In the Garden of the Gods with the Truffle-Truffle Trees

Probably the biggest (and only) role of government could be summed up as this: “Keep the big guys from stepping on little guys.”  This often means that we have to protect the public from itself.  For instance in the case of public parks, we need to keep people who want to enjoy nature and open spaces from people who need to use these spaces for commercial interests so they can have a job. 

Nowhere is this role better demonstrated and fulfilled than in the U.S. National Park Service.  Founded by President Teddy Roosevelt (even though you can barely tell by the poor coverage of this topic on their website), the National Park Service is government at its best.  One might argue that we could do without Big Bird and the Rural Electric Association, but managed open space in the form of national parks truly benefits all.

Boulder Beach

I got to enjoy a slice of this reserved open space on a recent trip to the high desert Joshua Tree National Park.  It is good (and should be a prerequisite) that as you drive to this park from LA that you see every available hill and mountaintop capped with multi-million dollar mansions.  It makes you appreciate this open space all the more and you quickly realize what might have happened without government intervention.

Truffle Truffle Tree

The park is best know for its desert landscape (the Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet in the park), huge rockpiles, and, of course, the Joshua Tree.  The park’s namesake, the Joshua Tree, reportedly got its name from the Mormon immigrants who thought it looked like the Biblical Joshua beckoning their people from the desert to the promised land.

In describing these fantastic trees, even the normally reserved Park Service is forced to write something interesting. As Jane Rodgers does in her article (published on the web and in the literature given to visitors) “I Speak for the Trees” in which she compares them to trees from Dr. Seuss books and describes their history – oddly enough starting out as humble lilies.  Just as all living things are dependent and connected, the Joshua tree depends on the Yucca moth for pollination.  And the Yucca moth on the Joshua for seeds for its developing young -a simple and perfect example of symbiosis. 

Adapting and flourishing in one of the harshest environments in the United States, these trees are a fitting symbol for rugged American Indians and early pioneers: rugged, tough, adaptive, and utterly unique. 

Joshua Looks into the Valley

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1 Response to “In the Garden of the Gods with the Truffle-Truffle Trees”



  1. 1 Seussologic Dendrology « The Software Foundry Trackback on April 10, 2007 at 4:08 pm

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