We have a major birthday milestone right around the corner for one of the most-visited national parks in the country — Yellowstone National Park.
The national park boasts absolutely stunning views of lush forests, flowing rivers, famous active geysers and hot springs, massive canyons, and an assortment of wildlife. Now, outdoor enthusiasts can all come together to celebrate the national park as it turns 150 years old on March 1.
A Celebration for Yellowstone
In fact, Yellowstone National Park is throwing itself a major party. There will be a variety of different activities to mark the important milestone. There are no large-scale events to honor the sesquicentennial milestone, seeing as the COVID-19 pandemic is at a high. Regardless, park officials want people to use this anniversary to recognize the important past and future of the national park.
The area has a much richer history that stretches farther than just 150 years.
“This isn’t just about the last century-and-a-half. We also want to use this anniversary to do a better job of fully recognizing the many American Indian nations that lived in this area for thousands of years prior to Yellowstone becoming a park,” the Superintendant of Yellowstone, Cam Sholly, said at a virtual event, according to USA Today.
For thousands of years, Yellowstone National Park has been a gathering place. The national park once was home to Native American tribes that used the land’s rich resources for survival purposes as well as different religious reasons. Then, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act on March 1, 1872. It allowed for the natural land to be protected and stay intact for hundreds of years to come.
Starting in March, the national park will honor this important date. Also, there will be several Native American Tribes that will participate in a few of the events taking place. One of these events will involve the Tribal Nations installing a Teepee Village by Roosevelt Arch. This will serve as an educational and cultural moment for visitors entering the park. This will take place in August.
The pandemic has put a bit of a damper on the festivities. Xanterra Parks will host an event on May 6 to honor Yellowstone’s summer season.
Rich and Problematic History of Yellowstone National Park
All in all, these events are really going to focus on the impact of this national park over the years — both environmentally and culturally. Officials want to make sure they are working closely with Tribal Nations to get the story and history correct as well.
It’s a valuable lesson, seeing as Native American groups in the area were not always treated fairly. Doug MacDonald, who wrote “Before Yellowstone: Native American Archeology in the National Park,” spoke to Smithsonian Magazine in 2021 about this issue. Native American groups in the area were pushed out by the government. Then, the public was instead told they were never there to begin with because they were afraid of the geysers. Therefore, there was an attempt to erase their presence on the land.
Now, officials are trying to make up for the past.