Over the past few years, I've become a massive fan of the national parks. My most memorable vacations have been spent hiking through the snowy canyons of the Tetons, admiring the granite walls of Yosemite, and exploring the foggy blue ridge mountains of Shenandoah. Later this week — on August 25th — the National Park Service turns 100 years old. To celebrate, I'll be listening to these ten great episodes on repeat (and planning an exciting fall trip out to the Grand Canyon). Check them out for stories from and about America's national parks.
Keeping Stories Alive from Park Leaders Show with Jody Maberry [August 10, 2016, 26 minutes]. Author and park ranger Shelton Johnson (who's reached celebrity status in Yosemite) speaks about the critical role storytelling plays in his conservation efforts.
Mileposts — The Miracle of Darkness from The Dirtbag Diaries [April 1, 2016, 22 minutes]. After receiving a daunting medical diagnosis, Melina Coogan heads to Great Smoky National Park for some time alone, and she documents her night in the dark.
WTF is TFC? from Outside/In [August 18, 2016, 27 minutes]. Required listening if you've ever wondered mid-hike how those perfectly-aligned stone steps appeared just where you needed them. Alex Milde of The Appalachian Mountain Club's Trail "Fixing" Crew explains it all in this great one.
Bill Wade: Calling a national park home from National Park Service Oral History [July 9, 2016, 7 minutes]. Bill Wade, who's spent most of his life in Mesa Verde National Park, remembers the community he grew up with, the one-room schoolhouse he learned in, and the decision he made to pursue a career there.
Made For You and Me from Code Switch [June 8, 2016, 21 minutes]. Last year, 80% of all staff, volunteers, and visitors to the national parks were white. Hosts Shereen Marisol Meraji and Adrian Florido examine the stereotypes and the truths behind the numbers in this eye-opening upload.
From Tree to Shining Tree from Radiolab [July 30, 2016, 32 minutes]. Best saved for a hike through the woods, the crew takes listeners underground into the fungal freeways that connect our forests and allow trees to communicate with their neighbors.
Is Yellowstone National Park In Danger Of Being 'Loved To Death'? from Fresh Air [April 18, 2016, 18 minutes]. Journalist David Quammen walks host Terry Gross through the growing pressures on the Yellowstone ecosystem (and makes me feel pretty guilty about a recent trip to visit).
When A Search And Rescue Becomes A Search For Something Else from HumaNature [September 15, 2015, 16 minutes]. A failed search and rescue mission deep in the back-country of the Rocky Mountains changes the perspective of one outdoor guide-in-training forever.
Mileposts — Green Light from The Dirtbag Diaries [May 13, 2016, 24 minutes]. As a Seattleite, host Fitz Cahall almost always has the greatest peaks of Olympic National Park — The Brothers — within his peripheral vision. One day, he takes off to climb them.
The Wilds of Urbia from Out There: A Podcast About The Outdoors [April 14, 2016, 14 minutes]. For anyone who sticks solely to city streets, an episode from New York's Jessica Gross about nurturing an appreciation for the beautiful urban outdoors.