The human history of the Yellowstone region goes back more than 11,000 years. From about 11,000 years ago to the very recent past, many groups of Native Americans used the park as their homes, hunting grounds, and transportation routes. These traditional uses of Yellowstone lands continued until a little over 200 years ago when the first people of European descent found their way into the park. In 1872 a country that had not yet seen its first centennial established Yellowstone as the first national park in the world. A new concept was born and with it a new way for people to preserve and protect the best of what they had for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.


The following timeline is not exhaustive. It merely serves as a brief introduction to the history of Yellowstone National Park. References cited are from Aubrey L. Haines,
The Yellowstone Story, Volumes 1 and 2, 1977 editions.

1795-1871: The Pre-Park Years

Tall tales, mystery, and the fur trappers
1872-1915: The Early
Capturing the American imagination

1916-1971: The Age of the Automobile
Yellowstone, America’s Pleasuring Ground

1972-Present: The Second Century
Restoring a
nd Preserving Yellowstone’s
Fragile Ecosystem

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