Rocky Mountain National Park: The First 100 Years
Though Rocky Mountain National Park doesn't mark its centennial until next year, there's no reason you can't celebrate now with a book that looks back over those 100 years.
In Rocky Mountain National Park: The First 100 Years, Mary Taylor Young has crafted a wonderful story through lively writing paired with wonderful photographs from yesterday as well as present-day. Though presented in a coffee-table size (10.5 inches by 12 inches), this book isn't simply to admire from afar. With a century of historical material to work with, Ms. Young has fashioned a narrative that is part history lesson and part love story between this park and those who have come to know it.
There's even a measure of geology rightfully tossed in; after all, it's the mountains that scrape the sky that were the justification for this national park. And that geology is presented with a naturalist's vernacular:
If geologic time could be speeded up, the formation of Rocky Mountain National Park would play out in a grand spectacle. Crashing tectonic plates, mountains thrusting upward miles into the air, seas flooding the land and then receding. Spouting volcanoes, flows of lava, fields of ash. Rivers of ice locking the land in a cold embrace, carving the faces of mountain peaks, gouging out valleys, directing rivers, piling great mountains of debris. The shape and form and composition of the land changed again and again.
Geology is followed by archaeology, and that in turn by modern history: the rise of the national park long visioned by Enos Mills.
Though the 176-page book is laid out chronologically, there's no reason not to jump around depending on your mood or subject choice.
Turn to Chapter 13 and you'll learn about the early photographers and artists drawn by the park's immense grandeur.
Chapter 11 recounts the struggle to balance Rocky Mountain's wild side with the tourists. Here Ms. Taylor recounts the park's ever-present struggles with elk, going from "fewer than a dozen elk left in the Estes Park area" in 1912 to a burgeoning herd approaching 3,500 animals that summered in the park in 2002.
Chapter 15, the final chapter, looks into the future and the challenges the 21st century will lay at the park's doorstep. Will there be too many visitors for the park? How is airborne pollution impacting Rocky Mountain? What will climate change do to the landscape?
Richly illustrating this book are beautiful present-day photographs from Erik Stensland and Glenn Randall, as well as present-day and historic photos from the National Park Service archives.
This is a book for Rocky Mountain National Park lovers, those who can't stand leaving the park behind when they end their vacations.
Celebrate Rocky's centennial with Rocky Mountain National Park: The First 100 Years. Award-winning author Mary Taylor Young tells a story that stretches from the dawn of time into the future. Journey back to witness the rise, fall, and rise again of mountains. Meet ancient people who built rock game drives still visible atop Trail Ridge, and Utes and Arapaho who left behind only their names for many Park features. Discover explorers lured by the mountains' call, and adventurers consumed with conquering Longs Peak's soaring summit. Find out why life in the Park's lush valleys forced settlers like Joel and Patsey Estes and Abner and Alberta Sprague to turn from ranching to tourism. And how a young man named Enos Mills became a passionate advocate for this mountain wonderland and devoted his life to preserving it as a national park. Meet engineers sculpting Trail Ridge Road and CCC crews building trails, intrepid rangers rescuing lost hikers and researchers preserving the fragile tundra. Learn how the Park's elk were nearly wiped out, then restored to become one of America's premier wildlife sights. Relive the visits of millions of Americans, blessed with 'money, kids, and cars,' who flocked to this beloved national park through the 20th century, forming lifelong attachments to this special place. Discover how a changing climate may greatly alter Rocky in its next 100 years. Rocky Mountain National Park: The First 100 Years braids these stories and more into one grand tale, exquisitely illustrated with more than 250 historical and landscape images, including photographs by William Henry Jackson, John Fielder, and Erik Stensland, and paintings by Charles Partridge Adams and Birger Sandzén.