By Tom Dare
A SERIES of incredible images illustrating the fascinating history of one of the world’s most iconic national parks have resurfaced today, ahead of the anniversary of the day Yellowstone was given national park status.
Images from the collection, some of which date back over a century, show former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge visiting the park during the 1900s, while other images capture the horse-drawn stage coaches that used to ferry people around the incredible scenery.
Further pictures show tourists on horseback taking in some of the most breath-taking views the park has to offer, while another shows a woman reaching over one of the park’s famous geysers in 1918, something which would be strictly prohibited now.
Given National Park status on March 1 1872, Yellowstone was the first area in America to be formally protected by the United States government, on the insistence of a group of explorers who were blown away by the natural beauty of the area. Ferdinand V. Hayden, a geologist who led the first expedition to Yellowstone, was said to have remarked in his recommendation to Congress that “the vandals who are now waiting to enter into this wonder-land, will in a single season despoil, beyond recovery, these remarkable curiosities, which have required all the cunning skill of nature thousands of years to prepare.” After receiving the recommendations of the expeditioners, President Ulysses S. Grant signed an act of dedication declaring ‘the land lying near the headwaters of the Yellowstone river as a public park.’
Yellowstone sits on one of the largest super volcanoes in the world, meaning it is a hotbed of thermal activity, from the ‘Old Faithful’ geyser that erupts approximately once every 91 minutes to the Grand Prismatic Spring that visitors flock to see on an annual basis. Other points of interest in the park, which is surrounded on all sides by the Rocky Mountains, include the Yellowstone Grand Canyon and the Great Falls of Yellowstone.
The park is also teeming with wildlife including wolves, bison, elk, deer and bears. During the early days of the park visitors used to frequently feed some of the ‘tamer’ black bears within the park, but a rate of 527 injuries in the eight years from 1931 to 1939 soon put a stop to the practice.