This week we celebrate the 144th anniversary of America’s first national park: Yellowstone. This park, 95% of which is in Wyoming, is over 2 million acres in area.
Although it officially became a national park on March 1, 1872, this vast wilderness has been a draw to humans for thousands and thousands of years.
There is evidence of Native Americans living here 10,000 years ago.
In the past few centuries it has been celebrated by explorers and trappers on many expeditions, who eventually did surveys and reports advocating the land be set aside for public enjoyment.
Ferdinand V. Hayden, a geological surveyor, was one of the more tenacious advocates. He was instrumental in convincing Congress to establish Yellowstone as the first U.S. National Park.
For more info about Yellowstone, click here.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem covers 20 million acres (8,093,712 ha) of land. This encompasses adjacent national forests, wilderness areas, and Grand Teton National Park.
Visitors have been flocking to Yellowstone for centuries. The National Park Service states that currently “Yellowstone hosts close to 4 million visits each year.” That’s a lot of humans!
So it is a really good thing Yellowstone became a park, with restrictions and plans for preserving the park and its wild inhabitants.
We humans can all visit, and temporarily share in its beauty, but must ultimately surrender this enormous expanse to the many wild animals and plants that live here.
Happy Birthday Yellowstone!
Photo credit: Athena Alexander