Yellowstone was made a national park in 1872

November 28, 2012 7:11 am

Yellowstone National Park
Picture a place where you can see smelly gray mud bubbling up from the ground and steaming hot water shooting out of rocks. In the distance, high waterfalls tumble through colorful canyons.
It may sound like make-believe, but you can find all these things in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is in the and it’s the oldest national park in the world.
WHAT’S A NATIONAL PARK?
A national park is land set aside by the government in order to protect it. Yellowstone was made a national park in 1872. People realized it was a very special place that should be preserved.
National parks are also created so people can enjoy nature. In Yellowstone, you can do things such as camp, hike in the woods, ride horses, and go fishing.
WHERE IS YELLOWSTONE?
Yellowstone sits in the Rocky Mountains. Most of Yellowstone is in the northwest corner of Wyoming. But parts are in Idaho and Montana, too.
WHAT MAKES YELLOWSTONE SO SPECIAL?
The ground beneath Yellowstone contains a large amount of hot melted rock, called magma. The magma heats water in the ground. The steaming water pushes to get to the surface, much like steam whistling from a boiling teapot.
Sometimes the heated water forms a geyser. A geyser is a place where hot water spouts up from underground. There are more than 300 geysers in Yellowstone, some big and some small. Other times the hot water seeps from the ground as a hot spring. There are even more hot springs in Yellowstone than geysers.
If you explore Yellowstone, you may also see steam vents, which is where steam and other gases puff out of the ground. You can even find “paint pots” in the park. Paint pots are holes full of bubbling mud that is thick like paint. Sometimes the pots smell like rotten eggs or burnt matches.
OLD FAITHFUL
The most famous geyser in the world is Old Faithful and it’s in Yellowstone. It blows its top about every 30 to 90 minutes. It shoots thousands of gallons of hot water high into the air. Visiting Old Faithful is a highlight of any trip to Yellowstone.
OTHER NATURAL WONDERS
What else can you see in Yellowstone? How about Yellowstone’s own Grand Canyon? It has two big waterfalls and high cliffs of yellow, red, and orange rock.
There’s a forest of stone trees in Yellowstone that is millions of years old. The trees were once buried by ash from a volcano and were gradually turned to stone. There are also beautiful lakes, rivers, and mountains to see and enjoy.
Yellowstone is rich with wildlife. Hundreds of kinds of birds live in the park, including bald eagles, blue herons, and white pelicans. Yellowstone is home to many large animals. Visitors may see black bears, grizzly bears, moose, bighorn sheep, deer, cougars, herds of elk, and bison (buffalo).
Protecting animals in the wild is one of the most important tasks of the park. In fact, the creation of Yellowstone helped save bison from being hunted to extinction in the late 1800s.
WELCOME BACK WOLVES
Yellowstone was once home to thousands of gray wolves. But people thought they were dangerous and killed them off. The last wolf in the park was killed in the 1930s.
In 1995 and 1996, biologists brought about 30 wolves from Canada and released them inside Yellowstone. Wolf packs soon formed. New pups are born in the park every year. There are now more than 200 wolves in and around the park! Today, seeing a wolf is one of Yellowstone’s big attractions.
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