Abbey attended college in New Mexico, and then worked as a park ranger and fire lookout for the National Park Service in the Southwest. It was during this time that he developed the relationship with the area's environment that influenced his writing. During his service, he was in close proximity to the ruins of ancient Native American cultures and saw the expansion and destruction of modern civilization. His love for nature and extreme distrust of the industrial world influenced much of his work and helped garner a cult following.Edward Abbey died on March 14, 1989 due to complications from surgery. He was buried as he had requested: in a sleeping bag - no embalming fluid, no casket. His body was secretly interred in an unmarked grave in southern Arizona.