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The Yellowstone Park as a Game Reservation by Arnold Hague

 

When the Yellowstone Park was set aside by Act of Congress as a national reservation, very little was known of the region beyond such facts as could be gathered during one short season of exploration, mainly devoted to an examination of the marvelous hot springs and geysers, which have since made the place so famous throughout the world.

During his first visit to the region in 1871, Dr. F. V. Hayden realized the exceptional nature of the hydrothermal manifestations found here and the grand scale upon which the phenomena were displayed. Although it was then far removed from all beaten tracks, he shrewdly foresaw the necessity of government protection, if these scientific curiosities were to be preserved intact in their natural condition. He saw that vandals would soon despoil the region of the delicate incrustations and sediments slowly deposited through long ages from thermal waters, and that settlers, learning their real value, would seize upon all objects of interest for their own gain.

The Buffalo of the Timber.
Photographed from life by John Fossam. From Forest and Stream.

On his return to Washington he urged the enactment of a law establishing the Yellowstone Park as a government reservation. In this work he was ably supported by Senators Anthony, of Rhode Island, Edmunds, of Vermont, and Trumbull, of Illinois, and also by Mr. Dawes, of Massachusetts, then a member of the House of Representatives, who in an excellent speech presented the matter so forcibly that the enabling act passed the House without opposition.

The report of the Public Lands Committee of the House recommending the passage of the act, after pointing out the worthlessness of the region for agricultural purposes or for settlement, closes with this expression of opinion, valuable in the light in which the Park is now held by the civilized world:

The withdrawal of this tract, therefore, from sale or settlement takes nothing from the value of the public domain, and is no pecuniary loss to the Government, but will be regarded by the entire civilized world as a step of progress and an honor to Congress and the nation.

The organic law establishing the Park, after defining its boundaries, states that the reservation is "dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasure-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people." Exclusive control of the Park was given to the Secretary of the Interior, with power to make the necessary rules and regulations for its proper care and maintenance. He was authorized to "provide against the wanton destruction of the fish and game found within said Park, and against their capture or destruction for the purpose of merchandise or profit." The act was approved by the President March 1, 1872.

It will thus be seen that from the very inception of the project for a grand National Park, the preservation of the game was contemplated, although it is evident that absolute prohibition of shooting was not then intended. Probably this was not deemed necessary in such a remote and unfrequented region, to say nothing of its working a hardship upon those who were ready to penetrate its forests and search for fresh wonders.

At that time the country included within the Park was practically an inaccessible region, which, owing to the rough and rugged nature of its barriers, had defied all earlier attempts at exploration. It stood out alone as a broad unknown mountain mass when the surrounding country had been fairly well explored. It had been visited only by a few venturesome pioneers, mining prospectors, and fur-hunters, who found little or no encouragement to seekers after wealth. Only one trans-continental railway spanned the Rocky Mountains, crossing Wyoming far to the south of the Park, the Union and Central Pacific having been opened to traffic in 1869. At that time, wild animals roamed freely over prairie, plain, and mountain slope, from the Canadian border to the Rio Grande. In Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, elk, deer, and antelope abounded in favorable localities. In the North Park in northern Colorado, I saw almost daily numerous bands of antelope, hundreds in each, grazing along the shallow bottom-lands. Over the Laramie plains, antelope and deer might be seen almost any day from the railway. Buffalo roamed the great plains in vast numbers. In 1872 I saw buffalo in the North Park, but they long since left that ideal grazing-ground. The Upper Missouri and Yellowstone valleys were the homes of magnificent herds; now they have disappeared forever. I never had the good fortune to see such enormous herds as frequently wandered over western Kansas; but I well remember one autumn afternoon, when seated in a railway car, book in hand, glancing out upon the prairie, as I turned the pages, I scarcely looked up from the volume but the shaggy forms of buffalo were visible; and this continued until darkness cut off the view. To-day none are to be seen. Except under protection, buffalo have practically become extinct. Elk, moose, deer, antelope, and mountain sheep are gradually retiring to more and more secluded mountain recesses. Year by year game areas become more restricted, even in the mountain regions. The lumberman and railway-tie cutter, the advance-guard of a constantly increasing civilization, are steadily encroaching upon the haunts of game.

