Awe Creators


With today’s thinly veiled political-speak, anytime the term “job creator” is attached to a proposal, I’m pretty sure some billionaire is going to get richer, a corporation will see their profits soar, a politician’s slush fund will grow, and at least one regulation designed to protect the environment or worker rights will be overlooked or trashed. Decisions that promote short-term gains (for a select few) are too often made at the expense of long-term consequences (for all of us).

Fortunately, beginning more than 140 years ago, there were visionaries and influencers willing to stand up to those who wanted to develop and exploit the wilderness. Instead, they proposed that the government act as a protector of vast swatches of unspoiled nature and spectacular beauty. This idea, which began with the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, has now grown to include over 450 national parks, national monuments, national historical sites, national scenic trails, and other wonders which are protected and preserved for future generations.

I found myself silently thanking these courageous “awe creators” many times during the three-week road trip my husband I just returned from. If these proactive private citizens, government employees (including presidents), and even an industrialist* hadn’t embraced and promoted the concept of long-term preservation, many of our national treasures would be lost to us today.

That’s not to say we all can breathe easy thinking that the national – and state – parks are safe.  Underfunding, inattention, and political and corporate meddling are all very real threats, as are some of the very people the parks are set aside for. Through our taxes, entrance fees and in-park behavior, we all must diligently protect these wonders to ensure they will be around for generations to come.


Zion National Park in southern Utah
Zion National Park in southern Utah

Bryce Canyon Nation Park in southern Utah

Bryce Canyon Nation Park in southern Utah



Arches National Park in eastern Utah

Arches National Park in eastern Utah



Painted Desert/Petrified National Park in eastern Arizona

Painted Desert/Petrified National Park in eastern Arizona




Painted Desert/Petrified National Park in eastern Arizona



Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona


*Stephen Tyng Mather, conservationist and president of the Thorkildsen-Mather Borax Company promoted the creation of a federal agency to oversee the national parks. He later became the first director of the National Park Service.

The plaque reads: “He laid the foundation of the national park service, defining and establishing the policies under which its areas shall be developed and conserved unimpaired for future generations. There will never come an end to the good that he has done.”

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

22 thoughts on “Awe Creators”

      1. I enjoyed your post so much, I posted it to my facebook page with this comment:From one of the bloggers that I follow, an excellent post with beautiful photos. Made me think about those that came before us, and reflect on
        what we are leaving behind for future generations. You’ve gotten several “likes”.

        1. I’m thrilled that you liked my post that much! The term “awe creators” popped into my head when we were visiting Bryce Canyon and I wrote it in my journal so I could include it in a post when we returned home. I’m glad the topic resonated with others too.

  1. Beautiful photos, Janis! These are places I have been wanting to visit! Your introduction about the development of National Parks is a subject I teach in my classes. Excellent post!

  2. So beautiful, Janis! Thank goodness people had the vision and wisdom to preserve these national treasures. The photos are stunning; i’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite or two!

    1. I remember watching Ken Burns’ documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea and being struck by the uniqueness of our national park system… and how easily they could have been destroyed. We are so lucky that the visionaries prevailed.

  3. Awe indeed. We were fortunate to have two presidents in Ulysses Grant and Teddy Roosevelt, we thought wildlife preservation was important. I agree with your comments when someone use “job creator.”

    1. Franklin Roosevelt too. Many of the Civilian Conservation Corps workers were focused on natural resource conservation. Even modern presidents have added sites to the system, but most are historic sites, not wilderness preserves. Thank goodness for the early visionaries.

    1. Sorry that I missed your comment and that I am just now getting around to replying! I wonder about the apparent lack of visionaries in today’s world too. I think they are out there but are often thwarted by corporations and the politicians beholding to them. It is much easier to build a ski resort (jobs! profits!) than to set aside the land for future generations.

  4. Hi, I love your photos. I have traveled through this part of the country briefly, it is gorgeous. I am happy to have found you through the Leisure Link.

  5. I love to visit National Parks too. I’ve been visiting 5 of them, and 3 of them during a two-week road trip. That is such unforgettable moment in my life

    1. Don’t you just love road trips!? Now that we are retired, my husband and I often choose to drive places we would have flown to before. Do you have a National Parks Passport book? I collect stamps and stickers at each one I visit.

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