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Zion National Park Administrative History

Famously dubbed “America’s best idea” by Wallace Stegner and numerous promoters after him, national parks fill a vital role in the American imagination, acting as canvases for American conceptions of wilderness, recreation, and the nature of America itself. “Nature tells you something about the republic’s birth and development, pain and sorrow ideals and enduring promise,” historian Mark Fiege reminds us. Parklands have held a prominent place in the drama of American nationhood since Congress created Yellowstone in 1872. Out of a total population of approximately 322 million, National Park Service sites drew 307 million visitors in 2015. Zion National Park played a significant part, attracting 3.68 million visitors, making it the sixth most visited park in the country. The Zion National Park Administrative History is a dissertation-length scholarly project, a fusion of academic and public history seating Zion's creation and development in the wider contexts of environmental history, Western history and the history of recreation and tourism while providing the National Park Service with a practical guide to Zion’s history for daily administrative use.

Last Updated: 6/22/21