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Background to his Books
Interviewer: How many books have you done, all tolled?
Dykinga: Jesus, I don't know.
Interviewer: You don't even know?
Dykinga: Okay. The first book was "Frog Mountain Blues."
Chuck and I had done a hike up and across the [Santa] Catalinas
from Oracle [Arizona] to Tucson. I guess it was about Day Three
we sat down and I said, "You know, we ought to do a book on this,
'cause it's kind of interesting having a wilderness area so close
to a major metropolitan area that's expanding into it." Actually,
now that you look at it in hindsight, it's even more relevant now,
because now the city is literally working its way all the way around
the mountain. So anyway, we did the book, and we decided that it
would be a combination of color landscapes and mostly black-and-white
shots of destruction. So that was the visual aspect. And then Chuck
would intercut stories about early residents and buckaroos that
were here early on, and take it up to current times. It was my first
book. It was a way to get your foot in the door into publishing.
It wasn't exactly what I wanted by a long shot.
The next book was "The Sonoran Desert," which again
I suggested and pitched to Abrams and told him Chuck would write
the text. That one went very well, I thought. In fact, it's still
doing well in soft cover. That's two. And "The Sonoran Desert"
is really an overview of the Sonoran Desert, which I've been kind
of amazed that nobody'd ever done, 'cause the Sonoran Desert, stretching
from California, through Arizona, Sonora [Mexico], and then down
in both Bajas, is really a pretty ambitious project. So I wanted
to look at the whole thing, and managed to do so in the process
of doin' that book.
Then came "Secret Forest," that was Chuck's idea,
and Chuck had listened to all these scientists kind of bemoaning
the fact that the trees were getting chopped down, and everybody
was kind of wringing their hands, and Chuck said, "Well, why don't
we do something?" So he called me up and said, "Well, would you
do the landscapes? I'll get so-and-so to do the people pictures
and so-and-so to do the wildlife photos." I said, "No, I'll do it
all. Let's go." And we just went off and did it. I think if you
get too many people involved, it's not as good a product, really.
So that was number three.
Then came "Stone Canyons of the Colorado Plateau."
That was based on two drainages. It was a way to look at the Colorado
Plateau through the Paria Canyon and the history that was deeply
rooted in both areas. Escalante and the Paria drainages were Mormon
and Native American passageways for a long time. So that gave us
a good peg to kind of hang it on. I mean, I said, "we need
a national park here." (laughs) And then Chuck dug up some
information on Harold Ickes, the first one, and the early proposals
of making a national park, and kind of reopened that whole issue.
I know that Babbitt got a copy early on, and I suspect that that
was kind of a catalyst to give them something to hold to Clinton
creating a park.