Contemporary attitudes toward urban parks fall into three levels of sophistication. The first, the most naive assumption, is that parks are just plots of land preserved in their original state. If asked to discuss the issue at all, many laymen have maintained this much, that parks are bits of nature created only in the sense that some decision was made not to build on the land. Many are surprised to learn that parks that an artifact conceived and deliberated as carefully as public buildings, with both physical shape and social usage taken into account. The second, a little more informed, is that parks are aesthetic objects and that their history can be understood in terms of an evolution of artistic styles independent of societal considerations. The third is the view that each of the elements of the urban park represents part of planners' strategy for moral and social reform, so that today, as in the past, the citizen visiting a park is subject to an accumulated set of intended moral lessons.
Alejandro de Humboldt National ParkOutside of the major cities, the great majority of Cuba is agricultural or undeveloped. Cuba has a number of national parks where it is possible to see and enjoy some plants and animals that are truly unique to the region. Because it is relatively remote and limited in size, the Cuban Government has recognized the significance and sensitivity of the island’s biodiversity. It is for these reasons many of these parks have been set aside as protected areas and for the enjoyment of the people.One of these parks is the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, named for Alexander von Humboldt a Prussian geographer, naturalist and explorer who traveled extensively in Latin America between 1799 and 1804. He explored the island of Cuba in 1800 and 1801. In the 1950’s during its time of the Cuban Embargo, the concept of nature reserves, on the island, was conceived with development on them continuing into the 1980’s, when a final sighting of the Royal Woodpecker, a Cuban subspecies of the ivory-billed woodpecker known as the “Campephilus principalis,” happened in this area. The Royal Woodpecker was already extinct in its former American habitats. This sighting in 1996, prompted these protected areas to form into a national park that was named Alejandro de Humboldt National Park. Unfortunately no further substantiated sightings of this species has bird has occurred and the species is now most likely extinct. The park, located on the eastern end of Cuba, is tropical and mostly considered a rain forest with mountains and some of the largest rivers in the Caribbean. Because it is the most humid place in Cuba it can be challenging to hike. The park has an area of 274.67 square miles and the elevation ranges from sea level to 3,832 feet at top of El Toldo Peak. In 2001 the park was declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Tours are available for those interested in learning more about the flora & fauna, wild life and the natural medicines that are indigenous to these jungles.“The Exciting Story of Cuba” by award winning Captain Hank Bracker is available from Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, BooksAMillion.com and Independent Book Vendors. Read, Like & Share the daily blogs & weekly "From the Bridge" commentaries found on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and Captain Hank Bracker’s Webpage.
I spent my summers at my grandparents’ cabin in Estes Park, literally next door to Rocky Mountain National Park. We had a view of Longs Peak across the valley and the giant rock beaver who, my granddad told me, was forever climbing toward the summit of the mountain. We awoke to mule deer peering in the windows and hummingbirds buzzing around the red-trimmed feeders; spent the days chasing chipmunks across the boulders of Deer Mountain and the nights listening to coyotes howling in the dark.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.
As Elizabeth Blackmar and Ray Rosenzweig wrote in their magisterial history of [Central Park in NYC]: 'The issue of demoncratic access to the park has also been raised by the increasing number of homeless New Yorkers. Poor people--from the 'squatters' of the 1850s to the 'tramps' of the 1870s and 1890s to the Hooverville residents of the 1930s--have always turned to the park land for shelter...The growing visibility of homeless people in Central Park osed in the starkest terms the contradiction between Americans' commitment to democratic space and their acquiescence in vast disparities of wealth and power.
When asked what gave her the strength and commitment to refuse segregation, (Rosa) Parks credited her mother and grandfather "for giving me the spirit of freedom... that I should not feel because of my race or color, inferior to any person. That I should do my very best to be a respectable person, to respect myself, to expect respect from others.
You don't have to stand up for your rights to get justice, sometimes you can sit for your rights like Rosa Parks.
Yellowstone, of all the national parks, is the wildest and most universal in its appeal... Daily new, always strange, ever full of change, it is Nature's wonder park. It is the most human and the most popular of all parks. -Yellowstone Park for Your Vacation (circa 1920s)
I learned to put my trust in God and to see Him as my strength. Long ago I set my mind to be a free person and not to give in to fear. I always felt that it was my right to defend myself if I could. I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear." - Rosa Parks
Three hundred types of mussel, a third of the world’s total, live in the Smokies. Smokies mussels have terrific names, like purple wartyback, shiny pigtoe, and monkeyface pearlymussel. Unfortunately, that is where all interest in them ends. Because they are so little regarded, even by naturalists, mussels have vanished at an exceptional rate. Nearly half of all Smokies mussels species are endangered; twelve are thought to be extinct.This ought to be a little surprising in a national park. I mean it’s not as if mussels are flinging themselves under the wheels of passing cars. Still, the Smokies seem to be in the process of losing most of their mussels. The National Park Service actually has something of a tradition of making things extinct. Bryce Canyon National Park is perhaps the most interesting-certainly the most striking-example. It was founded in 1923 and in less than half a century under the Park Service’s stewardship lost seven species of mammal-the white-tailed jackrabbit, prairie dog, pronghorn antelope, flying squirrel, beaver, red fox, and spotted skunk. Quite an achievement when you consider that these animals had survived in Bryce Canyon for tens of millions of years before the Park Service took an interest in them. Altogether, forty-two species of mammal have disappeared from America's national parks this century.