Yellowstone, the World’s First National Park, Turns 150

Mar 3, 2022

Yellowstone National Park just turned 150. It's a 2 million-plus-acre preserve that’s bigger than Delaware or Rhode Island. It's also the world’s oldest national park.

In the last 150 years, Old Faithful has erupted more than a million times. It's the world's most famous geyser. Millions of visitors drop by every year to see it shoot steam up to 185 feet in the air every 45 minutes to two hours. Millions more visit the park’s natural beauty and wildlife.   

The park, which spills into three states, became permanently protected on March 1, 1872. That's when President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act. The act created the world's first national park. Since then, the US national park system has grown to 63 preserves.  

"We celebrate something much bigger than the park itself — the beginning of the national park idea,” said Chuck Sams. He's director of the National Park Service.  

Thousands of tribes of indigenous people once roamed this land. US troops pushed them out, in some cases brutally. The animals remained, and the park now has the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states. That's according to the park service.     

It is also the only place in America where bison have lived without interruption since the prehistoric era.  

Park managers made some mistakes. In Yellowstone’s early history, they tried to get rid of predators. They nearly wiped out wolves, cougars, and bears.    

Their understanding has since changed, and such beasts roam Yellowstone again.  

Photo from Yellowstone National Park courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

What is the central idea of the second paragraph? (Common Core RI.5.2; RI.6.2)
a. The past mistakes of those who have managed Yellowstone National Park.
b. A main attraction of Yellowstone National Park.
c. The size of Yellowstone National Park.
d. The past treatment of indigenous people by US troops at Yellowstone National Park.
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