United States Yellowstone National Park

132 spots Public

Lewis Kemper

There has long been a myth that the explorers of the 1870 Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition sat in a meadow at the confluence of the Madison and Gibbon Rivers and, around a campfire, came up with the notion of creating the first national park. In fact there is a mountain there covered as a spot in the guide named National Park Mountain to commemorate this story. Although the campfire story is now thought to be a myth, it indeed tells the tail of how the brave men that explored the region in the early expeditions realized this land was special and needed protection.

Their efforts led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park as the world’s first national park, established in 1872. Although the Yosemite Act of 1864 reserved Yosemite Valley from settlement, and gave the land from the federal government to the state of California, was the first act to preserve a piece of wilderness from settlement, the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act, stated “the headwaters of the Yellowstone River … is hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale … and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” Thus the first national park was created.

On the 1871 Hayden Expedition there was a photographer and two artists along. It was the photographs from William Henry Jackson and the art of Henry W. Elliot and Thomas Moran that inspired the public and politicians of the time to take action. You too can join this tradition and create your own Yellowstone masterpiece images!

Yellowstone is huge! It is 3,472 square miles or 8,987 square km; 2,221,766 acres or 898,317 hectares; 63 air miles (102 km) north to south; and 54 air miles (87 km)
east to west. Yellowstone is home to approximately half the world’s thermal features. There are more than 10,00 thermal features, of which more than 500 are geysers. The most prominent thermal features include geyser, hot springs, fumaroles, mud pots, and travertine terraces. Yellowstone Lake is the largest, high altitude lake (above 7,000 ft./ 2133 m) in North America. The lake is approximately 20 miles (32.2 km) long by 14 miles (22.5 km) wide. It has 141 miles (227 km) of shoreline. There are over 290 waterfalls in the park with Lower Yellowstone falls being the tallest at 308 feet (93.8 m).

There are approximately 60 species of mammals in the park including grizzly bear, black bear, wolf, coyote, bison, elk, deer, pronghorn, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain lion. The largest public herd of bison in North America lives there. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded in the park, and many of them nest there.

Yellowstone has something for every outdoor photographer from geysers, waterfalls, wildlife, beautiful scenery, to wildflowers. Take your time to explore the park; don’t rush from landmark to landmark. Explore, experience and enjoy all the wonders that Yellowstone has to offer.

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