Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Dr. William Travis

Second Advisor

Dr. Timothy Oakes

Third Advisor

Dr. Patricia Limerick


Historically, American land policy has been subject to various different influences.

One of the greatest forces to influence land policy is visual media, or human created imagery. The use of imagery to help influence federal land policy can be seen very clearly with respect to the National Park system. In this thesis, I argue that the publication of images related to a certain place is directly related to the way that same land is managed. By comparing the time at which visual media was circulated to legislative strides in land preservation, this thesis traces the effective use of imagery throughout the creation of Yellowstone National Park, in 1872, and Canyonlands National Park in 1964. These two examples were picked because they show incredible similarities despite being nearly 100 years apart. The final section of my thesis provides recommendations about proper ways to consume media respective to land policy and management.