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National Parks With Kids

Author : Kurt Repanshek
Published : 2006-05-01

    'Tis the season for new guidebooks, and there's a brand spanking new one out there geared for families. National Parks With Kids made it to bookstores this month, and it's a worthy addition to the park guidebook genre. I can say that, because (brace yourself for a shameless self-promotion) I wrote it.

    Let me recast that. I updated it and the publisher thought it important that my name be attached to the text after the original author, a very fine writer by the name of Charles Wohlforth, decided to pursue other projects.

    Frankly, though, it's not important who wrote or updated the book. What is important is that more families get out into our national parks, and hopefully this book will motivate some of them.
    This is my third book specific to national parks. My first venture was America's National Parks For Dummies, which was followed by National Parks of the West for Dummies. As you can probably tell from this blog and these books, I'm somewhat interested in the parks. It's a love that I try to inspire in everyone I meet, and hopefully this latest book will help instill in the younger generations a love for the parks, because they surely need it these days.

    What I liked about working on National Parks With Kids is that it allowed me to take a slightly different look at the parks. For sure, parks are family friendly. But when you're trying to guide families with young kids into the parks, well, you can't focus on 18-mile round-trip hikes and scaling the Grand Teton.

    Rather, you must take a somewhat gentler approach, one that points to the Avalanche Lake Trail in Glacier National Park, a fantastic hike that is incredibly scenic, surprisingly level in this soaring park, and just 4 miles roundtrip. Or the boat rides on Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park or the sun-splashed beaches at Cape Cod National Seashore.

    Don't be mistaken. This book isn't geared only for young families. I point out plenty of adventures that encourage bonding with your teens, such as climbing the Grand Teton or rafting the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park or taking off on a multi-day backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park, or Sequoia National Park or Olympic National Park. 

     In fact, the first review posted at noted that this book isn't simply for families.

    "While it is supposedly geared for kids, I think it's very useful for finding interesting things to do in national parks for everybody," wrote Rebecca Bowen. "One side effect of reading this book is that it's made me realize what a precious resource these national parks are to all of us, and it makes me wonder why there aren't more of them."

    Rebecca makes the point I've been stressing for years. Our national parks are incredibly special places that offer a little something for everybody. That I've managed to reach out to at least one reader and convey that message is satisfying.

    So, the next time you find yourself in a bookstore or at one of the on-line book sellers, check out my book and consider buying it for yourself or for friends with kids. And don't think you're doing me a financial favor, as I don't earn a dime on book sales. However, you will be doing the park system an incredible favor if the book nurtures some more love for the parks.

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