An environmental study of Yellowstone National Park examines its history and its current place in the world and recounts the ongoing debate over what the real purpose of the park should be
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.