Enos A. Mills - Father of Rocky Mountain National Park


I am Elizabeth Mills Kiley the grandaughter of Enos A. Mills the founder of Rocky Mountain National Park. My mother, Enda Mills Kiley and I are excited about the potential of electronically communicating the words and photographs left by my grandfather using the Internet's World Wide Web technology. For us, the best way to learn is by doing so we put together this little presentation for you to enjoy. My grandfather was so good at expressing the way our whole family feels about Rocky Mountain National Park that we decided to choose some of his own quotes and images to express ourselves in this, our debute on the Internet. The photograph above shows Enos with his infant daughter (and my mother!) Enda on his back.

My grandfather demonstrated to everyone how one man's efforts can have a significant impact on our society. Almost single handedly, Enos championed the establishment of a natural sanctuary that over three million "pilgrims" journey to each year. A sanctuary whose benefits he has described in the words and photographs that follow.

Peace and joy!

Elizabeth Mills - April 28th, 1995

Born in Kansas in 1870, Enos grew up in a Quaker farm family. He spent his life learning, traveling and observing all elements of the natural world. His genuine curiosity and concern showed in his writing, photographs and lectures. Enos is known to many as the "Father of Rocky Mountain National Park" in Colorado.

The following excerpts are a small selection of Enos' impressions:

"Go into the Parks and get their encouragement. Among the serene and steadfast scenes you will find the paths of peace and a repose that is sweeter than sleep. If you are dulled and dazed with the fever and the fret, or weary and worn,--tottering under burdens too heavy to bear,--go back to the old outdoor home. Here Nature will care for you as a mother for a child. In the mellow-lighted forest aisles, beneath the beautiful airy arches of limbs and leaves, with the lichen-tinted columns of gray and brown, with the tongueless eloquence of the bearded, veteran trees, amid the silence of centuries, you will come into your own."

"No nation has ever fallen through having too many parks. We may have too many soldiers, too many indoor functions, too many exclusive social sets, but the United States Government, or any other, will never fall for having too many national parks."

"The nature guide finds treasures to right and left for his followers in territory which to most people appears barren."

"Scenery is perishable--is easily ruined. The better parts of scenery are birds, flowers and trees. These are easily despoiled. No work, no public service, is more noble than that of the Park extension and improvement which now presses us."

"The forester is always the lumberman, the park man a practical poet.... The forester must cut trees before they are over-ripe or his crop will waste, while the park man wants the groves to become aged and picturesque. The forester pastures cattle in his meadows, while the park man has only people and romping children among his wildflowers. The park needs the charm of primeval nature, and should be free from ugliness, artificiality and commercialism."

"In parks, we have provided for trees a refuge with ourselves. They are to live on, and with them we shall build stately mansions for the soul."

"One touch of forest nature makes the world kin. A tree is the flag of Nature, and forests give a universal feeling of good will. In the boundless forest the boundary-lines of nations are forgotten. Some time an immortal pine may be the flag of a united and peaceful world."

"To have made friends with one tree is better than to have learned the names of many trees. To have shared its experiences through the seasons, to have watched the play of sunlight through the branches, the storms bursting over its head, the rain deepening the color of its bark--this is to feel the universal kinship of nature..."

"In the past we have greatly underrated the mental powers of animals. An intimate association with the wild life in the Parks will probably convince most people that wild animals have the power to think and reason. It may also acquaint people with the fact that animals as well as human beings possess the traits of love, hated, jealousy, anger and revenge. Any one who associates much with wild life will discover the exceptional keenness of animal senses."

"National Parks provide climate for everybody and scenery for all. If we play in the scenes where fairies live, for us all will be right with the world. Parks give purpose, noble purpose, to life. They are the "Never-Never-Land" in which we shall ever be growing, but never grow up."

"Nature is good at all times. Rainy days, gray days, windy days, all have something for you not ordinarily offered. So, too, have the sunny winter days when upon the dazzling snow fall, the deep-blue shadows of the pines. Forget the season and the weather; visit the Parks when you can stay there longest."

"By moonlight the mountainous National Parks are enchanted lands. There is a gentleness, a serenity and a softness that is never known in daylight."

"Nature is an educational stimulus of rare force. The crumbling cliff, the glacial landscape, the wild, free clouds, birds and trees, compel children--old and young--to observe and think. They bring development and sympathy. They build the brain.

They increase courage and kindness. Scenes and sunsets, cloud and storm, the stars and the sky, the music of wind and water, the purple forests, the white cascades, the colored flowers, the songs of the birds, the untrimmed and steadfast trees, the shadows on the ground, the tangled grass, the round, sunny hills, the endless streams, the magic rainbow, and the mysterious echo--all these arouse thought, wonder and delight in the mind of every child; and they have been the immortal nourishment of the great souls who have come from Mother Nature's loving breast to bless and beautify the world."

