March 1, 2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Yellowstone National Park.
Signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant, America's first national park was set aside to preserve and protect the scenery, cultural heritage, wildlife, geologic and ecological systems and processes in their natural condition for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.
Yellowstone serves as the core of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the last and largest nearly intact natural ecosystems on the planet. Yellowstone has the most active, diverse, and intact collections of combined geothermal features with over 10,000 hydrothermal sites and half the world's active geysers. The park is also rich in cultural and historical resources with 25 sites, landmarks, and districts on the National Register of Historic Places.
Based on the park’s location at the convergence of the Great Plains, Great Basin, and Columbia Plateau, 27 Native American Tribes have historic and modern connections to the land and its resources. For over 10,000 years before Yellowstone became a national park, it was a place where Native Americans lived, hunted, fished, gathered plants, quarried obsidian, and used thermal waters for religious and medicinal purposes.
Park managers have learned many lessons during Yellowstone's 150 years. In the early 1900s, the government killed nearly all predators in the park, and the bison population was hunted to less than two dozen. Later that century, the fires of 1988 burned more than one-third of the park, and the introduction of nonnative lake trout decimated native Yellowstone cutthroat populations. Through modern resource management efforts involving bison, grizzly bears, native fish, gray wolves, wildland fire, and others, Yellowstone's ecosystem is the healthiest it has been in over a century.
Today, Yellowstone is facing new challenges. Employee housing, workforce development, historic preservation, effects of climate change, transboundary wildlife management, increasing visitation, and deteriorating infrastructure are issues impacting Yellowstone's workforce, resources, visitors, and gateway communities. To tackle these challenges, Yellowstone has set five major strategic priorities, each supporting the overarching National Park Service mission and each critical to Yellowstone's success. The priorities are: 1) Focus on the Core (workforce); 2) Strengthen the Yellowstone Ecosystem and Heritage Resources; 3) Deliver a World-Class Visitor Experience; 4) Invest in Infrastructure; and 5) Build Coalitions and Partnerships. Within each of these strategic priority areas are a wide range of actions designed to achieve success. Learn more about Yellowstone's recent successes and challenges, along with priorities and actions park managers intend to pursue in the future, in our State of the Park report.
Yellowstone is bigger than its boundary. Each of our partners play a vital role in making decisions that protect Yellowstone for future generations and improve the positive conservation, environmental, economic, and social impacts the park provides this region and the country. As stewards of this inspiring place, it is an opportunity for us to reflect on the lessons of the past and strengthen Yellowstone for the future by making decisions that protect the health of the park for centuries to come.
During March-August 2022, the park and partners provided opportunities to reflect on 150 years of protecting the park, highlighted successes in the ecosystem, and opened dialogue on the lessons learned from yesterday, the challenges of today, and a vision for tomorrow. We focused on the stewards of Yellowstone, conservation and historic preservation, visitor experience, infrastructure, Tribal Nations, and partner engagement via social media, a bimonthly virtual video series featuring various subject matter experts, and a range of both virtual and in-person activities. Of particular importance to Yellowstone during the commemoration was to be reflective, intentional, inclusive, and impactful.
A variety of virtual and in-person activities occurred in Yellowstone National Park and surrounding gateway communities throughout 2022. Browse our list of anniversary efforts below, follow us on social media and browse #Yellowstone150, and check out our park partners and nearby communities for additional activities.
To promote employee wellness and commemorate 150 Years of Yellowstone, employees skied, snowshoed, walked, and ran a combined 1,955 miles in the park during February and March! This activity highlighted mental wellness and provided tools to employees to help build resiliency during some of the darkest days of the year. Following the event, the park hosted a certified counselor who met with employees to discuss work-life balance, how to cope with loss, and one-on-one private counseling sessions. Additionally, the park is participating in an employee health and wellness survey this year to gather information about what supports, or hinders, the health and well-being of park employees. The goal of this project is to address the most pressing health issues employees face and provide better support for our community now and into the future.
New Employee Housing Ribbon-Cutting
Spring 2022 | Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone initiated a $40 million housing improvement effort to substantially upgrade National Park Service employee housing across the park by replacing 64 outdated trailers. The old trailers, located throughout the park, were 40-60 years old and in substandard condition. This project also upgraded utilities and incorporated landscape designs to develop a sense of community. The park saved an estimated $36 million from the original housing improvement plan proposal. View more photos of new employee housing on our Flickr.
Tower-Roosevelt to Chittenden Road Ribbon-Cutting
Spring 2022 | Tower Junction
Employees and partners only
After two years of construction and roughly $28 million invested, Tower-Roosevelt to Chittenden Road (near Dunraven Pass) reopened May 27! This segment of road remained largely unchanged since the last improvements in the 1930s. Improvements include widening roughly 6 miles of Grand Loop Road and providing additional/improved pullouts; creating a larger, safer parking area at Tower Fall General Store; improving the trail and overlook for Tower Fall; and reconditioning Chittenden Road and reconstructing the Mt. Washburn parking area. To fund this infrastructure improvement, the park received a grant through the Nationally Significant Federal Lands Program and matched it with fee dollars collected in the park. View more photos of this project on our Flickr.
