My Wild Life: A Memoir of Adventures Within America's National Parks

Texas Tech Univ. (Grover E. Murray Studies in the American Southwest). Sept. 2014. 288p. photos. bibliog. ISBN 9780896728851. pap. $39.95; ebk. ISBN 9780896728868. NAT HIST
Wauer, author of 25 books, began his 32-year career with the National Park Service (NPS) in 1957, when the organization's emphasis was on parking and picnicking. Known for his expertise on birds, and later, butterflies, the author was in the vanguard for the change to a research-based approach to natural resource management of the parks. He worked to preserve the most endangered features and wildlife of places such as Crater Lake, Death Valley, Pinnacles National Monument, Zion, Big Bend, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Wauer writes in a technical style that includes little personal information—much of the book documents the people, conferences, and projects relating to his work—but he also provides interesting or humorous stories in each chapter and descriptions of his special encounters with birds and other wildlife.
VERDICT Wauer nudged the NPS toward resource management, but his memoir largely reads like a scientific journal, making his book best suited to those interested in management of the national parks or in the specific areas listed above.
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