The First U.S. National Park Was?
The first U.S. national park was, fittingly, the scenic Yellowstone Caldera and surrounding land. Although now one of the most trafficked national parks in all the United States, at the time the land was set aside as a national park, very few had even laid eyes on it.
In fact, we can thank the tireless efforts of one man for the preservation of the region: Ferdinand V. Hayden. Hayden had explored the region in the early 1860s and was stunned by how diverse and beautiful the area was. He returned in 1871 with an enormous team that included surveyors, photographers, and painters to document Yellowstone.
Armed with evidence of its grand and diverse landscape, he returned to Washington, D.C. and showed the evidence to Congress and President Ulysses S. Grant. In 1872 President Grant signed the bill that secured Yellowstone’s position as a national park.
Image by Scott Catron.