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The Long Gilded Age
Prophets, Gurus, and Pundits
Identity in Democracy
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Murder State
The Myth of the Rational Voter
Following Oil

Protecting YellowstoneProtecting Yellowstone

Science and the Politics of National Park Management

Michael J. Yochim

Narrated by Jack Chekijian

Available from Audible

Book published by University of New Mexico Press

Yellowstone National Park looks like a pristine western landscape populated by its wild inhabitants: bison, grizzly bears, and wolves. But the bison do not always range freely, snowmobile noise intrudes upon the park’s profound winter silence, and some tourist villages are located in prime grizzly bear habitat. Despite these problems, the National Park Service has succeeded in reintroducing wolves, allowing wildfires to play their natural role in park forests, and prohibiting a gold mine that would be present in other more typical western landscapes.

Each of these issues—bison, snowmobiles, grizzly bears, wolves, fires, and the New World Mine—was the center of a recent policy-making controversy involving federal politicians, robust debate with interested stakeholders, and discussions about the relevant science. Yet, the outcomes of the controversies varied considerably, depending on politics, science, how well park managers allied themselves with external interests, and public thinking about the effects of park proposals on their access and economies. Michael Yochim examines the primary influences upon contemporary national park policy making and considers how those influences shaped or constrained the final policy. In addition, Yochim considers how park managers may best work within the contemporary policy-making context to preserve national parks.

Michael J. Yochim is a National Park Service planner currently working at Yosemite National Park.


“Few people are better situated than Mike Yochim to relate these significant episodes in policy formation from Yellowstone's recent history. These are fascinating stories, told in a compelling manner.”

—James Pritchard, author of Preserving Yellowstone's Natural Conditions: Science and the Perception of Nature

“Yellowstone is a wonderful place but as this compelling book describes, it's hardly perfect. Yochim has the analytical skills to understand the park's problems, the writing ability to explain them, and the ground-level experience to feel them. If you care about protecting Yellowstone and our other national treasures, you should read this book.”

—William R. Lowry, author of Repairing Paradise: The Restoration of Nature in America's National Parks

“If you hope to think intelligently about the complex political, social, and scientific realities of caring for Yellowstone National Park, you need to read this book.”

—Paul Schullery, author of Mountain Time and Searching for Yellowstone

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University Press Audiobooks