The Will of The Land - A New Book by Peter A. Dettling

by Robert Berdan
December 23, 2010

Watch Movie Trailer - "The Will of the Land on Youtube"




“Peter Dettling takes the best damn pics of the other creatures of anyone I know on our planet. They are windows through the barriers we have built between ourselves and the others. Through Peter’s windows we experience the heart, guts and soul of these, our fellow beings, and cannot but realize that they and we are of one blood. And that they deserve – must have – our sympathy and understanding if they are to survive the witless ruin we are making of their land and ours. This book speaks for them and their desperate
need as no other I have seen for many years has done.”

— Farley Mowat, author of Eastern Passage, People of the Deer,
Never Cry Wolf, A Whale for the Killing, and Gorillas in the Mist. 

“Wolves and bears versus bureaucrats and big business – that’s the situation in Banff National Park, and Peter Dettling has seen it firsthand. Part nature writing, part wildlife biology, part polemic, The Will of the Land is extraordinary, a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of wildlife in the national parks of the Rockies.”

— Ben Gadd, naturalist, guide, and author of Canadian Rockies
Geology Road Tours, Handbook of the Canadian Rockies
and The Canadian Hiker’s and Backpacker’s Handbook.

“Never have I picked up a book with such wonderful pictures and then pleasantly discover that the writing equaled the images. Peter Dettling’s work is about his love of the land. His love for the Canadian Rocky Mountain National Parks dictated to him that he say something about what is happening to Banff & Co. from the perspective of someone who cares deeply and understands what stewardship could look like if it did not always carter to business.  “ The Will of the Land ” will be a delight for all those who want to see the Mountain Parks’ splendor through the eyes of an artist and at the same time have a way to understand the pitfalls of what happens when human commerce is allowed to run rampant.”

— Charlie Russell, naturalist and author of Grizzly Heart, Learning to Be Wild
and Spirit Bear.

“The talented Swiss photographer Peter Dettling came to America in search of wild beauty and found it in Canada’s oldest national park, Banff, in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. Dettling’s open-hearted quest has resulted in stunning images of the wolves, bears and mountain sheep he has come to love. He stayed on in Banff, only to watch in horror as those same animals die under the wheels of trains, on the over-travelled highway the authorities created to facilitate industrial-scale tourism, and at the hands of wildlife managers as bears and wolves wander into the unmitigated disaster that is urban development in the Bow River Valley. Dettling graces us with an even-handed book that nonetheless leaves the reader shaking with rage as oil exploration, housing development and transportation interests lobby local and provincial governments into complicity against the ecological integrity of the wildlife not only of Banff but of Alberta as a whole. Dettling’s story is a microcosm of that blindness. This beautiful, compelling book should make you mad as hell.”

— Doug Peacock, author of Grizzly Years,
Walking It Off and The Essential Grizzly

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Video containing Time lapse Video and Interview with Peter Dettling in Banff National Park

Peter Dettling spent more then two years photographing the wolf pack in Banff National park. Often he spent entire days and weeks just observing and waiting for the wolves to appear. He was fortunate enough to capture some spectacular photographs of a grizzly bear interacting with the wolves. His amazing images are tempered with the fact that all the animals he observed and photographed were killed shortly afterwards by cars and trains. His book sends a message that if Banff National Park is a model for other parks then we have a lot of work to do to improve the conservation efforts to protect these animals. Peter doesn't pull any punches in his criticism of parks management or the railway, but his comments are supported by research and the parks own statistics. This book should be on every nature photographer, conservationist and nature lover's book shelf. For more informaition on the book and to get more involved you can visit Peter Dettlings Web site - click on the Protera link:

Peter's statments:

Hello, my name is Peter A. Dettling and I am the author of “ The Will of the Land”, released in the fall of 2010. “The Will of the Land” describes the struggle of survival of the natural world in one of the most celebrated and well known protected areas, the Canadian Rocky Mountain National Parks, part of a UNESCO world heritage site. Highly questionable management practices, industrial tourism and ill-conceived transportation routes have created a sinkhole rather than a stronghold for such iconic wildlife species as moose, wolves, bears or the endangered mountain (woodland) caribou. Ultimately, however, my book raises two questions:

Nr1: What is the purpose of a national park in the 21st century?

Nr2: How does our modern society values the natural world in general?

Questions, which should not to be underestimated in their importance


Peter Dettling ©

Entrance to Banff National Park

Peter Dettling ©

Bears often follow and feed off grain spilled onto the tracks from trains

Peter Dettling ©

Wilflife often cross the highway though many vehicles refuse to slow down or follow the speed limit

Kayker and Spirit Island by Peter A. Dettling ©

Kayaker coming around Spirit Island, Jasper National Park, AB

Peter Dettling ©

Grizzly bears near Bow Summit in Spring time

Tonquin Valley Sunrise by Peter A. Dettling ©

Sunrise in the Tonquin Valley

Peter A. Dettling
Canmore, Alberta - Canada
Tel.CDN - (403) 609-2614
Fax:CDN - (403) 609-2619

Book published by Rocky Mountain Books and is available
in Chapters and other fine book stores.

ISBN 978-1-926855-00-4
Cost $39.95

Peter Dettlings web sites:

  Peter A. Dettling photo by Robert Berdan

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