PaleoIndian Period (~11,000-7,000 years ago)
11,000 years ago (approximately)
A Clovis point from this period was made from obsidian obtained at Obsidian Cliff.
10,000 years ago
Folsom people were in the Yellowstone area as early as 10,900 years ago—the date of an obsidian Folsom projectile point found near Pinedale, Wyoming. Sites all over the park yield paleoindian artifacts, particularly concentrated around Yellowstone Lake. Earliest Humans in Yellowstone.
9,350 years ago
A site on the shore of Yellowstone Lake has been dated to 9,350 years ago. The points had traces of blood from rabbit, dog, deer, and bighorn. People seem to have occupied this site for short, seasonal periods. People continued to leave traces of camps on shores of Yellowstone Lake throughout the archiac period until 1,000 CE (Common Era).
Archaic Period (7,000–1,500 years ago)
7,000 years ago
Vegetation similar to what we find today begins to appear. Projectile points begin to be notched.
3,000 years ago
Oral histories of the Salish place their ancestors in the Yellowstone area.
1,500 years ago
Bow and arrow begins to replace atlatl (throwing spear); sheep traps (in the mountains) and bison corrals (on the plains) begin to be used in the Rocky Mountain region.
500 to 1700 CE
Oral histories of the Kiowa place their ancestors in the Yellowstone area from this time through the 1700s. More Historic Tribes
Little Ice Age begins.
North American tribes in the southwest begin acquiring horses in the mid to late 1600s. Ancestors of the Crow may have come into Yellowstone during this time.
Lakota Sioux begin exploring the Yellowstone area.
Late 1700s CE to Present
Fur traders travel the rivers into the Yellowstone region. Tribes in the Yellowstone area begin using horses.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition passes within 50 miles of Yellowstone.
John Colter explores part of Yellowstone.
Trappers return to Yellowstone area.
Trapper Osborne Russell encounters Sheep Eaters in Lamar Valley.
Trapper era ends.
Little Ice Age ends, climate begins to warm.
First organized expedition attempts but fails to explore the Yellowstone Plateau.
Gold strike northwest of Yellowstone.
Washburn–Langford–Doane Expedition; Old Faithful Geyser named.
First Hayden Expedition.
Yellowstone National Park Protection Act establishes the first national park.
Nez Perce (Nee-me-poo) flee US Army through Yellowstone.
Northern Pacific Railroad reaches the North Entrance of the park.
The US Army arrives to administer the park. They stay until 1918.
Poacher Ed Howell captured; National Park Protection Act (Lacey Act) passed.
President Theodore Roosevelt dedicates arch at the North Entrance in Gardiner while on vacation.
The Antiquities Act provides for the protection of historic, prehistoric, and scientific features on, and artifacts from, federal lands.
Union Pacific train service begins at West Yellowstone.
Private automobiles are officially admitted to the park.
The National Park Service Organic Act establishes the National Park Service.
US Army turns over park management to the National Park Service.
President Hoover signs first law changing park’s boundary.
President Hoover expands the park again.
Civilian Conservation Corps established, works in Yellowstone through 1941.
The National Park Service Director’s Order prohibits killing predators.
The Historic Sites Act sets a national policy to “preserve for future public use historic sites, buildings, and objects.”
Yellowstone receives one million visitors.
Nineteen snowplane trips carry 49 passengers into the park in winter.
Mission 66 initiated. The first concession-run snowcoach trips carry more than 500 people into the park in winter.
Magnitude 7.5 earthquake strikes on August 17 west of Yellowstone, killing campers in Gallatin National Forest and affecting geysers and hot springs in the park.
The Leopold Report is issued. Modern Management in Yellowstone
The thermophile Thermus aquaticus discovered in a Yellowstone hot spring. Life in Extreme Heat
New bear management plan begins, which includes closing open-pit dumps in park.
Overnight winter lodging opens in park.
Grizzly bear listed as threatened species in the lower 48 states.
Public Law 100-443 protects hydrothermal features in national parks from geothermal development on adjacent federal lands. Summer of Fire: more than 790,000 acres affected by fires in Yellowstone.
Clean Air Act Amendments require air quality monitoring at sites including Yellowstone, a Class I airshed.
Congress enacts a law allowing a percentage of park entrance fees to be kept in the parks.
Wolves are restored to the park.
Federal buyout of gold mine on Yellowstone’s northeast border is authorized.
The National Parks Omnibus Management Act is passed.
National Academy of Sciences confirms effectiveness of Ecological Process Management (aka natural regulation).
Yellowstone’s grizzly bears removed from federal threatened species list; New winter use plan approved for winters beginning in 2008.
Gray wolf delisted and relisted to endangered species list. Judges rule against the new winter use plan.
Grizzly bears returned to threatened species list. Wolves in Wyoming returned to endangered species list; Interim winter use plan approved for winters 2009–2011. Bioprospecting final EIS completed. Science agenda established for Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Grey wolves removed from the endangered species list in MT, ID, OR, and WA. Remain listed in WY
National Park Service publishes final rule for winter use in Yellowstone.
National Park Service Centennial.