Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is the world's first national park and one of the largest in the contiguous United States. It is located across the northwest corner of Wyoming. Yellowstone was established in 1872. It covers 2.2 million acres of forest, grassland and water. Although most of the park is located in Wyoming, a small portion is located in Montana and Idaho.
History of Yellowstone
After Yellowstone was established, the park came under serious threat from poachers and souvenir hunters. These people killed the wildlife and broke off pieces of the geysers. Developers came in and set up baths and laundry facilities at the hot springs. Although civilian superintendents were hired from 1872-1886 they lacked both the experience and the funding to combat the problems. In 1886 the Army came in and began what would be more than 30 years of military presence in the park. The first buildings of Fort Yellowstone were finished in 1891, using $50,000 appropriated by Congress. Several of these buildings remain today.
Geysers and Hot Springs
Of the many reasons to visit Yellowstone, seeing the geysers, is one of the major ones. The most well known geyser in the world is Old Faithful.
Old Faithful is located in Geyser Country, one of five distinct districts in Yellowstone. Thousands of gallons of steaming water jump into the sky with each eruption of the marvel. Old Faithful has rarely missed its eruptions during its more than 120 years of observation. Today the geyser erupts every 92 minutes.
In addition to the geysers in Yellowstone there are also other geothermal features. These include hot springs, mudpots, and fumaroles. Fumaroles are steam vents. Yellowstone's vast collection of thermal features provides a constant reminder of the park's recent volcanic past.
Another of the major reasons for visiting the national treasure is the abundance of wildlife. The wildlife in Yellowstone is varied and numerous. Some of the large mammals many visitors come to see are the bison, bear, mule deer, and elk. Other animals you are likely to see are birds, beavers, foxes, and marmots. It can be very exciting to round a curve in the road and see a bison standing on the roadside.
While in Yellowstone you should check with park rangers for the latest bear information. Although you won't always see a bear, you won't forget it if you do. The rangers can give you the information you need if you are unfortunate enough to have an encounter.
Visiting Yellowstone is a must on any trip across the United States. Although you will likely encounter traffic, dealing with it is well worth the benefits of seeing the gorgeous wildlife. Everyone should witness Old Faithful erupt at least once in a lifetime.
Fodor's National Park Foundation Official Yellowstone Guide
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