Yellowstone National Park announced June 9, 2022, that Mount Doane is now named First Peoples Mountain. First Peoples Mountain was previously named after Gustavus Doane, a key member of the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition in 1870 prior to Yellowstone becoming the first U.S. national park. Research has shown that Doane led an attack on a band of Piegan Blackfeet in 1870. During what is now known as the Marias Massacre, at least 173 American Indians were killed, of which Doane wrote fondly and bragged about for the rest of his life. First Peoples Mountain is a 10,551-foot peak in the Absaroka Mountains located east of Yellowstone Lake.
Lewis River Bridge Project Groundbreaking
Summer 2022 | South Entrance Road
Employees and partners only
This $28 million project includes the removal and replacement of the structurally deficient Lewis River Bridge. Beginning spring 2022, the existing 273-foot-long bridge, built in 1960, will be removed, and a new bridge will be constructed immediately downstream to preserve safe visitor access between South Entrance and West Thumb. Parking areas, overlooks, and walkways in this area will be updated and reconfigured to reduce traffic hazards and improve accessibility for visitors. This project is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and Legacy Restoration Fund. View more photos of this project on our Flickr.
Historic Fort Yellowstone Preservation Project Groundbreaking
Fall 2022 | Mammoth Hot Springs
Employees and partners only
This $22 million project is the largest cultural resources preservation effort in the National Park Service. It will stabilize and rehabilitate the exteriors of 16 buildings located within the Historic Fort Yellowstone and Lower Mammoth areas, where structures remain from the 1890s and early 1900s when the U.S. Army administered the park. Fort Yellowstone is also listed as a National Historic Landmark District, the highest designation. This project is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act. View more photos of this project on our Flickr.
Fall 2022 | Old Faithful
Employees and partners only
This $21 million project, funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and Legacy Restoration Fund, will preserve and stabilize the Historic Laurel Dormitory and repurpose the building from concession dormitory to National Park Service employee housing. This structure is part of the Old Faithful Historic District, designed in 1922 by Robert Reamer, who designed the famous Old Faithful Inn. The project will provide approximately 20 safe and efficient employee apartments with updated mechanical and electrical systems. View more photos of this project on our Flickr.
Tribal Internship Program
Yellowstone has partnered with Salish Kootenai College (SKC), the Tribal Preservation Historic Office, and National Parks Conservation Association to develop an internship program for recent graduates of SKC. The candidate will gain experience through work with each partner throughout the year-long program.
Bison Conservation Transfer Program Expansion Completion
Fall 2022 | Stephens Creek
Employees and partners only
Since 2019, 182 bison were transferred to the Fort Peck Tribes in northeastern Montana. Of those 182 bison, roughly 140 were transferred to about 20 other member Tribes across North America to start conservation herds. Yellowstone has partnered with Yellowstone Forever and Greater Yellowstone Coalition to more than double the capacity for the Bison Conservation Transfer Program. Together, we’re building a better future for our national mammal. View more photos of this project on our Flickr.
Past Anniversary Efforts
January – December 2022 | Virtual
Post your photos and videos with our monthly hashtag for a chance to be featured on our social media! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where we will announce themes at the beginning of each month.
February 28 – March 1, 2022 | Cheyenne, WY | Learn more
Dedicated to celebrating and educating Wyoming’s tourism industry, the Wyoming Governor’s Conference is the year’s single event that brings together over 300 influential tourism and hospitality industry representatives. Cam Sholly, superintendent of Yellowstone, was among the keynote speakers.
Follow us on social media as we chat with Yellowstone staff and park partners about a wide variety of topics, including a behind-the-scenes tour of the park’s historic vehicle collection, the history of Yellowstone before it was designated a national park, Tribal connections to Yellowstone, recent wildlife research and discoveries, and more!
To honor Indigenous ways of life practiced in the area long before 1872 and explore how we can work together to create a brighter future, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes of the Wind River Reservation welcomed all Tribal Nations and people to gather online March 1 to commemorate the park’s anniversary while elevating the Tribal community’s voice in conserving and managing Yellowstone.
April 15 - Aug. 31, 2022 |
This summer, the Yellowstone Research Library hosted a Sesquicentennial Summer Reading Challenge! To celebrate the establishment of Yellowstone in 1872, participants were challenged to read 1,872 minutes (about 30 hours) between April 15 - Aug. 31. Although the summer challenge is over, anyone can still download our recommended reading list and tracker sheet (above) and work with your local library or inter-library loan to find some new books. Happy reading!
April 23, 2022 | Gardiner, MT
The Yellowstone Environmental Coordinating Committee, comprised of National Park Service and park concessioner employees, provided trash bags and gloves to participants for a town cleanup in Yellowstone’s gateway community of Gardiner, Montana. After the cleanup, Yellowstone National Parks Lodges provided free lunch and refreshments to participants while various speakers, including Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly, highlighted current park sustainability efforts.
May - September 2022 | Haynes Photo Shop at Old Faithful | Learn more
Yellowstone National Park and official nonprofit partner, Yellowstone Forever, in collaboration with Tribal consultation, piloted a Tribal Heritage Center at Old Faithful. The center provided a public space where Native American artists, scholars, and presenters could directly engage with visitors through formal and informal education.
