Commemorating the World's 1st National Park

Happy 150th Birthday Yellowstone National Park!

Photo of Ian Shive

For nearly two decades I have been visiting Yellowstone National Park,

simultaneously learning the basics of photography, while also discovering the intricate balance that exists within this park’s ecosystem. Through my lens, I’ve been fortunate to capture many of the 67 species of mammals, 285 species of birds and countless other animals that call this place home.

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Whether it is the mighty grizzly bear moving gently through a snowy meadow or the iconic bison who, with each step of their spaded hooves revitalizes the grasslands, I am forever mesmerized by the ancient story that plays itself out here as though time has stood still.

The world’s 1st national park is commemorating its 150th birthday, but it is a glimpse back in time much further than that.

The opportunity to photograph a nearly perfect and intact ecosystem spanning from the smallest pika to the largest elk, is a testament to the success of 150 years of animal conservation here.

Yellowstone exists because of people.


I often consider the incredible vision of our forefathers in putting aside what is today 3,472 square, rugged miles, but it also is a reminder of the responsibility of people today and future generations to ensure it persists. Yellowstone is more than just a park with boundaries, it is a shining example of what conservation of our public lands and waters can aspire to.

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The clean air, dark skies, abundant wildlife, erupting geysers and bubbling mud pots rejuvenate the soul, spark the imagination and emblazon a memory that any visitor will never forget. But beyond its boundaries, it is also the beating heart of local communities, stretching within each of the three states Yellowstone shares: Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. It is up to each of us to be stewards of this tremendous resource and ensure the park thrives for another 150 years and far beyond.

As we commemorate 150 years of the world’s first national park, we should also consider the important cultural traditions of Native people who have called this home for more than 10,000 years and unite around the future of Yellowstone. We are all just visitors here. We must tread lightly, respect the local communities, enjoy (but give distance to) the wildlife and as I have done for two decades…take only photos!  

Happy Birthday Yellowstone Nation Park!