You are here

Poll Results: "Grand Canyon: A Different View"


    While the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility continues to flog the Park Service for allowing a book that espouses a creationist's view of how the Grand Canyon came to be, few who read this blog seem to care.
    Indeed, over the past week more than 2,000 folks have visited these pages yet just 45 took the time to vote on the question of whether Tom Vail's book, Grand Canyon: A Different View, should be sold in bookstores in Grand Canyon National Park.
    Of those 45, 22 said no....and 23 said yes.
    Much ado about nothing, perhaps?


To disallow, ban, burn, prohibit, deny and or restrict a book because of its values, ideas, thoughts, dreams or beliefs is wrong.

The bookstores are private businesses. They can and should be able to stock any book they please. The free market will determine what sells and what doesn't and by extension what the bookstore continues to stock and what it doesn't. I'm amazed at how many so-called liberals want to ban books.

Yes, banning and burning books is bad. But, can we agree that there may be books which are inappropriate for the Grand Canyon bookstore? Obviously books containing pornography or books with instructions for creating bombs would fall into this category. I believe Kurt's fundamental question, and PEER's original assertion is whether Vail's book is appropriate for the Grand Canyon bookstore, not whether the book should be banned from all bookstores everywhere.

Can we agree to disagree? Obviously judging any books "appropriateness" for any bookstore based on the books content, premise or theory is wrong.

Every consumer who walks into any of the Grand Canyon bookstores has a vote. He can buy the Vail book and 'vote' for keeping it there or he can buy other books. If there are enough 'votes' or purchases, the bookstore will keep it on the shelf. If not, it will be on the clearance table pretty quickly and then discontinued.

What if the Natural History Association (NHA) discovered that Spiderman comics sold really really well in their bookstore. If the point of the bookstore were to make as much money as possible, they would stuff their shelves with as many comics as they could find. The free market wins in this scenario, but the message of the park suffers. The NHA is a cooperating association, they are a non-profit which exists to support the mission of the park. The park service does not use stories from the bible to explain the natural world, nor should they. Vail's book is at odds with this policy. There are a thousand other bookstores where it is appropriate to sell Vail's book (in fact, you can buy it right now at for $12). But, his book doesn't belong in the Park's bookstore for the same reason that comics (or porn, or computer books, or diet books, etc) don't belong there. Content does matter.

“What if” (?)…“Spiderman” …? Okay I am right, you win; I do not like what ifs. Uhm… well you know, maybe if you would have used Silver Surfer instead. Thinking here, it is the GCA (Grand Canyon Association: enriching experience through knowledge) and not the NHA? From the GCA web site: “As a nonprofit membership organization, we publish, sell, and give away a wide variety of publications and related materials to enhance visitors’ understanding and appreciation of Grand Canyon.” And. “We believe that by educating visitors about the value of this beautiful place, they will return home with a better understanding of, and a renewed commitment for, all public lands.” Knowledge, experience, appreciation and understanding can not be directed or restrained.

I have explored the National Park Service website extensively. The age of the Grand Canyon is clevery hidden out of sight. In order to get to age of the canyon, one needs to navigate through 3 links. Thus, the casual user would not encounter the "scientific" data. Even then, the numbers are *stealthily* presented in the form as "4 thousand million years old". The excuse I heard is that NPS doesn't want to confuse average people by using terms like *billion*. I'm not trying to limit use of the park by creationists. However, selling the *Christianist* literature is un-lawful. The freedom of speech argument is not valid here unless, to make things more fair, they would also sell "Dianetics" by L.Ron Hubbard king of Scientology? And what about the church of the flying spaghetti monster...I bet they have an explanation for the canyon too and would like to have some ( literature for sale at the grand canyon information booth.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide