NC Literary Hall of Fame



Forests, Alligators, Battlefields: My Journey through the National Parks of the South by Danny Bernstein

Kimberly Crest Books
$16.00, paperback / $4.99, e-Book
March, 2016
Nonfiction: Travel / Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or

"Danny’s adventures are a must-read for any outdoor enthusiast. No one has logged more miles in national parks or explored them so thoroughly."
—Will Harlan, author of Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island

"While revealing her own story, Danny never overshadows the true stars of the book, the national parks themselves."
— Johnny Molloy, author of over fifty outdoor hiking, camping, and paddling guides

"Danny Bernstein is an ideal National Parks guide. I am eager to follow her."
— Anne Mitchell Whisnant, author of Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History

Danny Bernstein makes a great national park buddy as she takes you through the seventy-one parks in the South. You’ll meet historic figures, rangers, volunteers, park partners, and visitors, the people who bring each park to life. In her attempt to become a Southerner one park at a time, Danny shows that every national park has a human story as well as great scenery. In the Smokies, she leads us to long-forgotten cemeteries. She walks around New Orleans to find the story of jazz. She meets Henry Allen, who marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. At Natchez National Historical Park, Ranger Schoby explains how free African-Americans survived before the Civil War. After she finally finds the national park at Salt River Bay, she stands where Christopher Columbus landed on his second voyage.

In the Southeast, you’ll drop in on icons like Mammoth Cave National Park and the Everglades, along with the one square block of Tupelo National Battlefield, and Wright Brothers National Memorial, where the first flight took off. The coal mines at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area brings to mind the song “I owe my soul to the company store.”

Visiting the Southeastern parks is a very different experience from the once in a lifetime trip to Yosemite or Yellowstone. Here, folks come often, volunteer, adopt a trail, and support their parks.

Forests, Alligators, Battlefields: My journey through the National Parks of the South is Danny’s contribution to the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. She’s an engaged, questioning national park companion, who puts a historical and personal spin on her travels.

Danny Bernstein’s mission is to get people out of their cars and walking.

She’s been a committed hiker for over forty years, completing the Appalachian Trail, all the trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST), and many other hiking challenges.

Danny hikes and leads hikes for the Carolina Mountain Club, Friends of the Smokies, and other outdoor groups. She’s written two hiking guides, Hiking the Carolina Mountains and Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and a narrative on her MST hike, The Mountains-to-Sea Trail across North Carolina. She blogs at

In her previous life, she worked in computer science for thirty-five years, long before computing was cool, first as a software developer, then as a professor of computer science.

Her motto is “no place is too far to walk if you have the time.” She plans to die with her boots on.

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