Yellowstone National Park was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone, the first National Park in the U.S. and widely held to be the first national park in the world, is known for its wildlife and the world’s greatest concentration of geysers, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park.
These geothermal features are the main reason the park was established in as America’s first national park—and sparked a worldwide national park movement. Today more than 100 nations contain some 1,200 national parks or equivalent preserves. A mountain wilderness, Yellowstone is home to grizzly bears, wolves, and herds of bison and elk. The park is the core of one of the last, nearly intact ecosystems in the Earth’s temperate zone.
Straddling the borders of Montana and Wyoming, according the the act, Yellowstone was established “as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” and placed it “under exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior.”
Prior to the establishment of the National Park Service, the U.S. Army protected Yellowstone between 1886 and 1918 from Fort Yellowstone at Mammoth Hot Springs.
People have spent time in the Yellowstone region for more than 11,000 years. Many tribes and bands used the park as their home, hunting grounds, and transportation routes prior to and after European American arrival.
Today, Yellowstone National Park’s cultural resources tell the stories of people and their connections to the park. And, the protection of these resources affects how the park is managed.