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Visit Yellowstone National Park: a U.S. national treasure

America’s national parks are some of our country’s most incredible treasures.

From Alaska to Florida, and everywhere in between, our nation’s protected parks showcase the breathtaking natural beauty and diverse wildlife of North America’s expansive wilderness areas.

One of the most spectacular may be the oldest—Yellowstone National Park.

Signed into law in 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant, this immense piece of land—located almost entirely in Wyoming—is larger in size than the states of Rhode Island or Delaware. Its more than 2 million acres of land includes part of the Middle Rocky Mountains, numerous rivers and streams, thriving forests, lush meadows, and a system of geysers, plus the most well-known—Old Faithful.

More than 1,700 species of trees and plants can be found within the park’s borders, and the fauna is some of the most studied in the U.S.

The landscape teems with more than 60 types of mammals—including the largest herd of bison in the country, black and grizzly bear, elk, deer, and of course, the gray wolf—the park’s newest resident.

Reintroducing the gray wolf into the Lamar Valley section of the park after an absence of more than 70 years was a major undertaking. Fourteen wolves were relocated from western Canada to the park in January of 1995 and another 17 arrived the next year, forming the basis of a community that has grown to more than one hundred wolves in more than nine distinct packs.

The effects of a new apex predator like the wolves, which prey on other animals, on the eco-system of the park are indeed profound.

The wolf reintroduction has been deemed a success, but is not without controversy, as ranchers worry the wolves may target livestock.

A popular video, produced recently, tried to summarize this transformation.

The thriving wildlife in the park is also a success story, thanks to continued efforts of conservation by the Park Service and other groups. The grizzly and black bear populations are strong, and the bison herds grazing the flatlands are a thrilling sight to see. Between 2,500 and 5,000 bison (or buffalo, as they are also called) live in the park depending on the year. The number is subject to birth and death rates, and any culling of the herd that is carried out by the Park Service officials to prevent overpopulation.

Visitors can also see a plethora of other animals—from elk and deer, moose, otters, fox (and many others) and if you are very lucky—a lynx.

Birds also abound—with close to 300 species on record, of which more than 150 use the area to nest. It’s definitely a bird-watchers paradise.

To experience the magnificent wildlife of Yellowstone, join one of Orbridge’s parks programs, including:
National Parks & Lodges of the Old West
Southwest National Parks
The Wolves of Yellowstone