Apr 29, 2016

Latest issue of National Geographic all about Yellowstone

An iconic magazine is celebrating an iconic national park.

National Geographic devoted its entire May edition to Yellowstone National Park.

“Yellowstone is more than just a park. It’s a place where, more than 140 years ago, people began to negotiate a peace treaty with the wild,” writes David Quammen, the principal author of the issue.

Through powerful photographs, stories, videos and interactive online features, National Geographic offers readers an in-depth look at America’s first national park.

National Park Service employee Matt Nagel reads the newly released Yellowstone edition of National Geographic. Photo courtesy National Park Service
The May 2016 edition, “Yellowstone: America’s Wild Idea,” hit newsstands this week and it's been a hot commodity in Cody. The special issue is part of the publication's year-long series celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

Yellowstone staff worked with National Geographic for more than two years to create the edition, said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk in a Wednesday news release.

“Our goal was to illuminate how special this place is and the incredible challenges it faces today. Everyone who cares about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and its future should read this issue,” Wenk said.

National Geographic explored many of the complex issues surrounding Yellowstone: animal management, land use, tourism, wildlife restoration and animal migration.

Locals flipping through the edition may recognize Nic Patrick of Cody, who was mauled by a grizzly bear on the South Fork in 2013. In addition to a two-page photo of Patrick, National Geographic also features an online video of Patrick describing the attack.

To capture images for the special edition, six photographers spent 18 months in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

“Yellowstone, the first national park, was not founded for all the right reasons, and it was not very well thought out at the time. It has been a slow process of discovery — what could Yellowstone be, and what should Yellowstone be?” writer David Quammen told the Yellowstone Park Foundation.

Quammen of Bozeman, Montana, an award-winning author and journalist, is the only writer of the Yellowstone edition. It’s the first time in National Geographic’s 128-year history that one writer served as the single author of an entire edition, according to the Yellowstone Park Foundation.

In an interview with the foundation last week, Quammen said he’d like readers “to take away a better understanding of the national parks idea and how it has evolved.”

He referenced the famous quote by Wallace Stegner: “National parks are the best idea we ever had.”

“But a point I tried to make in this issue was that it hasn't always been a great idea; it has become great,” Quammen told the foundation. “Yellowstone, the first national park, was not founded for all the right reasons, and it was not very well thought out at the time. It has been a slow process of discovery — what could Yellowstone be, and what should Yellowstone be?”

Quammen is no stranger to Yellowstone. He has lived in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for 30 years.

The ecosystem encompasses Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park as well as forests, wildlife refuges and private lands, totaling over 22.6 million acres, according to the National Park Service.

For Quammen, the most memorable experience he had covering Yellowstone for this edition was flying over the Thorofare region — a place he had never really seen. He flew over it in a low-flying airplane, then spent eight days in the Thorofare on horseback.

“Those were two of the most wonderful experiences I had, and two of the most enlightening experiences I had because the Thorofare is a legendary corner of the ecosystem — the most remote area in the lower 48 states,” Quammen told the foundation.

The special Yellowstone issue is available where magazines are sold and online through the Yellowstone Association.

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