People stand on a boardwalk and watch steam and water gush into the air. People in an car watch steam and water gush into the air.
Contemporary visitors watching Old Faithful Geyser erupt. NPS/Neal Herbert
Historic photograph of visitors watching Old Faithful Geyser erupt. NPS


People are an integral part of the Yellowstone story. Human history in the region goes back more than 11,000 years. The place has been a source of sustenance, a place to study, a home, a place to explore, and a place to visit time and again. This is the birthplace of the national park idea, and so this is a place where national park rangers have evolved as our understanding of being stewards of these national treasures has evolved.


Notable People in Yellowstone's History

Here are just a few of the millions of people that have visited this area and left their mark, or been touched by the place in some way.

  • Horace Albright: The first National Park Service superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, who also served as assistant to the first National Park Service director, Stephen T. Mather.
  • John Colter: Member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, who left the expedition during the return voyage and wandered through areas of what would become the park.
  • Ferdinand V. Hayden: Head of the US Geological and Geographic Survey who led a scientific expedition through the area in 1871. He brought botanists, a meteorologist, a zoologist, an ornithologist, a mineralogist, a topographer, an agricultural statistician/entomologist, an artist, and a photographer along on the expedition.
  • Ed Howell: A poucher who was caught in 1894 by the US Army for slaughtering bison in the Pelican Valley area of the park. His case led to Congress passing the National Park Protection Act.
  • Emerson Hough: A well-known journalist who was present at the arrest of Ed Howell and published his account in Forest & Stream, a popular magazine of the time. Its editor, renowned naturalist George Bird Grinnell, helped create a national outcry. Within two months Congress passed the National Park Protection Act, which increased the Army’s authority for protecting park treasures.
  • Chief Joseph: Leader of the Nez Perce, who in the summer of 1877 led his people through park lands in an attempt to flee the US Army.
  • Marguerite Lindsley: In 1921, she was one of three women to be appointed as season park rangers by Superintendent Horace Albright. In 1925, she became the first permanent female park ranger. Lindsley was the perfect choice for this position. Not only did she hold a degree in bacteriology, she also had an immense passion for Yellowstone and enjoyed teaching the public about the wonders to be found here.
  • Robert Reamer: Architect who designed the Old Faithful Inn, redesigned the Yellowstone Lake Hotel and the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, and designed many other buildings in Yellowstone.
  • Osbourne Russell: A fur trapper who published his accounts of traveling through the area during the 1830s and 1840s.
  • Harry Yount: Hired as the first gamekeeper of Yellowstone National Park in 1880, and had the task of protecting the park's wildlife from poachers. He is credited with coming up with the national park ranger concept.
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    Map of the northwestern US showing 27 tribes that have ties to the Yellowstone area.

    Associated Tribes of Yellowstone

    27 tribes have ties to the area and resources now found within Yellowstone National Park.

    Columns of basalt form a tree-topped cliff.

    The Tukudika Indians

    The Tukudika Indians were a band of Mountain Shoshone that lived for thousands of years in the area that would become known as Yellowstone.

    Historic colorized photograph of horses going under a large stone arch.

    History & Culture

    Explore the rich human and ecological stories that continue to unfold.

    Last updated: March 15, 2021

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    PO Box 168
    Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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