Yellowstone National Park was recommended for Wilderness Designation in 1972. Currently, a little over 2 million of Yellowstone's total 2.2 million acres are Recommended Wilderness and are managed as Wilderness according to the Wilderness Act of 1964. All lands that fall within Yellowstone's Recommended Wilderness are managed to maintain their natural wilderness character. Because of this, all research projects in the park are evaluated based on impacts to wilderness resources among other parameters. Some activities that are typically prohibited under the Wilderness Act are motorized/mechanized equipment use and the installation of structures. A Minimum Requirement Analysis must be conducted by park managers prior to the approval of any projects concerning these activities. This process asks 1) why must the work must be done in Recommended Wilderness and 2) if the project is necessary to conduct in Wilderness, what is the appropriate means to conduct it that will cause the minimum impact to the wilderness resource, qualities and experience that will still get the job done. When planning work in wilderness, it is important to communicate early and often with the Park Research Coordinator; incorporate Leave-No-Trace Principles into your field work, and design your work with the "minimum requirement" in mind (i.e., minimum staffing, equipment, and transport necessary to get the job done).
Did You Know?
Prior to the establishment of the National Park Service, the U.S. Army protected Yellowstone between 1886 and 1918. Fort Yellowstone was established at Mammoth Hot Springs for that purpose.