It is interesting and significant that this book, telling the story of man in the area of our oldest National Park, should be available soon after a season of record-breaking public use of the area. During the travel year 1948, one million thirty-one thousand five hundred and thirty-one people visited Yellowstone National Park.
The discoverer of The Yellowstone Country early in the nineteenth century, and re-discoverers through the years prior to 1872, as well as all visitors to the Park before the advent of modern highways and automobiles probably gave no thought to the reality and problems of a million visitors a year.
Dr. Beal’s well documented and carefully prepared book brings us through the history of man in a wilderness, through that period of history before annual visitation of a million visitors in that wilderness. Readers will find the story of the before-one-million-visitors-years most interesting. It is a period, especially since the establishment of the National Park in 1872, in which we as a nation were experimenting for the most part in wilderness preservation and, at the same time, encouraging its use. Dr. Beal’s book covers a period in U.S. history when shameful exploitation of natural resources was common practice. The preservation of The Yellowstone Country as a National Park is an action during the period of exploitation, an action of which we can all be proud. The story of man in Yellowstone is a fascinating one. It can also be a challenge to everyone to assume responsibility in continued preservation of Yellowstone National Park so that future generations may benefit from all of the things that unimpaired natural areas can offer by way of recreation, education, and inspiration.