On March 1, Yellowstone National Park turned 150 years old. The park is celebrating with different events and activities this month and throughout the rest of the year!
President Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act on March 1, 1872. It became one of the world’s largest protected natural ecosystems. It was intended for the “benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.”
We’re always blown away by the concept of our national parks — massive amounts of gorgeous public land protected from development that we all get to share and enjoy. Yellowstone was the first park and stretches across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It was the first site of what would later become the National Park System.
“We also celebrate something much bigger than the park itself — the beginning of the national park idea, an idea that spread through the country and around the world, inspiring governments to protect natural and cultural treasures ‘for the benefit and enjoyment of the people,’” said Chuck Sams, the director of the National Park Service (NPS).
In addition to celebrations and educational opportunities, the park will mark the occasion in practical ways as well. This year the park is gaining 40 employee housing units and starting infrastructure projects with $125 million funded by the Great American Outdoors Act. One road improvement project with a $28 million budget will reopen a road that has been closed for two years because of safety concerns. In 2021, 4.9 million people visited Yellowstone. You need a lot of upkeep work for the land to stay beautiful and running well with that sort of traffic!
Making sure the park remains accessible and pleasant is essential. Scott Frazier, the director of Project Indigenous, grew up visiting the park and believes Yellowstone is a sacred place. “In this time of struggle between the human beings, these places are very important,” he said. “To be able to come out and listen to nature — and not a machine, and not cars, and not your boss — to come out and sit and just listen to nature — it’s very healing.”
Many of the events will be virtual as well as in-person. You can check out a list of them here. If you want to share pictures or stories from past visits on social media, the NPS asks that you tag them using #Yellowstone150. It’s going to be an exciting year for the park, and the improvement projects ensure that there’s a bright future ahead. Start planning a trip today!