Letter to the editor: ‘Subpar Parks’ is worthwhile read on natural, cultural beauty

By DAVE WESTER | Baraboo, Wis.

If you enjoy the natural and cultural beauty of our national parks, you might like a new book by Amber Share entitled “Subpar Parks.” The title is satirical because the book includes snide remarks that underwhelmed visitors have left at various parks, but most of the book is complimentary.  It includes much little-known interesting information. For example:

• The area longest managed by the National Park Service is not Yellowstone, as many people believe, but Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas.

• Zion National Park in Utah is one-fifth the size of Yellowstone but gets just as many visitors.

• The original abbreviation of Carlsbad Caverns, “CaCa,” was changed because it inadvertently called attention to the copious amounts of bat poop in the cave.

• The first park east of the Mississippi was Acadia on the coast of Maine.

• Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado was the first park to preserve the works of man.

• The only park named after a person is Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, probably because he was instrumental in establishing the National Park System.

Here are some of the humorous remarks left by underwhelmed visitors:

• Yellowstone — Save money, boil some water at home

• Petrified Forest — A desert with some dead trees

• Gateway Arch — No real point

• Grand Canyon — A very large hole

• Devils Tower—Just a big rock

• Mammoth Cave — Cold, dark, damp and stinky

The book is about 200 pages long. About half is beautiful illustrations. The author is a professional illustrator.

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