Transforming place at canyon : politics and settlement creation in Yellowstone National Park
Papineau, Diane Marie
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Between 1940 and 1970 the cultural landscape of Yellowstone National Park's Canyon development changed dramatically. The government relocated visitor services away from the rims of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone to a new development, inaugurating the National Park Service's Mission 66 redevelopment program. Replacing the 70-year-old, "organically grown," rustic settlement was a Modern, preconceived village resembling 1950s suburbia. This study examines how different generations of Yellowstone visitors have experienced two dramatically disparate and contested versions of Canyon as a park place. The old Canyon settlement was established incrementally and grew organically. It was tied to a geographic point and its pattern evolved through time. Unfortunately, the settlement was built quite close to the canyon's rim. When developments at Canyon were initiated in the 1880s, national parks represented a new responsibility for the federal government-a new type of land use. Entrepreneurial interests and visitor expectations challenged the government's ability to regulate visitor place creation. By the mid-1930s, federal park planning strategies matured and government control strengthened. Planners recognized the undesirable location of Canyon's visitor settlement. The government persuaded park concessioners to move the tourist settlement away from the canyon, motivated in part by the nation's developing preservation ethic. The Mission 66 initiative also encouraged a dramatic reworking of the Canyon area, producing much of the cultural landscape visible today. The formation and evolution of that landscape illustrates the evolving political strength and maturation of federal government stewardship in national parks.