Resource protection and public recreation policies have always been subject to the shifting winds of management philosophy governing both national and state parks. Somewhere in the balance, however, parks and preserves have endured as unique places of mind as well as matter. Places of Quiet Beauty allows us to see parks and preserves, forests and wildlife refuges—all those special places that the term “park” conjures up—as measures of our own commitment to caring for the environment. In this broad-ranging book, historian Rebecca Conard examines the complexity of American environmentalism in the twentieth century as manifest in Iowa's state parks and preserves.
“Places of Quiet Beauty is a wonderfully crafted story about people and politics and how each in turn influenced the other. Rich in biographical detail, Places examines the conflicting demands that are placed on parks and the implications of the constant ebbing and flowing of public and political support. Rebecca Conard, through her wonderful mosaic of people, places, politics, and the environmental movement, reminds us that the maintenance of a strong park program depends on a constantly vigilant public and progressive and supportive legislatures. Enjoyable, educational, and highly readable, Places of Quiet Beauty helps us understand why we treasure our parks and what, in the final analysis, 'land stewardship' really means.”—Dwight T. Picaithley, Chief Historian, National Park Service
“As a result of Conard's study, Iowa will resume its rightful place as an acknowledged leader among the states in early twentieth-century park and conservation affairs. Because of the breadth of its coverage, Places of Quiet Beauty will appeal to scholars, public officials, resource managers, and civic leaders with an interest in Iowa government, politics, and resources as well as to those interested more specifically in parks.”—Susan Flader, editor and coauthor, Exploring Missouri's Legacy: State Parks and Historic Sites
“This book is much more than a historical documentary. It is a window to the past that easily opens through the author's skill and passion for her subject. The reader not only experiences the events but comes to know, in a personal way, the major characters who provided leadership in early conservation efforts. It enables the reader to understand and appreciate conservation issues over the past century and their particular relevance to today's challenges…Conard is a great historian and Places of Quiet Beauty is a great guide.”—Iowa Conservationist
“Places of Quiet Beauty is highly readable, fairly presented, and impressively well researched. It should be read by scholars and citizens who are interested not only in Iowa’s state parks but in the protection of valued places all over the globe.”—Journal of American History
“Places of Quiet Beauty delivers a rich story of Iowa’s state park system from its inception to the present…Well conceived and written in an engaging fashion, Places of Quiet Beauty is a significant work in a field awaiting more scholarly attention.”—Kansas History