Al Runte

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Alfred "Al" Runte (April 16, 1947) is an environmental historian and former college educator from Seattle who ran for mayor of Seattle in 2005.


Alfred Runte was born on April 16, 1947, in Binghamton, New York, where he graduated North High School (1965) and the State University of New York at Binghamton (1969). He also holds an M.A. from Illinois State University (1971) and a Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1976). Runte has taught at five major institutions of higher learning, including Baylor University and the University of Washington. Runte's work focuses on parks, conservation, and public transportation. His first book, National Parks: The American Experience (1979; revised 1987, 1997), has been praised by some as the definitive study of the national park idea. Recently, Runte completed a history of railroads and the environment: Allies of the Earth: Railroads and the Soul of Preservation. He is also advising Ken Burns on a forthcoming PBS series on the national parks.

2005 Mayoral campaign[edit]

In 2005 Runte ran for Seattle mayor, achieving second place amid a field of 7 candidates in the September primary election, and finally losing to incumbent Greg Nickels in the general election.


Since the election, Runte has remained a popular figure among the neighborhood parks and environmental interests in Seattle. He spoke before a crowd of diverse neighborhood groups in early 2006 which marched on Woodland Park Zoo to protest the mayor's plans to build a parking garage in the middle of a city park.

2007 City Council campaign[edit]

Runte ran for Position 3 on the Seattle City Council, formerly held by Peter Steinbrueck who announced he would not run for a fourth term. Runte previously applied to fill Position 9 after it was made vacant in 2006, now held by Sally Clark.

Books by Al Runte[edit]

  • Allies of the Earth: Railroads And the Soul of Preservation. 2006. ISBN 1-931112-52-5
  • Trains of Discovery: Western Railroads and the National Parks. 1998. ISBN 1-57098-231-7
  • National Parks: The American Experience. 1997. ISBN 0-8032-8963-4
  • Yosemite: The Embattled Wilderness. 1993. ISBN 0-8032-8941-3
  • Public Lands, Public Heritage: The National Forest Idea. 1991. ISBN 0-911797-94-7
  • Burlington Northern and the dedication of Mount St. Helens: New legacy of a proud tradition. 1982.

External links[edit]