Pleasure ground for the future : the evolving cultural landscape of Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park 1870-1966
Youngs, Yolonda Lucille.
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Yellowstone Lake is located in the protected federal lands of Yellowstone National Park. This park is situated in the Rocky Mountains and its boundaries reach into the tri-state areas of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. While many researchers have investigated the history and geography of Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone Lake has been largely ignored as a topic of research. In order to reconstruct the evolution of Yellowstone Lake as a cultural landscape, this study focuses on Yellowstone Lake temporally and spatially as an important and central area of Yellowstone National Park. This study suggests that Yellowstone Lake's large and diverse physical geography produces diverse natural environments, cultural landscapes, and national park experiences. The results of this study show that through a combination of concessionaire investment, government management, and visitor demand, the cultural landscape of Yellowstone Lake has changed dramatically over time. This change is depicted through a verbal and cartographic description of Yellowstone Lake's cultural landscape evolution from 1870 to 1966. The verbal description is accompanied by a series of maps reflecting significant changes in the lake's cultural landscape.This research also provides a useful template and methodology for other historical geographers researching national park cultural landscapes. The archival research component to this project involved gathering data from Yellowstone National Park superintendent reports, development files, concessionaire files, historic maps, guidebooks, correspondence, and historic photography. By developing a set of methods that used a combination of data sources (aerial photographs, historic maps, guidebook descriptions, historic photographs, and field-based observations), conflicting and sometimes inconsistent written archival records could be reconciled and an accurate description of the lake emerged. This study raises questions about the role Yellowstone Lake plays in the larger identity of Yellowstone National Park. The results of this study will be useful for future national park management and development professionals. A better understanding of Yellowstone Lake's historic cultural landscapes will aid these professionals in making decisions about cultural resource preservation, recreation, and historic preservation. In addition, this study may help national park managers and concessionaires to develop better cultural landscape interpretation for Yellowstone National Park and Yellowstone Lake.