Rocky Mountain National Park, The First 100 Years

Book review and photo by Jack Olson

book cover

book cover

RMOWP member Mary Taylor Young’s latest book, Rocky Mountain National Park, The First 100 Years, has just been published, and I highly recommend it to our members. This book will inform, educate, and entertain any reader. I suppose I have been to the park hundreds of times, but I still found something new to me on almost every page. 

Mary was selected as the park’s Artist-in-Residence in 2012 and spent two weeks researching and writing in the historic William Allen White cabin, located in Moraine Park in the national park.

Her book begins with the building of the rocks which would become the park some 1.5 billion years ago and ends at the present day, with projections into the future. But as important as rocks are in a place called Rocky Mountain National Park, this book is especially involved with the people who have lived there, and work and play there. The first people in what is now the park were Paleo-Indians, coming down from the last Ice Age about 11,000 years ago. Years passed and there were Utes, Arapaho, then explorers and settlers, and finally proponents of a national park. Mary has stories of individual rangers, scientists, artists, colorful characters.

The book is full of beautiful and fascinating photographs. There are colorful images of iconic Rocky Mountain National Park scenes, but also a wonderful selection of historic black and white photography. She even has four pages covering the devastating flood in September 2013. Mary’s book concludes with concerns for the future.

Mary Taylor Young is a judge for writing submissions for the annual RMOWP contest. She also presented writing programs at the 2007 conference and inaugurated a full day writing workshop at the 2012 conference in Taos.

Mary’s book will be a valuable and welcome addition to the home library of everyone who loves the Rocky Mountains.