American West and Western History

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Reshaping Our National Parks and Their Guardians: The Legacy of George B. Hartzog Jr.

Kathy Mengak

This biography of the seventh director of the National Park Service brings to life one of the most colorful, powerful, and politically astute people to hold this position. George B. Hartzog Jr. served during an exciting and volatile era in American history. Appointed in 1964 by Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, he benefited from a rare combination of circumstances that favored his vision, which was congenial with both President Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society"" and Udall's robust environmentalism.

Hartzog led the largest expansion of the National Park System in history and developed social programs that gave the Service new complexion. During his nine-year tenure, the system grew by seventy-two units totaling 2.7 million acres including not just national parks, but historical and archaeological monuments and sites, recreation areas, seashores, riverways, memorials, and cultural units celebrating minority experiences in America. In addition, Hartzog sought to make national parks relevant and responsive to the nation's changing needs.


Kathy Mengak taught outdoor recreation classes for fourteen years before moving to Georgia where she writes and works for the University of Georgia.


"Hartzog comes to life in these pages."


Montana the Magazine of Western History

"sheds keen light on the impact Hartzog had on the Park Service, and provides perhaps the primer on how Park Service directors can best affect their agency and its impact on not only the landscape, but on those who flood into the parks."


National Parks Traveler

6 x 9 in. 316 pages 34 halftones, 2 maps