Yellowstone: The Greatest National Treasure

Not many people can say they have visited Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. I am lucky to say that I have, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872, making it not only the first national park in the United States, but also the first national park in the world. It is roughly 3,468 square miles of preserved land and lakes displaying some amazing wonders such as hot springs and mud pots. One of its most well-known attractions is Old Faithful, the tallest geyser in the world. Many different species of animals live in Yellowstone and are commonly viewable to the public. For example, during the time I was there, American bison slowed traffic by wandering onto the road to walk with us. In addition, the picnic tables at an attraction were surrounded by elk as some of them climbed up onto the tables.

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The most awe-inspiring moments in Yellowstone for me included being able to see the milky galaxy almost clearly during the nights I spent in a lodge in the park. Although I am from a rural area that does not have substantial light pollution, I have never been able to see the stars very clearly. The view is breathtaking and humbling, and is one that may never be seen by some people. In addition, because Wyoming has a relatively flat terrain, our tour bus sometimes spent hours driving in farmland without a mountain or hill in sight. A few miles from Yellowstone’s entrance, we ran into a very active thunderstorm. Not to exaggerate, but we could see distant flashes from lightning all around us.

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But how is Yellowstone beneficial? Well, based on the National Park Service’s 2012 Yellowstone National Park Report, NPS has started micro hydro plants in Mammoth averaging 175 kWh of power. In addition, all of Mammoth’s tourist building’s received renovations to cut energy usage using modern technology. Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs attraction all underwent heavy research, and the NPS created the “green-bag lunch” program to educate tourists on the recent projects on Mammoth’s irrigation to reduce power usage. With an enormous list of sustainability practices, the 2012 Yellowstone National Park Report by NPS proves just how much a national park can educate, practice, and lead in saving energy and wildlife.

The Report: http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/upload/2012-Greenstone-drafted-May-2013-small.pdf

National Parks are one of the last protected natural habitats. With deforestation and the need for land on the rise, we must ensure that our national parks are protected. They are both beautiful, beneficial, and exemplify sustainability. Don’t believe me? Take a trip to Yellowstone yourself and I’m sure you’ll change your mind.

Check out this quick video of my trip!

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