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Travel again increases despite adverse conditions Elsewhere adverse conditions in the West that were responsible for decreased travel to the parks have been discussed. These conditions also affected travel to the Yellowstone, but in spite of these discouraging influences this big park enjoyed an increase in travel of nearly 5 per cent over its record-breaking number of visitors in 1923, the total travel this year being 144,158, as compared with 138,352 last year. There was a slight decrease in travel by rail, but considerable increase in motorists. The western entrance this year led all other gateways in both rail and automobile travel.
Yellowstone Park Camps change hands
It is with great regret that I record the temporary withdrawal from park activity of Mr. Howard H. Hays, the former president of the Yellowstone Park Camps Co. Mr. Hays, early in May, 1924, sold his interests in the Yellowstone permanent camp system because of failing health. He is recovering now and I hope the time is not far distant when he can again enter national park activity with his usual energy and public spirit.
Very few men in America know more of the national parks than Mr. Hays does. He has visited nearly all of them, and is familiar with their problems. There is still a broad field in the national parks for his boundless energy, fine personality, and great activity, and all his friends earnestly hope for a speedy and complete restoration to health.
The Yellowstone permanent camps were sold by Mr. Hays to Mr. Vernon Goodwin, of Los Angeles, who has operated them very efficiently during the past summer.
If Mr. Goodwin recognizes, as I think he does, the necessity for maintaining the personality, spirit, and enthusiasm of the camps personnel, together with its informal entertainments, he will succeed splendidly in his new venture and in all that he undertakes, if along the lines upon which the camps have been conducted, he will have every encouragement and assistance that we are capable of giving him.
Conspicuous improvements made this year Both public utilities and our own organization have made many notable improvements in Yellowstone Park's facilities for accommodating and entertaining the public. The Yellowstone Park Hotel Co. greatly extended kitchens and dining rooms in its Lake and Mammoth Hotels, installed hot and cold water in the Lake and Canyon Hotels, enlarged and improved their electric-light, heating, and water systems in several establishments and refurnished one of the hotel lobbies. At Lake Hotel a new dormitory for girls' was built. Fire protection both for guests and for the hotels themselves was vastly bettered.
The Yellowstone Park Camps Co. erected a splendid new lodge at the eastern entrance for lunch service to park visitors using the Cody buses. This company also razed most of the central buildings of its camp at Old Faithful and erected new kitchen and dining room
of immense proportions. In all camps, except Camp Roosevelt, numerous new cabins and tents were erected, thus greatly increasing sleeping accommodations.
The transportation utility purchased sixty new 11-passenger busses, and seven 7-passenger touring cars, a few of which were not used owing to the slight decrease in travel by rail. However, the company was so well equipped to serve its patrons this year that even had there been a considerable increase in rail travel it could have met the demands upon it without hiring outside cars.
During the coming winter, the Transportation Co. will erect at Gardiner a garage and machine shop that will doubtless be the biggest plant of its kind in the North west. Buildings will be of steel and concrete and will measure up to all our requirements as to architectural design. The storage garage will accommodate 500 busses.
Stores and studios enlarge At Old Faithful, C. A. Hamilton enlarged his store and installed much new equipment. This store is now the largest and best operated store in the national park system. Mr. Hamilton also built this year small but very attractive store structures at West Thumb of Lake Yellowstone and at the Fishing Bridge.
At the Canyon of the Yellowstone, J. E. Haynes built a large studio and plant for developing and printing pictures. This new structure is constructed of logs and is one of the most beautiful business establishments in the park. Mr. Haynes also established a new picture stand in the Lake Hotel. As usual, he made hundreds of new negatives of park scenes. This year, in a new and specially equipped boat he explored the entire shore line of Lake Yellowstone, photographing objects of interest all along his route.
Hospital service established Important as these improvements just described are to the traveling public, they are excelled by the new hospital service established this year. The fine big hospital building erected as a part of Fort Yellowstone has not been in operation since 1918, and never before has it been operated in the public interest, it being strictly an Army institution for the soldiers when the military patroled the park.
Early in the year the hospital was remodeled, the wards being cut up into rooms, the rear section made an isolation ward, and the whole building repainted. It was then leased to Dr. G. A. Windsor, eminent surgeon of Livingston, Mont., who added much equipment and furnishings and conducted the hospital and medical service in a most commendable manner. Many major operations were successfully performed and a wide range of general medical and surgical practice was performed.
From the day the hospital was opened it was a success in the highest degree and was much appreciated by all who had occasion to require its service. And, in general, the fact that the hospital was available reassured and pleased the visiting public.
I want to take this opportunity to publicly commend Doctor Windsor for the unselfish interest and fine public spirit that prompted his undertaking this medical service which not only involved a large investment by him, but also great risk in that the venture might result in heavy loss. I trust that the financial results of the season's operations will be such as to encourage the continuance of this very efficient and essential service.
Sanitation and camp grounds
New construction work in the Yellowstone by our organization has been confined largely to sewer and water system extension and improvement, a comprehensive sewer system being installed at the Canyon center of interest and the water systems rebuilt and extended at Canyon, Fishing Bridge, and Lake automobile camps. Several new comfort stations and dozens of tables were built in these camps and at Tower Falls. Cooperating splendidly in the sanitation work, in mosquito control, and in general inspection of sanitary facilities, in analysis of water supplies, and in related matters, the United States Public Health Service rendered invaluable service.
New gateways and snowshoe cabins At West Yellowstone a new and very attractive gateway and checking station was built by the rangers. The idea of this combined entrance and ranger station was originated by the chief ranger, who supervised the construction. A similar gateway and station was erected at the Cody or eastern entrance, but only as a temporary expedient to serve until a permanent structure can be designed and built.
