04/21/14 — Author to speak on parks at Wayne Community College

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Author to speak on parks at Wayne Community College

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on April 21, 2014 1:46 PM

The renowned author of "National Parks: The American Experience," Alfred "Al" Runte, will visit Goldsboro for a lecture on national parks scheduled at the Paramount Theatre on Thursday, April 24, starting at 7 p.m.

"I'll be talking about the national park idea as an expression of American ideals," Runte said. "Usually when I do a lecture like this, it changes depending on what audience is interested in."

In this case, because the Foundation of Wayne Community College is helping to sponsor the event, Runte said that he will especially focus on the younger generation's need to keep national forests as a priority.

His presentation is titled "From John Muir to Ken Burns: The Meaning of our National Parks."

Runte's own experiences include a cross-the-country trip when he was a child that helped instill in him a wonder of the natural world and of the nation's natural resources. Those experiences have since influenced his own scholarly work on the national park system and, more recently, the dearth of public transportation and railroads.

Throughout his career, Runte has taught at a number of universities across the nation including the University of Washington, located in Seattle. For a short time afterward, Runte tried his hand in politics, running for mayor of Seattle in 2005, and later for a position on the Seattle City Council in 2006 and 2007.

Currently, Runte acts as a speaker and environmental adviser. In 2009, Runte worked as an adviser for Ken Burn's documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea."

Runte has also written a number of books including "Trains of Discovery: Western Railroads and the National Parks" and most recently, "Allies of the Earth: Railroads and the Soul of Preservation."

Other career highlights include years as a seasonal ranger at Yosemite National Park and as an adviser to "Natureza & Conservacao," an ecology journal published in Brazil.

His most recent work has been in the development and conservation of railroads as "effective allies of open space".

The lecture is sponsored by Baddour, Parker & Hine in conjunction with the Foundation of Wayne Community College.

Runte's presentation should last about 45 to 50 minutes and include a session afterward for questions.

"Anyone who gets into the back-country understands what a marvelous system we have in this country, and we can lose it if we aren't dedicated to it," he said.

Lecture admission is free. For more information, call 919-739-7017.