The Campfire and Other Deeply Held Stories Illuminated
Ask people how the National Park system got started and they will probably tell you a story about Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir sitting together around a campfire under the skies of Yosemite, deciding it would be so. The campfire story is concrete, relatable and resonates with a rugged independent spirit. The visual of this great idea – starting as a glowing ember, growing into a whirling flame – the smoke rising toward the star lit sky above, is very appealing. For the public hungry for a clear image and a quick soundbite, this is a good marketing piece. But that clandestine event took place decades after national parks had been in existence. As the founding story, it is not true.