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Most anniversaries, centennials, and such are largely ceremonial, an excuse for some speeches, back-slapping and glad-handing. But the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Yellowstone National Park seems different — more momentous than most.

It was on this day a century-and-a-half ago President Ulysses S. Grant signed into law the creation of the world’s first national park. One-hundred-fifty years is a blip on the timeline of the park’s human history, as Native Americans used the area long before the arrival of white settlers. But the federal government’s decision to protect the area from private development and set it aside “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” remains remarkable.

The establishment of the park was the beginning of a new era in conservation. Yellowstone became a model for this and other nations to set aside special places for preservation. Yellowstone was accorded the designation first because of its remarkable biological and geological diversity. But more than just a park, Yellowstone was then and continues to be the centerpiece of one last nearly intact temperate climate ecosystems on Earth.


This editorial solely represents the opinion of the Chronicle Editorial Board. The board consists of the opinion editor, the managing editor, the publisher and several community members. The community members are non-journalists who provide input and help shape the board's opinions.

The board does not represent the views of the newsroom, and its opinions have no influence over the Chronicle's news coverage. To submit feedback on this editorial, email citydesk@dailychronicle.com.

Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Michael Wright, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Charles Rinker, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

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