BEHIND THE BOOK

A CONVERSATION WITH KURT REPANSHEK

author of Re-Bisoning the West: Restoring an American Icon to the Landscape

 

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So far, what’s been the most surprising (and/or difficult, and/or enjoyable) part about writing your book? 

 

Getting out onto the landscape has been one of the best aspects of this project. Seeing bison in the wild and talking to those who are working to ensure the species has a strong role in conservation of the landscape has been great. 

 

I’ve driven nearly three thousand miles to walk the grounds where the early twentieth-century bison recovery program got a boost, and to examine a twenty-first-century landscape conservation effort with a goal of preserving 3.5 million acres, complete with ten thousand bison.   

 

Hands down, the most difficult aspect has been shifting gears from “journalist” to “writer.” It’s not easily done, certainly not overnight. To my chagrin, after turning in my first draft I bought a copy of John McPhee’s latest book, Draft No. 4, a wonderful book on the writing process he takes.  

 

Three more drafts and this project should be ready for the printer! 

 

Tell us about your dream book launch party.

 

Yellowstone National Park or Wind Cave National Park would be a perfect setting for launching Re-Bisoning the West. Yellowstone because the last wild bison thought to exist, just twenty-three, were found there. Wind Cave because of its key role back in 1913 at establishing a herd of bison back on the landscape and its more recent role providing seed stock for more than ninety other herds from Canada to Mexico. 

 

I think it would be fitting to have representatives from some of the tribes that have been working to build herds on tribal lands, some from The Nature Conservancy for the work they’ve done to establish herds, and some National Park Service figures who have worked to grow their own conservation herds. 

 

Describe one of your favorite places. What makes this place special to you?

 

The National Park System in general and Yellowstone National Park specifically are my favorite places. They speak to conservation, both of landscapes and wildlife as well as the nation’s cultural upbringing and identity. And they offer a quick escape from today’s madness.

 

 

“Being part of this 'family' of authors

largely focused on conservation issues

is greatly appreciated and humbling.”

 

Why Torrey House?

 

The fact that Torrey House is “local” for me helped submit my proposal to THP. Having ready contact with the editor(s) and production staff can’t be overstated. Also, some past projects that THP has been involved with, such as Red Rock Stories and Hawks Rest, reflect my passions and interests. Being part of this “family” of authors largely focused on conservation issues is greatly appreciated and humbling. 

 

 

 

Help bring Re-Bisoning the West by Kurt Repanshek to the page.

 

 

 

 

Kurt Repanshek , an award-winning journalist whose career stretches into four decades, is well-versed in public lands, wildlife, recreation, and environmental issues. His writing has appeared in Smithsonian, AudubonNational Geographic Traveler, and numerous other periodicals. He is the founder of NationalParksTraveler.org, the only editorially independent media organization that is dedicated to daily coverage of national parks and protected areas. His book Re-Bisoning the West: Restoring an American Icon to the Landscape is forthcoming September 2019 from Torrey House Press.

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