Yellowstone National Park is the oldest nature reserve in the world. It was established by the U.S. government in 1872 and has been protected ever since. A beautiful place with lush vegetation and varied wildlife, Yellowstone has been cherished by many generations of Americans.
History of the Park
Yellowstone National Park is a vast stretch of wildlands covering a significant part of Wyoming and crossing into Montana and Idaho. Upon its creation, the park caused a great deal of conflict and displeasure. Locals were unhappy with the new regulations, believing that the state’s economy would be limited by their inability to exploit the lands of Yellowstone. Many Native Americans were also displeased since several tribes had long used these lands for hunting and seasonal stays. The federal government refused to take their pleas into consideration and even banned the Native Americans from using the park grounds altogether. However, until 1886, the authorities failed to properly enforce the reserve rules. Only after the U.S. Army established a camp in Yellowstone were they able to start upholding order. In 1990, the Lacey Act was approved, allowing officials to prosecute poachers. In 1916, the National Park Service was created, and the reserve largely became what we know it to be today.
Yellowstone National Park covers 3,468.4 square miles. Within its boundaries lie mountain ranges, lakes, canyons, and rivers. It is home to several hundreds of animal and plant species including endangered Canada lynxes and grizzly bears. The reserve also houses the largest wild bison herd in the United States. The most prominent feature of the park is its geysers, which are fueled by the volcanic activity of the Yellowstone Caldera. Water reaching deep into the earth rapidly evaporates upon reaching hot rocks and is ejected explosively into the atmosphere, creating an impressive view for spectators. Tourists from all over the world come to see the undisturbed nature of the reserve.
Importance of the Park
The initial reason for the creation of Yellowstone National Park was rather trivial. As the Act of Dedication states, Yellowstone was founded “as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” (Chittenden, 1915). The park boundaries were meant to include all of the known geothermal basins in the region, and no other concerns were taken into consideration. However, these days, the park plays a much greater role in ecological studies and wildlife preservation. It is the only ecosystem in the temperate climate zone of the northern hemisphere still mostly untouched by human activities (Schullery, n.d.).
This means that the park offers the only opportunity for people to experience how the lands in this climate zone looked before humanity changed them forever. The park is under constant study by researchers who examine the natural processes in this unique environment. The reserve also gives people an opportunity to experience untouched nature and see the dramatic changes that humankind has brought upon the natural environment. Indeed, Yellowstone National Park is an extremely important reserve that needs to be protected for the benefit of both the scientific community and the public. Aside from its scientific and cultural significance, the park is a great tourist destination that offers everybody an opportunity to experience rare phenomena and see wild animals in their natural habitat.
Yellowstone National Park is a unique site that draws people from all over the world. Its scientific significance and cultural value make it a place in great need of care and protection. Luckily, the legislative foundation for its protection was created more than a century ago, and the federal government keeps a close eye on this stretch of almost pristine nature.
Chittenden, H 1915, The Yellowstone National Park, Stewart & Kidd Company, Cincinatti.
Schullery, P n.d., The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Web.