150 Years of Yellowstone

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March 1, 2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Yellowstone National Park.

 

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three elk walk through a large, stone archway with a large teepee nearby
North Entrance Teepee Installation Event

Signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant, America's first national park was set aside to preserve and protect the scenery, cultural heritage, wildlife, geologic and ecological systems and processes in their natural condition for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Yellowstone serves as the core of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the last and largest nearly intact natural ecosystems on the planet. Yellowstone has the most active, diverse, and intact collections of combined geothermal features with over 10,000 hydrothermal sites and half the world's active geysers. The park is also rich in cultural and historical resources with 25 sites, landmarks, and districts on the National Register of Historic Places.

Based on the park’s location at the convergence of the Great Plains, Great Basin, and Columbia Plateau, 27 Native American Tribes have historic and modern connections to the land and its resources. For over 10,000 years before Yellowstone became a national park, it was a place where Native Americans lived, hunted, fished, gathered plants, quarried obsidian, and used thermal waters for religious and medicinal purposes.

Park managers have learned many lessons during Yellowstone's 150 years. In the early 1900s, the government killed nearly all predators in the park, and the bison population was hunted to less than two dozen. Later that century, the fires of 1988 burned more than one-third of the park, and the introduction of nonnative lake trout decimated native Yellowstone cutthroat populations. Through modern resource management efforts involving bison, grizzly bears, native fish, gray wolves, wildland fire, and others, Yellowstone's ecosystem is the healthiest it has been in over a century.

Today, Yellowstone is facing new challenges. Employee housing, workforce development, historic preservation, effects of climate change, transboundary wildlife management, increasing visitation, and deteriorating infrastructure are issues impacting Yellowstone's workforce, resources, visitors, and gateway communities. To tackle these challenges, Yellowstone has set five major strategic priorities, each supporting the overarching National Park Service mission and each critical to Yellowstone's success. The priorities are: 1) Focus on the Core (workforce); 2) Strengthen the Yellowstone Ecosystem and Heritage Resources; 3) Deliver a World-Class Visitor Experience; 4) Invest in Infrastructure; and 5) Build Coalitions and Partnerships. Within each of these strategic priority areas are a wide range of actions designed to achieve success. Learn more about Yellowstone's recent successes and challenges, along with priorities and actions park managers intend to pursue in the future, in our State of the Park report.

Yellowstone is bigger than its boundary. Each of our partners play a vital role in making decisions that protect Yellowstone for future generations and improve the positive conservation, environmental, economic, and social impacts the park provides this region and the country. As stewards of this inspiring place, it is an opportunity for us to reflect on the lessons of the past and strengthen Yellowstone for the future by making decisions that protect the health of the park for centuries to come.

During March-August this year, the park and partners will provide opportunities to reflect on 150 years of protecting Yellowstone National Park, highlight successes in the ecosystem, and open dialogue on the lessons learned from yesterday, the challenges of today, and a vision for tomorrow. We will focus on the stewards of Yellowstone, conservation and historic preservation, visitor experience, infrastructure, Tribal Nations, and partner engagement via social media, a bimonthly virtual video series featuring various subject matter experts, and a range of both virtual and in-person activities. Of particular importance to Yellowstone during the commemoration is to be reflective, intentional, inclusive, and impactful.

 

Anniversary Efforts

A variety of virtual and in-person activities will occur in Yellowstone National Park and surrounding gateway communities throughout 2022. Browse our list of anniversary efforts below, follow us on social media and use #Yellowstone150, and check out our park partners and nearby communities for additional activities. Details will be added and updated throughout the year, so check back often!

Yellowstone National Park closely monitors and responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the park may modify in-person activities. Due to COVID-19, the park does not currently have large in-person events planned; however, this may change as the year progresses.

We’d like to sincerely thank all our incredible 150 Years of Yellowstone partners: Yellowstone Forever; Yellowstone National Park Lodges; Montana State University, National Parks Conservation Association; Greater Yellowstone Coalition; Mountain Time Arts; Park County Environmental Council; University of Wyoming Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources and College of Law; Wyoming Office of Tourism; and Delaware North.

 
Section Header: a park ranger holding up a phone with overlaying text, "Virtual Activities"
 

Monthly Hashtag Project

January - December 2022

Post your photos and videos with our monthly hashtag for a chance to be featured on our social media! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where we will announce themes at the beginning of each month.

