The Center for Great Plains Studies, an academic arm of the the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Nebraska, has just published the Atlas of the Great Plains. It is the first atlas to focus specifically on the Great Plains as a single entity. The atlas studies the region’s physical geography, as well as its economics, demographics, and history. It should be noted that the atlas covers not just the Great Plains in the United States, but Canada as well. Therefore, you truly have the biological/cultural region as a whole represented, as opposed to just what comes with arbitrary human boundaries.
The fact that this atlas has been produced to cover just one specific geographic place speaks volumes. Are there other regions of the continent that can boast their very own atlas? Atlas of the Rocky Mountains? Perhaps. Atlas of the Great Lakes? Maybe. Atlas of the Great Basin? Possibly. Atlas of the Southern Swamps? Okay, I jest on that last one, but the point is that other regions – even more populated and well known ones – may not have a comprehensive atlas specifically designed as a study of that region.
I could be wrong, but no matter. I am excited to get my hands on a copy of the Atlas of the Great Plains as soon as possible. Oh, and when they put out a second edition a few years from now, they’ll need to add a page for the Great Plains Trail!