Judith L Meyer* - Missouri State University
Yellowstone National Park is famous for the diversity of its natural ecosystems, and much time and money has been spent over the past century managing, restoring, and protecting various elements of that diversity. The reintroduction of wolves to the Greater Yellowstone is only one of the park's most recent accomplishments in that regard. When considering Yellowstone's demographic diversity, however, a different picture emerges, and it is one that reflects the demographics of the large, western national parks more generally: predominantly white, upper middle class, and older and more educated than the average US population. This paper suggests that Yellowstone's historical record provides evidence of a remarkably diverse human presence in the park, but only if one considers a broader definition of diversity, one less dependent upon ethnicity. Evidence in the form of archival materials such as diaries, photo albums, and employment records as well as published books, newspaper articles, and photographs reveal a diversity of age groups, income levels, educational backgrounds, gender roles, and motivation for visiting the park. As the US national parks try to make themselves relevant to a new, more diverse public, it may be that revealing links between the new public and their historical counterparts is one way to address that gap.