National Geographic : 1966 Jul
National Geographic, July, 1966 this boardwalk-you can feel the wilderness right here." Indeed I could. I could smell the marsh, hear the lap of water-and feel the primeval bite of an Everglades mosquito. To open a park for visitors, you need ways to get people in and let them move around once they are there, and you need accommo dations so they can stay long enough to make the visit rewarding to them. We can almost always find an attractive way to fit a building or campground into the landscape-in a hollow, perhaps, or behind a hill. But roads and trails, upon which we have depended almost entirely for ingress and movement until now, usually present more of a problem in a nature park. They scar the land and detract from the natural scene. Parkscape has some new ideas for "open ing" a wild area while keeping it untouched. For the proposed North Cascades National Park, in a section of Washington so majestic it is called the "American Alps" (pages 68-9), a special study team has recommended novel approaches to this age-old problem. If we get a Cascades park, you probably will go into some portions of it by helicopter. Yes, aircraft are noisy. But they don't disrupt the wilderness atmosphere any more than bumper-to-bumper automobiles, and they leave no scars from highway cuts and fills. Once you are in the park, perhaps you will reach the main points of interest by aerial tramway, used successfully for years in Eu rope. There may be a cog railway or funicular on steep slopes; we are thinking also of nar row-gauge railways, running on silent rubber wheels, and of monorail trains. We are trying another idea-the one-way loop road-in our highly popular GreatSmoky Mountains National Park. One of them takes visitors into Cades Cove, where descendants of pioneers still follow the homespun ways of their fathers.* We've learned that you don't double a road's capacity by making it one-way; you triple or quadruple it. Furthermore, the driver *Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas recorded the speech and way of life of "The People of Cades Cove," in the July, 1962, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. can watch more of the scenery; he doesn't have to worry about head-on collisions. We may extend the one-way concept to Yellow stone's Grand Loop Road. Oddly enough, this would be a reversion to the past: The Loop was one-way when first built. Of course, that was before the time of automobiles. People went in by stagecoach. At the other extreme-and across the coun try-lies a park created specifically for the motorist. It is, in fact, a highway, albeit a very beautiful one. I'm speaking, of course, of the famed Blue Ridge Parkway, beginning at the south gate of Shenandoah National Park and ending now in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Blue Ridge Parkway is in every sense a park of tomorrow, and we hope to have many more like it. It is a strip park like the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. But where a riv erway spreads visitors over dozens of miles, a highway strings them out over hundreds. Beside a Highway, Wilderness Waits Blue Ridge has a little of every type of park: natural beauty, some history, modern recreational facilities-and wilderness. If you don't believe you can have wilderness a few steps from a paved highway, listen to this: For some years former U. S. Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia has donated money to the Park Service to build overnight shelters along the Appalachian Trail, which passes through Shenandoah as it winds from New England to Georgia. He gave yet another "Byrd's Nest" last year, and a party of us Washingtonians attended the dedication. Park rangers took us up the mountainside in jeeps. "I'm hiking down to the road," Melville Grosvenor, the Geographic's widely traveled President, announced in late afternoon. "Who'll join me?" A dozen did, including Dick Byrd, Senator Byrd's son and nephew of the late explorer Adm. Richard E. Byrd. These seasoned explorers lost their way hiking the downhill mile to their parked cars! Drenched by a thunderstorm, they didn't find the Skyline Drive until nearly midnight. (Continued on page 86) Ghostly Hoh Valley rain forest, the gnarled limbs of its trees festooned with moss, dozes in yellow-green twilight even at noon on a sunny day. Twelve feet of rain a year, dropped by moist Pacific winds, drench the western slopes of Washington's Olympic Peninsula, watering dense stands of Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and red cedar. "A classic nature park," Mr. Hartzog calls Olympic. "More like it would help relieve the future's pressure on existing ones." EKTACHROMEBY B. ANTHONY STEWART© N.G .S .