Yellowstone National Park

Early History

For over 11,000 years, the Yellowstone region has been home to Native American communities. However, it wasn’t until the late 1860s that organized exploration began, with visits from mountain men. Initially, management of the park was under the U.S. Department of the Interior, supervised by Columbus Delano. Yet, the U.S. Army was later commissioned to oversee Yellowstone for 30 years, from 1886 to 1916. In 1917, the National Park Service took over the administration of the park, which had been established the previous year. Today, hundreds of structures are preserved for their architectural and historical significance, while researchers have studied over a thousand archaeological sites.

The park boasts the origin of the Yellowstone River, a name steeped in history. In the late 1700s, French trappers dubbed the river Roche Jaune, potentially translating to the Hidatsa term Mi tsi a-da-zi, meaning “Yellow Stone River.” American trappers later anglicized the French moniker to “Yellow Stone.” While many believe the river’s name stems from the yellow rocks visible in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the true etymology remains unclear, with the Native American origin shrouded in mystery.