Large areas of the Rocky Mountain country are timberless and in great part waterless during portions of the year. In such sections the bare rocks carry very little soil and afford an insufficient food-supply for game. In many instances where the natural conditions would otherwise be favorable, the mountains rise as long narrow ridges between relatively broad valleys. On the occupation of the lowlands by a steadily increasing population, such game-resorts became easily accessible to butchers and skin-hunters. The game was either soon killed off, or the instinct of self-preservation taught the animals to abandon their haunts for more secluded pastures. No better instance of the quickness with which animals perceive danger need be mentioned than their migration from the Big Horn Mountains, when that once admirable game-country was suddenly invaded by hunters from all parts of the world. It is true that the game was slaughtered in vast numbers, but it is equally true that the animals migrated to less disturbed regions. For years the Big Horn Mountains have been known as a gameless country; "shot out" was the expressive phrase applied to them by hide and horn hunters. The urgent necessity for game-preservation, if it is desired to protect our larger animals from extermination, is apparent.

At the time the Yellowstone Park was set aside, the country was almost a terra incognita; its boundaries were ill defined. Since then it has become famous throughout the world, and is annually visited by thousands of people, attracted there by many scientific and scenic features. Gradually its importance became known, both as a national forest reservation and as a natural storage reservoir, which, if properly protected, will supply through broad rivers the arid regions below with much-needed waters. Its fitness for a grand national game reservation soon became manifest to a few people familiar with the far West, and with the disappearance elsewhere of our large Rocky Mountain animals. The necessity for rules against the shooting of any and all animals was early recognized, and for several years such rules have been strictly enforced with beneficial results.

In recent years, with a better understanding of the country, its timber, water supply, the picturesqueness of its scenery, and its natural advantages for game, an effort has been made to enlarge the reservation on the south and east and to clearly mark its boundaries. By this proposed enlargement, the sources of the Yellowstone and Snake rivers, and the greater part of the Absaroka Range on the east, would be included within the Park. It is believed that this additional territory will before long be made a part of the Park reservation by the action of Congress, as it has already been set aside as a timber reservation and placed in charge of the superintendent of the Park. In speaking, therefore, of the superior advantages of the region as a home for animals, the timber reservation will be meant as well as the Park itself.

The area of the Yellowstone Park, as at present defined, is somewhat more than 3300 square miles. The central portion is a broad volcanic plateau between 7000 and 8500 feet above sea-level, with an average elevation of 8000 feet. Surrounding it on the south, east, north, and northwest, lying partly within and partly without the Park lines, are mountain-ranges with culminating peaks and ridges rising from 2000 to 4000 feet above the general level of the inclosed table-land. Beyond the mountains the country falls away on all sides, the lowlands and valleys varying in altitude from 4000 to 6000 feet. The entire region stands out as a bold mountain mass, measuring approximately 75 miles in width by 60 miles in length, which rises high above the adjoining country.

