Thomas Moran and Me

Moran's paintings were what inspired me to first visit the National Park years ago

Tim Rains

My first experience visiting Yellowstone National Park was in a small gallery in Sacramento, California. On the walls, in wild, vivid colors bubbling and splashing was a place so incredibly foreign yet intriguing to me. Could such a place exist? The American public over a hundred years ago asked the same question when rumors of this fiery, hellish wonderland came out of the western wild.

The artist tasked to find out was Thomas Moran. In 1871, as part of the Hayden Geological Survey, Moran spent time documenting and interpreting this geologic wonder. These paintings were the public’s first visual experience of the area and were influential in the creation of the National Park in 1872. 

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About This Blog

An explorer, wanderer, photographer-artist, Tim Rains is a national park ranger seeking out connection and community to Montana’s wild places.  Come, explore with him as he discovers why Montana's glacier country is considered "the last best place." Follow Tim on Instagram @rangerrains or view more of his work at

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