A Week in Yellowstone’s Thorofare
Michael J. Yochim
The remotest place in the country, outside of Alaska, is a region in Yellowstone National Park ironically named the Thorofare for its historic role as a route traversed by fur trappers. A Week in Yellowstone’s Thorofare is a history and celebration of this wild place, set within a week-long expedition that the author took with three friends in 2014.
Drawing on first-person accounts of rangers who have patrolled the area, archival documents, and Michael Yochim’s personal experiences over almost three decades, A Week in Yellowstone’s Thorofare distinguishes between the notions of wildness and wilderness. It argues that wildness is the most precious, and easily lost, attribute of wilderness.
Recognizing both the value and the fragility of that wildness, the rangers who manage the Thorofare have endeavored through many eras to preserve it. This book chronicles some of the struggles through which it has remained protected for visitors today. Yochim offers poignant insight into the passions that motivate those who manage, defend, and journey through the Thorofare. His story demonstrates the importance of wild places to the human experience. Part history, memoir, travelogue, natural history, and reflection, the book will appeal to readers interested in preservation, the wilderness movement, the history of National Parks, or the natural treasures of Yellowstone.
About the author
Michael J. Yochim worked in Yellowstone National Park for over two decades, and for five years in Yosemite. A planner for the National Park Service, he researched the parks’ histories and drafted management plans to resolve ongoing controversies. Drawing on his experiences and his doctorate in geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Yochim authored several articles and two books about NPS policy-making: Protecting Yellowstone and Yellowstone and the Snowmobile. An avid hiker, he walked all 1200 miles of Yellowstone’s trails and most of those in Yosemite and several other national parks. He retired in 2014 and now lives in Missouri.
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"[Yochim's] story demonstrates the importance of wild places for touching and understanding a fundamental part of the human experience. Part history, memoir, travelogue, natural history, and reflection, the book will appeal to readers interested in preservation, the wilderness movement, the history of National Parks, or the natural treasures of Yellowstone."
Jeff Pappas, National Parks Traveler
"While heartbreaking, Yochim's story strikes deep in that profoundly human part of the soul that connects us with nature and our own fleeting mortality."
Amy Klarup, Eugene Weekly