Campfire Stories is a collection of short stories to be read together around a fire.
Campfire Stories was published with Mountaineers Books in August 2018.
The book is an anthology of tales, songs, ballads, legends, short stories and myths collected from the communities in and around 6 of America’s favorite National Parks. The stories capture the essence of these lands and give a voice to the communities that share them—evoking deeper respect for these places.
Because these stories have been collected from the communities in and around the parks, they will capture the diverse history, cultures, people, and experiences of those that that have collectively built, shared, and enjoyed these parks across the country. We hope these short stories will reignite our imagination about the wild.
In March 2016, we successfully raised $20,264 via Kickstarter to bring this project to life—that's 135% of our target goal!
From May through August 2016, we spent 2 weeks each in 6 National Parks, immersing ourselves and meeting folks to uncover themes and stories from each of these places. We traveled to:
Acadia National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yosemite National Park
Zion National Park
We met with folks in libraries, museums, historical societies, arts & culture organizations, and local residents to get a sense of the historic and contemporary context of each place. Our research provided us with the background necessary to be emotionally and contextually aware of the stories we selected.
Why National Parks?
They’re beautiful and unique places, and it is our hope that these stories generate an interest and impulse for new, unfamiliar audiences to visit and experience nature. And the time is right— in 2016 the National Park Service celebrated its centennial!
We feel that National Parks serve as a great introduction to the outdoors—providing modern amenities in unfamiliar places. Much like the intention behind the founding of the National Parks, nature should be protected and made accessible for everyone to enjoy—not just the wealthy or privileged.
Why a book? Why now?
Stories play a powerful role in creating emotional connections necessary in creating individual connections to nature. Stories teach us lessons, build our empathy, and share ideas that are emotionally important in the art of living.
Whether somebody is reading Campfire Stories from their living room, a local city park, or around a campfire in a state or national park (or even their own backyard!), we hope these stories create new individual connections to, and positive experiences with nature, especially for younger generations who are increasingly disconnected from the outdoors—generations of people who, one day, will be responsible for protecting it.
Oh, like ghost stories?
Not exactly. We've specifically chosen not to seek out ghost stories, as they dominate the campfire story genre and there are many excellent spooky story books out there. You’re out in the woods, it’s dark—it makes sense. But there are so many more stories to tell when you’re out in the woods.
There are stories of the landscape, the trees and animals that inhabit a place. There’s the human story of the land, and ballads for the folks who’ve lived & breathed these places. Campfire stories can capture all of these ideas, and can reignite our curiosity for the world. Sharing these stories evokes a camaraderie that we’ve lost—one that lives inside a good campfire story.