Yellowstone Park Today

Considered a United Nations Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site, Yellowstone Park has weathered its fair share of problems and continually faces an array of politically charged issues. Evidence of the disastrous 1988 fires that charred over half of the park is slowly fading away under new growth, but the National Park Service policy of not interfering with the laws of nature has now created new problems. The park’s wildlife population, fiercely protected within the park’s boundaries, has been allowed to overpopulate a few park areas. Elk, deer, and bison compete with one another for shrinking grazing lands, while the 1995 reintroduction of wolves has further complicated the park’s wildlife habitation and food competition issue.

The increasing numbers of visitors also threatens Yellowstone’s unique ecosystem. Emissions from snowmobiles choke the atmosphere with noise and exhaust that disturbs Yellowstone’s wildlife and fragile flora. During summer, the park’s narrow roads burgeon with traffic jams, and little government funding is provided to repair and update Yellowstone’s strained highway system.  

Despite these heated issues, visitors continue to flock to Yellowstone. In an attempt to remedy a few of its current problems and effectively manage Yellowstone’s precious land without much-needed federal aid, the National Park Service has opted to raise entrance fees. Most of these fees are then used to improve the general infrastructure of the popular park. As time goes by and increasingly more visitors make Yellowstone their year-round destination of choice, the National Park Service will no doubt face tough decisions in maintaining and preserving Yellowstone for the enjoyment of future generations. As a park visitor, you can help their cause by respecting the park’s wonders and treating Yellowstone with the dignity it deserves.

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