Virtual Video Series

March - August 2022 | Watch videos

Follow us on social media as we chat with Yellowstone staff and park partners about a wide variety of topics, including a behind-the-scenes tour of the park’s historic vehicle collection, the history of Yellowstone before it was designated a national park, Tribal connections to Yellowstone, recent wildlife research and discoveries, and more! Videos will be posted to our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, as well as our website.

 
a logo of a bison and flowers with text "Wind River Inter-Tribal Gatherings"

Wind River Inter-Tribal Virtual Gathering

March 1, 2022 | Watch recorded gathering


To honor Indigenous ways of life practiced in the area long before 1872 and explore how we can work together to create a brighter future, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes of the Wind River Reservation welcomed all Tribal Nations and people to gather online March 1 to commemorate the park’s anniversary while elevating the Tribal community’s voice in conserving and managing Yellowstone.

 
a logo of a bear balancing a stack of books on its back with text: "Yellowstone Research Library"

Summer Reading Challenge

April 15 - August 31, 2022 | Download reading list and tracker sheet

The Yellowstone Research Library is hosting a Sesquicentennial Summer Reading Challenge! To celebrate the establishment of Yellowstone in 1872, read 1,872 minutes (about 30 hours) this summer between April 15 - August 31. Download our recommended reading list and tracker sheet (above) and work with your local library or inter-library loan to find Yellowstone-specific books. Update your progress both on your tracker sheet and on social media using the hashtag #YellowstoneReads. Once you completed your reading challenge, share your success and a few of your favorite books to keep the conversation going!



 
Section Header: people walking on a boardwalk above a colorful thermal feature at sunset with overlaying text, "In-Person Activities"
 

Wyoming Governor's Hospitality & Tourism Conference

February 28 - March 1, 2022 | Cheyenne, WY
Open to the public | Learn more


Dedicated to celebrating and educating Wyoming’s tourism industry, the Wyoming Governor’s Conference is the year’s single event that brings together over 300 influential tourism and hospitality industry representatives. Cam Sholly, superintendent of Yellowstone, was among the keynote speakers.

 
a large stone archway on a summer day with a rainbow
Roosevelt Arch, located adjacent to Arch Park, near the park's North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana.

Gardiner Earth Day Celebration

April 23, 2022 | Gardiner, MT
Open to the public


The Yellowstone Environmental Coordinating Committee, comprised of National Park Service and park concessioner employees, provided trash bags and gloves to participants for a town cleanup in Yellowstone’s gateway community of Gardiner, Montana. After the cleanup, Yellowstone National Parks Lodges provided free lunch and refreshments to participants while various speakers, including Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly, highlighted current park sustainability efforts.

 
a logo including a bison and erupting geyser

Yellowstone National Park Lodges: 150 Years of Inspiration

May 6, 2022 | Old Faithful Inn
Open to the public | Learn more


Yellowstone’s lodging concessioner, Yellowstone National Park Lodges, hosted a public event at the Old Faithful Inn on May 6, coinciding with the summer season opening of the historic inn. There were remarks from National Park Service and partner representatives, refreshments, and free Historic Yellow Bus tours of the Old Faithful Historic District area. A Native American Art Exhibition and Marketplace was open throughout the weekend.



15th Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

May 15-18, 2022 | Montana State University in Bozeman, MT
Open to the public | Learn more

The 15th Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, hosted by Montana State University, was an opportunity to gather, share discoveries and ideas, find common ground, and examine different ways of understanding natural and cultural resources. The theme for 2022 was “Expanding the Scope of Science Together: The Next 150 Years.” The conference brought together researchers and practitioners from academia, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and Tribal communities to discuss scientific findings and management needs associated with the Greater Yellowstone region.

University of Wyoming’s 150th Anniversary of Yellowstone Symposium

May 19-20, 2022 | Virtual and in-person at Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, WY
Open to the public | Free registration required


The University of Wyoming College of Law and Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources hosted a symposium marking Yellowstone National Park’s 150th anniversary. The two-day event was open to the public both in person and online and featured prominent figures from the National Park Service and elsewhere within the Department of the Interior—including Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly—as well as from numerous Yellowstone-associated Native American Tribes. They were joined by a host of academics, scholars, scientists, and other participants. The historic event explored the goals, successes, and shortcomings of the park over the past 150 years and looked to the future to examine key issues it now faces.

 
a historic log building with a sign and flag pole in front of it on a summer day
Haynes Photo Shop at Old Faithful.

Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center

May - September 2022 | Haynes Photo Shop at Old Faithful
Open to the public


Yellowstone National Park and official nonprofit partner, Yellowstone Forever, are piloting a Tribal Heritage Center at Old Faithful to provide a public space where Native American artists, scholars, and presenters can directly engage Yellowstone visitors through formal and informal education. Visit the center in the Haynes Photo Shop building to learn about how Tribal Nations envision their presence in the park now and into the future.
Stay tuned for more details!

 
a logo of a bison and flowers with text "Wind River Inter-Tribal Gatherings"

Wind River Inter-Tribal Gathering

June 1-3, 2022 | Wind River Reservation
Open to the public | Registration required

The Wind River Inter-Tribal Gathering will bring together Tribal Nations, federal managers, non-governmental organizations, and others to discuss conservation, current issues of importance to Tribal Nations, and the future of consultation and collaboration. Yellowstone’s 27 associated Tribes, as well as nonprofits and agency personnel, will gather to honor, nourish, dance, heal, and celebrate Native Americans. Cam Sholly, superintendent of Yellowstone, is among the keynote speakers.

 

Teepee Village

July - August 2022 | Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner, MT
Open to the public


Yellowstone is working with numerous Tribal Nations to establish a teepee village, open to the public, near the Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance to the park. Event partners include Mountain Time Arts, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, National Parks Conservation Association, Park County Environmental Council, and Yellowstone Forever.
Stay tuned for more details!


Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club Ride & Parade

July 27-31, 2022 | Canyon Village
Open to the public

Members of the Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club will ride a section of the Nez Perce Trail, coordinate a horse parade in traditional regalia, conduct horse trail rides accompanied by Yellowstone staff, and present fireside chats on the history and culture of the NiMiiPuu (Nez Perce). This project is intended to connect Nez Perce youth and adults to the trail, their history, and ancestors and share this information and experience with Yellowstone employees and visitors.
Stay tuned for more details!

 
a park ranger standing and smiling next to a historic vehicle
Museum Curator Miriam Watson with a historic vehicle.

Yellowstone Historic Vehicles Display

August 2022 | Old Faithful
Open to the public

Yellowstone’s historic vehicle collection is one of the largest in the National Park Service and currently includes 30 horse-drawn and motorized vehicles, ranging from stagecoaches to early touring cars, buses, and service trucks to National Park Service scooters and a fire engine. The park will select several vehicles to be on public display during the summer at Old Faithful to highlight the different ways visitors have been traveling to the park over the past 150 years.
Stay tuned for more details!




 
Section Header: construction work on a high-alpine ridgeline with overlaying text, "Park Projects"
 
people skiing through a snowy landscape
Employees skiing the Glen Creek Trail.

Focus on the Core: Employee Health & Wellness

January - December 2022 | Parkwide
Employees and partners only

To promote employee wellness and commemorate 150 Years of Yellowstone, employees skied, snowshoed, walked, and ran a combined 1,955 miles in the park during February and March! This activity highlighted mental wellness and provided tools to employees to help build resiliency during some of the darkest days of the year. Following the event, the park hosted a certified counselor who met with employees to discuss work-life balance, how to cope with loss, and one-on-one private counseling sessions. Additionally, the park is participating in an employee health and wellness survey this year to gather information about what supports, or hinders, the health and well-being of park employees. The goal of this project is to address the most pressing health issues employees face and provide better support for our community now and into the future.

 
a brand new modular home
New modular housing for employees.

New Employee Housing Ribbon-Cutting

Spring 2022 | Mammoth Hot Springs
Employees only


Yellowstone initiated a $40 million housing improvement effort to substantially upgrade National Park Service employee housing across the park by replacing 64 outdated trailers. The old trailers, located throughout the park, were 40-60 years old and in substandard condition. This project also upgraded utilities and incorporated landscape designs to develop a sense of community. The park saved an estimated $36 million from the original housing improvement plan proposal. View more photos of new employee housing on our Flickr.

 
a car driving down a windy, mountainous road
Tower-Roosevelt to Chittenden Road after construction.

Tower-Roosevelt to Chittenden Road Ribbon-Cutting

May 27, 2022 | Tower Junction
Employees and partners only


After two years of construction and roughly $28 million invested, Tower-Roosevelt to Chittenden Road (near Dunraven Pass) will reopen May 27! This segment of road remained largely unchanged since the last improvements in the 1930s. Improvements include widening roughly 6 miles of Grand Loop Road and providing additional/improved pullouts; creating a larger, safer parking area at Tower Fall General Store; improving the trail and overlook for Tower Fall; and reconditioning Chittenden Road and reconstructing the Mt. Washburn parking area. To fund this infrastructure improvement, the park received a grant through the Nationally Significant Federal Lands Program and matched it with fee dollars collected in the park. View more photos of this project on our Flickr.

 
a large historical building with peeling paint
Current condition of building exteriors in historic Fort Yellowstone.

Historic Fort Yellowstone Preservation Project Groundbreaking

June 23, 2022 | Mammoth Hot Springs
Employees and partners only


This $22 million project is the largest cultural resources preservation effort in the National Park Service. It will stabilize and rehabilitate the exteriors of 16 buildings located within the Historic Fort Yellowstone and Lower Mammoth areas, where structures remain from the 1890s and early 1900s when the U.S. Army administered the park. Fort Yellowstone is also listed as a National Historic Landmark District, the highest designation. This project is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act. View more photos of this project on our Flickr.

 
a bridge with crumbling concrete
Current condition of Lewis River Bridge.

Lewis River Bridge Project Groundbreaking

Summer 2022 | South Entrance Road
Employees and partners only


This $28 million project includes the removal and replacement of the structurally deficient Lewis River Bridge. Beginning spring 2022, the existing 273-foot-long bridge, built in 1960, will be removed, and a new bridge will be constructed immediately downstream to preserve safe visitor access between South Entrance and West Thumb. Parking areas, overlooks, and walkways in this area will be updated and reconfigured to reduce traffic hazards and improve accessibility for visitors. This project is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and Legacy Restoration Fund. View more photos of this project on our Flickr.

 
a large building in an open area
Current condition of the historic Laurel Dorm.

Historic Laurel Dorm Preservation Project Groundbreaking

Summer 2022 | Old Faithful
Employees and partners only


This $21 million project, funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and Legacy Restoration Fund, will preserve and stabilize the Historic Laurel Dormitory and repurpose the building from concession dormitory to National Park Service employee housing. This structure is part of the Old Faithful Historic District, designed in 1922 by Robert Reamer, who designed the famous Old Faithful Inn. The project will provide approximately 20 safe and efficient employee apartments with updated mechanical and electrical systems. View more photos of this project on our Flickr.

 
three people looking at archeological finds outdoors
Park Archeologist Beth Horton with Salish Kootenai College students.

Tribal Internship Program

Fall 2022

Yellowstone has partnered with Salish Kootenai College (SKC), the Tribal Preservation Historic Office, and National Parks Conservation Association to develop an internship program for recent graduates of SKC. The candidate will gain experience through work with each partner throughout the year-long program.

 
a bison leaping out of a trailer
Yellowstone bison at Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Bison Conservation Transfer Program Expansion Completion

Fall 2022 | Stephens Creek
Employees and partners only


Since 2019, 182 bison were transferred to the Fort Peck Tribes in northeastern Montana. Of those 182 bison, roughly 140 were transferred to about 20 other member Tribes across North America to start conservation herds. Yellowstone has partnered with Yellowstone Forever and Greater Yellowstone Coalition to more than double the capacity for the Bison Conservation Transfer Program. Together, we’re building a better future for our national mammal. View more photos of this project on our Flickr.

 

Learn About Yellowstone

  • People walk across a boardwalk over steaming, colorful hot springs.

    Strategic Priorities

    The priorities of core, resources, experience, infrastructure, and partnerships guide park management decision making.

  • Historic colorized photograph of horses going under a large stone arch.

    History & Culture

    Explore the rich human and ecological stories that continue to unfold.

  • People posing alongside an historic yellow park bus.

    Partners

    Learn how partners help support efforts to preserve and protect the park's spectacular natural and cultural features.

 

Press Kit

If you are a member of the media or interested to write about 150 Years of Yellowstone, you can find background information, frequently asked questions, and high-resolution photographs and videos in our Press Kit.

Last updated: May 23, 2022

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Yellowstone National Park , WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

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