Archive for August, 2012

Welcome Sign at Alaska/Yukon Border

When I first started my internship with the Park Service about a year ago, my supervisor gave me a stack of books to read. These were intended to give me some background knowledge about Alaska and the Park Service, and they were in a specific order in which he wanted me to read them. As it turned out I didn’t even start reading these books until a few months into the internship, and I only barely finished them by the end of it. I did, however, manage to finish all the books, and in the designated order. Having now had some time to think about them, I’d like to do a series of posts reviewing and discussing these books. I think they gave me a very good background in the issues involved in planning for public lands in Alaska, and most of them were also good general-interest books on Alaska suitable for anyone interested in this fascinating state.

I’ll devote a post to each book, but for now I’ll just list them, in the order I read them:

  1. Coming into the Country by John McPhee
  2. Wilderness in National Parks by John C. Miles
  3. One Man’s Wilderness by Sam Keith and Richard Proenneke
  4. Arctic Village by Robert Marshall
  5. Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez

There’s a fair amount of overlap among some of these books in their subject matter, but they approach it in very different ways, and some are much broader or narrower in overall scope than others. Collectively I think they’ve given me a pretty good start at understanding Alaska, although I recognize that there’s no way I’ll ever come close to fully understanding this enormously complicated and fascinating place. In subsequent posts in this series I’ll discuss each book in detail and explain how they relate to each other.

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Alaska Energy Authority Building, Anchorage, Alaska

Obviously it’s been pretty quiet around here lately. I’ve been very busy over the past few weeks, and I haven’t had much time to write anything here. Nor have I had much to say, since I haven’t had time to read or think much about the topics I usually cover here. I just finished my internship with the Park Service Alaska Regional Office, and on Monday I will start a new job with the Alaska Energy Authority. This is a great opportunity and I’m very excited about it, but it means I’m likely to continue to be pretty busy with the transition and unlikely to have much time to spend here in the immediate future. So, expect it to be pretty quiet around here for a while.

It may continue to be pretty quiet at this particular blog even longer. I’ve decided that I’d like to refocus this blog specifically on Southwestern prehistory and related subjects, construed pretty broadly but not broadly enough to encompass absolutely everything I might want to talk about. For the other topics I’ve been thinking and reading about recently, especially those having to do with Alaska, I’ll be setting up a new site (or maybe more than one). I’ve read a lot of interesting stuff over the past few months, and once I get through the period of transition to my new job I’ll hopefully have time to write about some of it. Most of this stuff isn’t particularly connected to Chaco or the Southwest, though, so I think a different venue than this blog would be the best place for it. I will of course link to any new site(s) from here when I decide exactly how I’m going to do this.

Before I do this reorganization,  however, I would like to do a series of posts based on some books about Alaska that I read as part of my Park Service gig. Those will most likely go here, probably pretty soon, as I’m unlikely to have a new site set up soon enough for when I want to do them. After that series, however, this blog will transition to a focus on Chaco and related Southwestern topics, and Alaska stuff will go somewhere else.

I’d like to thank whatever readers I have left for bearing with me through all this. This has been a tumultuous period in my life, and I haven’t had as much time to devote to the blog as I would have liked. Things will hopefully settle down soon, though, and at that point I should have more for all this.

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