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Yellowstone National Park: Is It Really Wild?

© Michael Nichols/National Geographic Yellowstone National Park. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River from Artist Point.
Cover May 2016 National Geographic Magazine

The May 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine is devoted entirely to America's first national park: Yellowstone. It's more than just a park. It's a place where, 140 years ago, we began to negotiate a peace treaty with the wild. David Quammen tells the story of the park in a four-part essay. He is the only author to write the entire narrative for an entire issue of National Geographic Magazine.

Yellowstone National Park: America’s Wild Idea. These stories and pictures of Yellowstone National Park's animals will surprise you.

The year 2016 is the centennial of the U.S. National Park Service.  In observance of that landmark, National Geographic Magazine is publishing a series of articles on national parks and the park idea throughout the year, and one very special issue—the issue for May 2016—devoted entirely to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

From David Quammen's Web site:  "Enormous resources have been devoted to this project, including a whole team of photographers; a single writer, me, was assigned to write the entire main text of the issue, a continuous essay of 15,000 words.  (The sidebars and captions are by my friend and colleague, longtime reporter on Yellowstone-area matters, Todd Wilkinson.)  Assigning the main text to one writer was an extraordinary act of trust on the part of Chris Johns, Editor-in-Chief at the time the project was conceived, and Susan Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief now, has affirmed that trust.  It was also a great opportunity for me, giving me access to remote parts of the ecosystem, in company with park biologists and other experts, that I had never before seen."

The May 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine is online, as well as available at newsstands.

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David Quammen, photo credit: Lynn Donaldson

David Quammen is an author and journalist whose books include The Song of the Dodo (1996), The Reluctant Mr. Darwin (2006), and  Spillover (2012), a work on the science, history, and human impacts of emerging diseases (especially viral diseases), which was short-listed for eight national and international awards and won three.  More recently he has released two short books drawn from Spillover and updated to stand alone: Ebola (2014) and The Chimp and the River (2015). In the past thirty years he has also published a few hundred pieces of short nonfiction—feature articles, essays, columns—in magazines such as Harper’s, National Geographic, Outside, Esquire, The Atlantic, Powder, and Rolling Stone.  He writes occasional Op Eds for The New York Times and reviews for The New York Times Book Review.  Quammen has been honored with an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and is a three-time recipient of the National Magazine Award.  He is a Contributing Writer for National Geographic, in whose service he travels often, usually to wild and remote places.  Home is Bozeman, Montana.

Chérie Newman is an arts and humanities producer and on-air host for Montana Public Radio, and a freelance writer. Her weekly literary program, The Write Question, is broadcast on several public radio stations, and available online at and
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