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America's National Park Roads and Parkways

, 400 pages

29 halftones, 331 plates

December 2004


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America's National Park Roads and Parkways

Drawings from the Historic American Engineering Record

Winner of the Pendelton Prize given by the Society for History in the Federal Government and an Award of Merit from the National Council on Public History

The roads within America's national park system reveal a wide range of technological, aesthetic, and philosophical concerns. Their design and construction epitomize the central challenge of national park management: how to balance environmental protection with public access. The Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), a division of the National Park Service, has spent more than a dozen years documenting the history of this vital aspect of the national park experience.

America's National Park Roads and Parkways brings together 331 measured and interpretive drawings commissioned by HAER to illustrate the physical characteristics, design strategies, construction practices, and visitor experiences of roads in national parks from Acadia to Zion and parkways from the Blue Ridge to the Natchez Trace. Also included are non–Park Service projects that utilized similar design strategies, including the Bronx River Parkway and the Columbia River Highway. The book documents thirty-one projects, explaining how roads shape visitor perceptions, highlighting key characteristics of individual park road systems, and connecting their design and construction to the broader history of American engineering and landscape architecture.

More than a documentary record of historic design and construction practices, this book has practical applications for engineers, landscape architects, and cultural resource specialists in guiding design decisions, interpreting historic sites, and informing contemporary debates on preservation and environmental protection.

National Park Roads: Acadia National Park; Crater Lake National Park; Glacier National Park (Going-to-the-Sun Road); Great Smoky Mountains National Park; Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park; Mount Rainier National Park; Rocky Mountain National Park; Scotts Bluff National Monument; Sequoia National Park (Generals Highway); Shenandoah National Park (Skyline Drive); Yellowstone National Park; Yosemite National Park; Zion National Park

National Military Parks: Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park; Gettysburg National Military Park; Shiloh National Military Park; Vicksburg National Military Park

Parkways: Baltimore-Washington Parkway; Blue Ridge Parkway; Colonial Parkway; George Washington Memorial Parkway; Natchez Trace Parkway; Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway

Park Road Precedents: Bronx River Parkway; Columbia River Highway

Timothy Davis is the senior historian for the Park Roads and Parkways Program of the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER). Todd A. Croteau is program manager for HAER's Park Roads and Parkways Program. Christopher H. Marston works at HAER.

"The book presents 331 measured and interpretive drawings... to illustrate the physical characteristics, design strategies, construction practices, and visitor experiences of roads in national parks."

"The final result is simply breathtaking, with incredibly rich drawings merged seamlessly with descriptive text and effectively paired with photographs."

"This is the first time such a collection has been amassed, and it's an outstanding achievement."

"A marvelous compendium of information about road engineering, bridge building, and viaduct and tunnel construction that reveals the changing aesthetic of the National Park Service. This extraordinary collection of drawings will inspire admiration for the efforts made by engineers and landscape architects to accommodate tourists while preserving scenic views."