Yellowstone National Park Gets a Stamp of Approval

National Park Service Stamp Pane

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News Release Date: June 2, 2016

Contact: David Rupert (USPS), 303-886-8773

Contact: Morgan Warthin (NPS), 307.344.2015

The Forever stamp depicting a stunning photograph of two bison silhouetted in Yellowstone National Park’s winter morning sun was dedicated today among a pane of 16 stamps to celebrate the National Park Service on its 100th anniversary.

The ceremony took place at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, as one of more than a dozen events taking place at National Park locations nationwide.

“As the world’s first national park, Yellowstone is proud to be a part of this collection of stamps,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk. “Stamp lovers everywhere can help celebrate the National Park Service centennial.”

USPS Colorado/Wyoming District Manager Selwyn Epperson dedicated the stamp image.

“Yellowstone National Park enchants visitors with its historical significance and rugged natural beauty,” said Epperson. “Celebrating this park with a stamp helps spread that message around the world.”  

Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan and National Park Service Deputy Operations Director Peggy O’Dell participated in the national dedication ceremony of all 16 National Park stamps in New York City at the world’s largest stamp show that only takes place in the United States once a decade, World Stamp Show-NY 2016. More than 250,000 visitors are projected to visit the show that runs through Saturday.

The image representing Yellowstone National Park was captured by Art Wolfe of Seattle, WA, who described it as, “perfectly backlit bison standing on a small rise in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley.”

“Rising at dawn and braving the -30°F temperature I was able to catch the first rays of the morning sun,” he explained. “The bitter cold of a long winter’s night had left the animals encased in a mantle of thick frost. I had scouted the area the day before and had seen the herd of bison. They had bedded down there all night and now were standing and trying to shake off the cold as the sun came over the horizon. These are the serendipitous moments I wait for as a photographer. I shot this in the days of film, so I didn't know until I got back to Seattle and had the film processed if I had been successful or not.”

Yellowstone National Park, ID, MT and WY
Marvel. Explore. Discover. Visit Yellowstone and experience the world’s first national park. Marvel at a volcano’s hidden power rising up in colorful hot springs, mud pots and geysers. Explore mountains, forests and lakes to watch wildlife and witness the drama of the natural world unfold. Discover the history that led to the conservation of our national treasures “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” Visit this link for more information.

The 16 National Park Service sites honored on Forever Stamps include Acadia National Park,Arches National Park,Assateague Island National Seashore, Bandelier National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park,Everglades National Park, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve,Grand Canyon National Park,Gulf Islands National Seashore, Haleakalā National Park,Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens,Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Mount Rainier National Park,San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park,Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

The National Parks Stamp Pane

This sheet includes 16 different stamps, all of them showing views of national parks or plants, animals, artwork, objects, and structures found in or associated with a national park. Small type on the margin of each stamp indicates its location.

First row, left to right: Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska (Tom Bean, photographer); Mount Rainier National Park, Washington (Matt Dieterich, photographer); “Scenery in the Grand Tetons” (Albert Bierstadt, artist; painting at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Vermont); Bass Harbor Head Light at Acadia National Park, Maine (David Muench, photographer).

Second row, left to right: “The Grand Canyon of Arizona, from Hermit Rim Road” (Thomas Moran, artist; chromolithograph-on-canvas at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona); Assateague Island National Seashore, Virginia and Maryland (Tim Fitzharris, photographer).

Third row, left to right: Balclutha, a ship at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, California (Tim Campbell, photographer); Arches National Park, Utah (Tom Till, photographer); Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota (QT Luong, photographer); Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, Washington, D.C. (Cindy Dyer, photographer).

Fourth row, left to right: Administration Building at Frijoles Canyon, Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico (Helmuth Naumer, Sr., artist); Everglades National Park, Florida (Paul Marcellini, photographer).

Fifth row, left to right: Haleakalā National Park, Hawai‘i (Kevin Ebi, photographer); Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming (Art Wolfe, photographer); Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico (Richard McGuire, photographer); Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida and Mississippi (John Funderburk, photographer).

The image at the center of the sheet is a detail of the 1-cent Yosemite stamp issued in 1934, rendered here in light brown.

Creating the National Park System
The United States has more than 400 national parks — not only breathtaking vistas and landscapes of unparalleled beauty but also monuments, historic sites, memorials, battlefields and more.  

The national park system is deeply rooted in American life and thought. By the first half of the 19th century various Americans, from politicians like Thomas Jefferson to artists like George Catlin, were beginning to envision ways to preserve special natural sites. By the 1860s, Americans were lobbying the government to protect beautiful and important places.

