There was one site in Yellowstone than I wanted to see and sketch more than any other. This includes Old Faithful, the many geysers, or the Grant Canyon of Yellowstone. This was the Roosevelt Arch at the northern entrance of Yellowstone in the gateway town of Gardiner, Montana.
This monument is the spiritual and metaphorical gateway to our Nation’s National Parks. Yellowstone became the first National Park on March 1, 1872, and it became the template for all of the 57 National Parks that followed. These parts of land where not bought up and reserved for the wealthy for their own private views, but instead, they were preserved for the people. The inscription above the Arch reads: “FOR THE BENEFIT AND ENJOYMENT OF THE PEOPLE”.
Roosevelt Arch, viewed from the southside. Only one car at a time can fit through the arch. I went through twice.
The cornerstone laying ceremony was held on June 1, 1904 with President Teddy Roosevelt in attendance. He had arrived in Gardner, Montana two weeks previously and he rode out with only one companion and heading into Yellowstone to explore the land. During his speech Roosevelt said of Yellowstone:
The Yellowstone Park is something absolutely unique in the world so far as I know. Nowhere else in any civilized country is there to be found such a tract of veritable wonderland made accessible to all visitors, where at the same time not only the scenery of the wilderness, but the wild creatures of the Park are scrupulously preserved … The creation and preservation of such a great national playground in the interests of our people as a whole is a credit to the nation
The arch was one of first entrances to the park to serve visitors arriving by rail but now most visitors use other entrances. But by the numbers of visitors on this late October morning, the Roosevelt Arch is still a popular destination in this very popular National Park.
Corvidsketcher in action at Roosevelt Arch.