YPF Timeline


Since its inception in 1996, the Yellowstone Park Foundation has raised more than $85 million and funded more than 300 important projects and initiatives in Yellowstone National Park.

Highlights and Accomplishments

In partnership with Xanterra Parks & Resorts, YPF’s Guest Donation Program tops the $1 million mark.

YPF completes restoration of the Old Faithful Haynes Photo Shop, a place for Park visitors to learn about YPF and stewardship inside the Park, while paying tribute to Yellowstone’s legacy of photography.

A $1 million dollar grant, matched by federal funds, provides significant resources to Yellowstone to immediately begin implementation of their Native Fish Conservation Program — a call to action to protect and preserve the Yellowstone Lake ecosystem and the park’s native fish populations.

On November 29, the Yellowstone Park Foundation marked 15 years as Yellowstone’s fundraising partner, and embarked upon a year of special events and educational opportunities to commemorate the anniversary.

The Old Faithful Visitor Education Center is officially dedicated and opens to the public. In just the first few weeks, the eco-friendly, Gold-LEED certified center greets 250,000 visitors with interactive, multi-media exhibits.

YPF leverages $459,000, through a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, in matching government funds for the Yellowstone Lake Molecular All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (MATBI) of Yellowstone Lake, one of the largest scientific expeditions ever mounted in Yellowstone.

YPF officially launches its Sponsor a Bear Box campaign to contribute toward a practical solution for reducing dangerous bear-human encounters in Yellowstone.

YPF, in partnership with YNP, launches the YES! (Yellowstone Environmental Stewardship) Initiative, now part of the broader Greenest Park Initiative. Its ambitious goals include reducing the park’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30% and diverting 100% of solid waste from landfills by 2016 the 100th birthday of the National Park Service.

The first permanent, live-streaming webcam in the NPS zooms in on Old Faithful and allows Yellowstone enthusiasts worldwide to keep tabs on the beloved geyser. Funding and technology for the webcam is provided by Canon U.S.A. through a grant to YPF.

Historic Artist Point, the world-famous promontory overlooking the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, reopens to visitors after a $1-million restoration project funded by YPF.

The Yellowstone Ranger Fund, now the Ranger Heritage Initiative, is created to address the ongoing facility, technology, safety and equipment needs of the park’s hardworking rangers.

Yellowstone Wildlife Health Program is created in partnership with Montana State University and the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to study and proactively address wildlife diseases especially those that may be transmitted to or from humans, pets, and livestock.

YPF launches its first three Initiatives to address longer-term, priority needs in Yellowstone: Archive Fund $500K, Fisheries Fund $500K, Trails Fund $2 million. With Initiative work already underway in the park, funding goals are met the following year, in 2007, and these funds are still sustaining these important initiatives today.

YPF assumes funding of the Fly Fishing Volunteers Program, a unique citizen-science program that enlists volunteer anglers to help Yellowstone fisheries biologists collect vital data.

Toyota Motor Sales, USA donates four hybrid-electric vehicles to the park, helping reduce fleet emissions and share the story of alternative energy to visitors. Toyota also pledges $1 million to the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, enabling the park to aspire to Gold-level LEED certification.

The Yellowstone License Plate debuts in the State of Montana, with proceeds benefitting YPF. To date, over $670,000 has been raised for Yellowstone through the sale of these plates.

YPF partners with NASA to help Yellowstone create educational exhibits that tell the story of Astrobiology in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone premieres the first of many Windows into Wonderland electronic field trips, with support from YPF through a grant from Canon, U.S.A.. The innovative, online field trips go on to reach students from 140 countries and all 50 states.

YPF acquires Davis Collection on behalf of the park a remarkable private collection of thousands of pieces of Yellowstone memorabilia, rare maps, photographs and other historic items.

YPF answers Yellowstone’s call to raise funds to build a Visitor Education Center at Old Faithful, and Unilever pledges $1.25 million the first major gift toward the project. Not long after, YPF publicly launches a $15-million capital campaign.

YPF assumes funding of the Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps, an annual commitment that continues to this day.

The Foundation makes its first grants to Yellowstone, among them is funding for research conducted by the brand-new Wolf Project. Less than two years later, in 1998, the first wolves were collared through YPF’s Wolf Collar Sponsorship Program.

In 1995, a group of concerned citizens came together with a goal of protecting, preserving and enhancing Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone Park Foundation (YPF) was conceived as a way to provide Yellowstone with resources for important conservation, science, and education projects, and to allow everyone who loves Yellowstone an opportunity to participate in its stewardship.

Mike Finley, Yellowstone Superintendent from 1994-2001, was instrumental in getting the Foundation off the ground. A volunteer board formed in 1996 and elected its first chairman, John Good, a former Chief Naturalist in Yellowstone. That same year, YPF was officially incorporated in the State of Montana and entered into a formal agreement with the National Park Service (NPS), becoming the official fundraising partner of Yellowstone National Park.