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The Corp of Discovery led by Lewis and Clark were the o
first whites to explore the greater Yellowstone region among them was one of the most celebrated hunter and woodsman of that period, John Colter. On the return of the expedition in 1908, Colter returned to the Yellowstone and trap this region and in doing so became the first white visitor to what is now Yellowstone National Park.  Upon his return, his "tales" were so unbelievable that no author or mapmaker would publish it for fear of scrutiny amongst their piers.  

Colters stories about the wonders and wildlife, led the fur traders to explore the Yellowstone regions. Most of the mountain men during that era were experienced in trapping and survival, they were also illiterate.  Fortunately, Osborn Russell was unique, he knew how to trap, read and write and his journals are the earliest accounts of  the Yellowstone region.

 

"There is something in the wild scenery of this valley which I cannot describe: but the impressions made upon my mind while gazing from a high eminence on the surrounding landscape one evening as the sun was gently gliding behind the western mountain and casting its gigantic shadows across the vale were such as time can never effaceFor my own part I almost wished I could spend the remainder of my days in a place like this where happiness and contentment seemed to reign in wild romantic splendor" - Lamar Valley, Osborne Russell 1835

"I sat there in amazement, while my companions came up, and after that, it seemed to me it was 5 minutes before anyone spoke. Language is inadequate to convey a just conception of the grandeur and sublimity of this masterpiece of nature's handiwork"  Artist Point - Charles Cook 1869

In the latter part of 1840 the fur trade was coming to an end. The trappers who remained in the region adapted and among them was the distinguished, Jim Bridger. Bridger, a natural born topographer, new the fur trade was over and became a guide, scout and legendary story teller. His knowledge of what is now Yellowstone National Park was unparalleled and he became the first "geographer" of the region and was summoned to guide Capt. W.F Raynolds including Dr. Ferdinand Hayden and the Raynold's Expedition of 1859. Due to the expeditions schedule and uncompromising weather this first organized exploration of the Yellowstone region was unsuccessful.  

"The Essenstials for Planning your
Trip to Yellowstone Park"
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During the 1850's to 1870, miners inhabited the Yellowstone and in doing so helped to publicize the region however with not much more credibility than their trapper predecessors. In 1863, Walter Delacy and his party set out to prospect through the Yellowstone. Although the party was equipped with prospector tools and no survey equipment, his party made many new discoveries including Shoshone and Lewis Lake he also published the first map of the Yellowstone area. By 1870, gold fever was gone and the great Yellowstone expeditions began.

In 1869, D.E. Folsom, William Peterson and C.W. Cook completed the first successful privately organized Yellowstone expedition. After 36 days, they completed their quest and returned back to Helena, Montana to publish their findings only at first to receive the same response as John Colter and Jim Bridger, that their story was too risky. Eventually their exploits were published by the Western Monthly Magazine of Chicago.

One year after the Folsom-Cook party reported about the wonders of Yellowstone, Gen. Henry D. Washburn organized the next expedition into Yellowstone.  His party included Nathaniel P Langford and a military escort led by Gustavus C.Doane. This Party was responsible in the early place names of Yellowstone National Park's most historical sites including Old Faithful,Castle Geyser,Giant Geyser and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. This was a successful expedition in terms of their credibility in verifying and naming early historic landmarks.  The mission was not without hardship when one of the party members, Truman C. Everts became lost and endured a 37 day ordeal to finally be rescued by Jack Baronett. Upon the return of the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition, the leaders of the party set out in their own specific ways by lectures and print (no www.YellowstoneNationlPark.com back then). During one of Langford's lectures. Dr. Ferdinand Hayden was in attendance. 

Hayden proceeded to capitalize on the current interest in the Yellowstone region by asking Congress for funds for an official expedition into the Yellowstone region. With influential friends seated in Congress at that time, it did not take long before he was granted appropriations for $40,000 for a geographical survey to investigate the Missouri and Yellowstone territories. Hayden assembled his dream team including James Stevenson, Albert Peale, William Jackson and Thomas Moran. The artists and photographer proved to be invaluable to the expedition for their paintings and photographs served as dramatic and effective testimonials in favor of establishing the park. Along with new discoveries and place names the party collected geological, botanical, zoological specimens, sketches, photographs and countless volumes of exploration notes. This collection of data was brought before the public and congress. The bill's chief supporters convinced their colleagues that the region's real value was as a park area, to be preserved in its natural state. On March 1, President Grant signed the bill into law, establishing the Yellowstone region as a public park and setting a major conservation precedent. The Nation had its first national park; an area of exceptional beauty was set aside for the enjoyment of generations to come, and a tradition of preserving similar areas was established.

 

 


For more information on Yellowstone National Park and
the surrounding communities visit these helpful sites:

YellowstoneNationalPark.com
- YellowstoneLodging.com
YellowstoneFlyFishing.com


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  • Lower Falls Yellowstone River -Yellowstone National Park Lower Falls Yellowstone River -Yellowstone National Park
  • Old Faithful -Yellowstone National Park Old Faithful -Yellowstone National Park
  • Grizzly and Cub -Yellowstone National Park Grizzly and Cub -Yellowstone National Park
  • Snowcoach -Yellowstone National Park Snowcoach -Yellowstone National Park
  • Alpha Female Wolf Hayden Valley -Yellowstone National Park Alpha Female Wolf Hayden Valley -Yellowstone National Park
  • Daisy Geyser -Yellowstone National Park Daisy Geyser -Yellowstone National Park
  • Bull Elk Fighting -Yellowstone National Park Bull Elk Fighting -Yellowstone National Park
  • Old Faithful -Yellowstone National Park Old Faithful -Yellowstone National Park
  • Badger Sow and Cubs -Yellowstone National Park Badger Sow and Cubs -Yellowstone National Park
  • Morning Glory Pool -Yellowstone National Park Morning Glory Pool -Yellowstone National Park
  • Bull Elk in Fog -Yellowstone National Park Bull Elk in Fog -Yellowstone National Park
  • Angler Firehole River -Yellowstone National Park Angler Firehole River -Yellowstone National Park
  • Bull Elk in Velvet -Yellowstone National Park Bull Elk in Velvet -Yellowstone National Park
  • Castle Geyser -Yellowstone National Park Castle Geyser -Yellowstone National Park
  • Upper Terraces -Yellowstone National Park Upper Terraces -Yellowstone National Park
  • Grand Prismatic -Yellowstone National Park Grand Prismatic -Yellowstone National Park