The nation’s oldest national park is turning 150 years old this year, and a series of events will celebrate the landmark.
Yellowstone National Park was established on March 1, 1872, when President Ulysses Grant signed legislation to set aside the land.
The 150th celebration will begin March 1, and it will start small. Due to the ongoing pandemic, no large events are planned, but park officials hope that can change as the year progresses and if COVID gets under better control.
The celebration will include a lot of input from Native American tribes from the region, with multiple tribal nations participating in the anniversary. Many will be present throughout the summer at Old Faithful as part of the Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center project.
“Yellowstone’s 150th anniversary is an important moment in time for the world,” superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement. “It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on the lessons of the past while focusing our efforts to strengthen Yellowstone and our many partnerships for the future.”
Sholly noted the efforts of the Department of the Interior secretary Deb Haaland and National Parks Service director Charles Sams to reflect on the history of the region.
“I applaud and share the vision of secretary Haaland and director Sams on our responsibility to more fully engage with tribal nations to honor and learn from their ancestral and modern connections to Yellowstone,” Sholly said.
As part of the celebration, tribes will be installing a large teepee village in the park near the Roosevelt Arch, where members will interact with visitors to share their cultures and heritage.
From March through August, park officials will “highlight successes in the ecosystem, and open dialogue on the lessons learned from yesterday, the challenges of today, and a vision for tomorrow.”
Celebration planners are focused on making events reflective, intentional, inclusive, and impactful, they said.
Other events planned for the year include:
- A scientific conference on the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem hosted by Montana State University
- The Wyoming Governor’s Hospitality and Tourism Conference
- University of Wyoming’s 150th anniversary symposium
- Groundbreakings on projects totaling more than $125 million funded through the Great American Outdoors Act
- The reopening of Tower Fall to Chittenden Road, a $28 million road improvement project
- The opening of 40 new employee housing units throughout the park
A number of virtual and in-person activities will also take place at the park and in surrounding communities throughout the year. Park officials have posted a browsable calendar with planned events that will be updated as the year progresses.
For those who have never been to Yellowstone, it is much more than a great camping and hiking experience. It is one of the largest, nearly intact natural ecosystems in the world, featuring the most active and diverse collections of combined geothermal features.
It is home to half of the world’s active geysers and has more than 10,000 hydrothermal sites. More than 25 locations in the area are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For some of our most recent travel news, check out these stories: