For thousands of years going back to the end of the Pleisocene Ice Age and the retreat of the mighty Wisconsin Glacial Period, Yellowstone National Park and it's sister preserve, Grand Teton, have been places of profound mystery and intrique to human explorers.

Both parks are renowned for their geological expression but for different reasons. While the parks share some common influences, the beauty of each preserve has its own origins.

Bison are the largest animal living in Yellowstone. Males can weigh more than 2,000 pounds!

Few sights are more profound than that of the Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. At 308 feet, it is the highest waterfall in the park.

With more than 10,000 geothermal features contained inside its borders, Yellowstone is considered a major geologic "hotspot". Superheated magma located just a few miles beneath the earth's surface has molded the landscape above ground. Yellowstone is special because its geysers, hot springs, mud volcanoes, fumaroles and boiling rivers still function naturally!

Meanwhile, in Grand Teton Park, the lofty peaks of the Teton Range have retained their toothy appearance because they are made of hard granite and at nine million years old are the youngest peaks in the Rocky Mountains. Seven of the Teton pinnacles exceed 12,000 feet, the tallest peak being the Grand Teton at 13,770! The Tetons are special. After you see them once, you will never forget them!

Bison graze in view of the Grand Teton Range.

Grand Teton @13,770 feet.

Often called the American Serengeti, Yellowstone Park lies at the center of the largest temperate ecosystem in the world. From its mountain peaks to its broad valleys, it captures the essence of what the American West once was before being touched by human hands. Here nature reigns. The views are unpredictable, sometimes brutal, but always fascinating
and always wild!

Animal lovers from around the world visit the Greater Yellowstone Region each year to embark upon nature safaris. The opportunity to see North American game animals is incomparable! The park is one of the last strongholds for threatened and endangered species such as grizzly bear, American bald eagle, the gray wolf, the peregrine falcon and the whooping crane. It is also home to the largest concentration of elk in the world and some of North America's greatest herds of bison and deer.

Following are some of the wildlife that came into view on my visit to the park last year:

Photo #1 - Grizzly Bear

Photo #2 - Bison

Photo #3 - Moose

Photo #4 - Mule Deer

Photo #5 - Elk

Photo #6 - Juvenile Black Bear

Photo #7 - Wolf

Photo #8 - Black Bear Cub

Photo #9 - Yellow-Headed Blackbird

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are two of the most beloved nature preserves in the world. They are true crown jewels in the American Park System. As priceless vestiges of the primeval frontier, each park is a powerful symbol of the bond humans everywhere share with the land. For more than a century, Yellowstone National Park has served as model for the world's wildlife reserves. The model is not perfect; people and popularity have changed it for better or worse. Yet much of Yellowstone remains remote, wild and little disturbed by transient human travelers.
The future wildlife at Yellowstone depend on our continued commitment to maintain habitat on either side of the park's unfenced borders, using a light hand on the land as well as keeping the air and waters clean across this ecosystem and beyond.

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