The second 2010 coin to be issued in the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program is the Yellowstone National Park Quarter. It was introduced into circulation beginning on June 1, 2010.
Yellowstone is located primarily in the state of Wyoming, but also extends into Montana and Idaho. It has the distinction of being America’s first national park. It is the second America the Beautiful Quarter released because Hot Springs, while the 18th designated park, was set aside by the government many years earlier as the very first federal site.
The design for the reverse or tails side of the quarter depicts Old Faithful with a bison in the foreground as well as the inscriptions YELLOWSTONE, WYOMING, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. It was both designed and sculpted by Don Everhart.
The Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and United States Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) are charged with the task of recommending designs and themes for all American coins. The final Yellowstone quarter design was based on one of three proposed, and the one preferred by the CCAC. The CFA rejected all of the proposals.
For reference the design candidates or proposals are shown immediately below as well as the comments from the CCAC and CFA
For Yellowstone, the Advisory Committee selected an image of a bison in the foreground with the Old Faithful Geyser in the background, designated as design candidate WY-01. The Commission of Fine Arts rejected all submissions.
"The CFA felt the quality of the designs presented were not worthy of the program," CFA Secretary Tom Luebke said of the reasoning for rejecting all of the Yellowstone designs.
Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, after receiving recommendations from U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy, selected the final design that graces the Yellowstone Quarter. The Mint made the announcement for all five 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters designs on March 24, 2010.
A Yellowstone America the Beautiful Uncirculated Silver Coin will be issued from the Mint containing this same design, but struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver.
Additional 2010 America the Beautiful Quarter releases for the year include:
- Hot Springs National Park Quarter
- Yosemite National Park Quarter
- Grand Canyon National Park Quarter
- Mount Hood National Forest Quarter
Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
Native Americans had lived in the area for millennia before white explorers ever ventured near Yellowstone. In the early 1800’s, the famous Lewis and Clark expedition would pass by but chose not to investigate even after being informed of the natural wonders there. Then for the next several decades, only a few fur trappers would experience the natural wonders that the Indian tribes had known for thousands of years.
Finally, in 1871, naturalist F.V. Hayden led a group into the region armed with a photographer and a painter. Utilizing detailed scientific notes along with the large format photographs and paintings of Yellowstone, Congress was persuaded to remove the region from public auction and President Ulysses S. Grant signed the law creating Yellowstone National Park in 1872. This simple, yet profound act marked the first time a park area was created for the protection of its natural resources and for the enjoyment of all the citizens of the country.
Unfortunately, Congress failed to appropriate any funding for Yellowstone, and lawlessness and exploitation of park resources was abundant. Thousands of elk, deer, buffalo, etc. were slaughtered by hunters. This continued until the US Army established Camp Sheridan (later renamed Fort Yellowstone) and started policing the area.
With the resources of the Army, control was brought back to the region and multiple polices were initiated regarding the care and use of Yellowstone. When the Army turned over control of the area to the newly created National Park Service in 1918, many of these policies were adopted for use by the new agency.
Gradually more visitors were drawn to Yellowstone and with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s many of the facilities of the area were built like the campgrounds, roads and visitor centers. These improvements made visiting the 2.2 million acre park much more enjoyable.
Today, it is estimated that over 3 million people visit the park each year, many of them utilizing the in-park hotels and cabins.
The area is abundant with wildlife and picturesque scenery, but it is most noted for being riddled with geothermal features. Most famous of these is the Old Faithful Geyser which erupts regularly (usually between one hour and 1.5 hours).