By Dave Kyu and Ilyssa Kyu
Our national parks are beautiful and unique places, often serving as an introduction to the outdoors and inspiring an appreciation for nature and wilderness. Similarly, stories and storytelling can serve as an introduction to other places and foster a powerful emotional connection to nature. Campfire Stories brings together tales about our national parks; some are by well-known writers such as John Muir, Bill Bryson, and Terry Tempest Williams, while others are from pioneer diaries or have been passed down through generations of indigenous peoples.
Co-editors Dave and Ilyssa Kyu spent six months traveling and researching the stories collected here. They gathered the best materials from public libraries, historical societies, arts and cultural organizations, museums, research centers, and national park archives. Park rangers, historians, artists, curators, educators, and local residents all offered guidance and suggestions. The goal was to discover entertaining, diverse, and engaging writings that reflect each park’s essence—as well as just fun to share. Campfire Stories focuses on these six iconic national parks:
- Acadia National Park
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Yellowstone National Park
- Yosemite National Park
- Zion National Park
Each story includes an “About this Story” reflection, offering insight into how Dave and Ilyssa discovered the tale, why they selected it, and some background about its writer. Dave and Ilyssa also share their own thoughts on each of the parks they visited, as well as tips on how to be a compelling storyteller.