Our True Nature: Finding a Zest for Life in the National Park System by Audrey Peterman perfectly serves one defined purpose: as an inspirational guidebook to the uninitiated national park traveler. Filled with gorgeous photos, personal experience intros, basic directions, lodging recommendations, and highlighted activities for 57 locations in the national park system (grouped by region), the book champions two messages: “You CAN do it!” and “You SHOULD do it!”
As I am already smitten with national parks, this book merely stoked my interest in those not yet visited (“Oh, I want to go there!”). However, I recommend Our True Nature as an ideal national park primer to these audiences:
Seniors = Details about travel rewards programs, luxury hotels, shopping opportunities, easy physical activities… This book is designed for seniors. One quote from the author says it all:
You can enjoy it all from the comfort of your car.
Disabled & Limited Mobility = Although Mrs. Peterman has given careful consideration to the aspect of accessibility to the parks, there is little mention of accessibility in the parks (beyond the example given above). With so much discussion lately of the therapeutic value — both physical and mental — of national parks for veterans, it seems like not emphasizing this issue, even if with just a list of resources, is a missed opportunity. One such resource:
All Ethnic Groups = Dan White’s book Under the Stars (reviewed by Campfire Tales here) addresses the topic of an “outdoor diversity gap” in a chapter about teen girls from various non-white ethnic groups on a camping trip in Florida swamps. Mrs. Peterman takes it one step further by sharing a plethora of African American experiences in — and contributions to the establishment of — the parks. The valuable message is that parks are FOR all and FROM all.
Children & New US Citizens = I combined these two categories because there is no better introduction to America’s history (both the pride-inducing moments and the shameful chapters) than through the hundreds of (per Audrey) “historical sites, preserves, monuments, battlefields, seashores and Heritage Areas.” Besides, those places are astounding in so many ways.
A few more links:
To Frank & Audrey Peterman’s personal website:
To other reviews of Our True Nature: