March 1 was Yellowstone National Park’s 147th birthday. Or maybe I should say it was “Wonderland’s” birthday because that’s what a Northern Pacific Railroad advertisement called the world’s first national park in an advertisement promoting the newly accessible destination.
The moniker played on the popularity of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” and it effectively awakened the imagination and wanderlust of a generation.
Inspired, and with travel made easier – or at least doable — wealthy Easterners loaded families, servants and steamer trunks and boarded the train for an adventure of the lifetime. And so did the next generation and the generation after that.
Year by year, more visitors came, eventually trading train and stagecoach transportation for private cars, buses, motorcycles and in the winter, snowcoaches. In 1904, nearly 14,000 visitors entered the park. Last year, the number of annual visitors reached 4.1 million.
With that kind of increase, it’s no wonder park-lovers concerned that visitors are overwhelming the park’s fragile eco-system and infrastructure have said that we are loving our beloved Wonderland to death.
I can see their point, but we seem to be loving Yellowstone lopsidedly.
Rangers will tell you that 97 percent of the visitors to Yellowstone experience Read More