Although it is commonly so called, the central portion of this mass is not, strictly speaking, a plateau; at least it is by no means a level region, but an undulating country, broken by abrupt escarpments and long table-like ridges of gently inclined rocks. It is accidented by shallow depressions and valleys of varied outline, the irregularities of lava flows adding much to the diversity of surface forms and features. Deep cañons and gorges cut the plateau, and penetrate nearly to the base of the accumulated lavas. These nearly horizontal lavas rest against the steeper slopes of the encircling mountains. The foot-hills, in contrast with the plateau, afford a more broken character, the intermontane valleys become deeper, the country gradually growing rougher until the higher summit of the ranges present an indescribable array of crags and precipices reaching far above the timber-line. The Rocky Mountains nowhere offer a rougher tract of country than the Absaroka Range bordering the Park on the east. Such an elevated mass naturally becomes a storm center, attracting moisture-laden clouds. The concentration and precipitation of this moisture in the form of rain and snow furnishes during the year an amount of water exceptionally large for the Rocky Mountains. An abundant supply of rain and snow favors a forest growth, which in turn aids to conserve the water. In consequence a luxuriant growth of nutritious grasses springs up, accompanied by a varied undergrowth of bush and shrub. Observation of mountain, valley, and plateau shows that about 84 per cent. of the Park is forest-clad. Over the greater part of the timber reservation the proportion of forest is not quite so great, much of the higher mountains being above timber-line, or else in the southern part more open and park-like, with long stretches of grass-lands dotted here and there with groups of picturesque pines.

Across the plateau, with a very sinuous course, stretches the Continental Divide, separating the waters of the Atlantic from those of the Pacific. On the plateau on both sides of this divide lie magnificent sheets of water, notably the Yellowstone, Shoshone, Lewis and Heart lakes, forming a most characteristic feature of the country. This part of the Park has been designated the "lake region." Hundreds of smaller lakes and ponds occupy depressions either in the ancient lava flows or in basins of glacial origin. Scattered over plateau and mountain are bogs, marshes, and meadows in marked contrast to most of the Rocky Mountain country. Innumerable perennial springs reach the surface from beneath the rocks. Around the borders of these lakes and ponds stretch fringes of alpine meadows, affording excellent grazing-grounds. Yellowstone Lake, with a shore-line of nearly 100 miles, is encircled by old lake terraces and glacial benches covered with bunch grass and capable of supporting large herds of wild animals. To one familiar with the plateau along the continental watershed it is possible to travel for miles keeping clear of timber by following from one to the other the open, winding glades and long stretches of meadows and shallow drainage-channels which carry the melting snows to the sources of the Yellowstone and Snake rivers. It is in these secluded nooks and sheltered spots that one finds the game.

A reservation for the protection and maintenance of our large game under natural conditions requires an extensive region unbroken by an area adapted for the abode of man or subject to the disturbances of a continuous traffic. With the rapid encroachments of civilization in the Rocky Mountains, these conditions demand that the country set apart should be unfit for agricultural purposes, and free from mineral resources to tempt the cupidity of the advance-guard of settlers. The Yellowstone Park meets the requirements of such a natural reservation better than any other locality that could be selected. The severity of its climate during the greater part of the year renders the region a forbidding one for settlement and permanent occupation by man. On the other hand, the broad expanse of forest incloses sequestered nooks, and enticing grassy parks, with absolute seclusion in mountain recesses admirably adapted for the homes of wild animals. It is the great diversity of its physical features, offering within a restricted area all the requirements for animal life, which fits it for the home of big game. Abundant food supply, shelter from wind and weather in winter, cool resorts on the uplands in summer, favorable localities for breeding purposes and the rearing of young, all are found here. The Park supplies what is really needed—a zoölogical reservation where big game may roam unmolested by the intrusion of man, rather than a zoölogical garden inclosed by fences, and the game fed or sustained more or less by artificial methods. To most travelers who make the accustomed tour and seldom leave the beaten track, it is a surprise and regret that they see so little game, and they are apt to question its existence in any considerable numbers. In summer the game seldom frequents the geyser basins or places of popular resort, but wanders about undisturbed by the throng of pleasure-seekers. If one wishes to see game he must leave the dusty roads and noisy stages, and travel by pack-train the unfrequented trails into the secluded portions of the Park. Few care to take this trouble, as the rules, rigidly enforced, prevent the trying of their skill with the rifle, when they meet the objects of their search. For game protection scouts, foresters, and gamekeepers are required. These could not well be supplied, except at great expense, were it not that the natural wonders of the region, which each season attracts such large crowds, demand for the maintenance of peace and order that United States troops be stationed there for the protection of the Park, and the observance of the necessary rules and regulations. All the large game animals of the northern Rocky Mountains are known in the Park except the white goat (Mazama montana) and the caribou (Rangifer tarandus), and it seems probable that the former, if introduced, would remain, as their favorite haunts, mountain fastnesses, are not unlike the Absarokas. Elk, moose, deer, antelope, mountain sheep, buffalo, and bears are found. Of all the game, elk most abound, roaming over mountain, plateau, and valley alike, the higher portions in summer, the lower in winter. For elk, the park is an ideal country. They frequent the alpine meadows and grassy terraces, passing freely from one to the other of the open uplands. Where streams flow through these openings, or ponds occupy shallow depressions, the elk resort to them in large numbers during summer and autumn. The accompanying picture gives an excellent illustration of such a favorite haunt.

