Philippa Forrester, the UK broadcaster, spent over a year in the greater Yellowstone area with her film cameramen husband and their school-aged children. This book chronicles her encounters with wildlife and with Americans.
I’ve been to Yellowstone twice and seen Grey Wolves there both times (and Grizzlies and Black Bears and a bunch of other wildlife) and I have very fond memories of the place, its scenery, its geysers and its wildlife. But then, I wasn’t living there and the wildlife wasn’t eating my cattle.
This is a sensitive description of the place, the people and the issues and I very much enjoyed reading it. It is particularly rich in stories, conversations, from local residents about the wildlife around them, in their backyards and in their fields.
There are real conflicts here between nature and ranching and different people will come to different conclusions. I would be very sad if Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks lost their Grey Wolves again – and there is little chance that they will – but what do we do about a growing population of cattle-eating Grey Wolves spilling out of protected areas into ranchland? Anything? Nothing? What? This book doesn’t have the answers but it poses the dilemmas in a more human and less black-and-white way than many.
And it’s a good read; conversations with Americans that don’t quite work (despite a common, on the face of it) language, the school run with its bears and grouse and simply living in a remote place far from friends and family. It’s a thoroughly engaging narrative.
On the Trail of Wolves: A British adventure in the Wild West by Philippa Forrester is published by Bloomsbury (on 14 May – Thursday this week).