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A Road Running Southward


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Table of Contents

Ghosts, Skeeters, and Rye
Savannah, Georgia—Muir spent a half-dozen hungry and desperate, yet historically important nights in the city’s famed
Bonaventure Cemetery. A latter-day visit to the land of the dead underscores the South’s peril, and promise.
Chapter 1
Who Is Muir?
Atlanta, Georgia—A brief biography of the botanist, inventor, rambler, writer, cofounder of the Sierra Club, father of the national
park system, and conscience of the environmental movement.
Chapter 2
A New South Reckoning
Louisville, Kentucky—Muir crosses the Ohio River and into history. The land of bourbon, horses, and highways epitomizes the
South’s sprawling environmental problems.
Chapter 3
The South’s Incredible Biodiversity Is Threatened and Endangered
Cave City, Kentucky—Mammoth Cave National Park, and the Green River, are filled with natural wonders. Some species are
disappearing. Some are already gone. And some are making a comeback.
Chapter 4
A Celebration of Muir Turns Toxic
Kingston, Tennessee—The annual Muir Fest is overshadowed by the nation’s worst coal ash disaster and the South’s legacy of
cheap energy, damage, and destruction.
Chapter 5
“The Mountains are Calling,” and They’re Not Happy
Gatlinburg, Tennessee—The saga of the southern Appalachians as they succumb to the very forces that make them popular — with
deadly consequences.
Chapter 6
More Rain, More Heat, and More Trouble
Murphy, North Carolina—A warming world forces trees, trout, and rare flowers higher up the mountains. Climate change hits the
hills in unpredictable, and alarming, ways.
Chapter 7
Water Wars
Suches, Georgia—Georgia, Alabama, and Florida have been fighting for a generation over the Chattahoochee River. Farmers,
oystermen, kayakers, and sturgeon are threatened by the loss of the increasingly precious natural resource.
Chapter 8
The Deeper the River, the More the Pain
Augusta, Georgia—Globalization demands a deeper Savannah River and compounds the environmental damage done previously
dams, developers, cities, farmers, and factories.
Chapter 9
A Coastal Playground Is Disappearing
Tybee Island, Georgia—Rising seas. Ghost forests. Sunny-day flooding. Salty tap water. Bigger hurricanes. There’s not enough
money to save the coast from a warming world.
Chapter 10
Where Hogs Rule and Turtles Tremble
Ossabaw Island, Georgia—Invasive species—wild boar, Burmese pythons, Tegu lizards, lionfish, northern snakeheads, melaleuca
trees, laurel wilt—march relentlessly across the South. A marksman aims to save at least one endangered species.
Chapter 11
Take My Water, Please
High Springs, Florida—The aquifer running from Savannah to Miami is under siege from overuse, pollution, and saltwater
intrusion. Yet Florida all but gives away billions of gallons a year to private profiteers.
Chapter 12
The End of the Road
Cedar Key, Florida—Development imperils one of Florida’s last wild places. Science, though, offers hope for the future.
Further Readings
About the Author

About the Author

Dan Chapman is a writer, reporter, and lover of the outdoors. He grew up in Washington DC and Tokyo, the son of a newspaperman and an English teacher. He worked for Congressional Quarterly, The Winston-Salem Journal, The Charlotte Observer, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has also reported from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. He currently writes stories about conservation in the South for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.


"I found A Road Running Southward to be an accessible, informative, and useful examination of landscapes in the Southeast US that John Muir would no longer recognize."
-- "Community Ecology"

"Reading Chapman's book is similar to sitting atop a meta­phorical fire tower because it provides a panoramic view of the ecological challenges in the Southeast--from river pollution to invasive species. It also provides insight into Muir's legacy.... the book is a tour de force."
-- "Natural Resources and Environment"

"Not all journeys in somebody else's footsteps prove especially comforting. In A Road Running Southward: Following John Muir's Journey Through an Endangered Land, the Georgia journalist Dan Chapman retraces the ecologist John Muir's thousand-mile walk through the Reconstruction-era South, and what he finds there today is alarming.."-- "The New York Times"

"A Road Running Southward revisits Muir's 1867 trip from Louisville, Ky., to Cedar Key, Fla., and provides an important, sweeping update of the environmental situation in this part of the world.... It is the kind of book that, one can hope, will radicalize the next generation of environmentalists."
-- "The Post and Courier"

"[A Road Running Southward alternates] between jeremiad and dark satire...[where] walking, for Mr. Chapman, is a form of activism as well as personal penance, a way of making himself see, and feel, the drastic changes in a lacerated landscape he still loves."-- "The Wall Street Journal"

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