In midsummer cows and calves frequent the picturesque park-like country near the sources of the Snake River. In my opinion, the head waters of the Snake furnish one of the best breeding grounds for elk anywhere to be found. In winter they descend to the broad valley-bottoms, where food is accessible and shelter easily obtained. In traveling over the country about these feeders to the Snake, I have been impressed by the apparent absence of elk, yet the first heavy autumnal snow will drive them from the mountains to the lowlands, the freshly fallen snow being tramped down by hundreds of elk tracks coming from all directions. In the more rugged portions of the country along the summit of the ridges, elk are seldom seen, although well-worn trails traverse the passes of the range at high altitudes, and may be safely followed by travelers as the easiest routes across the mountains.

A Mountain Pasture.
Photographed from life by W. H. Weed.

In an unexplored country, elk trails afford the best means of travel; they are well laid out and lead to good camping-grounds. Moreover, if there are any outlooks in the forest, or bare points on cliff or cañon wall, the trails will pretty surely take one there. I am much indebted to the elk for fine points of observation. Animals are not supposed to be lovers of nature. As regards the elk, this, I think, is an error. From long observation, I believe they have an appreciation of the picturesque and the grand. So thoroughly have I felt this that frequently when encamped in some beautiful and secluded nook, I have strolled away from the noise of the camp with a firm belief that at dusk these animals would visit the spot, attracted by its beauties, if by nothing else.

Possibly there are sportsmen who, having shot their elk, are not again attracted toward them, as toward other big game; they are easily killed, and the shooting of them becomes slaughter. Deer and antelope are more graceful and less easy to get a shot at than elk. Mountain sheep offer far more excitement in the chase over rugged cliffs. White goats are seldom seen, save in limited areas and out-of-the-way regions. Buffalo are now so rarely seen that to come upon one in the wilds is the ambition of the hunter. Bear-hunting must always be exciting on account of the element of danger. Preferring not to use the rifle, the pleasures of the chase do not enter into my enjoyment of animal life, and to me elk are the most interesting of all big game, and a constant source of pleasure. I never tire of watching them, they show so much individuality and independence of character and stateliness of manner. In spite of the fact that they are gregarious and fond of companionship, they show less affection for each other than almost any other animal.

I have much feeling in common with an old Scotch friend of mine, a lover of nature and a frequenter of forest and mountain, who spent a fortnight in the Park with the express purpose of reproducing upon his bagpipe those remarkable notes, the whistling of the elk, but with only partial success. The story is told that the elk left that part of the country, and he was unable to keep up with them.

That there are several thousand elk in the Park and adjoining country is quite certain, but from the nature of the case it is a difficult matter to estimate them. Their number may vary from year to year, depending upon the severity of the winter and other causes. Exceptionally severe seasons would naturally cause an increased death-rate. At all events, they exist in numbers sufficient to put at rest all fear of extermination if they shall only be protected and allowed to wander undisturbed. Several favorable seasons might cause them to reach the limit of a winter's food supply, but overcrowding must tend to a high death-rate, and the struggle for existence would keep their number down. The migratory habits of the elk would lead them to seek new haunts beyond the protected region, offering every year opportunities for healthy, manly sport to the ambitious hunter during the shooting-season.

