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Yellowstone

Yellowstone is the first national park in the world, and still today holds many geographical and pioneering records. March 1, 1872 marked the first day of park-hood and it is still the largest national park in the United States with well over 2 million acres to explore and enjoy. The park's highest point is Eagle Peak standing at a formidable 11,358 feet. Surprisingly, even the lowest point in the park is an impressive 5,282 feet above sea level.

There are over 300 geysers in Yellowstone Park, as the whole of the park is considered to be an active volcano. It contains a caldera (an abyss or crater) that is one of the largest in the world. The Yellowstone caldera, under Yellowstone Lake, is the biggest super volcano in North America. Yellowstone Lake ranks in the top few largest high-altitude lakes on this continent. The park has almost 10,000 geothermal features in total with relatively 300 geysers and the park experiences approximately 2000 earthquakes each year. This is truly one of the most studied hot spots in the world. Yellowstone is part of the biggest intact(almost) ecosystem in a temperate zone in the northern hemisphere. It contains a petrified forest that is also one of the biggest on earth.

Because of the size, Yellowstone National Park has a great amount of biodiversity. Most experts consider Yellowstone to be the best megafauna wildlife habitat in the lower 48 states housing the gray wolf (endangered), grizzly bear (threatened), lynx (threatened), pronghorn antelope, mountain lion, bighorn sheep, mule deer, wolverine, moose, elk, mountain goat, black bear and bison. Yellowstone has 18 fish species including the Yellowstone cutthroat trout. 6 reptile species, 4 amphibians, and 311 bird species are reported to be living in Yellowstone. 1,700 native vascular plant and tree species endure the Yellowstone climate, with 80% being lodgepole pine.

Yellowstone geology is also breaking records. Old Faithful geyser is perhaps the most famous geyser in the world. The Steamboat Geyser is the largest active geyser in the world. Approximately 50% of the geothermal features on earth and over 66% of the geysers in the world are in Yellowstone National Park.

The first people came to Yellowstone Park nearly 11,000 years ago and over time, 21 American Indian tribe affiliations have been discovered. There are a significant number of archaeologically preserved areas in the park that support this. For the past 10,000+ years, people have recognized and been enjoying Yellowstone for it's outstanding qualities. It is open year-round, and has seen roughly 2 million visitors or more since the mid-1960's. In 2009, park visitation was up to 3,267,683 people and maintains similar counts in recent years. Yellowstone National Park is a must-see national park destination.

 

 


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