Beloved by academic and general readers alike, Mountains Without Handrails, Joseph L. Sax’s thought-provoking treatise on America’s national parks, remains as relevant today as when first published in 1980. Focusing on the long-standing and bitter battles over recreational use of our parklands, Sax proposes a novel scheme for the protection and management of America's national parks. Drawing upon still controversial disputes—Yosemite National Park, the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and the Disney plan for California's Mineral King Valley—Sax boldly unites the rich and diverse tradition of nature writing into a coherent thesis that speaks directly to the dilemma of the parks.
In a new foreword, environmental law scholar Holly Doremus articulates this book’s enduring importance and reflects on what Sax, her former teacher, might have thought about the encroachment of technology into natural spaces, the impact of social media, and growing threats from climate change. At this moment of great uncertainty for the national parks, Mountains Without Handrails should be read (and re-read) by anyone with a stake in America’s natural spaces.