This book chronicles the evolution of the American land ethic, beginning in 18th century Europe, through the 1800s, culminating with the creation of the national park service in 1916. An epilogue brings the story up to the present and features the work of celebrated photographer Ansel Adams. The story of the birth of our national parks is a unique story of America. Through compelling text rich with stunning photographs, maps, and paintings - many never seen before - this volume presents it as never before shown. Venture into Yellowstone in 1806 with John Colter, America's first mountain man, to discover an other world of seething mudpots and geysers. Half a century later, walk with young artist Thomas Moran, whose stunning landscapes of Yellowstone compelled Congress to deem it the first national park. Then follow Moran's career as artist-advocate of many parklands from the Tetons to Canyonlands. Dory the Grand Canyon rapids with John Wesley Powell, the one-armed Civil War officer who first mapped the gorge. Wonder at the stories of the people for whom Havasu Falls is named, and of those whose spirits haunt Mesa Verde.Gaze upon the stunning paintings of Yosemite by Albert Bierstadt and the early photographs of William Henry Jackson and Andrew Joseph Russell. Discover how our national parks have played a part, through war and peace, in buoying the American spirit.