Yellowstone Park is a national park located in the U.S. states and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yellowstone was the first National Park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. It was established in 1872 to preserve the vast number of geysers, hot springs, and other thermal areas, as well as to protect the incredible wildlife and rugged beauty of the area.
Yellowstone Park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is the most abundant. It is part of the South Central Rockies forests ecoregion. The park contains 3,472 square miles (8,987 km2), mostly within the northwest corner of Wyoming, but with portions extending into the states of Idaho and Montana.
History of Yellowstone Park
The human history of the park begins at least 11,000 years ago when Native Americans began to hunt and fish in the region. A massive volcanic eruption spewed an immense volume of ash that covered all of the western U.S., much of the Midwest, northern Mexico and some areas of the eastern Pacific Coast.
The eruption may have been as much as one thousand times more powerful than the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, and it left a caldera approximately 34 by 45 miles (55 by 72 km).
The Yellowstone super volcano is believed to erupt every 600,000 to 900,000 years with the last event occurring 640,000 years ago. Its eruptions are among the largest known to have ever occurred on Earth, producing drastic climate change in the aftermath. Although it is commonly assumed that the park was named for the yellow rocks seen in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the park’s name comes from the Yellowstone River that flows through it, which is in turn named after sandstone bluffs found further down its course in eastern Montana.
The park has 1,106 historic structures and features, and of these Obsidian Cliff and five buildings have been designated National Historic Landmarks. Yellowstone was designated an International Biosphere Reserve on October 26, 1976, and a UN World Heritage Site on September 8, 1978. The park was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger from 1995 to 2003 due to the effects of tourism, infection of wildlife, and issues with invasive species.
Interesting Facts about Yellowstone Park
- Yellowstone Park was established on March 1, 1872.
- Yellowstone was the first National Park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world.
- Yellowstone’s present area is 3,472 square miles (8,987 km2), occupying the northwest corner of Wyoming and slivers of land in Montana and Idaho.
- The highest point in the park is 11,358′ at Eagle Peak and the lowest point in the park is 5,282′ at Reese Creek.
- Yellowstone experiences approximately 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes annually.
- Yellowstone is home to 67 species of mammals, 285 species of birds, 16 species of fish, 6 species of reptiles, 5 species of amphibians, and more than 7 aquatic nuisance species.
- The Yellowstone River is the longest undammed river in the continental U.S. at 692 miles (1,114 km) long.
- There are 290 waterfalls of at least 15 feet (4.6 m) in the park, the highest being the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River at 308 feet (94 m).