Rev. Edwin J. Stanley’s 1873 tour of Yellowstone made him a witness to “the scepter of the irrepressible white man” in the divine right of Manifest Destiny.
The “best idea” of creating national parks involved eradicating the previous meanings and uses of these places that had sustained indigenous cultures for centuries.
Tracing the historical origins of the national park idea can be frustrating. In truth, no single individual can take credit for the idea of national parks.
Montana’s leading citizens sought to civilize Yellowstone by claiming it as a park, not a wild and dangerous land but a place of democratic enjoyment and wonder for generations to come.
Nathaniel P. Langford and other members of the 1870 Washburn-Doane expedition “Columbused” Yellowstone by “discovering” it as a “park.”
Devil’s Slide north of Yellowstone National Park has unsettled the religious imaginations of visitors since the nineteenth century.
Warren Angus Ferris visited Yellowstone in 1834 as the first tourist to experience the thermal features, and the first person known to use the Icelandic word “geyser” to describe them.
As the parks go, so goes the future of the earth. The sad state of national parks predicts an ominous outlook for the earth and the communities that rely on it.
If your looking to explore national parks, the National Park Service’s “Electronic Resources” page is a good place to start.
Horace Albright’s legacy enjoys high esteem, but many of the precedents he set for the National Park Service have contributed to problems that parks now face.