Moose have been observed in this region only to a limited degree, but probably they occur in somewhat larger numbers than is generally supposed. While they are migratory in habit, their requirements restrict their favorite haunts to limited and inaccessible areas, and they prefer swampy and boggy regions in the lowlands to the meadows and grassy parks of the uplands. They roam mainly in the southwest corner of the Park, in the Falls River Basin, a level country fed by innumerable streams and springs coming out from beneath the lavas of the plateau. As this basin lies partly in Idaho, beyond the borders of the Park, and the moose wander in and out of the reservation, their protection is a matter of great difficulty; yet it is important, not only on account of their scarcity, but because it is near the southern limit of their range. They do not travel in large bands, and a country tramped up by moose is unknown in the Park. In many instances they have probably been mistaken for elk. I have detected their footprints in the broad valley of the Snake, below the mouth of Lewis River, and also in the Lower Geyser Basin, on Sentinel Creek, a small area, but one admirably fitted for their needs. They have been seen on the borders of the Lake of the Woods, and on the head of Stinking Water River east of Yellowstone Lake.

Two varieties of deer inhabit the Park, commonly known as the black-tail and white-tail deer, the former being much the more abundant of the two. Being fleet of foot, they roam over the entire area in passing from one pasturage ground to another. They show a decided preference for gently sloping foot-hills carrying a scattered growth of mingled pine and maple and other deciduous trees, their natural habitat being the border-land between dense forest and open valley. Such favorite spots affording food, shelter, and shade abound, and present one of the most characteristic features of an ideal park country. Deer haunt the valleys of the Gallatin Range and the lava slopes around the head of Black Tail Deer Creek, which flows into the Yellowstone; but more than any other animal they seem to delight in changing their habitat. The ideal country for deer is that paradise for big game, the valleys of the numerous streams forming the sources of the Snake. While by no means as numerous as elk, deer are found in sufficient numbers to allay all anxiety as to their permanence under the new conditions now surrounding the Park.

Antelope, graceful and swift-footed creatures, restrict their range to the open country, with habits nearly identical to those developed on the plain. They are by no means numerous, and were so much shot at before protection was afforded that they nearly became extinct. But in the last few years they have steadily increased in numbers, and experience seems to have taught them that safety lies within the protected region, rather than in seeking in winter the lowlands outside its borders. Swan Valley and the slopes of Mount Everts apparently satisfy their requirements. In summer small bands roam over Hayden Valley, but so far as I know have not increased in size.

The advantages of this region as a game reservation are again shown in its meeting the requirements of the bighorn, or mountain sheep (Ovis canadensis), an animal of quite different habits, which lives almost wholly among the crags and cliffs of the steepest mountains. An ideal bighorn country is found in the Absaroka Range, where the bare rocky slopes are interspersed with patches of nutritious grasses. The size of their bands, the frequent well-worn trails over the barren rocks, and the occurrence of sheep "sign" everywhere, indicate conditions suitable to sheep life. The head waters of the Stinking Water and Thoroughfare Creek are among their favorite haunts. In the higher regions of the Gallatin they may occasionally be seen, and, indeed, this may be said of the summits of most of the peaks throughout the Park. They are an agile, wary, keen-scented animal, and apparently never so happy as when on the jump. Next to the elk, they are probably most sought by the horn-hunters and game-butchers; but with a little protection, and only half a show, they are abundantly capable of taking care of themselves.

