Tangled Roots: The Appalachian Trail and American Environmental Politics

Paperback | August 5, 2014

bySarah MittlefehldtForeword byWilliam Cronon

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The Appalachian Trail, a thin ribbon of wilderness running through the densely populated eastern United States, offers a refuge from modern society and a place apart from human ideas and institutions. But as environmental historian—and thru-hiker—Sarah Mittlefehldt argues, the trail is also a conduit for community engagement and a model for public-private cooperation and environmental stewardship.

In Tangled Roots, Mittlefehldt tells the story of the trail’s creation. The project was one of the first in which the National Park Service attempted to create public wilderness space within heavily populated, privately owned lands. Originally a regional grassroots endeavor, under federal leadership the trail project retained unprecedented levels of community involvement. As citizen volunteers came together and entered into conversation with the National Parks Service, boundaries between "local" and "nonlocal," "public" and "private," "amateur" and "expert" frequently broke down. Today, as Mittlefehldt tells us, the Appalachian Trail remains an unusual hybrid of public and private efforts and an inspiring success story of environmental protection.

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The Appalachian Trail, a thin ribbon of wilderness running through the densely populated eastern United States, offers a refuge from modern society and a place apart from human ideas and institutions. But as environmental historian—and thru-hiker—Sarah Mittlefehldt argues, the trail is also a conduit for community engagement and a mode...

Sarah Mittlefehldt is assistant professor of environmental studies at Green Mountain College.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:300 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:August 5, 2014Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295994304

ISBN - 13:9780295994307

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Table of Contents

Foreword by William Cronon Acknowledgments

IntroductionThe Tortuous Path towardPublic-Private Partnership

1. A Progressive Footpath 2. The Path of Least Resistance 3. Federalizing America’s Foot Trails 4. Fallout from Federalization5. Acquiring the Corridor 6. The Appalachian Trail and the Rise of the New Right Conclusion

Hiking through HistoryNotes Selected Bibliography Index

Editorial Reviews

The Appalachian Trail, a thin ribbon of wilderness running through the densely populated eastern United States, offers a refuge from modern society and a place apart from human ideas and institutions. But as environmental historian—and thru-hiker—Sarah Mittlefehldt argues, the trail is also a conduit for community engagement and a model for public-private cooperation and environmental stewardship.In Tangled Roots, Mittlefehldt tells the story of the trail’s creation. The project was one of the first in which the National Park Service attempted to create public wilderness space within heavily populated, privately owned lands. Originally a regional grassroots endeavor, under federal leadership the trail project retained unprecedented levels of community involvement. As citizen volunteers came together and entered into conversation with the National Parks Service, boundaries between "local" and "nonlocal," "public" and "private," "amateur" and "expert" frequently broke down. Today, as Mittlefehldt tells us, the Appalachian Trail remains an unusual hybrid of public and private efforts and an inspiring success story of environmental protection. Tangled Roots makes a contribution to the literature of environmental conservation history that is as unusual as the trail itself. In a gentle, approachable, and engaging style it tells the history of one of the most important and beloved conservation initiatives in American history and at the same time comments on a wide range of subjects in ways that are both insightful and fresh. - James Feldman, author of A Storied Wilderness