Before They're Gone: A Family's Year-Long Quest to Explore America's Most Endangered National Parks

Michael Lanza, Author
Michael Lanza. Beacon, $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8070-0119-6
Reviewed on: 03/19/2012
Release date: 04/03/2012
Open Ebook - 131 pages - 978-0-8070-0120-2
Paperback - 197 pages - 978-0-8070-0184-4
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-56185-4
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Worried that climate change might soon destroy many of America's most beautiful places, Lanza, the northwest editor for Backpacker magazine, embarks with his wife and two kids, nine-year-old Nate and seven-year-old Alex, to visit "as many climate-threatened U.S. national parks as [they] could cram into a year." Their journeys take them from Alaska's Glacier Bay to Florida's Everglades, and to many breathtaking locales in between. Blending anecdotes and ecology lessons, Lanza sheds light on his family's charming dynamic (from his daughter's sensible suggestion that they depart from bear territory to his son's preference to attack the brutes), the wonder of the natural world, and the ethical responsibility we all have to mitigate the forces that are changing our planet "faster even than scientists or computer models have anticipated." This is a terrific blend of adventure ("Seeing a bison gallop thirty miles an hour—as they can—is like seeing a grand piano suddenly sprout horns and charge you with the speed of a horse.") and ecological forecasting (and forewarning) that aptly conveys the passion of a devoted outdoorsman, and serves as a wake-up call to the state of our planet. Photos. (Apr.)
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