"In our great National Parks we have an unrivaled outdoor school that is always open; in it is a library, a museum, a zoological garden, and a type of the wilderness frontier. In this school-children are brought into contact with actual things, and become personally acquainted with useful facts, instead of merely reading about them."

"One of the greatest inheritances of each individual is imagination. The child instinctively believes in fairies. Unfortunately, the imagination too often is stifled and extinguished in childhood. It lights the path of education and throws changing color and romance over every act and scene in life. It gives a magic spell to existence. This matchless torch may be set blazing by a visit to the wonderland of a National Park where wilderness is king--where the fairies live."

"A National Park is a fountain of life. It is a matchless potential factor for good in national life. It holds within its magic realm benefits that are health-giving, educational, economic; that further efficiency and ethical relations, and are inspirational. Every one needs to play, and to play out of doors. Without parks and outdoor life all that is best in civilization will be smothered. To save ourselves, to prevent our perishing, to enable us to live at our best and happiest, parks are necessary."

"Often, the chief incentive that starts a child toward the acquiring of an education is interest in this fairyland of Nature. Interest is the highroad to education. Interest the mind and it will grow like a garden."

"Playing in the outdoors--especially when there is intimate association with birds and flowers, trees and waterfalls, mountains and storms--is one of the best ways of training the senses."

"Mother Nature is ever ready to train the growing child. By using our wonderful National Parks for schools; we may give the boys and girls of to-day even better nature training than the pioneers received from their environment."

"A nation composed of park-using people is prepared for the emergencies of war and also for the finer achievements of peace. Park life will keep the nation young."

"The wild gardens of Nature are the best kindergartens. The child who breathes the pure air among the pines, and plays among the birds and flowers, has the greatest of advantages. The child stirred with ideal hopes to-day will create nobly to-morrow."

"A National Park is an island of safety in this riotous world. Splendid forests, the waterfalls that leap in glory, the wild flowers that charm and illuminate the earth, the wild sheep of the sky-line crags, and the beauty of the birds, all have places of refuge which parks provide."

"How and where people play determines the character of individuals and the destiny of their country. Success in life-work depends upon play and relaxation. Blue Monday did not originate outdoors."

"The better and stronger nation of the future will be a park-using nation. Many wrecked nations have tried to get along without outdoor parks and recreation-places. It is but little less than folly to spend millions on forts and warships, on prisons and hospitals, instead of giving people the opportunity to develop and rest in the sane outdoors."

"The intensity of love for native land depends chiefly upon the loveliness of its landscapes--upon its scenery. The great scenic places of a land should be owned by the public and often seen by the public. Beauty satisfies the world's great longing. Hatred and prejudice may be taught, but the love of land must be inspired--and inspired by the scenic loveliness of that land."

"Develop National Parks, and there is no danger that the people will fail to use them."

"The Parks have the power to change and better the habits of a nation. They may arouse in us the desire to spend most of our spare time, and lead to the fashion of holding most of our social gatherings, outside."

"I sometimes think that getting really acquainted with some person, or with some fact is a great event. There is nothing like acquaintance for promoting friendship, sympathy and cooperation. To bring the capitalist and the laborer--all classes--together in the Park's august scenes, is bound to encourage acquaintance and to prevent misunderstandings. All this means unity, friendship and will keep war drums in the background."

"In Nature's ennobling and boundless scenes, the hateful boundary-lines and the forts and flags and prejudices of nations are forgotten. Nature is universal. She hoists no flags of hatred. Wood-notes wild contain no barbaric strains of war. The supreme triumph of parks is humanity."

"I feel certain that if Nature were to speak she would say, "Make National and State Parks of your best wild gardens, and with these I will develop greater men and women."

"The trail compels you to know yourself and to be yourself, and puts you in harmony with the universe. It makes you glad to be living. It gives health, hope, and courage, and it extends that touch of nature which tends to make you kind."

"The hunter's chief aim is to find and kill the bear, while that of the nature guide is to watch the ways of the bear and to enjoy him."

"A nature guide is not a guide in the ordinary sense of the word, and is not a teacher. At all times, however, he has been rightly associated with information and some form of education. But nature guiding, as we see it, is more inspirational than informational."

"It may be, if we quit shooting animals on one side of a Park boundary-line, that in due time we shall become sufficiently civilized to stop killing people on the other side of a national boundary-line."

If you would like to read more of Enos Mills work, many university libraries have his books. You may contact us at the Enos Mills Cabin for more information concerning his life and accomplishments. The Enos Mills Cabin is a museum in the 1885 homestead cabin Enos built, which has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is a labor of love for the decedents of Enos Mills, we receive no federal money to continue Enos' work. We are supported in our function by faithful and devoted fans of Enos Mills.

Books by Enos A. Mills

Copyright (c) 1995 by Enda Mills Kiley and Elizabeth Mills Kiley