In 1864, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Act which granted the seven-mile Yosemite Valley and the nearby Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia trees to the state of California to manage “for public use, resort, and recreation…inalienable for all time.” After the war, Americans saw how the railroad was destined to reshape the American West, and the Northern Pacific Railroad became one of the strongest proponents of creating national parks. In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill that established more than two million acres as Yellowstone National Park — the world’s first national park.

By the early years of the 20th century, the West was dotted with new national parks, all of them formed, like Yellowstone, from large swaths of the public domain. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act, which was meant to protect archaeological sites, ancient artifacts, and objects of scientific interest. Roosevelt also used it to protect large areas from lease or development with an eye toward later converting them into parks. Roosevelt also named Devils Tower in Wyoming the first national monument and designated more than 800,000 acres of the Grand Canyon a national monument, a prelude to it becoming a national park. Presidents William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson would later follow his lead, creating monuments that later became national parks.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” that created the National Park Service. Its mandate was “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” The act integrated all parks and monuments into a single federal system with its own administration, a common mission, and a director to serve as a permanent advocate in Washington, DC.

Over the years, the National Park Service has grown with the times. The invention of the automobile inspired countless Americans to drive across the county to visit parks, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt brought the War Department’s historic battlefields, monuments and parks under National Park Service management in 1933, along with monuments in Washington, DC, and other monuments managed by the Department of Agriculture.

Today the grand and scenic parks of the American West remain iconic and important sites, but the definition of a park has expanded, with the National Park Service now overseeing historical parks and sites, national monuments, battlefields and military parks, recreation areas, seashores, parkways, lakeshores and more. In 2015, more than 300 million people visited a national park, where they found that some parks tell human stories at a human scale, from the Civil War to the civil rights movement, while others protect and preserve beautiful places and irreplaceable natural wonders and provide opportunities for adventure, relaxation and fun.

Our national parks have been honored numerous times on U.S. postage. Ten stamps were issued in 1934 to promote “National Park Year,” one stamp was issued in 1966 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Park Service, and eight colorful stamps were issued in 1972 to celebrate the centennial of Yellowstone, the world’s first national park. Various other stamps have featured individuals, organizations, and places associated with parks, and photographs of several parks appeared on recent Scenic American Landscapes stamps for use on international mail.

In 2009, the U.S. Postal Service worked closely with the National Park Service to publish The Grandest Things: Our National Parks in Words, Images, and Stamps,a richly illustrated 116-page hardcover book that explores how our national park system began, the changes it has endured, and the astounding array of sites it includes.Still available for sale by the U.S. Postal Service,The Grandest Things comes with eight Scenic American Landscapes stamps and the 8-cent National Park Centennial stamp from 1972 featuring Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park. The back of the book features spaces to collect all parks-related stamps, as well as blank spaces for future issuances.

The stamps on this pane are Forever stamps. These Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce price.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at The Postal Store website⁄shop,or by calling 800-782-6724. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others, and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

National Parks Stamps
Special Events Coordinator
380 West 33rd Street
New York, NY 10199-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by Aug. 2, 2016.

Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at⁄shop, or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:

U.S. Postal Service
Catalog Request
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

Philatelic Products
There are eight philatelic products for this stamp issue:
560624, Framed Art, $39.95.
560606, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $67.68 (print quantity 3,000).
560610, Keepsake, $9.95.
560616, First-Day Cover (set of 16), $14.56.
560618, First-Day Cover, Full Pane, $10.02.
560619, Cancelled Full Pane, $10.02.
560621, Digital Color Postmark (set of 16), $25.92.
560630, Ceremony Program (random single), $6.95.

When reproducing the stamp images for media use only, please provide the copyright sign (the “c” inside the circle) and 2016 USPS. No notice required for photographs by individual photographers; the National Park Service images all require the following notices:

  • Administration Building, Frijoles Canyon Helmuth Naumer Sr. Bandelier National Monument, BAND 1409.
  • The Grand Canyon of Arizona, from Hermit Rim Road [detail] Thomas Moran Grand Canyon National Park, GRCA 134696.
  • Scenery in the Grand Tetons [detail] Albert Bierstadt, Marsh - Billings - Rockefeller National Historical Park, MABI 2843.
  • Balclutha, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. 
  • Yosemite National Park (illustration); U.S. 1¢ postage [detail] 1934.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Last updated: June 2, 2016

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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