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photograph from Nature story

(before 2003)

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Alsten Chase wrote a book about Yellowstone National Park. He is worried about the damage that fires can do to the park. He is also concerned about the park rules.

These rules say that nature should decide what happens to the park. Alsten writes that the elk herd has grown too big. The elk walk on the riverbanks. They eat the new grass and roots of baby trees. The beavers need the trees to build dams.

The dams raise the water levels. Higher water levels put more water into the soil. Moist soil helps plants grow faster. The plants offer homes and food to other animals.

Chase thinks that the park rules would work only in a park with natural settings. He believes that Yellowstone has had an artificial setting for a long time. The native people left long ago. The wolves were taken away and other animals were removed. Some areas were fenced off and other animals were added.

He thinks that rules that let herds grow too big and let fires burn are hurting the nature of the park.

The park manager thinks the rules are good and the park will be fine. Chase thinks the way the people run the park should be changed.

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