National Parks

One of the first people generally credited with conceptualizing a "national park" was George Catlin (1796-1872), a self-taught artist who traveled extensively among the native peoples of North America, while sketching and painting portraits, landscapes, and scenes from daily Indian life. On a trip to the Dakotas in 1832, he worried about the impact of America's westward expansion on Indian civilization, wildlife, and wilderness. They might be preserved, he wrote, "by some great protecting policy of government . . . in a magnificent park . . . . A nation's park, containing man and beast, in all the wild and freshness of their nature's beauty!"

The idea had gained some acceptance years later, when in 1864 Congress donated Yosemite Valley to California for preservation as a state park. The establishment of Yellowstone National Park by act of Congress on March 1, 1872, for the first time signified that public lands were to be set aside and administered by the federal government "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people."  This enscription is carved into the rock of the Teddy Roosevelt Arch, the official entranceway at the north gate to Yellowstone from Gardiner, Montana.

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Quaking Aspen in theSpring

Aspens are the most prolific deciduous trees in Yellowstone. They derive both their Latin name (Populus tremuloides) and the...

Rainbow Over the Upper Yellowstone River Valley

A quick evening rain shower came east across the SE arm of Yellowstone Lake, the clouds at the horizon opened...

Red Breasted Nuthatch

The Nuthatch is common in conifer forests where it climbs on tree trunks. These charming little birds eat seeds...

Resting, Castle Geyser

Artist Tah Madsen captures the quiet presence of a "Resting" Castle Geyser, one of Yellowstone's most recognized thermal features, in...

River Spirit

As the Virgin River leaves the area within Zion National Park known as The Narrows, the Zion Canyon widens enough...

Roosevelt Arch

The Roosevelt Arch was designed by U.S. Army Engineer Hiram Chittenden and was dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt during his...

Roosevelt Arch

The historical Roosevelt Arch is located in Gardiner, Montana at the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. A herd...

Roosevelt Arch and Bison

American Bison grazing in the shadow of Roosevelt Arch in Yellowstone. This beautiful photo has been permanently transferred to a...

Running Wolves

This photograph on slate shows two Yellowstone wolves on a run (in play or running in pursuit of their prey?)...

Sun Pillar Tree

This astounding photo was taken at the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  A lodge pole pine tree...

Sunset Moose

What an outstanding photo by Steve Fuller!   A bull moose feeds in the shallows of the Yellowstone River at...

Teddy Roosevelt

"Yellowstone Park is absolutely unique in the world..It was created and now administered for the benefit and enjoyment of the...
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