August 15, 2012 – Library Journal Review
The seven color-coded sections (East, North, South, Southwest, West, Alaska, and Remote Islands) in this volume investigate the 58 national parks in the United States. After brief instructions on how to use the guide, Oswald provides an amazing, almost overwhelming, amount of data on each place. Each entry contains a brief historical overview of the park and its creation followed by sections that include directions and “best of,” as well as information on when to go; airports and transportation; camping, hiking, and backpacking; lengths of hiking trails; biking, paddling, fishing, horseback riding, activities for kids, and trip-planning suggestions. The “What’s Nearby” section helpfully includes information on lodging, dining, grocery stores, and other sites to visit with names, locations, phone numbers, rates, and web addresses provided. Park maps are excellent and easy to read, and the material is also supplemented by plentiful color photographs, charts, and sidebars. VERDICT Given the increased interest in national parks since Ken Burns’s related PBS series and the upcoming National Park Service centennial in 2016, this is a timely and useful reference. Its bulk, and even its print size, make it a book to use at home or in the library to plan a vacation, not a title for one’s knapsack.—Patricia Ann Owens, Illinois Eastern Comm. Coll., Mt. Carmel
August 15, 2012 – ForeWord Review
When you read through Michael Joseph Oswald’s Your Guide to the National Parks, there’s a good chance you will have a barely-contained (or not) impulse to pack a bag and book a trip to one of the country’s fifty-eight national parks. This gem of a travel guide is one of the most comprehensive and well-crafted books of its genre on the market.
Oswald spent several years visiting and camping in all of our national parks, so the reader can be assured of an insider’s perspective. As his introduction says, “America’s 58 parks are irreplaceable treasures, yet they are our parks, preserved for our enjoyment, and if you want to experience them to their fullest, you’re going to need a good guide.”
The book is arranged by region and is easy to follow. For each park, readers will find history, directions and transportation information, maps, weather, detailed information about camping and lodging, hiking trails, and a myriad of other activities such as backpacking, boating, rafting or paddling, horseback riding, fishing, and, occasionally, stargazing, plus the best sites for photography. Parents will appreciate the sections dedicated to children’s activities and ranger programs.
The author includes a one- to three-day vacation planner for each park, which is particularly helpful for first-time visitors, and chock full of invaluable information. Equally relevant are the multiple listings at the end of each park’s description, with complete accounts of other area attractions, restaurants, annual festivals, and grocery stores. Readers can also find some fun and intriguing facts about the parks. For example, Oswald tells us that Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado was “the first tract of land set aside to protect a prehistoric culture and its ruins, pottery, tools, and other ancient artifacts.” Did you know that “General Sherman,” in Sequoia National Park, is the largest known tree by volume, roughly equivalent to the size of sixteen blue whales? Or that the Great Smoky Mountains is the “most visited” park, with nine million annual visitors, perhaps because of the Smoky Mountains Synchronous Fireflies, a phenomenon that occurs in only one other place in the world (Southeast Asia)?
This guide offer more than just the basics, and Oswald writes well and manages to keep each of the fifty-eight chapters fresh and entertaining while making the book accessible to all: “The Badlands is a swath of semiarid land bisected by a 60-mile rock wall with steep pinnacles and spires that used to be a daunting site to Indians, fur trappers, and homesteaders.”
One of the most helpful features is the “Best of the Best” section in the beginning of the book. Oswald provides numerous lists of the best scenic drives, the best trails, the best lodges, the best waterfalls, the best parks for fishing, stargazing, rock climbing, and the best parks for families and couples. (There are also a couple of “worst” lists, too, noting such deterrents as traffic and bugs).
Interspersed throughout the guide are hundreds of photographs of spectacular wildlife and scenery that will likely inspire readers to place at least one of America’s national parks on their travel bucket lists.
July 9, 2012 – Q&A with Jon Wick of The Expeditioner
It’s a whole lot of fun being put under the heat lamp of Jon Wick’s interrogation room. Click Here for the results.
June 1, 2012 – Badger Engineers Picks up HTR Article
UW-Madison’s Badger Engineers gives Stone Road Press and Your Guide to the National Parks a little bump here.
May 31, 2012 – National Parks Traveler Reviews Your Guide to the National Parks
Kurt Repanshek put together a great review of Your Guide to the National Parks over at National Parks Traveler (the largest independent national parks website). Click here to have a read.
May 30, 2012 – Stone Road Press makes the front page of the Herald Times Reporter!
Check it out by clicking here!