After months of restoration and rehabilitation work, Artist Point is ready to once again offer visitors to Yellowstone National Park expansive views of Lower Falls that so inspired Thomas Moran more than a century ago.
Artist Point provides one of Yellowstone’s most famous vistas: Its promontory juts out above the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and offers unobstructed views of the Lower Falls. This stunning panorama inspired Mr. Moran’s paintings that were presented to Congress and helped convince lawmakers to establish Yellowstone as the world’s first national park in 1872.
“While the view is very much the same as a century ago, Artist Point itself fell victim over time to its own popularity as well as the erosive forces of the canyon,” explains Paul Zambernardi, executive director of the Yellowstone Park Foundation that raised $950,000 to pay for the restoration work.
Once the point was closed to the public in July 2007, National Park Service crews restored stairs and viewing platforms; improved walkways to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards; constructed retaining walls to stabilize the hillsides; cleaned and repaired masonry; and restored indigenous vegetation.
Project staff took painstaking measures to ensure that new materials matched the historic look of Artist Point. Crushed soil and rock from the Canyon mixed with concrete binders were used to create a natural, historically congruent mortar. New boulders needed to build retaining walls were sourced from local rock. Wherever possible, old boulders were removed and marked so they could be carefully re-placed in their exact original positions.
“We wanted to ensure that visitors could safely enjoy this spectacular part of Yellowstone for generations to come,” said Mr. Zambernardi.
Finishing touches will be made this spring with the planting of native trees, shrubs, and seeds. A wayside exhibit, information signs, and kiosks have been installed to help visitors learn about and appreciate this historic place.
Conditions permitting, Artist Point is scheduled to reopen to the public this Friday, May 23.