Issue Date: January 16, 2009
City: San Diego, CA
During the 1830s, legendary mountain man Jim Bridger returned from Wyoming’s remote Yellowstone region with fantastic tales. He claimed he had seen waterfalls that spouted upwards! Although few believed his story, later expeditions discovered one of America’s most breathtaking natural wonders – thousands of virgin acres dotted with geysers and teeming with wildlife.
To preserve this unique place, President Grant signed legislation creating Yellowstone National Park in 1872. The 3,468-acre park was the first of its kind, featuring half of the world’s geothermal features with Old Faithful as its crown jewel. The geyser erupts 90 to 184 feet in intervals that average 94 minutes, making it the biggest and most regular geyser in the park.
Merely 300 visitors braved the difficult journey to Yellowstone that first year. That number increased rapidly to 5,000 after a train station was built near its entrance in 1883. President Chester Arthur drew national attention to the park that same year when he took a camping tour of Yellowstone.
Other American Presidents have been actively involved with this national treasure. Franklin D. Roosevelt personally approved a National Parks series stamp picturing Old Faithful in 1934, and Gerald Ford was a Yellowstone Park ranger in 1936.