The Big Burn
With the new year fast approaching, I’ve started to look back and take stock of 2016 accomplishments only to discover that I’m way behind on my reading list!
Refusing to fail on what is usually the easiest and most enjoyable yearly challenge, I headed over to Goodreads and picked up The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan, which turned out to be one of my favorite reads this year!
Though I often struggle with non-fiction, I was immediately absorbed into the story of Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot as each of them explored the Wild West and recognized, far ahead of their time, the need to conserve American wilderness before it was destroyed by unchecked industry. Their political battles, that led to the creation of National Park Service, are told alongside rangers’ terrifying accounts of the Big Burn, the fire of 1910 in the Bitterroot Mountain National Forest that destroyed 3.2 million acres of of forest, almost the size of the state of Connecticut. The devastating event was a catalyst in changing the national attitudes regarding conservation of natural resources. You can also check out this great documentary about the event, though you’ll find much more detail in the book.
The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday this year! Having just recently visited a national park for the first time, I now have a much greater appreciation of TR’s progressive vision and of all the people who worked tirelessly to make it a reality, so that regular Americans like myself can have access to such amazing landscapes!
Only 6 more books to read until I reach my goal this year.
What are some of the goals you’re working towards?
Alex Koretski, Project Manager