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Spirituality and the StateManaging Nature and Experience in America's National Parks$
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Kerry Mitchell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479886418

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479886418.001.0001

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Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

The Spirit of Complexity

Chapter:
(p.89) 3 Yosemite National Park
Source:
Spirituality and the State
Author(s):

Kerry Mitchell

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479886418.003.0004

This chapter examines the visitors, volunteers, and rangers in Yosemite National Park. It discusses how the environment is managed to create the impression of harmony between nature and culture. It explores the historical roots of this trend, as well as its persistence in park management in the present. Through interviews with park visitors, the chapter demonstrates that their attitudes towards nature shape their understanding of the spiritual and/or religious significance of their experience. Contrary to the hikers who were interviewed in Chapter 2, visitors to Yosemite demonstrate a different religious aspect of recreation, one in which “nature” is both more civilized and more consistently ascribed with religious value. This chapter demonstrates how park rangers appreciate this diversity within the visitor population, and how the trope of spirituality allows them to cater to a wide range of visitors.

Keywords:   Yosemite National Park, park rangers, religious value, spirituality, park management

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