Today’s post comes from Holly Chisholm, social media intern in our Education and Public Programs Division.
With the end of school, and the beginning of summer, we’ll be switching up some of our posts for the season. Look for document spotlight posts like this one to learn about some of the interesting documents, photographs, and other records we have at the National Archives.
Today’s spotlight document is the 1872 Yellowstone Park Act. This public law was an ingenious American invention, born from a desire to protect the natural wonders of the West. In 1864, the State of California had reserved Yosemite as parkland, but the Federal Government officially made the land at the head of Wyoming’s Yellowstone River the first national park by signing this act into effect.
The 1872 Yellowstone Park Act highlights the borders of Yellowstone National Park, and protects the wildlife, natural wonders, and resources of the area from being spoiled by settlement or profit-seekers. It also stipulates accommodations for visitors to be built on property, and that the proceeds of such places return directly into the park for road upkeep, as well as for nature’s protection.
Most importantly, though, this act dedicates the land to the people. Generation after generation, we can still view America’s natural curiosities and untouched landscapes thanks to the establishment of the first national park.
You can see more about the Progressive Era or our national parks on DocsTeach, our online tool for teaching with documents.