With the holiday on Monday, the lightening injuries Tuesday afternoon and the announcement of the new quarter this morning, Yellowstone National Park has been busier than usual this week.
Hundreds of people in an asphalt area near the Old Faithful Inn waited to see the Old Faithful geyser erupt Tuesday afternoon. One bolt of lightening – the only bolt of the storm – struck the group and nine people were injured. One needed overnight hospitalization.
Now, fast forward to this morning. The ceremony, led by US Mint Director Edmund Moy, was scheduled to be near the Old Faithful Inn in view of the Old Faithful geyser. Expected attendance included Suzanne Lewis, Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park; Paul Schullery, Historian and Author; and Gene Bryan, Member, Wyoming Tourism Board.
Have you seen the new quarter designed by the US Mint’s designer/engraver, Don Everhart? Isn’t it beautiful?
When you think of Yellowstone, aren’t geysers and bison some of the first images that come to mind?
Though the Hot Springs Arkansas site was the first designated national site – thus the first quarter in the America the Beautiful series, Yellowstone was not only our first National Park, but also the first national park in the world.
Yellowstone National Park covers over 3400 square miles. While mostly in Wyoming, the park’s boundaries extend into Montana and Idaho as well. At over 2.2 million acres, the park covers an area larger than the combined areas of Rhode Island and Delaware.
The Yellowstone Caldera, a supervolcano, contains roughly half of the world’s hydrothermal elements with over 10,000 thermal features including pools, hot springs, mudpots and fumeroles with geysers numbering over 300.
Of course, Old Faithful continues to be the most frequent geyser, and though not quite as predictable as it used to be, it erupts approximately every 91 minutes. Its eruption can last up to five minutes, and its thermal discharge can throw between 3700 and 8400 gallons of boiling water up to 180 feet in the air.
Like Old Faithful, the various geysers in Yellowstone all have their own unique characteristics. One, Steamboat, is the largest in the world and unpredictably erupts steam and boiling water into the air from 300 to 400 feet.
In addition to the geysers, Yellowstone Lake is the largest high altitude lake in North America. The 132 square miles lake sits at more than a mile high, 7,732 feet, in the vast park.
Plus, the park boasts over 290 waterfalls with the most prominent being the 308 feet high Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River.
With over 2.2 million acres, the animal and plant life thrives in abundance. There are 77 species of mammals with some of the most recognizable being bison, moose, elk, bear and the recently re-introduced and prospering gray wolf. In addition, 322 species of birds and 16 species of fish call Yellowstone home. The ecosystem also includes more than 1100 species of native plants, over 200 species of exotic plants and more than 400 species of thermophobes existing in the thermal areas.
This beautiful area became a National Park on March 1, 1872. Today, our National Park Service maintains the park, but between 1886 and 1918, the US Army protected the great wilderness from Fort Yellowstone at Mammoth Hot Springs.
Over 3 million visitors enjoy Yellowstone National Park each year. The new Yellowstone quarter will commemorate the beauty of nature and the enjoyment of the visitors.
Additional information can be found at the following links:
Enjoy your treasure hunt for the new Yellowstone quarter.