Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929



By Frank T. Been

Although the advantages of selling publications in the national parks is acknowledged, the sales involve three factors:

(1) Kind of publications to be sold,
(2) Value of publications to purchaser, and
(3) Recipient of sales receipts.

The publications usually sold in the parks are those available from the Superintendent of Public Documents. The pamphlets describing each park are usually given away rather freely, There are also the publications describing or explaining features of the park — also issued by Superintendent of Documents. Privately published books and magazines are also sold in the parks if these are pertinent to the park or park system.

Occasionally Nature Notes are sold, but as the individual parks have not adequate facilities to do this, it is not usually done. If arrangements could be made whereby the Nature Notes and Information Manuals could be prepared for sale within each park, this would be a great advantage, as these publications are in demand by park visitors. The Nature Notes would be issued once a month and contain items on current interest, whereas the Natural History Leaflets would treat a subject of lasting interest, such as the result of an experiment, the discovery of a new natural feature or phenomenon, or a lecture.

In determining the publications to be sold, we should not consider the possible monetary return, but the value to the public or park visitor. The publications should always be supplementary to the educational activities and they may be articles which go into more detail on subjects we have mentioned on hikes and during lectures or they may be writings which tell of educational activities and stimulate people to seek the services of the park naturalist. These publications may be both technical and non-technical or popular, but as our work involves almost entirely enlightening people with small knowledge of natural sciences the sales may be advantageously limited to non-technical; those interested in the technical writings usually apply to the Superintendent of Documents.

On the nature hikes it is often possible to advise people about the availability of the publications, but it may not be practical to mention them during lectures as the digression will detract from the effect of the presentation.

The disposal of the receipts from the sales made within the national parks seems to be a sore problem because the money taken in from any source is supposed to go to the United States Treasury. Although the naturalists are anxious to make publications available to the park visitors, they are at the same time anxious to apply the receipts from these sales toward naturalist work for which there usually seems to be inadequate funds.

The contention is generally made that the write-ups prepared in the parks are generally of interest to the visitors of that particular park and are prepared by that particular park; consequently the receipts should go directly to the park which has expended the time and material rather than to the United States Treasury.