Two snowshoe cabins were built, one at Heart Lake and another at Cache Creek. Two more buildings of interesting design were built in the Dunraven Pass administration and maintenance group. The Tower Falls Ranger Station is being remodeled along lines prescribed by the chief landscape engineer.
Landscape work carried forward In addition to erecting the new buildings according to the landscape engineer's plans, much more landscape work was accomplished. Worthy of special mention is the fact the telephone line between Mammoth and Norris is being rebuilt as a matter of heavy maintenance and is being placed in a swath cut some distance from the road. The Hotel Company is cooperating in this very important work, and its officers enjoy with the Yellowstone superintendent and me a feeling of pride in the total removal of unsightly telephone poles of two separate and distinct wire systems between headquarters and Norris Junction, a distance of 20 miles. Next year the telephone reconstruction will be continued to Yellowstone Lake.
The old buildings in front of the Lake Hotel were removed last autumn, many old barns and sheds were razed at various points, and general clean-up programs carried out at several points of interest. If we now had the means to clean up the roadsides of the Yellowstone, this park would be in first-class condition so far as its landscape protection is concerned.
In Yellowstone National Park the educational work has been under the general direction of the park naturalist, E. J. Sawyer, and temporary Park Ranger Frank Thone. The latter resigned from the service early in July to accept a position with Science Service in Washington, D. C.
Park Naturalist Sawyer, who is an artist, has painted many of the birds and animals of the park for the museum, has added some mounted specimens, and in other directions has expanded the collections in the museum considerably. The lecture service at Mammoth was continued this
year enjoyed by upwards of 70,000 people. The ranger guide service over the formations at Mammoth and at Old Faithful was likewise carried on as heretofore and was greatly enjoyed by park visitors. A new departure in Yellowstone's educational work was the employment of a nature guide at Camp Roosevelt. Dr. H. S. Conard, of Grinnell College, an experienced teacher and naturalist, conducted trips afield each day. This service was very popular and produced many compliments and favorable comments. He also lectured at Camp Roosevelt and made many botanical collections for the museum.
Insects kill vast areas of forest
The most serious problem now facing us in Yellowstone Park is how to control two deadly infestations of insects that are killing thousands of acres of timber. In the western section of the park a sawfly is defoliating and killing the lodgepole pine, and in the Hellroaring and Crescent Hill sections, not far from Camp Roosevelt, the spruce budworm, another defoliator, is destroying all spruce and fir trees.
Identical insects are destroying vast areas of timber outside the park in Montana and Idaho. Some way must be found to prevent the destruction of all of the park forests, and it may be necessary to expend very large sums of money in order to preserve the sylvan beauty of the park. We are asking for a special fund of $35,000 to control these insect pests in Yellowstone and other parks, and it is essential that this fund be provided.
The Bureau of Entomology is working very hard on our insect problems but is very much handicapped by lack of funds. However, its work this year has been invaluable to us.
Wild animals doing well
The past year has been favorable to the wild life of the park. The winter was mild and all species of game animals flourished. However, as noted above, the prospects for the coming winter are very bad. There may be great loss of elk and antelope and perhaps buffalo if the winter is severe, as the lack of rain prevented growth of grass on the winter range or stunted it after growth began.
The buffalo herd continues to grow, there being over 120 calves born this year. The herd now numbers 780 head. There is not much demand for buffalo for zoological gardens, nor for meat, and I be
lieve that within a year or two we must establish a plant for the making of pemmican, for the arctic trade, as this seems to be the only feasible way of dispensing of buffalo meat in large quantities. A pemmican plant is being successfully operated by the Canadian National Park, and I am satisfied that a similar plant could be operated successfully in the Yellowstone. Authority of law exists for the erection of such a plant.
Moose which have been killed in Wyoming during the hunting season for three years past will not be hunted this year. I am glad to record here the refusal of the game commission of Wyoming to issue moose licenses this year.
Still no Teton extension of Yellowstone This brings me once more to the necessity of recording another year of unsuccessful effort in behalf of the proposed extension of the park to include the Teton Mountains and the headwaters of the Yellowstone. In the latter section the moose are found in greater numbers than elsewhere in park region and it is here that so many have been killed. This slaughter should be stopped forever, and park extension will accomplish this desired end.
I had a conference with Col. W. B. Greeley, the Chief Forester, at Moran late in July, and I feel that in the early future it will be possible for the Forest Service and Park Service to join in an effort to put through the extension plan. Colonel Greeley spent several days inspecting the areas which we want to have included in the park.
No extension plan is more important than this one, and it should be consummated at an early date.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CALIF.
Drought conditions existing throughout the State, the occurrence of an epidemic of hoof-and-mouth disease of long duration and exceedingly serious proportions, and an unusually long period of forest-fire menace, resulted either directly or indirectly in extensive financial losses throughout the State of California and created a business depression of considerable magnitude which was reflected in a material falling off in travel to Yosemite and a general decline from the previous year in the park's activities. In spite of these unfavorable conditions, however, travel was considerably in excess of 100,000 people, a figure exceeded only in 1923 when slightly over 130,000 people visited the park. This setback, the first since 1918, was undoubtedly due to this combination of extraordinary conditions, and does not in any way reflect a decline of popular interest in the park. I am confident that, conditions improving, 1925 will show a use of the park in excess of the record established in 1923.
While the uncertainty accompanying the general business depression created operating hazards sufficient to deter park operators and permittees from undertaking any appreciable extensions of their services or any new building construction, development plans financed by the Government or fostered by the Government and financed privately, made appreciable progress and a number of noteworthy projects were initiated, under way, or completed during the year.