The second coin released under the United States Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program was the 2010 Yellowstone National Park Quarter from Wyoming.
Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres of land is not only unique in size but the location has the distinction of being the first national park ever created by the government.
The final reverse design for the quarter-dollar was announced by the U.S. Mint on March 24, 2010. The coin entered circulation channels on June 1, 2010. The official release ceremony held at the park itself and conducted by the Mint and other officials occurred two days later on January 3, 2010.
The Yellowstone National Park quarter design, shown above, was both created and sculpted by Don Everhart. It features Old Faithful geyser and two bison — one mature in the foreground and another located closer toward the middle scenery alongside the geyser.
The design was selected by the Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner after receiving recommendations from U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy. Prior to its selection, there were three "design candidates" that made it to the final round. These were reviewed by many parties, including the United States Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee — two bodies that review all American coins and medals.
For reference, the images of the Yellowstone quarter proposals and the CFA and CCAC comments about them are included below:
The Commission of Fine Arts rejected all candidate submissions for the Yellowstone National Park Quarter, stating "poor quality" as their reasoning. They did feel that using Old Faithful was appropriate for the design but wanted more development.
Using the word "strongly," the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee showed a preference for design candidate WY-01 which features bison in the foreground and background. It also shows the Old Faithful geyser mid-eruption. Committee members felt using the bison showcased not only the landscape but the wildlife of the park. It is this design that made its way onto the quarters.
Yellowstone National Park information
Aside from a few fur trappers, the Yellowstone area was only known to the local Native American tribes. But by the mid 1800’s, many naturalists including a man named F.V. Hayden became concerned that Yellowstone would become too commercialized if not protected by the government.
To this end, he led an expedition complete with a large format photographer into the area to capture the splendor of the scenery. Then, using these photographs he was able to persuade Congress to remove the land from public auction and eventually create Yellowstone National Park.
This seemingly insignificant event was, in fact, setting a precedent for the protection of public lands for decades by becoming the first national park ever created.
With the help of (and sometimes exploitation by) the transcontinental railroads, Yellowstone quickly became a tourist attraction drawing thousands of visitors from the East eager to see its rugged beauty and wildlife.
Today, over 3 million people visit the park annually, most of whom head straight for a viewing of Old Faithful geyser which erupts at intervals usually between 60 and 90 minutes.