Yolonda Youngs, Ph.D.* - Idaho State University
Tourism is more than a set a pretty sights, a collection of photographs, or the activities of a summer vacation. It is a series of experiences—planned, lived, shared, and remembered—that informs our perceptions of the world around us both near and far. To reach their destinations, tourists climb aboard trains, planes, automobiles, boats, and buses. Each of these modes of transportation requires the alteration of terrain and the creation of new networks of movement as railroad tracks are laid, roads built, and air routes are defined. Tourism is an intellectual odyssey as well; travelers encounter new environments that may challenge their preconceived notions of beauty, grandeur, or wilderness. This paper presentation explores the powerful role of mobility and leisure travel in the shaping of landscapes across North America from the 1880s to the contemporary scene with an emphasis on changing modes of travel, shifting ideas about leisure and recreation, and environmental perception. In addition, this paper highlights the contributions of historical geographers to this field through their emphasis on spatial relationships, regional identities, cultural landscape evolution, iconic imagery in place making, and the changing dynamics of human-environment interactions.