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America's National Parks are sometimes called America's best idea.  We the People, decided that one of the most important aspects of American Exceptionalism was to preserve for the citizens of this country, and the people of the world, for all future generations, the natural beauty and the very essence that built the American spirit.

The genes in our chromosomes that make us human, evolved around the natural cycles of the day, and the pressures of the environment around us.  Those genes lie dormant within us, as the new stresses and chaotic strains of modern civilization try to change those genes from something that took many thousands of years to build.  Within our National Park system, the opportunity arises for us to reawaken those genes.  When we see America in it's purest form, when we feel the wind and rain in our face, and when we here the animals and sounds that hundreds of generations before us heard, we experience a part of life that today's world has forgotten.

Yellowstone, the worlds first national park, would be better referred to as Yellowstone International Park.  People from around the world come to see the incredibly unique thermal features, and the extraordinary geography that is the last remaining refuge to much of America's original wildlife.

This incredible National Park System, wasn't built by a private equity firm, or a Wall Street hedge fund, it was built by WE the CITIZENS of this great country.  It is not a for profit private enterprise that needs to maximize it's returns on the quarterly reports to it's shareholders, and that would be sold off to the highest bidder when it's profit margins dictate that it's time to move on.  We the people that make up the government of the United States of America, decided that pursuit of happiness entails more than Cayman Island businesses or Swiss bank accounts, it involves something far deeper and more spiritual, and that all generations of Americans that follow us should have the RIGHT to pursue the happiness that America's best idea can provide.

Every year I take an annual pilgrimage to Yellowstone National Park to renew myself and prepare for the constant challenges that modern civilization provides.  I just returned from Yellowstone last week, and as always, it was a unique and uplifting experience.  Below are some pictures and comments about this great place.

Yellowstone is mostly known for it's incredible thermal features such as geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mud pots.  This is Castle geyser along a main path in the upper geyser basin.

People from around the world come to Yellowstone to see these incredible sights.  The world travelers that come here probably comprise about 20% of all visitors.  Something I've noticed over the years is that there has been a substantial increase from China and India.  It is a great experience to talk to people from all over the world and hear their perspective of this wonderful thing that America has done.

The architecture in this great place isn't designed to maximum profits, or even to maximum comfort, but to build an experience that reflects the unique place you are in.

But the natural ecosystem, that we citizens decided to protect, offers a home to some of America's greatest collection of wildlife, and gives all of us the chance to see America as it was.

No, it's not the Loch Ness monster, it's river otters playing in the Yellowstone river.

Although not always successful, the constant effort to try and keep and restore Yellowstone to it's original natural condition, can be a real challenge.  The restoration of the wolf in 1996 had an enormous impact on the ecosystem, and created another incredible experience for those who want to reconnect to the natural world.

Bill Clinton may be the top dog at the Democratic convention, but this guy is the top dog in Yellowstone.  Ursus arctos horriblis rules the day, but not always.  I've been fortunate enough to witness the interaction of a group of wolves with 2 grizzly bears, and to watch a grizzly bear stand on it's hind legs and roar, will give you a memory and a feeling you'll never forget.

We, the citizens of the United States, in the pursuit of happiness for our children and grand children and all future generations to come, built this.  And if we allow the Ayn Rand philosophy of greed and selfishness that the modern Republican party channels, to take control of this country, We the people, will lose this.

We should have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but we are losing it.  This is the most important election in our history, and so it will be with the next one, and the one after that...  We no longer have the luxury, to sit this one out.  The very core values that united America and gave us our best ideas, are at risk.  We are in a fight to save those values, and we have to wake up America and get our citizens to the polls in November, before our best ideas are lost to all future generations.

Originally posted to pollwatcher on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 07:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by National Parks and Wildlife Refuges, DK GreenRoots, and J Town.

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