Grant Frontier Park, one of Denver Parks’ hidden gems

The Rocky Mountain Land Library gathered some of our favorite books on nature and the West for the Denver Parks book club to read and discuss. Our book club discussions were held at some of the lesser-known City Parks across Denver. Throughout the book club series, we discovered hidden surprises; parks that have stories to add to the books we read and discussed.

There is an underlining theme to all of the Denver Parks Book Club discussions: our basic human need for parks and open space. In each session we took a moment to explore the history of the park and neighborhoods where we met.

Grant Frontier ParkButcher’s Crossing, a classic novel of the West, written by John Williams (who coincidentally taught at nearby University of Denver for over thirty years). Grant Frontier Park is the site of the first gold-panning of Denver’s South Platte River, an evocative place to talk about a book that is all about history’s blind rush for paradise on earth.

Globeville Landing ParkThe Man Who Thought He Owned Water: On the Brink with American Farms, Cities, and Food by Tershia D’Elgin, the winner of the Colorado Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. Globeville Landing Park, with its innovative native grass filtering-marsh, is a perfect place to explore our relationship to the irreplaceable resource of water.

Babi Yar ParkA Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek. Ari Kelman’s thoughtful book explores the Sand Creek Massacre and how it’s been remembered (or misremembered) to this day. This meeting will also be a good occasion to explore the power of memorial landscapes, whether it’s at Sand Creek, or at Babi Yar Park itself, which commemorates the Nazi massacre of over 200,000 Ukrainian Jews. We’re thrilled to have Randi Samuelson-Brown, author of The Beaten Territory, leading our discussion.

Inspiration Point Park: Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness, an eye-opening book on nature-in-the-city by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. If we haven’t had a crow visit our group by the end of our discussion, we can take a short walk to the vista point that will let us see the entire Front Range, with all its passing crows, hawks, and migrating birds.

The Denver Parks Book Club discussions are free, but space is limited. Be sure to register at the links above. You can sign up for all the books, or just one! All the discussions will be outdoors, and we’ll be sending more information to everyone registered. The Book Club’s Sunday meetings will get underway at 11am and conclude at 1pm, with plenty of time for everyone to explore and appreciate our host city park.

Chris Englert’s book Discovering Denver Parks was published in 2020. It quickly became one of the Land Library’s favorite pandemic books, inspiring the Denver Parks Book Club series. We highly recommend Chris’s book for anyone who wants to explore Denver’s 165 city and mountain parks.