<strong>The History of Yellowstone</strong>

Yellowstone Park is one of the nation’s most prolific national parks, as well as home to a wide variety of wildlife. The park serves as a preservation of what America was like in the past. The area is filled with archeological sites and objects that help tell the story of the human experience in the area for thousands of years.

Understanding Yellowstone’s History

Although many people simply think of Yellowstone as a place where wildlife and nature are preserved, the park managers and archeologists also understand that the area is a special preservation of history as well. Because the park is protected, any historical sites or artifacts within the area are also protected. This is important for historians and archeologists because important historic artifacts and sites are often destroyed before they are even discovered because of aggressive land development.

Exploring the rich history of Yellowstone helps us better understand how people lived in the area in the past.


The history of Yellowstone obviously dates much farther back than its inception as a national park. Long before it was known as Yellowstone, the area was home to the Tukudika, a group of Native Americans. Although many different tribes of Native Americans lived nearby or traveled through the area, it was primarily inhabited by the Tukudika.

Europeans Arrive

The Yellowstone area was, by and large, left untouched during the early days of colonization and during the Revolutionary War. It was not until the early 1800s that white Europeans ventured out as far as Yellowstone. Some of the earliest visits to the area were recorded by Osborne Russell in the 1830s. The first organized expedition to explore the area thoroughly was in 1870.

Park Protection

Early on, it was recognized that the area was special and would need special protection. Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872, but access to the park was fairly limited until a railroad arrived in 1883. This helps visitors more easily access the park. In the early days, the US Army was in charge of managing the park. It was in 1916 that the National Park Service was established.

Evolution of Park Management

Over the years, the methods used in managing the park have evolved. Many of the changes that have taken place are largely due to the advancement in the understanding of the wildlife living in the park and a deeper understanding of human’s impact on wildlife.

Other changes that have taken place were done to ensure that the park can remain in a state of protection.