My writing   : :   Protected places

A Thinking Person’s Guide to America’s National Parks

Robert Manning, Rolf Diamant, Nora Mitchell, and David Harmon, eds.

New York: George Braziller, 2016


In A Thinking Person’s Guide, several longtime colleagues and I put together the first guidebook for a general audience that focuses on some of the ”big themes” that run through America’s national park system. Readers come away with a sense of the variety of ideas and experiences that await them in the over 400 places under the National Park Service’s care. I co-wrote the introductory and closing chapters, contributed a chapter on ”Sense of Place,” and co-designed the book. Our publisher, George Braziller, did a beautiful job of producing the volume, which is illustrated by over 350 full-color photographs.

A Wall Street Journal Best of 2016 Book

“This centenary year of the National Park Service is the perfect moment for A Thinking Person’s Guide to America’s National Parks.... [T]he essays and often breathtaking photographs in this volume expertly examine the more than 400 sites of natural beauty and historic importance that make up the national park system.”  — The Wall Street Journal

“[A] seductively illustrated anthology… Soar[s] with thought-provoking content.” — Publishers Weekly

“…provides considerable historical detail and a look at the parks as treasure of the American spirit.” — Library Journal (Starred Review)

Publisher’s bookpage   •   Amazon bookpage

Managing Mountain Protected Areas: Challenges and Responses for the 21st Century

David Harmon and Graeme L. Worboys, eds.

Colledare, Italy: Andromeda Editrice, 2004

A wide-ranging international collection of papers covering all aspects of managing mountain parks, this book originated in a workshop held in conjunction with the 2003 World Parks Congress in South Africa.

Publisher’s bookpage

The Full Value of Parks: From Economics to the Intangible

David Harmon and Allen D. Putney, eds.

Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003

Another international edited volume, The Full Value of Parks was the first book to explore the nonmaterial values of protected areas, such as their cultural and spiritual significance to various groups of people, their health and therapeutic benefits, etc.  I co-wrote the introductory and closing chapters, and contributed a chapter on “The Source and Significance of Values in Protected Areas.” It is a core text for what is now known as IUCN’s working group on the Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas.

“This book will be a valuable addition to any library supporting ecology programs and a good resource for ecologists, economists, geographers, and others studying parks and protected lands. It certainly will become an anchor point for discussions in economics, religion, geography, ecology, and public policy. Highly recommended.” — E. J. Delaney, Western Washington University


“.. this volume can serve as resource for those who want to talk about protected areas in the language of intangible values and, thus, keep those values part of the political conversation.” — Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy

Publisher’s bookpage

Coordinating Research and Management

to Enhance Protected Areas

David Harmon, ed.

Gland, Switzerland: IUCN, 1994

Researchers in parks  and the managers who run them are often at odds because they have different priorities and goals. A publication of the 4th World Parks Congress (Caracas, 1992), this is a guide full of suggestions on how to get the two to work together.

Available from the George Wright Society

Mirror of America: Literary Encounters with the National Parks

David Harmon, ed.

Published for the National Park Foundation

Boulder, CO: Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1989

A collection of writings by (mostly) famous authors, most of whom are not primarily associated with nature writing or the national parks.  Authors include  Dickens, Henry James, Kipling, and many others.  I selected and edited the entries and wrote short introductions.

“The choice of authors sets this book apart from other anthologies.... Libraries with active natural history collections will want to add this one.” — Library Journal

Amazon bookpage

At the Open Margin: The NPS's Administration of

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

David Harmon

Medora, ND: Theodore Roosevelt Nature & History Association, 1986

An administrative history of this underrated gem of a national park.

Available from the Theodore Roosevelt Nature & History Association

The Antiquities Act: A Century of American Archaeology, Historic Preservation, and Nature Conservation

David Harmon, Francis P. McManamon, and Dwight T. Pitcaithley, eds.

Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2006

This is the most comprehensive analysis of one of America’s key conservation laws. In recent years the Antiquities Act has gotten a lot of publicity because of its use by several president to unilaterally  proclaim large national monuments on federal lands.  (Nothing new here: presidents going back to Theodore Roosevelt have done the same.) But there is much more to the act than its monument-making provision. Public archaeology in the US is founded on the act, and historic preservation owes it a great deal too.  I co-wrote the introductory and closing chapters, contributed a chapter on the effect of the act on nature preservation, and did the layout of the book to the publisher’s specifications.

“Informative, reflective, illustrated, and an immense pleasure to read.”
CRM: The Journal of Heritage Stewardship

“This is a highly readable history of the first century of the Antiquities Act, the landmark legislation that protects and preserves America’s natural and cultural resources.”  —  Journal of Anthropological Research

“As a collection of papers, the book is far better than most.... It’s a great introduction to the Antiquities Act, how it came about, and how it affects all of us today.” — Archaeology

Winner of the State of New Mexico’s 2006 Heritage Preservation Award in the category of Heritage Publication

Publisher’s bookpage   •   Amazon bookpage

1-906-281-3984   |