American Covenant


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National Parks, Their Promise, and Our Nation's Future

Michael A. Soukup and Gary E. Machlis

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An intimate and candid account of our national parks detailing their strengths, vulnerabilities, and essential role in American life

"An important [book], . . . essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of America’s national parks.—John Miles, National Parks Traveler

Part memoir, part critique, and a paean to the value of national parks, American Covenant distills the experience and insights from two long careers in conservation. Michael A. Soukup and Gary E. Machlis show how the national parks are essential to maintaining the essence of our national heritage, and key to America’s future in a changing climate and political landscape.
Sharing real-world examples of both victories and defeats in protecting national parks, this candid, thoughtful book reminds us that the national parks are a promise—a covenant—within and between generations of Americans. The book is also a call to revitalize, reconstitute, reconfigure, and reform the National Park Service, which the authors believe is governed too much by outdated management practices and politics instead of a foundation of expertise and science.

Michael A. Soukup served as Chief Scientist for the National Park Service. Gary E. Machlis is University Professor of Environmental Sustainability at Clemson University, and served as Science Advisor to the Director of the National Park Service.

American Covenant is a unique and personal contribution showcasing the hard-earned wisdom of two experts who know the National ParkService the best. Their stories and anecdotes illustrate why national parks are important for both individuals and our nation as a whole.”—Justin Farrell, author of Billionaire Wilderness: The Ultra-Wealthy and the Remaking of the American West

"Michael Soukup and Gary Machlis offer a heartfelt, insightful assessment of our national park system complete with science-based recommendations for ensuring this magnificent natural heritage is passed along to future generations in an unimpaired condition.”—Robert B. Keiter, ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­author of To Conserve Unimpaired: The Evolution of the National Park Idea

“This outstanding book speaks eloquently and powerfully to the importance of science-based decision making in the preservation, management, and public use of parks. A must read for all those who care about national parks.”—Bob Stanton, 15th Director of the National Park Service

ISBN: 9780300140354
Publication Date: March 23, 2021
216 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
10 b/w illus.
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