Grand Teton to Welcome Shelton Johnson & Host Special Public Events

Shelton Johnson, Yosemite National Park Ranger
August 13, 2010
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott is pleased to announce that
Grand Teton National Park, in collaboration with the Grand Teton Association, will host Yosemite Park Ranger Shelton Johnson for
two public programs and book signings scheduled for Saturday,
August 21, and Monday, August 23. Johnson was featured in the 2009 Ken Burns documentary film, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, and has gained national recognition for his part in the popular PBS television series.

Johnson collaborated with Ken Burns during the filming of the landmark documentary and told a compelling story about his early experiences as a National Park Service ranger. In addition, he worked on a companion project that reveals the untold stories of diverse people in national parks.

During his programs, Johnson often focuses his masterful story-telling on personal experiences, and usually unveils the story of the buffalo soldiers—a group of African-American soldiers who patrolled Yosemite at the turn of the 20th century. In fact, Johnson presents a dramatic portrayal of the buffalo soldiers through a character he developed, named Elizy Boman. Through his presentations, Johnson tries to both enlighten listeners and create lasting connections between African-Americans and their national parks.

Johnson has also authored a book called Gloryland—a fictional memoir of an African-American, born in 1863, who became a buffalo soldier stationed in Yosemite in 1903. Today, Johnson travels throughout America to speak with school children and share the story about the buffalo soldiers: a tale he has recounted in print, on camera, and in person.

“We are delighted to be able to bring Shelton Johnson to Grand Teton,” said Superintendent Scott. “This will be a great opportunity for park visitors and area residents to listen to stories about his life, his career and his outreach programs. Shelton has a captivating way of telling a story and his presentations promise to be both entertaining and inspiring.”

The schedule of events is as follows:
Saturday, Aug. 21
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Book signing at the Colter Bay Visitor Center & Indian Arts Museum
7:00 p.m. Public presentation in the Explorers Room at Jackson Lake Lodge. Ranger Johnson introduces the film, This is America, (Ken Burns’ companion video to his documentary film, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea) and leads a discussion with the audience after the screening.

Monday, Aug. 23
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Book signing at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center
7:00 p.m. Public presentation at the Gros Ventre Campground. Ranger Johnson provides a traditional campfire program, The Road to Wonderland, and talks about the path he took from the urban landscape of Detroit's inner city to the wilderness of Yellowstone and Yosemite.