The U.S. National Park Service is celebrating 100 years of service in 2016, and Yellowstone will undoubtedly receive a lot of attention as part of this milestone. In fact, in commemoration of the event, National Geographic will be launching an issue this spring that is devoted entirely to the park, NPR reported.
Whether you’re planning on grabbing your Pro Trek triple sensor watch and making a trip to Yellowstone this summer or you just want to wow your friends with a little bit of trivia, here are a few memorable facts about one of the country’s most beloved wild spaces.
1. Yellowstone National Park is old.
Although the National Park Service will turn 100 this year, Yellowstone is even older. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the park has a long history, and may have been visited by Lewis and Clark. It soon became famous across the country for its unique landscapes and geologic activity, and in 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant incorporated Yellowstone as the country’s first national park.
Long before Westerners laid eyes on Yellowstone, Native Americans were hunting and trading in the valleys around the park, and the first human artifacts date back to the 9th century BCE.
2. The park sits on a super volcano.
Between hot springs and famous geysers like Old Faithful, it is well-known that Yellowstone is a hot spot for geologic activity. The National Park Service reported that beneath Yellowstone is a massive volcano. In fact, one of the largest volcanic eruptions occurred at Yellowstone around 2 million years ago, creating the largest known caldera – or volcanic crater – in the world.
As result of all of this volcanic activity, Yellowstone features thousands of hydrothermal features, including 300 geysers where pressure under the earth shoots super-heated water high in the air. This accounts for half of the world’s geysers.
3. All four big predators call Yellowstone home.
Because of habitat loss and over-hunting, the four largest predators in the continental U.S. have seen their home ranges severely diminished over the last century. Cougars, black bears, wolves and grizzlies were once found throughout most or all of the country, but are now relegated to small protected pockets, NPR found.
Yellowstone is one of the few locations in the country where all four of these predators can be found. This gives visitors an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy the nation’s natural heritage at its most magnificent.
4. The park is a safe-haven for endangered species.
Yellowstone was founded because there was interest in the natural landscape and geologic activity, according to NPR, but over the years the allure of seeing the plants and animals in the park redefined expectations. This was instrumental in establishing Yellowstone and other national parks as refuge for wildlife.
Bison, wolves, grizzlies and other species have all benefited greatly from the protection that the park offers. Bison in particular, which were slaughtered by the millions in the 19th century have gone from a low of just 20 individuals to a herd of a few thousand through careful conservation efforts.
5. Yellowstone is very popular.
Although the park serves as a safe-haven for the flora and fauna of the Northern Rockies, it is also a great place to visit and vacation. The NPS stated that over 4 million people come to Yellowstone every year.
This serves as a challenge for park administrators looking to balance the needs of human and animal visitors, but it also gives Americans an opportunity to build a relationship with the creatures that also call America home. Through tours and other educational offerings, there is hope that visitors will become more mindful of the importance of conservation efforts.
Be sure to bring your Pro Trek PRW3500-1 with you on your visit to Yellow Stone National Park. With features like altimeter, barometer and compass, the PRW3500-1 will help navigate your way around the park and stay up to date with any changes in the weather.
Related watches: PRW3500-1