National Geographic : 2016 Jan
FROM THE EDITOR For the People’s Benefit National Parks PHOTO: MICHAEL NICHOLS, NGM STAFF Susan Goldberg, Editor in Chief With her husband, Geoffrey Etnire, Susan Goldberg visited geysers and other natural won- ders in Yellowstone. After 55 years of travel across the country and around the world, last year I finally made it to one of America’s iconic places—Yellowstone, the first national park and the ideal of what protected lands should be for sheer grandeur, conservation, and outreach. Why did I wait so long? The inscription on the Roosevelt Arch, at Yellowstone’s north entrance, is a quote from the act that created the park in 1872: “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People.” Those words ring true today. Joining a half dozen National Geographic photographers assigned to shoot the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem from the Grand Tetons in Wyoming to its northern border in Montana, my husband and I canoed tranquil rivers searching for otters. We hiked a landscape alive with burbling pools and spouting geysers. We spotted wolves, eagles, and bison. We returned to our “real” lives renewed, grateful for the time, the quiet, the beauty—and more mindful than ever of the urgent need to preserve these lands and animals. That urgency informs and inspires this issue. It celebrates the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and kicks off our yearlong exploration of what writer and environmentalist Wallace Stegner called “the best idea we ever had.” National Geographic and the parks share a rich his- tory, beginning with the magazine’s founding in 1888. Perhaps the most significant event in that history was a two-week trip into the Sierra Nevada that Gilbert H. Grosvenor, the mag- azine’s longtime editor, took with the industrialist-outdoorsman Stephen Mather. Devoting the entire April 1916 issue to what he had seen, Grosvenor exhorted readers to cherish the richness of wilderness and support an agen- cy to preserve and manage it. Then he went one step further, sending a copy of that “Land of the Best” issue to each member of Congress. The federal law establishing the National Park Service passed almost five months later. In this centennial year National Geographic will examine the state of the 408 U.S. national parks as well as parks around the globe. With unmatched photography, historical expertise, and robust digital storytelling, we’ll look at everything from parks threatened by development and climate change to whether Millennials will unplug long enough to connect with nature. And in May we’ll devote a special issue entirely to Yellowstone. We hope you enjoy our parks stories, in this issue and all year. Thank you for reading National Geographic.