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Reader Participation Day: Which Songs Do You Connect With National Parks?


Few pieces of music evoke a clearer picture of a park experience that the "On the Trail" movement in Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite. NPS photo.

Are there one or more pieces of music that remind you of a national park – or a park experience?

Some compositions, such as Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite, have clear connections to a park. Others, such as "Rocky Mountain High," might bring to mind a specific park - or a whole state with lots of great parks.

A quick Google search will turn up a surprising number of tunes with park connections. Not many of us have likely heard the Disney long playing album, Songs of the National Parks with Stan Jones and the Ranger Chorus ... but this old-timer is still available from iTunes!

How about you? Do you have any favorite pieces of music that you associate with one or more parks, or just national parks in general?

If so, what are they ... and which parks do they bring to mind?


Echoes, by Pink Floyd when driving through Arches

The words of "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" remind us of Yellowstone -

"Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flowery meadow, flashing sea, Chanting bird and flowing fountain, Call us to rejoice in Thee."

These lines from "How Great Thou Art" remind us of Glacier

"When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze."

Listen to the music OF the parks, not recorded music in the parks! Just the plain ole silence, what a luxury!

When I was 12 my first vinyl album purchase was "Grand Canyon Sweet." Fifty years later I was riding a mule into the Grand Canyon when I heard thunder in the distance and combined with the mule step sounds it all came back to me realized I'd come full circle. Beautiful!!

When I was out at Canyonlands last month for the better part of a week, the iPod stayed off. I enjoyed the relative quiet, and the dry but refreshing breeze blowing through the car. I was able to talk and enjoy.

However, once I got out of the park the iPod got plugged in and turned on to whatever my random playlist chose for me.

Vast blue skies and scenic sandstone vistas, cliff dwellings and petroglyphs... I always listen to Native American flute music when visiting national parks and monuments in the Four Corners region, including Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, Monument Valley tribal park and Mesa Verde. Flute music captures the eerie spirit of the region and pays homage to an ancient people long vanished.

Anything by John Denver. Since my girls were little and we started to visit National Parks, we would put on John Denver. Now as teenagers, they actually make sure that we don't forget the CD of his greatest hits before we go exploring any National Park.

Eddie Vedder "Into the wild" soundtrack

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