Yellowstone was the first national park in America, and the world for that matter.
It is stunningly magnificent and although the park is designed for tourists, it is 3,500 square miles of wilderness housing wild animals and geothermally inspired land which is constantly evolving.
One could easily be forgiven for forgetting that Yellowstone is actually a real wilderness where wildlife can easily attack humans and the geothermal pools could kill, but it is and they do. Throughout the course of a year, geysers supernova and reappear in different areas of the park. Yellowstone is constantly active and even when you’re driving along the road, bears amble cross in front of you, the land spews out a haze of steam and larger animals gain their upper hand over those smaller in the animal kingdom.
I’ve visited Yellowstone in the summer and winter months and they offer two vastly different experiences. They could be different parks; in fact they are.
The history of Yellowstone is quite extraordinary. It was established by the US Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. Straddling the three American states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, it maintains a directive to allow the park to operate naturally i.e. forest fires are left to burn, wildlife to kill each other and fallen trees are not cleared unless they block road access. I love that wildlife is protected and the reintroduction of the wolves and bison which were hunted to dangerous levels by the fur-trappers, is key to not only its popularity but the survival of many of its ecosystems. Listen to this interesting Podcast on how everything is connected. The speaker has highlighted the detrimental effects on the ecosystem of Yellowstone when wolves were hunted to the point of being endangered, and how the reintroduction helped ease this. It’s been named ‘re-wilding’.
So without further ado, here are ten images which will make you want to reach for the passport, hop on a plane (or car if you’re American) and explore the area which began the national park phenomenon that exists in almost every country today.
Photo credit: Wildlife Archives
Photo credit: 1938 News