I appreciated this quote, on the expansiveness of our land and our democracy, from an old NYT blog post:
The immensity often gets lost in the superlatives stirred up by the most outrageously scenic sites. But in the aggregate, this is what every citizen owns: 530 million acres, of which 193 million are run by the Forest Service, 253 million by the Bureau of Land Management and 84 million by the National Park Service. The public land endowment is more than three times the size of France.
“Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” That was the encomium for the parks by Wallace Stegner, the Best Westerner. It’s worth noting, at a time when a loud fringe of political life fits the Stegner description of us at our worst, how this miracle of public land came to be.