Preservation

Explore Yellowstone Preservation Navigation

 
Green preservation badge with a silhouette ranger hat over a scene of NPS employees fixing a boardwalk in winter.

As the world's first national park, Yellowstone did not come with a rule book or a manual on how national parks should be run. Things didn't always go well, but we continue to learn and improve the ways we preserve this amazing place.

  • In the early days of the park, bears could be fed along roadsides and at garbage dumps. Today, bears in the park find natural food and are wild.
  • Opened in 1914, the Geyser Baths Bathhouse was a swimming pool at Old Faithful. Today, we understand how easily hydrothermal systems can be damaged and destroyed.
  • Until the early 1900s, all predators were routinely killed in Yellowstone. Today, predators are valued as an important part of Yellowstone's ecosystem.

To preserve Yellowstone, we must all be good stewards. Stewardship means making a difference in our world and trying to make it a better place. Yellowstone's park rangers were once kids, just like you, and have dedicated their lives to protecting special places like Yellowstone.

 

Beyond Your Backyard

There are more than 400 national park sites in the United States of America. They include parks, battlefields, monuments, seashores, historic sites, and recreation areas.

The National Park Service Arrowhead

The arrowhead is the symbol of the National Park Service and what it protects. It is a reminder of the nature and culture national parks protect.

Take a look at the arrowhead, then take a look at what each part of the arrowhead represents.

 
Brown arrowhead pointing down with a green sequoia growing in front of a snow-capped mountain and a white bison grazing.
Geology such as mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, arches, dunes, geologic processes, fossils, and so forth.
Vegetation such as trees, cactuses, grasses, wildflowers, aquatic plants, lichen, and so forth.
Wildlife such as mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, fish, coral, amphibians, mollusks, and so forth.
Water resources such as rivers, lakes, oceans, and shorelines.
Cultural resources and heritage such as Native Americans, explorers, inventors, artists, American history, and technological advancements.
 
Collection of words that explore ranger skills and values.

People Who Care for Yellowstone

Yellowstone is 2.2 million acres. Many people take care of the park. There are rangers who work in education, law enforcement, fire, research, and maintenance. There are park employees who handle budgets, hiring employees, ship packages, plow snow, and repair vehicles. Which of these type of people do you have in your community?

Park rangers must have many skills. Their goal is to protect the park for future generations and to protect visitors. Check out the following rangers and their skills. What job do you think they do?

 
Ranger sitting on a horse and saluting

Ranger on Patrol

Some rangers uphold the law and help visitors with emergencies. Some of their skills and duties include:

  • Knowledge of park rules and regulations.
  • Medical training.
  • Wildland and structural fire training.
  • Arresting law-breakers.
  • Assisting with traffic issues.
  • Performing searches and rescues.
  • Responding to 911 calls.




Visitor and Resource Protection Ranger.
 
Ranger using a tool to clean trash from a hot spring.

Maintaining the Park

Some rangers focus on building and maintaining the park's buildings, restrooms, recycling bins, roads, and trails. Some of their skills and duties include:

  • Expertise in carpentry, plumbing, painting, or electrical work.
  • Knowledge in landscape architecture, transit systems, or mechanics.
  • Building or repairing fences, trails, buildings, signs, or vehicles.
  • Operating machinery or tools.
  • Knowledge and use of proper safety equipment.
  • Managing construction projects.
  • Keeping the park and facilities clean.
  • Managing and maintaining employee housing.
Facilities Management Ranger.
 
A ranger talks with a visitor and points out a hydrothermal feature.

Enriching Experiences

Some rangers focus on communicating with visitors to help visitors understand the resources being preserved within the park. Some of their skills and duties include:

  • Knowledge of park resources.
  • Answering visitor questions.
  • Leading walks and giving resource talks.
  • Designing and maintaining exhibits.
  • Publishing newspapers, trail guides, and park maps.
  • Providing opportunities for visitors to make personal connections with the park.
  • Sharing resource knowledge through apps, websites, and social media.
Interpretive Ranger.
 
A fish biologist holds a lake trout.

Seeking Better Understanding

Some rangers focus on understanding the resources preserved within the park, and helping those resources when necessary. Some of their skills and duties include:

  • Knowledge of different sciences such as biology, hydrology, geology, archeology, and climatology.
  • Knowledge of the scientific method and research techniques.
  • Handling park resources without damaging them.
  • Collecting data and publishing reports.
  • Removing invasive species.
  • Monitoring critical species or other vital park resources.
  • Working with scientists.
  • Making sure other employees are not accidentally damaging resources.
Resource Management Ranger.
 
View from the International Space Station look down and south across Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
Yellowstone National Park as seen from the International Space Station.

NASA

Yellowstone Goes Global

Yellowstone National Park is a place where scientists can study nature in a nearly unchanged condition.

Discoveries in Yellowstone can affect us and the world. There is a lot to learn!

  • Research on Yellowstone microorganisms has taught us about diseases, coral reefs, DNA, and other planets.
  • Research on Yellowstone's climate helps us understand and adapt to our changing climate.
  • Research on Yellowstone's ecosystems helps us understand predator–prey relations, migration patterns, and how species are connected.
  • Yellowstone's historic fires of 1988 helped us better understand the natural role fire plays in ecosystems.
 
Child wearing a winter hat and coat looking out across a deep, aqua-green hot spring.

Kids & Youth

What fascinates you about Yellowstone? Personalize your online adventure of the world's first national park.

Last updated: August 27, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

Contact Us