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Searching for Yellowstone: Ecology and Wonder in the Last Wilderness Hardcover – July 2, 1997
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In 1997 Yellowstone celebrated its 125th anniversary as a national park, the keystone in the federal system of reserved and protected places. The celebration was somewhat marred by debates over wolf reintroduction, road improvement, resort building, and "bioprospecting," the search for economically useful plant materials. Paul Schullery, a longtime resident and student of the park, tells us that such debates are not new. In his deeply personal yet sweeping history of Yellowstone, he shows that the place known from the start as "Wonderland" has always been the subject of pro- and anti-development forces, has always been seen through sometimes bitterly contrasting points of view. With balance and grace, Schullery weaves his narrative through countless such arguments, noting that "Today's parks, for all the press of humanity lined up to get in, still seem short of friends, or at least lacking in just the right combination of friends to ensure adequate budgets and reasonable protection." His fine book may help widen Yellowstone's circle of champions.
From Library Journal
For its 125th birthday, Schullery (former ranger-naturalist, park historian, and chief of cultural resources at Yellowstone National Park) offers an environmental history of the world's first national park. From its geological birth, through the experiences of humans who have traversed the area for hundreds of years, to contemporary questions of bear management, elk herd reduction, and the reintroduction of wolves, the history of Yellowstone is not simple?and neither is humankind's quest for its meaning. By reviewing, condensing, and analyzing past and current literature and offering his personal insights, Schullery describes the ever-changing process that is its essence. Readable and tightly organized, this book fills a long-empty niche: a one-volume history of Yellowstone?America's best idea. Recommended for all libraries.?Patricia Owens, Wabash Valley Coll., Mt. Carmel, Ill.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The most striking characteristic of this book, in comparison with others, is how remarkably even-handed it is. Schullery takes controversial issues such as fire management, elk shooting, wolf reintroduction, and brucellosis-infected bison and presents them in an even-handed way, sympathetic to both sides. He recognizes that most people go to Yellowstone to see Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon, eat, and go shopping; that's not what he likes to do, but he isn't critical. Yet, somehow, he manages to cock an eyebrow here and there and make you rethink a position that you had previously held quite firmly.
This would be a great book to read before a visit to Yellowstone, or as something to put in your pack while you're there. Highly recommended.
On my fourth trip to Yellowstone this last month I read Searching for Yellowstone during my five days in the park. The book is well-written, flows nicely, and is very well researched (skim the 55 pages of notes and references at the end for an idea). Schullery takes on the big questions (Elk, forest fires, who found the park, native uses, and what the park is supposed to mean). He truly allows us to "search for Yellowstone". While reading, wandering through the geysers and hiking the hills, I used his text to understand what this park has come to mean and what it should mean in the future. I think his whole section on what buildings should be preserved puts a lot of the controversy in context. Really? Preserve the strip mall at Canyon?
"Historically, the educational metaphor most commonly applied to Yellowstone has been that of a great outdoor laboratory in which the workings of nature are exposed for our study and edification. In fact Yellowstone has become a sort of university, where we are the students and the landscape is the faculty and where an amazing array of human interests are tested."
Paul's book is the perfect guide for exploring Yellowstone a little deeper.