Michael Frome

National Parks National Treasures

Recorded: November 12, 2015

A lifelong activist for wilderness, a wholesome environment, and peace and social justice, Michael Frome, at age 95, has stories to tell. A strong and principled journalist since the 1960s, he is one to tell the truth about our public lands and parks. He has always been passionate about telling stories about the management of federal public lands. His stories and reports have been published in a variety of newspapers and magazines. He is also a prolific author of many books as well. Because of his outspoken views on the threats to public lands, he was fired from several jobs. However, he would not be silenced, he continued to report on topics such as clear cutting forests and the influence of logging, grazing, mining and hydropower threats to public lands.

In World War II, Michael was a former airplane navigator and when he returned home he decided to write about the United States’ wonderful public lands. In the 1960s, his articles about the National Parks in Women’s Day magazine created a loyal following. For years, Michael reported the logging of the giant sequoias in California, and what he and others believed was frivolous development of National Parks and public lands. In his 60s, Michael added a second career; an instructor of environmental journalism. He taught at Northland College, the University of Vermont, the University of Idaho and the Huxley College of Environmental Studies at Western Washington University. Today, Dr. Frome continue to call attention to the plight of public lands, and he alerts all who will listen about his belief that the Park Service has gone astray and lost sight of its mission to preserve nature.

Books written by Michael Frome include:

  • Rediscovering National Parks in the Spirit of John Muir (2015).
  • Strangers in High Places (1966)
  • Green Ink: An Introduction to Environmental Journalism (1998)
  • America’s Favorite National Parks (1985) (Rand McNally)
  • Greenspeak: Fifty Years of Environmental Muckraking and Advocacy (2002)
  • Battle for the Wilderness (1974)
  • Whose Woods These Are (1962)
  • Rebel on the Road (2007)
  • Chronicling the West (1996)
  • Regreening the National Parks (1992)
  • National Park Guide (1977)
  • Back Then: A Pictorial History of America’s National Parks (1990)
  • The Forest Service (1971)
  • Mid-Atlantic National Parks (1987)
  • Conscience of a Conservationist (1989)
  • Hosteling U.S.A. (1979)
  • Allstate Motor Club National Park Guide 1990
  • Favorite National Parks (1988)
  • Promised Land: Adventures and Encounters in Wild America (1985)

Web links:

A Life of Conservation: Michael Frome And The National Parks. http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2015/10/life-conservation-michael-frome-and-national-parks

90 Years On, Dr. Michael Frome Continues to Lament the State of the National Parks http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2010/05/90-years-dr-michael-frome-continues-lament-state-national-parks5902


Michael Frome:   I grew up in the Bronx, the northernmost burrow of New York City and I walked to school every day. My high school was at the edge of the northern boundary of the Bronx; it was surrounded by trees and growing things. And I learned from my childhood to love nature, that’s important. Nature has a value of its own, which they don’t talk about it in school, unfortunately. In school they talk about making money. Well, money is secondary to me. First and most important is to be close to nature and close to God. I believe that God created the earth and all its creatures, large and small, and endowed us with the opportunity to protect and preserve God’s nature. But I think in our country we’ve given up on higher opportunity, and build more roads, more dams. I say its time for us to stop, to take a break, because look at around us and to make [unintelligible] into the land we truly love and that we can live with. And then we can turn over to our children, and to our children’s children, and hope that they will protect it. And I love the national parks, but national parks are a state of mind, not a state of place. The national parks should inspire us to live better and more honorably with all the living creatures around us. Let’s don’t go to a national park, let’s go to a city park in the next block from where we live and say, “Gee whiz, we saved a bit of nature, for us and for our children.” It’s my inspiration every day. I am inspired by Americans across the country who want to save and preserve nature where they live.