2.2 million acres, it's the heart of ten million acres of protected wilderness, the largest intact ecosystem in the continuous United States. It is home to the last free ranging herd of North American Bison. The United Nations has named it a World Biosphere. In 1872 President Grant signed an act of Congress making Yellowstone the world's first National Park.
When I passed through its west gate, headed for Los Angeles that September day, there was sadness in my heart. For three and a half years I had called Yellowstone home. In the months to follow, I wouldn't miss the colorful sunrises on crisp mornings, nor the deep blue skies with puffy white clouds in the late afternoons. I wouldn't miss endless hours spent watching geysers erupt, or cold spring days tracking coyotes across newly fallen snow. What I would miss the most, were my friends. I would miss our sitting in front of the fire listening to the creak of the old clock on the mammoth fireplace. I would miss our enjoying the quite peace of the Old Faithful Inn found only after the tourists had retired for the evening. It wasn't Yellowstone's magnificent splendors that I would miss most, it was my friends.