In September-October, 2017, John Baden conducted a series of lectures for the Montana State University Extended University Wonderlust program.  Following is the course description:

 

“Yellowstone and the Second Century of Our National Parks”

How has Yellowstone National Park survived as a national treasure that can be enjoyed by the public, yet retain its wildness? Success at striking the balance depends on the National Park Service’s management strategies. We will consider how Park management changed as scientific knowledge increased, demand for access grew, and competition for government funding intensified.


We begin with Yellowstone’s early management by the Army. Testimony of its success will come from FREE's republication of John Stoddard's book from his travels in the Park during the 1890’s (You may purchase the book at the Gallatin History Museum with all proceeds going to the museum).


Next, we will examine the success of Park leaders who tackled three major problems: feeding bears, eliminating predators, and extinguishing fires. Each of these had developed political constituencies that wise leaders successfully overcame.


Finally, we will examine emerging threats to Yellowstone and other “romance lands”. We conclude by exploring entrepreneurial conservation efforts. These include those by Yellowstone Forever and American Prairie Reserve. Might these young public charities, 501 c-3s in the tax code, equal the success envisioned by the Progressives when they created the Park Service in 1916?

 

Download the Course Outline here.