One hundred fifty years ago—on March 1st, 1872—an unprecedented opportunity took place that would forever shape the future of the rough-and-tumble community of Gardiner, Montana. That year, President Ulysses S. Grant signed into law a Congressional act that protected nearly 2.2 million acres that would serve as the flagship of our country’s national park system: a place we now officially know of as Yellowstone.
Since then, Gardiner has been defined by its status as the North Entrance gateway to this national treasure. Before Yellowstone was established Gardiner was mostly populated by prospectors and fur traders—and Native Americans who inhabited the area for thousands of years before them—and was known for being disorderly and rough around the edges. Eventually, though, everything shifted. The Northern Pacific Railroad invested in a visitor spur line to Gardiner from Livingston (51 miles north) in 1902 in a move that forever shaped the trajectory of the community. The spur line brought visitors to the Gardiner Depot at the base of Roosevelt Arch. Visitors would then pass through the arch to enter the park; President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated a cornerstone of the stone arch in 1903 during a presidential visit declaring Yellowstone “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People” hence its name. Quickly, Gardiner became a tourism destination.
The first of its kind, Yellowstone has been a learning experience from the beginning. Set aside for its geology and natural wonders, the park has also become a refuge for wildlife, a respite from civilization, as well as an ongoing testament to human history in the American West. As its popularity among visitors continues to grow, park managers see an opportunity to reflect on the area’s past while positioning Yellowstone for success moving into the future. Sesquicentennial—or 150-year anniversary— commemorations of this milestone are underway throughout the park, in neighboring border communities including Gardiner, and on tribal lands with a number of the park’s Native American tribal partners. Most events are free and open to the public, although some require advance registration. Below is a listing of events happening near the park’s North Entrance. We hope you choose to join us—and enjoy staying, eating, and playing, at Nature’s Favorite Entrance to Yellowstone National Park™
APRIL: April 23 Yellowstone National Park and partners provide equipment for a volunteer Earth Day town cleanup at the park’s North Entrance. Lunch, refreshment, and speakers to follow. Learn more here.
MAY 6: Yellowstone National Park Lodges hosts speakers, including from the National Park Service, at the Old Faithful Inn on summer opening day. Complimentary Historic Yellow Bus Tours, a Native American art exhibit and marketplace, and refreshments complete this event.
May 11: Members of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory will present on the Yellowstone Volcano at the Gardiner Community Center from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. as part of the 15th Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem themed “Expanding the Scope of Science Together: The Next 150 Years.” Registration required for the conference.
MAY – SEPTEMBER: The Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center at the Haynes Photo Shop in Old Faithful will provide a public space where Native American artists, scholars, and presenters can engage visitors in how Tribal Nations envision their presence in Yellowstone National Park now and moving forward.
JULY: July 28-30 the Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club will ride a section of the Nez Perce Trail near Canyon Village, coordinate a horse parade in traditional regalia, and present fireside chats on their culture, traditions, and ties to Yellowstone to share with the visiting public. More information will be available on the Yellowstone and Gardiner Chamber of Commerce websites.
JULY - AUGUST: Look for a teepee village near Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance to Yellowstone in Gardiner, Montana. This is a collaborative effort between Tribal Nations and various organizations and non-profits. More information will be available on the Yellowstone and Gardiner Chamber of Commerce websites.
AUGUST: The National Park Service historic vehicle collection will be on display at Old Faithful. The collection includes 30 vehicles ranging from horse-drawn stagecoaches to early touring cars to service vehicles and a fire engine.
For a complete listing of events, updated information including coronavirus regulations and protocols, and for information how to register and participate in virtual events please click here.