Zion National Park has served as the stage set for more than twenty-five movies, including, most notably, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It is also a popular tourist destination, boasting a visitor log of more than 2.5 million every year. During the summer months, tour buses rattle their way into the park almost hourly. Sightseers crowd polished-trestle-wood and river-rock inns, buy hand-woven bags imported from Guatemala, and sip icy margaritas from the porch of an old bar with a stunning view of irrigated Mexican primroses and glowing redrock cliffs. While Zion National Park is a familiar vista to millions of day-trippers and film viewers, few ever intimately experience the unpredictable, often hostile, but always magnificent reality of this rugged frontier. Greer K. Chesher brings us the first personal and in-depth look at Zion. In striking and elegant prose, she vividly recounts experiences that only a park ranger and resident of the region for more than two decades could have. She also lucidly explains the area’s natural and geological wonders, including the dynamics of Zion’s ecology, changes to plant and animal species wrought through human technology, and what these changes mean for the future. Beyond the region’s amazing array of flora and fauna, she describes the landscape’s lasting imprint on settlers and current residents, and explains the politics that have long surrounded its protection. Award-winning photographer Michael Plyler, also a resident of the region, captures the allure of the park in spectacular images that illustrate the intimate details and geological wonder of the place. These exquisite photographs make this book a stunning pictorial as well as literary tribute to a place that is known to so many but about which so little is truly understood.
About the Author
MICHAEL PLYLER is the director of the Canyonlands Field Institute and a 15-year resident of Utah.
Table of Contents
List of Photographs ix
Introduction: The Language of Zion 3
The Many Zions 10
A Zion Story in Two Languages 20
Zion's Story 53