographs. The reader can actually decipher the text of each advertisement and get a feel for the romanticism of the age - a romanticism Runte hopes will resurge so national parks will be better preserved for future generations.