If park lovers aren't out exploring nature this holiday season, the next best thing is to watch this wonderful PBS documentary on one of our nation's greatest treasure, our national parks. It's on Netflix and possibly available at your local library. Short video clip previews are available here.
The following quotes aren't necessarily in the documentary, but are from the visionaries who helped forge our national parks system.
"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." - John Muir "I have always said I would not have been President had it not been for my experience in North Dakota." - Theodore Roosevelt "Who will gainsay that the parks contain the highest potentialities of national pride, national contentment, and national health? A visit inspires love of country; begets contentment; engenders pride of possession; contains the antidote for national restlessness.... He is a better citizen with a keener appreciation of the privilege of living here who has toured the national parks." - Stephen T. Mather, NPS Director, 1917-1929
"The establishment of the National Park Service is justified by considerations of good administration, of the value of natural beauty as a National asset, and of the effectiveness of outdoor life and recreation in the production of good citizenship."- Theodore Roosevelt
This chalkboard from the kiosk at Mary Hayes Barber Holmes Park is a bit hard to read, but I love it. Someone, a child I presume, has written the essential park rules for fellow patrons. As best I can make out, it says:
"Have fun at the park, use good manners at the park, walk around [I think that's what it says - this is the least legible rule], don't litter and have fun."
This version is much better than the nanny-state versions one so often sees with 500 rules of things you're not supposed to do followed by the admonition to "have fun." The chalkboard's version captures the essential golden-rule, common-sense behavior expected of everyone. Treat public property as well as or better than your own property and treat other people that you meet there as you'd like to be treated. . . park ethics in a nutshell. Luckily Pittsboro's park goers are a pretty respectful bunch.