About the Book

Imagine you’re standing still in the heart of the American West. Listen closely and you might hear a faint, but recognizable sound—the pounding of hooves moving through rocky terrain.

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem—a dozen times the size of Yellowstone National Park—harbors the last great populations of elk, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer.

For millennia, thousands of these grand animals have coursed through this region with the turn of the seasons to feed and give birth, but scientists have only recently discovered how significant their migrations truly are.

Photographer Joe Riis came to Yellowstone to reveal these previously invisible migrations. As a young boy, Joe was transported to far away worlds by the images in National Geographic, and he never let go of the curiosity those images stirred within him.

And now his images, in Yellowstone Migrations, will carry you into the heart of a vast, still wild landscape. You’ll follow pronghorn, elk, and mule deer as they make their months-long journeys, navigating through many natural challenges such as rivers, lakes, and sand dunes, and man-made obstacles, including major highways, hundreds of fences, and a changing climate, that put them at great risk.  

You will meet a group of unique and curious individuals who worked together first as colleagues and eventually as friends, tightly bound by their desire to protect these wild creatures.

These artists and scientists will show you that it is possible to preserve the natural heritage of the American West. Listen, and you’ll hear their invitation to you: to help these animals to carry out the migrations that are essential to their survival and give the region its pulse.

Joe’s images of these animals are almost shockingly fresh and carry a kind of innocence.
— Gretel Ehrlich, travel writer, poet, and essayist

In addition to Riis's photographs, Yellowstone Migrations features:

exquisite prose from Gretel Ehrlich

crisp environmental journalism by Emilene Ostlind

a look at the scientific study of migration corridors from wildlife ecologist Arthur Middleton

a hope-filled epilogue by Thomas Lovejoy

an illustration that teems with life by artist James Prosek

Support for the creation of this book came from George B. Storer Foundation, Weeden Foundation, Bobby Model Charitable Fund, and Cinnabar Foundation.

Additional support was provided by the individuals in Braided River’s Headwaters Club: Tom and Sonya Campion, Ann and Ron Holz, Jacob and Margo Engelstein, and Craig McKibben and Sarah Merner.

To support our outreach efforts, contact info@BraidedRiver.org.