National Parks/Yellowstone

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Thomas Moran - Hot Springs of the Yellowstone.jpg

The first white explorers described the Yellowstone valley as a place of "fire and brimstone" that most people dismissed as delirium. After an 1856 exploration, mountain man Jim Bridger reported seeing boiling springs, spouting water, and a mountain of glass and yellow rock. These reports were largely ignored because Bridger was a known "spinner of yarns".

In 1871 an expedtion finally reached Yellowstone and convinced the US president to protect the wilderness. Yosemite in California had earlier become a state park in 1864. But as the Yellowstone area spread not only over Wyoming, but also Montana and Idaho, it became the first national park of the USA.