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Today in History: Yellowstone Park established in 1872
148 years ago today, President Grant signed the bill creating the nation’s first national park at Yellowstone.
Native Americans had lived and hunted in the region that would become Yellowstone for hundreds of years before the first Anglo explorers arrived. John Colter, a famous mountain man, was the first Anglo to travel through the area in the early 1800s. Before the Civil War, only a handful of trappers and hunters ventured into the area, and it remained largely a mystery. In 1869, the Folsom-Cook expedition made the first formal exploration, followed a year later by a much more thorough reconnaissance by the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition. In 1871, geologist Ferdinand Hayden led a government-sponsored exploration and brought along William Jackson, a pioneering photographer, and Thomas Moran, a brilliant landscape artist, to make a visual record of the expedition. Their images provided the first visual proof of Yellowstone’s wonders and caught the attention of the U.S. Congress.
Early in 1872, Congress moved to set aside 1,221,773 acres of public land straddling the future states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho as America’s first national park. President Grant signed the bill into law on this day in 1872. The Yellowstone Act of 1872 designated the region as a public “pleasuring-ground,” which would be preserved “from injury or spoliation, of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders within.” Source: history.com
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