Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park was the first national park created in the United States; many believe it is also the world’s first national park.
- Yellowstone National Park covers 3,468.4 square miles over portions of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.
- For more than 11,000 years, indigenous people lived and hunted here.
- When European Americans arrived in 1805 with the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Crow, Nez Perce, and Shoshone people lived here.
- In 1856, trapper Jim Bridger explored the area and wrote that there were boiling springs, spouting water, and mountains of glass and yellow rock. Since he had a tendency to exaggerate, people didn’t believe him.
- Soon after, naturalist Ferninand V. Hayden made an exploration attempt but failed because of an unexpected storm. He tried again, along with others, and began advocating that the area be made a national park to protect it.
- President Ulysses S. Grant asked Congress to designate the area a park in 1872. It gets its name from the yellow rock found there.
- Yellowstone Lake, one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America sits over Yellowstone Caldera, the largest super volcano in North America. The volcano is dormant, but it produces volcanic activity deep under the ground.
- The heat from this volcano causes geysers and other thermal activity. Half the world’s geysers are found here—more than 1,283—with at least 465 active geysers each year. In total, there are at least 10,000 geo-thermal features in Yellowstone National Park.
- Old Faithful is the most well-known geyser, shooting hot water high in the air at regular intervals.
- Yellowstone National Park is home to at least 60 mammal species, including grizzly bears, black bears, Canadian lynxes, coyotes, mule deer, elk, and many others.
- Naturalist: someone who studies nature
- Geo-thermal: hot water caused by underground volcanic activity
Visit the park’s official site.