Playing God In Yellowstone

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Chase asserts that Yellowstone is being destroyed by the very people assigned to protect it: the National Park Service. Named as one of “ten books that mattered” in the 1980s by Outside magazine and a book of continuing crucial relevance. Index; map.

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Chase asserts that Yellowstone is being destroyed by the very people assigned to protect it: the National Park Service. Named as one of “ten books that mattered” in the 1980s by Outside magazine and a book of continuing crucial relevance. Index; map.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Beavers have disappeared; their prime food, aspen and willow, have drastically declined. Cougars, bobcats and wolves are no longer here, victims of predator control from earlier times. Deer, moose and bighorn sheep are scarce; black bears are seldom seen by visitors, and the grizzly is threatened with extinction. Meanwhile, bison and elk flourish, to the detriment of rangeland. Wildlife management in Yellowstone has been under fire for decades. Chase reviews the park's history and examines vacillating policies and political pressures that affect the park's management. Attracting visitors is the overriding priority, he finds; their safety is the guiding philosophy, and rangers are mere policemen. Chase tells the story of Grant Village, a development sited in prime grizzly habitat; he discusses the friction between rangers and naturalists, the exclusion of university biologists (though geologists are welcome). Current wildlife policy stresses the ``intact ecosystem'' i.e., no interference with nature; consequently, bison infected with brucellosis, sheep with ``pink-eye'' go untreated and stranded animals are left ot die. This policy is supported by major environmental groups. Chase, who heads an education program at Yellowstone, has written an explosive study. First serial to the Atlantic and Outside magazine. (March 24)
Library Journal
Chase argues convincingly that Yellowstone National Park is slowly being destroyed. He details how the Park Service's preservationist policies have driven most of the native wildlife from the park, while allowing some animals to propagate far beyond the land's capacity to sustain them. He meticulously documents his charges, showing how easily science can be subverted by politics and ideology. Surprisingly, environmentalists are implicated in the destruction. Chase critiques, with devastating effect, the multitude of organizations that have made a religion of protecting the environment, while ignoring the fundamental question of man's place in nature. A challenging, compellingly readable account. Highly recommended. Randy Dykhuis, Grace A. Dow Memorial Lib., Midland, Mich.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156720366
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 12/17/1987
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 484
  • Sales rank: 800,254
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2006

    A Book for Rabid Ecologist

    Playing God in Yellowstone is a well-informed and well-researched book about the history of the park. In fact it was so well informed and researched that I wanted to puke at times. It follows the development of the parks animals and goes into the miniscule details of their ecosystems. The book is chock full of science and biology for those hardcore ecologist out there. So on one side of the book you get science on the other side you get politics. It also follows the arguments and media portrayals of The Park Service, Forest Service, and The Federal Government in their attempts to manage the park. It goes through all the arguments and blame games in-between these organizations for the past hundred years of their existence. The larger argument that the book revolves on is the so called stupidity of these organizations to have a ¿hands off approach¿ to the park which nearly ended in its complete destruction. This is a wonderful book for the often-misinformed tree huggers in that it might actually inform them of how nature actually works. But it is also an ideal book for the rabid ecologists who cant get enough of ¿The Floral of the West¿. But if you don¿t find yourself in either of these categories then your asking for a world of confusion by picking up this book.

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