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Largest National Park

Yellowstone Park History

A Distant History

Yellowstone Park history stretches back many millions of years, and features some of the largest volcanic explosions in the history of Earth. Placed on top of a series of shifting tectonic plates and a stationary mantle hot spot, the park has had quite the explosive ancient history. The most recent explosions, 670,000 and 160,000 years ago were more than 1,000 times more explosive than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Ample evidence of the sub-surface power is manifested in the multicolored hot springs, hot mud pools and geysers. Humans first began inhabiting the region over 11,000 years ago, with arrowheads and other artifacts pointing to an agrarian and fishing based society.

Early Explorers

The first explorers to the area were French trappers, and they gave the area the name of “Roche Jaune,” a translation of a native language, meaning “Rock Yellow River.” This was later shortened to “Yellow Stone” by American Explorers in the age of Lewis and Clark. Upon vising the area, Americas most famous pioneers discovered the area was largely inhabited by Nez Perce, Crow and Shoshone tribes. Throughout the early 19th century, explorers told tales of “fire and brimstone”, “oiling rivers”, and “mounds of yellow glass”, which were long dismissed by experts and the public as delusional fantasy.

Early Uses

It was not long before myth became legends however, as prospectors, naturalists and conservationists began exploring further into modern day Wyoming. Efforts to set the park aside from trappers, loggers and prospectors fist began with Ferdinand Hayden, a geologist, who took his fight to congress.

Founded as a Park

Once surveyed, mapped and photographed for all to see, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the park into existence on March 1sr, 1972. For a long time however, Yellowstone was too remote a park to reach, and it was not until the post WWII boom, when better infrastructures were created, did Yellowstone reach the popularity and prominence it still holds today.