Every 90 minutes or so, hundreds of onlookers gather to admire the gush of Old Faithful, the world’s most famous geyser – a spectacle that remains as enthralling today as it was back in the summer of 1870, when Cornelius Hedges, a member of the scientific party to study the Upper Geyser Basin, first beheld it. After spending weeks on a grueling horseback trip to reach the remote Yellowstone plateau, the American adventurers were so astonished to see the 100-foot-high explosion of sparkling water that they threw up their hats and shouted for sheer joy at the sight. That very same night, Hedges apparently proposed to his fellow expedition members while sitting around a crackling campfire that this volcanic hotspot in the Rockies, which has 250 geysers and 10,000 geothermal features, should be protected from development and turned into the world’s very first “national park.”
Lobbying for the preserve in Washington, DC would be a long and complicated process, but on March 1st, 1872, Congress did pass the bill that protected Yellowstone: A staggering two million acres would be “set apart as a Pleasure Park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” This was a unique concept, and one that would be copied around the world. But in 1872, the idea was still experimental, and Congress made no provision for management of the park or protection of its wildlife: The first superintendent, Nathanial Langford, had no salary, no staff, no budget and was only able to visit Yellowstone twice in his five-year tenure.
Destinations have stories. Globus and Island Time Travel bring them to life.