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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Yellowstone's Geysers: Miracles of Survival

Above, an eruption of Old Faithful Geyser. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

What if there no rules to be followed by visitors to our national parks, what would happen?

Strangely enough, at one time were were few rules governing visitation to our national parks, particularly Yellowstone National Park. The park's wonders actually were abused during those times.

Mountain Journal recounts those times and the consequences that followed.

They begin with:
Is it not absurdly ironic: one of the greatest rustic hotels in the world is built nearly literally on top of the world’s most famous, fragile and, so far, predictable erupting geyser? Along with the Old Faithful Inn, a marvel, is a massive, stadium-sized parking lot and, more recently, a multi-million-dollar visitor center.   
The human footprint dwarfs the natural feature it honors. 
Some might liken this to moths being drawn to the bright flame or, as the late Yellowstone Park Supt. Bob Barbee once said, putting your dirty hand onto the surface of Mona Lisa's painted face. If the mavens of development could have designed the infrastructure differently, in light of us being smarter today, they would have, he said. 
To put this in perspective, imagine hypothetically how a tramline running from Jenny Lake to the Grand Teton might affect the way we think about the mystique of the largest summit in the Teton Range?  Or maybe an escalator running to the bottom of the Grand Canyon? Or tourist trollies motoring down the sidewalk in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. 
That America still has the world's largest assemblage of still-functioning geothermal phenomena in Yellowstone National Park is nothing short of a miracle.
Above, Old Faithful Inn. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here

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