On March 1, 2022, we proudly marked the 150th anniversary of our favorite place—Yellowstone National Park. America's first national park was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. All 2.2 million acres of this extraordinary place were set aside to preserve and protect the landscape, cultural heritage, wildlife and geological features for the benefit and enjoyment of all.
Yellowstone's legacy has inspired the protection of many of America's wild places, and here in Montana the park has inspired an entire region that benefits from its beauty and wonder. This natural marvel sits atop a supervolcano and is part of one of the last and largest nearly intact natural ecosystems on earth, boasting one of the world's most significant collection of geothermal features—10,000 hydrothermal sites and half the world's active geysers. The park's cultural and historical resources consist of 25 sites, landmarks and districts on the National Register of Historic Places.
In short, it's a very special place. A place where time stands still. A place unspoiled by the chaos of the modern world, where you can sit in silence and solitude and catch a glimpse of how the world was thousands and thousands of years ago.
Long before Yellowstone became official, its beauty and bounty inspired and supported Indigenous peoples for well over 10,000 years. They have lived in balance with this land and hunted and gathered on it. They have used its thermal waters spiritually and medicinally. Their ancient corridors became some of the trails trekked today.
In 1872, Congress moved to protect this land from westward expansion, but in the early 1900s wildlife populations suffered at the hands of man and wildfires ravaged nearly a third of the terrain. Today, the Yellowstone ecosystem is the healthiest it has been in over a century, but it's not without challenges.
We all play a vital role in making decisions that protect Yellowstone for future generations. We can all be good stewards of America's first national park. Please make choices and decisions that will protect the well-being of Yellowstone for another 150 years, whether behind the scenes or on the trail. Please recreate responsibly. Happy 150 years, Yellowstone.
We'll see you out there.