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The world's first and foremost park, Yellowstone is a wondrous place boasting geological, ecological, and scenic splendor.
When explorers first came upon what is now Yellowstone, it must have amazed them more than anything they had seen across our vast continent. With its 10,000 geysers and hot springs, in addition to spectacular lakes, waterfalls, rivers, and canyons, Yellowstone is one of the most awe-inspiring places on Earth. And enough people were overwhelmed by it that, at the end of a great century in the history of mankinda century in which a free nation's economic opportunity, development, and human rights all came togetherthe idea of a national park was born.
Established in 1872, Yellowstone was the first national park in the world. Since then, more than 365 other park units have been created in the U.S. National Park System, and some 120 other nations have modeled their park systems on ours, setting aside their most superlative natural and cultural resources. Yellowstone set the standard not only for our own park system, but for parks worldwide.
Now, more than a century later, Yellowstone National Park is threatened by mining, logging, and oil drilling operations just outside its borders. A proposed nearby gold mine, for example, would endanger three major watersheds of the Yellowstone River, imperil water quality within the park, and destroy habitat for grizzly bears and other wildlife. The National Parks and Conservation Association is working to forestall this and other developments that threaten to degrade Yellowstone's famed wilderness character.
We, as Americans, must recognize that Yellowstone is both a treasure and a symbol, acherished part of our national heritage and a model for the world. Above all, we must commit ourselves to defending it from harm.
This book conveys Yellowstone's glorious beauty and inspirational values. We hope it will inspire you to learn about the world's first national park and help you understand its legacy.
Paul C. Pritchard
President, National Parks and Conservation Association
Author Biography: David Dunbar, the author of The Outdoor Traveler's Guide to Canada, also contributes articles to National Geographic books. Jerry Pavia's photographs appear in Creating a Garden for the Senses, as well as in other gardening books and nature publications.