That buffalo were among the animals inhabiting the Yellowstone Park was known in the early days of its history; and that indefatigable explorer and former superintendent of the Park, Colonel P. W. Norris, soon recognized the need of protection for them if their extermination was to be prevented. The Park buffalo may all be classed under the head of mountain buffalo, and even in this elevated region they live for the greater part of the year in the timber. In many ways their habits are quite different from those generally attributed to the buffalo of the plain, and it is most unusual, save in midwinter, to find them in open valley or on the treeless mountain slope. They haunt the most inaccessible and out-of-the-way places, and what would seem to be the least attractive spots, living in open glades and pastures, the oases of the dense forest, often only to be reached by climbing over a tangle of fallen timber. Localities least visited by man and avoided by other animals are by preference selected by buffalo. During long wanderings over the timber plateau I have never ceased to be amazed at the resorts selected by them, and by the rapidity of their disappearance on being alarmed. I have frequently come upon ground tramped up by buffalo, showing every evidence of recent occupation, but the animals were gone. It is surprising how few buffalo have been seen in midsummer, even by those most familiar with their haunts and habits. They wander about in small bands in such unfrequented country as the southern end of the Madison plateau, the Mirror plateau, and the head of Pelican Creek, and on the borders of that elevated table-land known as Elephant Back. In winter, leaving the forest, they feed over the slopes of Specimen Ridge, and in the open Hayden Valley.

It is not likely that there ever were many buffalo in the Park, or that those there ever suffered seriously from the hand of man other than the Indian. Up to within recent years the plains buffalo offered a more attractive field for the hunter nearer home. Their abodes in the Park were inaccessible and far away from any base of supplies. Only since their extermination from the plains and the advance of settlements to the Park border have inroads upon their numbers taken place. If they ever roamed over this country in large herds, evidence of the fact should be apparent by well-trodden buffalo trails, which nowhere form a feature of the Park plateau. Whether the natural increase in their numbers has been kept down by the severity of the climate and an uncongenial environment, or whether the young calves have been attacked by predatory animals, has never been satisfactorily determined. Dangers which would scarcely befall them in an open country might in a timbered region tend to keep down their numbers. They occasionally wander beyond the Park borders into Idaho and Montana with the first fall of snow, returning to their mountain homes with the approach of spring. In 1884 I estimated the buffalo in the Park at 200; since that time they have gradually increased, and have probably doubled in number. In the winter of 1891-92 the grazing-ground in Hayden Valley was visited by a snowshoe party, who counted the scattered bands and took photographs of several groups. These groups were generally small, and each contained a goodly number of calves. They numbered by actual count nearly 300, but there is no means of knowing what proportion of the Park buffalo were then gathered here.

Buffalo Cows and Calves.
Photographed from life by John Fossam. From Forest and Stream.

Bears of all kinds that inhabit the northern Rocky Mountains are found in the Park. The natural conditions of the country—a dense pine forest; a soil producing a variety of wild fruits, berries, and roots; a slowly decaying vegetation upon which flourish grubs and ants, delicate morsels to Bruin—all tend to furnish an environment suitable to the omnivorous bear. Black bears are the most common, but silver-tips abound, many of them of great size and strength. They are undoubtedly increasing in numbers, but unless attacked are harmless; and of the thousands of visitors to the Park every year I have yet to learn of one injured by them.

Of the smaller animals, such as the different kinds of the Felidæ,—including mountain-lions,—foxes, wolves, porcupines, nothing need be said, save that they find within the reservation the essential conditions of a home. Two animals, however,—the wolverene and the beaver,—demand more than mere mention: the former on account of its rarity in the Rocky Mountains, and the consequent danger it runs of extermination, and the latter on account of the never-failing interest which they excite in the tourist, and the frequency with which their dams and habitations may be seen along the traveled routes. The wolverene is now seldom, if ever, reported from the country south of the Park, and must be considered one of the rarest of animals within its borders. Its predatory nature renders it a most undesirable animal near settlements, but this is no good reason why it should not be protected in the mountains. It is a stealthy, cautious animal, moving about without the least noise. I have seen but four, and these on meadow-lands underlaid by a deep soil. As they are supposed to live largely on rodents, they were doubtless seeking food among the burrowing animals. Although they are regarded as great robbers, in the hundreds of camps I have pitched within the Park my attention has never been called to the tracks of a prowling wolverene.

