By Kalani Morse
Yellowstone National Park has been and continues to be a popular vacation spot for BYU students.
“My friends and I love to go there on long weekends and experience all the wonderful creations,” said Jesse Markham, 23, a senior from Alexandria, Virginia, majoring in information systems.
According to the National Park Service, Yellowstone boasts some 10,000 hot springs and geysers, including Old Faithful.
The geothermal wonders in the park are part of one of the world”s largest active volcanoes whose last eruption created a crater that covers almost half of the park.
The park is also home to hundreds of grizzly bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and buffalo.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the largest intact temperate zone ecosystems left on the planet.
Yellowstone is home to the largest concentration of elk, the largest petrified forest, the largest lake above 7000 feet, and some of the best hunting, fishing, hiking and backpacking in the world.
“There”s so much to do there,” said Markham, “I want to go back all the time because I know that there are always new things to experience.”
Ranging from $10 a day to $40 a year, Yellowstone entrance fees are can be pretty reasonable on a student budget.
“I didn”t think the passes were too expensive,” said Markham, ” we just split the costs with everyone in the car.”
The National Park Service claims that 70 percent of all entrance and campground fees are dedicated to projects that increase the quality of visitor experiences and enhance the protection of the park resources. The remaining funds go to help projects in other national parks.
Most projects in the park are designed to offer visitors a close up view of natural wonders without endangering them.
“We had a blast,” said Bridget Ausman, 25, a BYU graduate who visited Yellowstone with her family. “The geyser trail was so cool,” said Ausman, “you could walk right up to the geothermal springs.”
With over 1200 miles of trail snaking out from 97 trail heads, 370 miles of paved roads, 6 visitor centers, 49 picnic areas and 300 designated back country campsites, Yellowstone has facilities for almost every outdoor activity summer vacationers can think of.
According to the National Park Service 95 percent of visitor use of lands in the park are concentrated around the roads and developed areas of the park which account for less than two percent of Yellowstone”s total area. Park roads are generally open in the summer, barring any accidents, rock/mud slides or road construction.
Yellowstone was established as the world”s first national park on March 1, 1872, by President Ulysses S. Grant, making it the oldest national park in the world.