Billionaire Wilderness

For many of us, the story of the American wilderness begins when Europeans arrived on these shores and began conquering it. The wide open spaces of the American West loom large in our country’s mythology. But what often gets written out is the history and culture of those native societies who were here to begin with - and whose relationship to this land is very different. In some places like Jackson Hole, Wyoming, one-percenters contribute generously to preserve and protect the pristine wilderness they love, while the people who work for them are often struggling, working two or three jobs. “The idea of your time and philanthropy to protect nature is through this elite sort of white lens that can be based on, you know, this romanticized view of nature,” Farrell says. “And a nature that for example for Yellowstone had to remove certain people to create that Eden.” How are public and private land interests competing in the American West? Can conservation and recreation coalesce in a way that is inclusive of all communities? Visit for more information on today's episode. Guests: Dina Gilio-Whitaker, American Indian Studies Lecturer, California State University San Marcos Justin Farrell, Author, Billionaire Wilderness: The Ultra-Wealthy and the Remaking of the American West (Princeton University Press, 2020) Diane Regas, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Trust for Public Land Additional interview: Jessica Newton, Founder, Vibe Tribe Adventures This program was recorded via video on July 7, 2020. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

by Climate One