Over on my comic blog the past couple of weeks, I’ve been running a storyline about the Trail Police. The Trail Police were an idea my brother and I came up with back in the summer of 2002 while we were working in Yellowstone National Park. The idea was the Park Rangers couldn’t manage the trails and the park visitors alone, and needed a vigilante to run around zapping ne’er-do-wells with a cattle prod. It became this whole convoluted thing, involving a rival trail police guy named the Trail Master, and then I moved on with my life. I revisited the idea a couple of summers later, then again late last year by bringing the Trail Master into the “real world” to compete and then befriend the comic representation of my brother.
And then all the nonsense with the Parks Service Twitter accounts happened, and my brother texted me asking why I wasn’t doing a Trail Police comic about it. And then I couldn’t not do a series.
For this week’s comics, I decided to do a series of images of the characters hiking in various national parks. I picked five of my favorites, found photos, and added Clyde, his daughter, and the Trail Master into them. And the idea behind that – hiking in the parks to highlight and bring attention to the astonishing beauty and importance of these public spaces – felt like something important, something I’d like to see actually happen in the real world.
Now, I know not everyone lives near a national park, or a national park that isn’t under six feet of snow in the middle of February. So what I was thinking was this: why not do a big hike for the parks sort of thing in March? Get people out there, expressing their appreciation for the parks, reminding people of how important America’s Best Idea really is.
The plan, then: on March 25, we hike. Everyone. Get out to the nearest national park and get on the trail. Carry signs if you want. Tell the world you think the National Park System is worth preserving, worth fighting for. Join me on the trail that day, won’t you?