Sacred Wonderland: The History of Religion in Yellowstone, forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press as part of their America’s Public Lands series, tells the story of religion in Yellowstone National Park. It traces the religious dimensions of the meanings, purposes, and popularity of Yellowstone as the nation’s premier national park.

Since its beginning in 1872, Yellowstone National Park has been a repository of meanings and aspirations for the people of the US, an alluring destination with significance beyond its stunning mountain scenery, abundant wildlife, and the world’s largest collection of geysers, hot springs, and other thermal features. Deemed “America’s wonderland” by nineteenth-century railroad promoters, Yellowstone’s significance has made it a place of religion that mirrors the religious culture of the United States.

The book treats the various religious elements of Yellowstone with chapters arranged in chronological order, focusing each chapter on a particular element of the park’s religious history. The story begins in the nineteenth century as the young nation discovered “the nakedness of our sleeping Yellowstone Beauty” in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains and goes into the twenty-first century with an unconventional church community adjacent to the park’s northwest boundary.