Winner of the Whiting Foundation Writers' Award
Award-winning nature writer Jack Turner directs his attention to one of America's greatest natural treasures: the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Comprised of two national parks, three national wildlife refuges, parts of six national forests, and eleven wilderness areas, Greater Yellowstone is a vast array of differing environments and geographies.
In a series of essays, Turner explores this wonderland, venturing on twelve separate trips in all seasons using various modes of travel: hiking, climbing, skiing, canoeing lakes, floating rivers, and driving his way across the landscape. He treks down the Teton Range, picks up the Oregon Trail in the Red Desert, and floats the South Fork of the Snake River. Along the way he encounters a variety of wildlife: moose, elk, trout, and wolves. From the treacherous mountains in the dead of winter, to lush river valleys in the height of fishing season, his words and steps trace one of the most American of experiences—exploring the West.
Turner, who has lived in Grand Teton for three decades, designates Greater Yellowstone as ground zero for the country's conflict between preservation and development. At a time when the battle to preserve a wild and natural environment is relentless, his accounts of the area's conflicts with alien species, logging, real estate, oil, and gas development are alarming.
"Bureaucrats, nature-fakers, and conservationists without a spine, watch out: Jack Turner's words will hunt your conscience down. I love this book because it is an offering of honest joy in America's first national park: an enlightened text for an enlightened land."—Terry Tempest Williams, author of Finding Beauty in a Broken World
"There have been legendary Indians, mountain men, and mystics, but the West has never been loved by a greater poet-warrior than Jack Turner."—John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace USA
"The essays are controversial, but part observation, part history, part rant, they are all worth reading."—The Denver Post
"Nature writer and wilderness guide Turner, a habitué of Yellowstone National Park and environs for half a century, marvels at the place. Greater Yellowstone houses the tallest peaks in Wyoming and Montana, the headwaters of three of the country's largest rivers, the ‘largest glaciated region in the contiguous states' and a lot of bears, elk, mountain lions, wolves, bison and other assorted critters. It is also immense, taking in some 18 million acres, which, Turner notes, is just about the size of the state of West Virginia. Yet, he argues, it could stand to be bigger, at least by protecting corridors to the north and south that permit the free movement of migratory animals that don't know the difference between the private and the public domains. The park's antelope, for instance, migrate 200 miles south in cold weather, while one radio-collared wolverine ‘traveled hundreds of miles through national parks, national forests, BLM land, and private property.' But civilization is increasingly coming to Yellowstone, hemming it in with vacation homes and resorts, ‘replete with Ivy League cowboys, Hummers, and log mansions.' Turner climbs the highest peaks and ventures out into the loneliest, most bear-haunted valleys to get a good look at Yellowstone before it . . . well, not exactly disappears, but becomes something other than what it is, thanks to the current mania for development. He is plain-spoken in his detestations: ‘Saudi Arabia is butt-ugly from energy development. Do you want the Yellowstone country to look that way? I don't.' (Don't even get him started on snowmobiles.) He is just as plain-spoken with respect to his enthusiasms, from fly-fishing on the cheap to wandering without a plan through untraveled territory to hanging out with the grizzlies. Champions of Yellowstone and the truly wild West already know Turner's work. This one merits a wide audience, particularly in the Department of the Interior."—Kirkus Reviews
Reviews from Goodreads
Travels in the Greater Yellowstone
1. The View from Blacktail Butte
Your love of spring is proportional to the depth of your winter. My wife, Dana, and I live with our Australian shepherd, Rio, at the base of the Teton Range,...