Barrasso: With the Establishment of Yellowstone 150 Years Ago, Congress Set the Gold Standard for National Parks

March 1, 2022

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor about the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park. 

Barrasso is ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR). 

Senator Barrasso’s excerpts: 

 “I come to the floor today to highlight the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park. 

“When it was established on this date 150 years ago, Yellowstone was the first national park in the world. 

“Today it is still one of the most popular parks on Earth. 

“One hundred and fifty years ago it was a new idea to set aside public land for public enjoyment. 

“With the establishment of Yellowstone, Congress set the gold standard. 

“Based on Yellowstone’s success, over the past century-and-a-half, hundreds of additional national parks have been created for Americans to enjoy. 

“Many other countries have followed our lead and established their own national parks. 

“Yellowstone spans over 2 million acres throughout Wyoming, as well as parts of Montana, and Idaho.

“That’s more land than the entire state of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. 

“Yellowstone’s vast and varied landscapes provide some of the most spectacular views in the world. 

“Cascading waterfalls, steaming geysers, gaping canyons often leave visitors speechless. 

“Many generations of Americans have enjoyed these same views. 

“That is what Congress intended 150 years ago when it established the park for the benefit and enjoyment of the people. 

“Millions of people come from all across the world to experience the park’s beauty. 

“From hiking and biking to boating and wildlife viewing, Yellowstone offers some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities all around the world. 

“It also has iconic natural wonders like Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and Yellowstone Lake. 

“It has 25 square miles of geysers – over half of the total number of known geysers in the world. 

“The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, of which the park is a part, is one of the largest and most intact natural ecosystems in the world. 

“Yellowstone also has the greatest concentration of mammals among national parks in the lower 48 states. 

“The bison in Yellowstone are part of America’s largest and oldest free-range herd. 

“Today we carry on a tradition at Yellowstone going back not just 150 years but over 11 thousand years. 

“For thousands of years, Native Americans hunted, fished, and used the thermal waters for medicinal purposes. 

“The people of Wyoming are rightly proud of the culture as well as this history. 

“Today, the park supports thousands of jobs in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. 

“It contributes greatly to the local economies. 

“Cam Sholly, the superintendent of Yellowstone, is doing an incredible job. 

“A third generation Park Service employee, Cam goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the park delivers a world-class experience to everyone who visits. 

“Under his leadership, the park has hosted record numbers of visitors. 

“During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the only place to go was outside, Yellowstone set the standard on how parks should operate. 

“Health, safety, security, and public access were always the priority. 

“I am very grateful for the dedicated leaders and staff at Yellowstone who made it possible for people to visit and enjoy this international landmark. 

“Recently, the Senate passed my bipartisan resolution to honor Yellowstone on this historic day. 

“This resolution celebrates the park’s 150 years of unique cultural heritage and natural beauty. 

“It also encourages people across America and around the world to visit Yellowstone to experience its extraordinary treasures. 

“I am proud to celebrate Yellowstone with my colleagues in the Senate along with Senator Lummis, with the people of Wyoming, and with all Americans on this historic day. 

“Congratulations to all of the people of Wyoming who work to keep Yellowstone one of our nation’s greatest treasures.”