GRANITE PEAK PUBLICATIONS: Accompanying travelers to the national park since 2002

The Official Guide to Yellowstone

As a guidebook publisher, I try to keep up with what books come out that help people enjoy and learn about Yellowstone. So, when there’s a new guidebook announced, I always take a good look at it—maybe even buy it.

This past February [2012] the famous Michelin tire and guide company threw their hat in the ring with The Yellowstone Park Foundation’s Official Guide to Yellowstone National Park, partnering with the Yellowstone Park Foundation. They’ve produced a slim and lightweight book that would fit nicely in many pockets, with quite a few colored pictures borrowed from the National Park Service and the YPF itself. The only maps are in the fold-out front and back covers and show the seven regions they’ve divided the park into and the road system, with stars for a few recommended features and areas. A nice touch in this book is the “Insider Tips” by several park experts.

But ironically this is not the only “official” guide you can buy today. The other appeared first in 1997 and is a large format (magazine-size) book, which I notice grows thicker with each new edition. Called Yellowstone: The Official Guide to Touring America’s First National Park, this one also divides our large park into seven areas. It’s published by the Yellowstone Association, another of the non-profit organizations centered on Yellowstone. It has sectional maps showing facilities and interesting features in several different regions. The large colored pictures will delight many.

Both of these guides are good contributions to Yellowstone bookshelves. Still, I cannot help but be amused at the word “official” in both guides’ titles. My dictionary gives “authorized” as a major synonym for “official,” but I fail to find in either guide by whom or what agency they were authorized. Should Yellowstone Treasures also seek to become “official”?

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