The numerous broad, flat valleys, cut into the plateaus and mountains, are singularly well fitted for the home of beaver. The meadows filling these valleys, the clear streams flowing through them, and the seclusion which they offer, are exceptional inducements and are all necessary requirements for their haunts. With the growth of population it is probable that a very considerable amount of trapping was carried on in early days, and their numbers greatly reduced. Of late years, special vigilance has been exercised to prevent the trapping and molestation of the Park beaver, but it has been by no means easy to accomplish this, on account of the remoteness of many of the best-stocked streams, and the high price of the skins, which tempts the cupidity of the trapper. Captain George S. Anderson, the present superintendent of the Park, believes the beaver are steadily increasing, and this is no doubt the fact, in view of the efforts that he has made to stop all trapping.

Innumerable streams flowing from the mountains to the central plateau, magnificent lakes, the sources of grand rivers, and a river system divided into four drainage basins, make the region singularly well suited for fish life. Exploration soon developed the fact that, while many of these rivers and lakes abounded in trout, others, above the waterfalls which form so characteristic a feature of the streams between the plateau and the lowlands, were wholly destitute of fish. In the spring of 1887 I addressed a letter to the late Professor Baird, calling his attention to the importance of stocking these waters, more especially Shoshone Lake, for the benefit of the people. At that time it was not considered feasible to take up the matter. Since then these waters have undergone careful investigation, and, as a result, have been stocked with fish under the supervision of Professor B. W. Evermann, of the United States Fish Commission, who reports that the different species of trout planted are doing well, so far as can be told at this early date. Six varieties—brook, lake, mountain, rainbow, Loch Leven, and Von Behr trout—have been placed in one or the other of the different drainage basins. In Shoshone and Lewis lakes both the common lake trout and the Loch Leven variety were planted. The Yellowstone Park is destined to rank as one of the favorite resorts of the angler,—fishing, under the proper regulations, becoming one of the many attractions of the place.

Nearly all birds common to the northern Rocky Mountains resort to this region during certain portions of every year. Migratory birds, like ducks and geese, live for months upon many small lakes dotted over the Park, rearing their young without the least fear of molestation. Pelicans find a home around the shores of Yellowstone Lake and the bottom-lands of its tributaries. That graceful creature and rare bird, the white swan, may frequently be seen on Yellowstone Lake, and on three separate visits to that secluded sheet of water, Riddle Lake, I have never failed to find several of them paddling about in its quiet waters. Eagles, fish-hawks, and ospreys soar above the forest, building their nests upon the summits of the crags and pinnacles in the wildest and most inaccessible places. It is always an impressive sight to see that magnificent bird, the bald-headed eagle, flying high over the lakes, crossing and recrossing the wooded continental watershed, equally at home among the sources of the Mississippi and Columbia, undisturbed by his only really dangerous enemy, rifle-bearing man.

The preservation of animal life, as it exists to-day under natural conditions within a government reservation, may be purely a matter of sentiment; but surely this grand possession must be worth every effort to preserve it, even at considerable cost of time and money. With the encroachments of civilization, the demands of those seeking to use the Park for their own selfish ends must in the nature of things steadily increase. Pressure for timber and water privileges, and rights of way for railroad purposes, will constantly arise. The larger part of the timber reservation should become an integral part of the Park, as much of the game, and its best breeding-grounds, lie within this reservation. Let Congress adjust the boundaries in the best interests of the Park and the needs of traffic, clearly defining them in accordance with the present knowledge of the country, and then forever keep this grand national reservation intact. After this is done, the Park can be maintained only by the constant vigilance of enthusiastic friends, who realize its value for economic reasons, and believe in the purposes of the organic act setting it apart forever as a pleasure-ground for the people.

Arnold Hague.