Yellowstone’s lodging concessioner, Yellowstone National Park Lodges, hosted a public event at the Old Faithful Inn on May 6, coinciding with the summer season opening of the historic inn. There were remarks from National Park Service and partner representatives, refreshments, and free Historic Yellow Bus tours of the Old Faithful Historic District area. A Native American Art Exhibition and Marketplace was open throughout the weekend.
May 15-18, 2022 | Montana State University in Bozeman, MT | Learn more
The 15th Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, hosted by Montana State University, was an opportunity to gather, share discoveries and ideas, find common ground, and examine different ways of understanding natural and cultural resources. The theme for 2022 was “Expanding the Scope of Science Together: The Next 150 Years.” The conference brought together researchers and practitioners from academia, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and Tribal communities to discuss scientific findings and management needs associated with the Greater Yellowstone region.
May 19-20, 2022 | Virtual and in-person at Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, WY | Watch recorded panels
The University of Wyoming College of Law and Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources hosted a symposium marking Yellowstone National Park’s 150th anniversary. The two-day event was open to the public both in person and online and featured prominent figures from the National Park Service and elsewhere within the Department of the Interior—including Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly—as well as from numerous Yellowstone-associated Native American Tribes. They were joined by a host of academics, scholars, scientists, and other participants. The historic event explored the goals, successes, and shortcomings of the park over the past 150 years and looked to the future to examine key issues it now faces.
June 1-3, 2022 | Wind River Reservation | Learn more
The Wind River Inter-Tribal Gathering brought together Tribal Nations, federal managers, non-governmental organizations, and others to discuss conservation, current issues of importance to Tribal Nations, and the future of consultation and collaboration. Yellowstone’s 27 associated Tribes, as well as nonprofits and agency personnel, gathered to honor, nourish, dance, heal, and celebrate Native Americans. Cam Sholly, superintendent of Yellowstone, was among the keynote speakers.
July 28-30, 2022 | Canyon Village
Members of the Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club and Yellowstone staff rode sections of the Nez Perce Trail in the park July 28-29. The public were invited to Canyon Village on July 30 as members coordinated a horse parade in traditional regalia and presented fireside chats on the history and culture of the NiMiiPuu (Nez Perce). This project was intended to connect Nez Perce youth and adults to the trail, their history, and ancestors and share this information and experience with Yellowstone employees and visitors.
Yellowstone coordinated with Mountain Time Arts to premiere a series of public, place-based projects and artworks created by an inter-Tribal group of artists and scholars in locations throughout the park. The public was invited to learn about historic and continued presence of Indigenous people in the Yellowstone region. Lead artists included Dr. Shane Doyle (Apsáalooke); Patti Baldes (Northern Arapaho/Northern Paiute); Dean Nicolai (Bitterroot Salish); and Tim Ryan (Salish). The cultural and artistic co-producers were Ren Freeman (Eastern Shoshone) and Mary Ellen Strom. Event partners included Mountain Time Arts; the city of Gardiner, Montana; Yellowstone Forever; National Parks Conservation Association; Greater Yellowstone Coalition; Park County Environmental Council; Pretty Shield Foundation; and Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council.
Yellowstone Revealed consisted of four main projects/artworks:
Lighted Teepees: Resiliency of the People by Pretty Shield Foundation and Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council Aug. 17-28, 2022 | Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner, MT
Seven teepees were installed and illuminated nightly at sunset.
ReVisiting Cultural Landscapes Through Stories by Dean Nicolai and Tim Ryan Aug. 23-27, 2022 | Various in-park locations
This project included a series of interpretive hikes, demonstrations, and storytelling along the southern route of the Grand Loop Road. The purpose of this series was to give park visitors insight into diverse Indigenous knowledges, ways of knowing, and connection to landscapes. Each day, different representative knowledge keepers led hikes and engaged with visitors.
All Nations Teepee Village by Shane Doyle Madison Junction
Aug. 23-27, 2022 | Cultural Ambassadors
Aug. 23-25, 2022 | Nightly performances
This project featured 13 teepee lodges and 15 teepee rings that signify a new era of Indigenous inclusion and representation of the 27 affiliated Tribal Nations of Yellowstone National Park. The installation came to life with a community of Cultural Ambassadors sharing knowledge with visitors and nightly performances.
REMATRIATE by Patti Baldes Aug. 24, 2022 | Madison Junction
Aug. 25, 2022 | Old Faithful
The public joined us at sunset to witness an artwork showcasing seven moving buffalo sculptures made of willow branches while 14 dancers and 10 drummers that brought the buffalo to life. The focus of this project was land rematriation through buffalo restoration.
View photos and videos of these events on our Flickr.
Aug. 25, 2022 | Old Faithful Lodge Recreation Hall
The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes held a gathering in the Old Faithful Lodge Recreation Hall (located behind the Old Faithful Lodge) to engage with park visitors about the Tribes' homeland. There were morning remarks by Tribal Council Members and Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly, as well as informational booths, presentations, and dancing by Tribal members throughout the day.