Regional books: “Continental Divide Trail,” “Bear Ears” and more

“The Continental Divide Trail:  Exploring America’s Ridgeline Trail,” by Barney Scout Mann  (Rizzoli)

What makes America great is not its constitution nor its entrepreneurial spirit, writes Pulitzer Prize-winning author Nicholas Kristof in his introduction to “The Continental Divide Trail. ”  & & ldquo;Another element of American exceptionalism is that the attractiveness and sweep of our public lands. ”

That’s evident at a Variety of Christmas books about the West.

Even the Continental Divide has fascinated Americans since the pioneers, who watched it — such as the Mississippi and Missouri rivers — as a means of separating East from West.

It was not until 1978, however, that Congress designated it . In 2015, photographer Barney Scout Mann hiked the trail, photographing the people the property, the wildlife and flowers. The result is a spectacular book showing the grandeur and diversity of the Great Divide.

“Bears Ears: Views From a Sacred Land,” by Stephen E. Strom (George F. Thompson Publishing)

At the conclusion of his administration, President Barack Obama advised Bears Ears as a national monument.  Some 1.35 million acres of jungle in Utah were secure for future generations. Then, just months later, President Donald Trump, affected by politicians and developers, reduced the acreage to 160,000 acres, by some 85 per cent.

Many others and environmentalists were angry, also “Bears Ears:  Views From a Sacred Land” shows why.  The soil that is pristine is a swath of mesa and desert, colored in peach and vermilion and gold.  George F. Thompson’s photographs, many of them long and lean like the property itself, reveal a dull and wild place.  The lonely landscapes exemplify the nature of the area, with the evidence of man a couple of pictographs.  Is a haunting wonder here that development will ruin.

“Visions of the Tallgrass,” photographs by Harvey Payne, essays by James P. Ronda (University of Oklahoma Press)

The swath of America used to be grassland.  No more.  The prairie bulldozed such as houses and was plowed for tanks.  Oklahoma’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is a reminder of that which the Great Plains looked like before the white man came along.

“Visions of the Tallgrass” shows the land ancient in images and words.  The huge openness of the preserve provides “a sensation of being lost in space,” composes essayist James P. Ronda. There is not just the land and the wildlife but the skies.  “Day or night that the skies can be an open book. ”

Harvey Payne’s photographs show both the vastness and the proximity of the Great Plains, together with images of lonely prairie as well as buffalo, antelope and reddish stalks of grass.

“Cowboys Don’t Do Lunch,” by Herb Cohen (Goff Books)

This publication isn’t all on the scene as much as the men who were once players at the landscape. Herb Cohen photographed the aging cowboys across Cave Creek, Ariz., at the previous portion of the 20th century.  Inspired by the work of Ansel Adams, Cohen seized these Arizona veterans of a bygone age.

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His black-and-white portraits reveal grizzled cowboys (and several Indians), white-bearded along with rheumy-eyed, their hands gnarled and liver-spotted.  There are photographs of men and a few arenas as wel, however it is the old-timers looking to the camera that capture a long-gone method of life.

“Wild Migrations: Atlas of Wyoming’s Ungulates,” by Matthew J. Kauffman and others (Oregon State University Press)

First of ungulates are hoofed mammals: moose, elk, deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, bison and mountain goats.  Each springthey migrate in the Plains into the country to feed the rich grasses.  With the advent of fallthey retrace their steps to their winter range.

These creature journeys’ study is part of an emerging field called “rdquo, & movement ecology; writes Annie Proulx at a foreword.  So “Wild Migrations” is not a picture book of Wyoming’s hoofed wildlife.  It’s a study of this field, clarified with drawings, graphs, maps and photos.

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