Wonderlandscape: Yellowstone National Park And The Evolution Of An American Cultural Icon

Oct 24, 2017

As the National Park system enters its second century, the meaning of the national parks—and Yellowstone as the system’s flagship—is again central to our culture. Wonderlandscape shows the changes in Yellowstone’s heritage, and how it will continue to transform and evolve for generations to come.

A rich blend of history and nature writing that reveals Yellowstone’s evolving significance through the stories of ten fascinating characters.

As America's premier national park, Yellowstone today stands for wilderness, ecological science, and natural beauty. But those associations, and others, have evolved since the park’s founding in 1872.  Evocatively written and masterfully researched, Wonderlandscape presents a new perspective on Yellowstone, examining how the emotions evoked by its natural wonders explain the park's relationship to America as a whole.

Whether it is artists like Thomas Moran and Ansel Adams, naturalists, entrepreneurs, or a pop-culture icon like Yogi Bear, Clayton shows how these characters in the story of Yellowstone reflects and redefines the park for their own era. When Ernest Thompson Seton first observed bears from a garbage pit in 1897, his adventures highlighted the way the park was then transforming from a set of geological oddities to a wildlife sanctuary, mirroring the nation’s newfound concerns about disappearing populations of bison and other species.

Subsequent eras added democratic patriotism, ecosystem science, and spiritual inspiration as core hallmarks of the park. Whether it is an unpeopled wilderness, a setting that allows for displays of Rooseveltian masculinity, or a family funhouse, Yellowstone boasts diverse wonders that continually meet our nation’s changing needs.

As the National Park system enters its second century, the meaning of the national parks—and Yellowstone as the system’s flagship—is again central to our culture. Wonderlandscape shows the changes in Yellowstone’s heritage, and how it will continue to transform and evolve for generations to come.

About the Author:

John Clayton is the author of The Cowboy Girl: The Life of Caroline Lockhart, which was a finalist for a High Plains Book Award, as well as Small Town Bound, Stories from Montana’s Enduring Frontier, and Images of America: Red Lodge. Clayton writes for The Montana Quarterly and other popular and business publications. A regular speaker at the Montana Book Festival, Clayton lives in Montana on the outskirts of Yellowstone, where for 27 years he has explored the park in all seasons. For more information about the book, visit

http://www.johnclaytonbooks.com/wonderlandscape

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