White Hot, Waterfalls, Wildlife: Yellowstone Park established 1872 March 1st

The crowning achievement of the returning expeditions was helping to save Yellowstone from private development. Langford and several of his companions promoted a bill in Washington in late 1871 and early 1872 that drew upon the precedent of the Yosemite Act of 1864, which reserved Yosemite Valley from settlement and entrusted it to the care of the state of California. To permanently close to settlement an expanse of the public domain the size of Yellowstone would depart from the established policy of transferring public lands to private ownership.

But the wonders of Yellowstone—shown through Jackson’s photographs, Moran’s paintings, and Elliot’s sketches—had captured the imagination of Congress. Thanks to their reports, the United States Congress established Yellowstone National Park just six months after the Hayden Expedition. On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act into law. The world’s first national park was born. Yellowstone is the world’s first national park.

The Yellowstone National Park Protection Act says “the headwaters of the Yellowstone River … is hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale … and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” In an era of expansion, the federal government had the foresight to set aside land deemed too valuable in natural wonders to develop.

• The park sits on top of an active volcano.

• One of the world’s largest calderas at 45 x 30 miles (72 x 48 km)

• 1,000–3,000 earthquakes annually

• More than 10,000 hydrothermal features

• More than 500 active geysers (more than half the world’s geysers)

• About 290 waterfalls

• Tallest waterfall near a road: Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River at 308 feet (94 m)

• The park sits on top of an active volcano.

• One of the world’s largest calderas at 45 x 30 miles (72 x 48 km)

• 1,000–3,000 earthquakes annually

• More than 10,000 hydrothermal features

• More than 500 active geysers (more than half the world’s geysers)

• About 290 waterfalls

• Tallest waterfall near a road: Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River at 308 feet (94 m)

6 thoughts on “White Hot, Waterfalls, Wildlife: Yellowstone Park established 1872 March 1st

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