CODY, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) – Yellowstone National Park officially turns 150 this week.
Over these 150 years, the way visitors experience the park has changed dramatically. Feeding the animals is no longer accepted, although gatherings around the campfire are still popular. Wading in thermal pools is banned these days, although hiking is still a favorite pastime. And officials are working hard to ensure that the next generation of visitors have the same opportunity to discover the natural wonders of the region.
“The park’s bison population is at one of its highest levels since 1872,” Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said. “Our ungulate populations are in balance. So, despite what people hear, you know, visitors are invading the park… I think we’ve done a good job of correcting a lot of the mistakes of the past with the management of this ecosystem.
In the 1880s, only 1,000 people a year came to Yellowstone, traveling via saddle horses or mules. These numbers have steadily increased over the years, and last year nearly 5 million people experienced the natural wonders that still awe those who have seen the thermal features hundreds of times.
Partly due to increased visitor numbers, infrastructure projects are high on the list for park administrators.
Some roads, such as the road through Dunraven Pass, have been closed in recent years for much needed renovations.
“In 2022 we will re-open the road between Chittenden Road and Tower, over Dunraven Pass,” he said. “This has been closed for the past two years, as part of a $28 million road improvement project – and for context, this stretch of road hasn’t been significantly improved in years. 1930.”
Sholly noted that park administrators look forward to serving the next generation of visitors.
“We have a shuttle feasibility study underway to look at how a shuttle system could work in the Old Faithful-Midway Geyser corridor,” Sholly said. “Many of you know that we piloted the first driverless shuttle at Canyon last summer to see if this technology can work; we think it is possible.
March 1 marks the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Yellowstone National Park.
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