A magnificent active volcano, Mount Rainier ascends to 14,410 feet above sea level—the highest in Washington State. The source of five major rivers, it has more glaciers than any other peak in the contiguous U.S. Its slopes are home to ancient forests, spectacular subalpine meadows, and unique, captivating creatures.
In Tahoma and Its People, a passionate, informed, hands-on science educator presents a natural and environmental history of Mount Rainier National Park and the surrounding region. Jeff Antonelis-Lapp explores geologic processes that create and alter landscapes, interrelationships within and between plant and animal communities, weather and climate influences on ecosystems, and what linked the iconic mountain with the people who traveled to it for millennia. He intersperses his own direct observation and study of organisms, as well as personal interactions with rangers, archaeologists, a master Native American weaver, and others. He covers a plethora of topics: geology, archaeology, indigenous villages and use of resources, climate and glacier studies, alpine and forest ecology, rivers, watershed dynamics, keystone species, threatened wildlife, geological hazards, and current resource management. Numerous color illustrations, maps, and figures supplement the text.
Jeff Antonelis-Lapp taught writing and Native American studies on western Washington Indian reservations for The Evergreen State College for 10 years before teaching environmental education, natural history, and writing on campus until 2015. Prior to that, he held several positions in adult and continuing education for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, and was a classroom teacher. He holds an M.Ed. in science education from the University of Washington.
Illustrations / maps / notes / bibliography / index / 276 pages (2020)
2020 Banff Mountain Book Competition Finalist, Mountain Environment and Natural History category
“An inherently interesting, impressively informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented work of seminal scholarship, “Tahoma and its People: A Natural History of Mount Rainer National Park” is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community and academic library Natural History collections in general, and Mount Rainier history and ecology reading lists in particular.”
—Midwest Book Review
“On a crisp and clear morning, we rise to see Mount Rainier looming on the horizon, lenticular clouds shielding her summit, sunrise setting her slopes on fire. She is calling. We cancel meetings, grab our gear, slip a copy of this book into our pack, and go…Beneath Mt. Rainier’s white crown of ice, along her forested shoulders, and in her gravel river beds, there are stories: of native people, of salamanders and owls, of violent eruptions, of family fun, and the regeneration of nature and our human spirit. Tahoma and Its People reveals these stories with respect, intelligence and devotion.”
—Jonathan B. Jarvis, Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent 1999-2002, 18th Director of the National Park Service
“Jeff Antonelis-Lapp has given us a comprehensive natural and environmental history of Mount Rainier that takes an in-depth look at this iconic mountain and the watersheds that flow from its gleaming ice. Tahoma and Its People thoroughly explores the rich geological, ecological, and human history of the mountain. The author draws on up-to-date scientific research and accompanies scientists in the field, illuminating their work with excellent first-hand reporting. He examines the 9,000-year history of native peoples’ deep engagement with this landscape. And he reports on heroic efforts undertaken to protect the natural species and communities that thrive there—and restore those that are threatened or lost. Antonelis-Lapp immersed himself in a dynamic, ever-changing landscape, and he brings back stories that will change the way we think about our mountain and our earth.”
—Tim McNulty, author of Mount Rainier National Park, and Olympic National Park: A Natural History.
“A masterful natural history that includes an accurate and respectful rendering of the long-standing relationship of Indian people to Mount Rainier or, as my ancestors knew it, Taqó·bid.”
—Donny Stevenson, Tribal Council Vice-Chair, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe.