Proceedings of the National Park Conference Held at the Yellowstone National Park
September 11 and 12, 1911
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The hot springs of Arkansas are 44 in number. They are located in a narrow ravine on the western slope of Hot Springs Mountain, which is a part of the Ouachita Range and an offshoot from the Ozark System. They are practically in the city of Hot Springs, which is 50 miles southwest from Little Rock and has an elevation of 600 feet above the level of the sea.

The water is remarkable for its purity and for the small amount of mineral matter it contains. Its temperature, as determined for the different springs, varies between 97° and 147° F. It is radio-active, and the beneficial results obtained from its use are now largely attributed to this fact.

The baths produce a reaction accompanied by an elevation of body temperature, accelerated heart action, with diminished blood pressure in the arteries, and a stimulation of the nutritive changes in the tissue cells, especially those composing the organs of elimination and those concerned in the formation of the blood. Combined with the internal administration of the water, they may reasonably be expected to afford relief in gout or rheumatism after the acute or inflammatory stage; in neuralgia when dependent upon gout, rheumatism, malaria, or metallic poisoning; in the early stages of chronic Bright's disease, in catarrhal conditions of the gall bladder, in certain forms of disease of the pelvic organs, and in sterility in women, in chronic malaria, alcoholism, and drug addictions; in many chronic skin diseases; in some forms of anemia; in syphilis; in gonorrheal rheumatism, intoxemias and conditions of defective elimination; and in some forms of cardio-vascular disease with increased tension in the blood vessels. The baths are contra-indicated in tuberculosis of the throat and lungs and in all forms of cancer.

A second great resource of Hot Springs is its unusually fine climate, which makes out-of-door life not only possible, but enjoyable almost every day in the year. Overworked business and professional men and all who need rest and recuperation find in the reservation walks and drives, in visiting the many interesting points in the vicinity, on the golf course, and at the country club, forms of recreation that have a powerful influence in the restoration of health and strength. Much, greater development of these features, however, such as the improvement of streets and roads, the erection of a casino for the maintenance of the better class of amusements and entertainments, as well as the maintenance of a street-cleaning department, and a larger police force, is essential if Hot Springs is to be fully developed as a spa.

The reputation of the locality as a health resort dates back to legendary times. It is known that the Indians brought their sick here in the belief that the Great Spirit was present in the water. It is said that even in those days there was strife for its control which finally terminated in the establishment of a neutral zone and a recognition of the common right of all tribes to participate in the benefits to be derived from its use. De Soto is believed to have bathed here in 1541. The earliest white settlement was made about the year 1800. From that time to the present day, faith in the restorative and curative properties of the water has steadily increased. By the year 1832 the belief had become so strong and so universal that Congress passed an act reserving four sections of land with the hot springs in the center, thus establishing the first national park. The purposes of this act were to secure to the people the use of the water free from commercial exploitation, and to provide room for the development of an adjacent settlement under the same government as the springs, for the safe harboring of those who might come for treatment. The wisdom and foresight in providing for a single government has been amply demonstrated by subsequent events.

In the year 1880 the Federal Government relinquished control over a large part of the original reservation, and upon this territory contiguous to the springs the settlement anticipated by the act of 1832 has been made, and is now represented by a city of 15,000 inhabitants. The divided jurisdiction resulting from this session is largely responsible for the existence and continuance of certain conditions and practices that have a marked influence in lessening the benefits to be derived from treatment here, and for the failure to provide those adjuvants to the baths which are important factors in the complete development of a health resort. The objectionable features referred to are the various forms of graft (commonly known as "drumming"), gambling, and an excessive number of saloons, with other usually concomitant evils.

Commercialism is the basis of drumming. It has been practiced for years. It has been tolerated by the community and sanctioned by influential citizens. It is essentially different from the solicitation of the commercial salesman. It is practiced on the unsuspecting invalid of limited means, who is unable to work, and who often comes believing that the advertised control of the Federal Government extends to all features of the resort and is absolute and complete. In its ultra refinement the system of "fruiting," as formerly practiced, aimed to convey to an accomplice definite knowledge of the amount of money in a patient's possession, that it might all be secured at once. This information was conveyed by mentioning to a confederate in the course of ordinary conversation, the name of some common fruit, each variety representing a given sum which the unsuspecting patient had told the drummer he had provided to defray the expenses of his sojourn. Patients deprived of their money within a few days of their arrival have been forced to leave the town before they were able to test the cure.

This entire practice is founded upon deceit and falsification. It has been relied upon to procure patronage to the exclusion of that form of competition based on the best service. It has been a fruitful source of grievance, and at least indirectly, of acts of lawlessness and of violence. It has caused large numbers of patients to spread in their home neighborhoods unfavorable reports of local conditions, and it has impaired the confidence of the medical profession throughout the country in the benefits to be derived from treatment at the springs. While it is not so frequently or so openly practiced as formerly, it still persists, and will tend to continue so long as the financial returns of the bath houses, the druggists, and the doctors are based upon the number of patients treated. While it is possible to devise means for its reasonably satisfactory control, its extinction can only be expected through a development of the ethical sense of all who profit by the practice, or by the removal of the incentive out of which it grows.

The only physicians who are allowed to prescribe the water of the springs are those licensed practitioners of the State of Arkansas who have been examined by the Federal board of medical examiners appointed by the Secretary of the Interior. While there are a number of physicians of the highest professional attainments and moral standing en-engaged in the practice of medicine in Hot Springs, there are others who disregard the ethics of the profession. Quacks, charlatans, and venders of secret remedies thrive on the credulity of the visitor.

The evil effects of gambling houses and of an excessive number of saloons are too well realized to require comment. It is sufficient to say that they are tolerated, if not encouraged, because the city needs the revenue that is derived from them. The expenses of the local government last year were $119,291.43. There was a deficit of $30,397.90. The principal sources of revenue were, from taxation, $33,380.52; from saloon licenses, $36,800; from police-court fines and gambling, $15,545.25. Eighty per cent of the taxes go to the State, county, and schools, leaving but 20 per cent for city purposes proper. There is no prospect for immediate betterment, and greatly needed municipal improvements can not be made. Endeavors to increase the city revenues are subject to diverging influences. A business tax is favored by local interests, that the money so collected may be spent within the city, while the State inclines to an increase in general taxation to augment the State revenues.

At watering places abroad, where the same government exercises jurisdiction over both the springs and the adjacent municipality, it is customary to tax the visitor for the support of public-utility services, for it has long been recognized that with the large nontaxable floating population of a "cure" it is impracticable to maintain satisfactory civic conditions, to enforce law and order, and to provide the other features of a health resort on the same basis of revenue that pertains to other cities. It would appear practicable to adopt this system here; or increased revenue could be secured by diverting a part of the proceeds from the baths were it not for the divided jurisdiction and the leasing of the water privileges to private interests.

A marked and general awakening has occurred in all civilized countries within the last decade or two, finding expression through local, State, national, and international organizations, as well as through the public press, to the importance of hygiene, sanitation, and preventive medicine. Knowledge of these subjects has been so widely spread that the average citizen has come to more fully realize the value of scientific methods in medicine and the fact that many diseases are preventable. He is more critical and exacting, and has increasing fear of contracting disease wherever the laws of sanitation are not enforced. For these reasons bathhouse service that was acceptable a few years ago is no longer so.

The general conditions surrounding the visitor coming to Hot Springs gave rise to so much dissatisfaction and to so many complaints that within the past few years four separate reports by specially qualified commissioners have been prepared by direction of the Secretary of the Interior with a view to determining what steps were practicable for bettering both the treatment and the environment. In each the conditions already referred to were treated at length, as was also the service of the bathhouses, and the recommendation made that the medical and sanitary work be placed directly under medical supervision. As a result of these recommendations and of a realization of the essentially medical character of the service the office of medical director was created September last, with the following duties:

(1) Full supervision of sanitation, hygiene, and hydrotherapy—in short, all that pertains to the bathing of patients in the leased bathhouses both on and off the reservation.

(2) Full charge of the Government free bathhouse and the employees therein.

(3) Maintenance of a clinic for the education of bathhouse operators and their attendants.

(4) Determination of the fitness of all attendants, physically and otherwise, for employment in bathhouses, both those operated by lessees and the Government bathhouse.

The work so far has been formative and constructive. Matters of sanitation and hygiene have been dealt with by inspection of the bathhouses and by class instruction of the attendants. The principles of sanitation have been applied in approving plans for the erection of new bathhouses and in determining what improvements shall be required in the old houses on the renewal of leases; in devising means for a sanitary laundry service, and for the cooling of hot water without contamination; in abolishing sources of infection, and in many minor details.

Many of the bathhouses are old, poorly planned, cheaply constructed, and insanitary. Some should be condemned, others remodeled and equipped with hydrotherapeutic apparatus and modern ventilating, heating, and plumbing systems. The windows and doors should be screened and the cellars and courts cemented.

The feature of bathhouse administration most open to criticism is the management. A foreman is provided for a gang of workmen, a head waiter for a hotel dining room, and a floorwalker for a dry-goods store; but the bathing of patients, which constitutes the service that forms the basis of the lease, has been practically intrusted to the attendants, while the manager, who is the only person in a supervisory capacity, is occupied at his desk with matters of administration of a totally different character. Nearly all complaints and unfavorable reports, both from physicians and from patients, relating to the bathhouse service in any way may be traced to this source.

The bath attendants, about 200 in number, although expected to carry out the bathing directions of physicians and to display reasonable intelligence in their ministrations to the sick, have heretofore never received any instructions in their duties from a competent source, nor have they been required to qualify in any way. They are all negroes. Upon examination a few were found to be illiterate and unable to read the bathing directions, while others were so nearly so that it is doubtful if they could render intelligent service. The majority, however, have a common-school education and are appreciative of the benefits to be derived from the department's policy of affording them an opportunity to fit themselves for their work. Class instruction has been given to 178 attendants, with the result that 119 have been accepted and granted certificates of qualification authorizing their employment for the period of one year in any of the bathhouses receiving water from the hot springs. Fifty-nine have been rejected for varying degrees of illiteracy, alcoholism, lack of attention to duty, and persistent uncleanliness in person and clothing. This class work marks the first step in the development of a corps of selected and trained attendants. It will require considerable time to produce satisfactory results, but by persistently following out a policy of instruction for those who are willing to learn, and the elimination of those who are unfit, the efficiency of the service will ultimately be greatly increased.

By the act of December 16, 1878, free baths for the indigent were authorized, and in 1890 Congress made an appropriation for the erection of the present free bathhouse. Since it has been in use nearly 4,000,000 baths have been administered. The action of Congress practically amounted to an invitation to the sick to come to the springs for treatment, and they have come and are still continuing to come from every part of the country. The building is utterly unfitted for its purpose. It is inadequate in size, and only accommodates the patients by the use of pools, in which many sick bathe at the same time, and by reason of the fact that no space is devoted to many necessary adjuncts, such as hydrotherapeutic apparatus, examining rooms, a dispensary, an emergency ward, and office accommodations. The building is insanitary and in need of extensive repairs. It can not possibly be made into what would, in any just degree, represent the desire of Congress or the ability of the Government. A new, modern house, equipped with the latest and most approved facilities, is imperatively needed. Such an establishment under Government control would have a marked influence in bringing about improved conditions in the service of all the bathhouses.

Contact with the medical profession personally, and through the County Medical Society on the one hand, and with the bathhouse interests and the Business Men's League on the other, combined with the work as secretary of the Federal Registration Board, and the treatment of many patients at the Government free bathhouse, has afforded an unusual opportunity to view from different points the many diverging interests and opinions, and to note the deleterious effects of commercialism in a humane profession.

Public faith in the therapeutic value of the water itself has never wavered and despite unfavorable conditions the popularity of the resort has increased from year to year. This is a sound argument for bettering the service. An unusually strong foundation unquestionably exists in the water, in the climate, and in the faith of the people, for the development of a great health resort the equal of any in the world. A judicious and far sighted policy successfully carried out is all that is required. With better service and conditions the resort would be visited by a constantly increasing number of foreigners, as places of like character abroad are now patronized by Americans. Symptomatic treatment of existing evils and objectionable conditions will result in improvement, but there are certain fundamental causes for their existence, the removal of which would be marked by a great and immediate advance. Development in certain lines already referred to can only be effected through legislation. It may be impracticable at the present time to adopt such radical changes as would be necessary to produce ideal conditions, but there is value in having an ideal, and its consummation is worthy of untiring effort.

The improvements that are not only necessary, but entirely practicable, can not be expected within a day, or within a year. They will necessarily require time, patience, and the constant and intelligent study of conditions as they must and will change. Thoroughly satisfactory results must await the continuing development of a public opinion on the part of all interested, that the best is not only none too good, but that it has the promise and the certainty of the most assured and permanent financial returns.

As an invitation has been extended to present the more difficult problems of administration for consideration at this conference, it is suggested that the following subjects might be discussed in connection with the affairs of Hot Springs, all of which are necessarily closely related to and vitally involved in the proper treatment of the sick.

(1) Federal jurisdiction over the city of Hot Springs.

(2) Government ownership and operation of the baths.

(3) The extinction or effective control of drumming.

(4) The procuring of funds for the development in the city of Hot Springs of the usual adjuncts to treatment at a spa.

(5) The elimination of gambling and objectionable resorts.

(6) The appointment of a health officer whose whole time may be given to the work of his office, and of a sanitary squad for the city of Hot Springs.

(7) The establishment of an emergency hospital service.


As a preliminary to the subjects which have been assigned to me, I desire to speak of the general conditions governing construction work in the Yosemite National Park, some of which may be peculiar to Yosemite, but I imagine that many of them are common to more than two of the national parks.

Laborers are mostly drawn from the small mining towns in the vicinity of the park, there being no permanent community of laboring people within the park, because of the impossibility of renting or building homes on Government ground. Hence the force is of a transient nature, and consists largely of unmarried men or those who have left their families to seek work at a distance. Ordinarily there are enough of these men to meet the needs of the park, but in case of a good demand for labor outside or an extraordinary demand within the park it becomes necessary to engage men from Merced or other towns of the San Joaquin Valley, and to pay the expense of their transportation to Yosemite, which amounts to about $10 per man one way. It is the custom of the most of our laborers to come into the park at the opening up of the work, usually afoot, and to leave before the winter weather sets in. They are housed in tents, which may be rented of the local store. They board themselves, there being no public boarding house where a laboring man can obtain meals within his means. These conditions do not operate to obtain or hold either a high class of men or efficient service. Most of them make good common laborers or teamsters, and a few who have been miners are quite skilled in rough rock work and the use of explosives. Common labor is paid $2.50 per day; teamsters and rock and powder men receive $3 per day; foremen of gangs get $3.50 per day.

The force of skilled labor immediately available consists of two carpenters, and only one of these remains in the park throughout the year. It is necessary to send at least 90 miles for brick masons, stonemasons, tinners, machinists, boiler makers, painters, plumbers, etc. These men usually demand high wages and their expenses for work done in Yosemite. And to avoid this expense, most all kinds of work other than carpenter work is done with common labor and often at the expense of good workmanship.

Construction materials are bought by proposals, and are usually furnished by firms in San Francisco. San Francisco depends upon the East for manufactured articles, and Yosemite is some 220 miles from San Francisco. This distance from the market, together with the method of purchase, prove always an embarrassment, and sometimes a veritable obstacle to the prosecution of a piece of construction work. The statements of bidding firms as to the time of delivery can not always be depended upon, and often after the acceptance of a bid, and perhaps the delivery of a part of the order, it is learned that the rest can not be delivered until the next ship comes into port. It is not possible for one remaining in Yosemite to be well enough posted on the conditions of the San Francisco market to make designs and plans calling for those materials which can be immediately delivered.

The Yosemite Valley Railroad has its terminal at El Portal, about three-fourths of a mile from the park boundary. The first-class freight rate over this railroad and its connecting lines from San Francisco to El Portal is 96 cents per 100 pounds. The Government does its own hauling from El Portal to Yosemite, a distance of 14 miles, at a cost of about $6 per ton, which makes the cost of the transportation of a ton of first-class freight from San Francisco to Yosemite of about $25, with other classes in proportion. Because of this high freight rate it is desirable to buy in car load lots, thereby saving both in freight and price. A large stock of the common construction materials should be kept on hand. The practice of making separate purchases for each separate allotment should be avoided in as much as it is possible.

As it is not practical to meet each shipment at El Portal, unpack it, and inspect it before hauling to Yosemite, unsatisfactory materials are often delivered at Yosemite, and if rejected the Government is out the cost of unloading and hauling, and must put up with the inconvenience and delay of awaiting a new shipment from San Francisco.

The working season of about 8 months begins in April and ends in December. The best months are July, August, and September, but because of the fiscal year beginning on July 1 a large job done under a congressional appropriation must be started after the working season is one-half over, stopped during the winter, and started again in the spring with a new organization, and then rushed that it may be completed before the end of that fiscal year.

Yearly appropriations have not been large enough to attempt to complete within one year a job of even ordinary magnitude, so that but a small piece of road work has to be strung out over a number of years. These stops and starting again with new organizations have to be repeated year after year. Often because of limited appropriations an important improvement must be stopped and held in abeyance due to the emergency of some other project.

Most of the work done in Yosemite is by day labor, very little contract work having been attempted. As a general proposition I am in favor of the contract system of doing public works, and hope it may become more the practice in Yosemite. It is almost a necessity to enter into contracts for those works requiring skill in special lines. During this season a rock-crushing plant and a water wheel have been installed in a most satisfactory manner. Because of the conditions I have heretofore mentioned, I am strongly of the opinion that any project requiring the use of materials that must be shipped in can be more advantageously handled by a contractor who has an office close to the supplying market than by the park officials in Yosemite, who must handle their business through the mails with the lowest bidder, whose reputation and business habits are unknown.

Yosemite National Park is almost an undeveloped field so far as roads are concerned. Nine-tenths of the points of interest are accessible only by horseback over rough mountain trails and some are difficult of access even by these means. As the parks are set aside for the enjoyment and pleasure of the public it is the duty of the Government to make easy the means of access to all places that a tourist would be invited to go. The United States Government has done no original road work in the Yosemite National Park, its only work of this nature has been the improvement and maintenance of existing highways. All of the present roads were at first built by private enterprise, and two of the most important ones are at this time toll roads. It seems to me that in a public park a toll road is an anomaly. I hope that the time is not far away when all private-owned roads in Yosemite will be taken over by the Government.

I would recommend that a complete road survey of a road system through the entire park be made. These surveys should be thorough, consisting of profiles, cross sections, lines permanently staked out, and adjacent topography. Investigations of available road material should be made, bridges and culverts should be designed, and an estimate of cost made. After this system has been laid out and approved by the proper authorities, construction should be carried on systematically and continuously from year to year until all are completed. Appropriations should be ample and should not be confined to any one fiscal year.

Although the principles of good road construction are general and well known, yet each locality presents its peculiar problem, and this problem in Yosemite is not a simple one. There is rock everywhere, but little of it is suitable for road metal. We have found but one place in the Yosemite Valley where a hard rock can be obtained. A No. 4 Gates gyratory crusher has been installed at this point, and we are just getting into position where we hope to build a system of first-class roads on the floor of the valley. This rock is very hard and consists of an immense slide of bowlders, which are to be broken by blasting into sizes suitable for the admission to the crusher. The crusher is driven by electric power conveyed over a transmission line 7-1/2 miles in length from the Yosemite Valley lighting plant. The method of construction at present adopted is that known as the Telford road, which has been selected, not because of any preference for the Telford construction, but for economical reasons. Rocks of a suitable size for the Telford base can be gathered at most places along the foot of the walls of the valley and conveyed to the road with an average haul of about one-half mile. These rocks while suitable for a bottom course are too soft to make a good wearing surface. The surfacing metal is to be obtained from the rock crusher with an average haul of about 4 miles. It is hoped that we can build these roads at an average cost of $15,000 per mile. The greater portion of this cost is due to high cost of maintaining teams in Yosemite and the length of haul. It would be economy to adopt some method of power hauling, but the present bridges across the Merced River are too light for this purpose.

The roads we are now building are 22 feet in width, and are finished along the edges with a curb of large bowlders. This furnishes a very pleasing road, suitable to the surroundings. As the floor of the valley is comparatively level and we are improving an old road there is very little grading to be done.

The roads leading into and out of the valley all have heavy grades, and in many places have almost perpendicular precipices both above and below the roadbed. These roads are generally so narrow that teams pass with difficulty. I believe that these roads should be made wider and safer. This means heavy and expensive construction, which may run as high as $30,000 to $40,000 per mile. The magnitude of an extensive road-building project in Yosemite National Park would justify the organization of a permanent road-building force and equipment. Effort should be made to keep together a trained body of men through the work.

The present road-building equipment is entirely inadequate, especially so in reference to transportation. It is the present custom to rent horses and wagons for this work. We are now hiring horses at $10 per head per month. Forage costs about 50 cents per head per day.

The national parks are places where nature has produced its grandest and most beautiful works, and I can not think of any excuse that justifies man to erect in such places buildings of ugly architecture and poor construction. This is the condition to-day in Yosemite. There is scarcely a building in the Yosemite Valley that even approaches the standards of good construction and the architecture of most of them is far from being artistic. Even those buildings that have been built by the United States Government are far below the standards of Government construction, due to the lack of sufficient funds. The only hotel in the Yosemite Valley was built some 30 years ago. It is a frame structure, a fire trap, without modern conveniences, and ill suited to the purpose. The buildings used by concessioners were constructed before the United States obtained control of the valley, and are of the cheapest and most flimsy construction.

Yosemite partakes of the nature of a small municipality. It has its water system, electric lighting system, and should have a sewer system. In order that it may be consistently and properly developed a comprehensive scheme should be prepared that would provide for reasonable growth in the needs of the valley. Plans of roads, walks, water pipes, sewers, pole lines, telephone lines, and building sites should be made and after approval by the department should be followed in all future work. A high standard of design and construction should be adopted. In reference to those buildings used by concessioners I am inclined to the opinion that it would be much better for the Government to construct and maintain the buildings and rent them to the concessioner.

The needs of the Government in Yosemite in the building line are extensive. There should be an administration building, a superintendent's residence, quarters for the permanent employees, laborers' quarters, storehouses, machine shop, workshops, blacksmith's shop, wagon sheds, and modern stables. All should be of good construction and a pleasing style of architecture.

We have in Yosemite an electric lighting system. Current is furnished by two 75-kilowatt two-phase generators operating at 2,300 volts and driven by two Pelton wheels. The generators are of an out-of-date type but in good condition, and are giving good service and have a sufficient capacity to meet the needs of the park for some years to come unless an unexpected demand for electric power should develop. Our present lighting load is at its maximum about one-third the capacity of the plant. We have just replaced one of the water wheels with a new one of more modern construction, and should replace the other one as soon as funds are available. The transmission lines are in fair condition with the exception of some of the branch lines that were poorly constructed. All are overhead lines, and it would be very desirable to place them underground both for esthetic reasons and for ease of maintenance during heavy snow storms. The intake and penstock of the plant have been lately improved and are now in good condition. This plant furnishes power for driving the rock crusher and for driving two pumps that deliver water to tanks for use in road sprinkling.

Current is furnished to concessioners at the following rates: From April 1 to October 31 for 79 lamps or less, 66-2/3 cents per month per 16-candle power lamp; for 80 lamps, $50 per month; 81 to 160 lamps, 50 cents each; 161 to 240 lamps, 40 cents each; all above 240 lamps, 30 cents each. For the other months of the year the rate is 33-1/3 cents per lamp per month. These rates are said to be rather high and the concessioners use as few lights as possible. There has been but little yearly increase in the number of lights used. We have under consideration the installation of a meter system instead of the above flat-rate system. It is hoped that such a method will induce the concessioners to adopt more elaborate schemes of illumination, lower the rates, and increase the revenues of the plant. Fuel in Yosemite is becoming more scarce and expensive each year, and it may be possible to develop a use for electricity for heating and cooking purposes. We are fortunate in having two good electricians employed throughout the year. All ordinary work of installing and wiring is attended to by them. Large installations of new equipment is done under contract.



The Sequoia National Park was created by act of Congress approved September 25, 1890, and October 1, 1890, and the General Grant National Park was created by act of Congress approved October 1, 1890. The Sequoia Park is situated in the county of Tulare, State of California, and the General Grant Park is situated in the counties of Tulare and Fresno, of the same State.


The principal object for which these parks were created was for the preservation of the wonderful forests of "Big Trees," Sequoia gigantea, they contained. The trees of which also furnished an important factor in their naming, the Sequoia Park being named after its magnificent groves, and the General Grant Park was given the name because of the General Grant Tree contained therein, so widely known for its size and beauty.


These parks as a whole are in a mountainous country, on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, and extend between the elevations of from 1,200 to 11,211 feet above the level of the sea. The Sequoia Park contains an area of 169,605 acres and the General Grant Park an area of 2,560 arces, or a total acreage of 172,165 acres for the two reservations.


These parks are under the exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior, and by his direction are at present administered by a detail of troops, and a force of civilian rangers; the former remaining on duty from three to four months each season, and the latter being employed throughout the year.


Prior to, and at the time of the creation of the parks the forest within them sustained a heavy annual loss from fires. Fires that originated were permitted to burn indefinitely, and thus the territory bid fair to become depleted of one of its most important natural resources and rendered a barren waste. Since the creation of the parks the forests within them have sustained but little loss from the above specified cause, as fires starting have been quickly extinguished, and the park lands have improved in condition and productiveness, and the flora growth is far superior in beauty and natural dignity as much of the former growths have been restored. Since the creation of the parks 67 forest fires have originated within them, prior to July 1 of the present year. Of these fires two were set from blasting; 14 from smoking, 8 carelessness of campers, 29 by lightning, and 14 causes unknown. A conservative estimate of cash valuation sustained in loss of timber by these fires is set at $2,743.


Owing to the inaccessibility of the parks at the time of their creation, due to lack of roads and trails, but few tourists could visit the parks; but since their creation much has been accomplished in the manner of their improvements, and tourists come in increased numbers. The following has been accomplished in their improvement and development:

Forty-five and one half miles of wagon roads, 226-1/2 miles of trails, 112 miles of telephone line, 16 miles of fencing, 8 miles of firebreak, 6 rangers' dwellings, 4 rangers' barns, and 2 post-office buildings have been built; 94-1/4 miles of boundaries have been surveyed, defined and marked, 10 miles of old wagon road have been widened and brought to a uniform grade, 159 miles of virgin streams and 5 important lakes have been stocked with fish. Tourist camp grounds have been cleared, piped with water, provided with kitchen sinks and outhouses. Many springs and water sources have been developed along the public thoroughfares. Some work of reforestation and growing of forest nursery stock has been accomplished. A herd of elk, wild turkeys and Japanese pheasants have been successfully propagated.


The park lands and their best utility having been segregated into four different classes, are as follows:

Merchantable timber belt92,160
Woodland territory62,768
Grass land5,760
Waste or desert land11,477

The merchantable timber comprises that area situated between and including the elevations of 4,500 and 8,500 feet above sea level. The woodland belt comprises the area above the 8,500 feet elevation to upper timber line, and the foothill territory below 4,500 feet elevation. The grass land consists of high mountain meadows scattered at intervals throughout the parks. The waste land or desert land constitutes that portion above upper timber line in the higher elevations.

The parks form an important watershed that supplies the stream flows of many rivers from whence comes the water for irrigation and power purposes. Their entire water output being consumed for irrigation purposes during the dry summer months in the valley below.

The forests of the parks are in healthy condition and fair state of preservation and reproductiveness, and are noted for their magnificent grandeur. Embodied within them are 13 different groves of sequoia timber comprising approximately 9,410 acres, containing 1,166,000 trees, 12,100 of which have attained a size exceeding 10 feet in diameter, and many of the latter exceeding 24 feet in diameter. The General Sherman Tree, the largest, has a height of 286 feet and base circumference of 107 feet, and is computed to contain 980,000 board feet of lumber in addition to 27 cords of wood.

The park lands contain no mineral properties of merchantable value other than that of stone, of which there is abundance of both marble and granite.


The parks are an important bird refuge, in which 216 different species are known to exist. Millions of these creatures inhabit the parks, and since having found such a place they continue to come in ever increasing numbers and have a tendency to spread out from the locality.


There is a marked increase of both large and small game within the reservations.

Six different varieties of trout fish inhabit the waters of the parks, the rainbow being the most plentiful and the golden being the most noted.



Owing to the topography of the country and composition of earth formations, there are many difficult conditions to be met with. In addition to the conditions of the soil, there is the economic condition to be considered. The important points that are continuously observed in this connection are as follows: (1) As to location, (2) As to grade, (3) As to avoid solid-rock formations, (4) As to drainage, (5) In procuring individual laborers who have a thorough knowledge of the work to be performed. All of the roads are built on steep mountain sides, through hard earth, shale, and solid-rock formation. The roads of the parks are built of good width and easy uniform grade, and in general are better than other mountain roads throughout the States, but are yet lacking in ballast, sufficient drainage system, and team-passing points. I would respectfully recommend that this work be accomplished just as soon as funds can be procured for this purpose.

The roads, being situated as they are in a mountainous country, are subject to much damage during the winter months by rain creating washouts and landslides, but are put in good condition during the early spring months after the storm period ceases while the ground is moist and in a favorable condition for work. This repair work is usually sufficient to maintain the roads in good condition throughout the summer months.


The system of telephone construction within the parks consists of what is known as the ground system, built of No. 12 candee insulated wire and equipped with 2,500-ohm bridging telephones. During this and prior years much trouble and inconvenience has been experienced in the transmission of messages due to the system now in use. For an efficient service an aerial system is necessary. The wire at the present time for the greater part of the mileage of the system is strung on trees, resulting in much damage to the line by the falling of same. It is recommended, even if the aerial system is not adopted, a sufficient allotment of funds be made to string the entire line on poles.


Tourists enter the parks by both public and private conveyances; upon entering the park they are required to register their names and are given copies of the park regulations; after which they are permitted to roam about at their own free will throughout the parks. A tourist camp for the accommodation of visitors in the Sequoia Park is conducted by the River Inn Hotel Co., working under concession of the department. At present this company conducts a tent camp, but it is expected that it will soon be in a position to give building facilities.

At the General Grant Park Mrs. Mattie Cooksey, to whom concessions have been awarded, is maintaining a tent camp.

A general supervision is kept over tourists by system of military and ranger patrols, principally for the purpose of enforcing the regulations in regard to the starting of forest fires, sanitation, and shooting or molesting game.


The general sentiment of residents on lands contiguous to the parks is favorable to the Government, and the present rules and regulations governing the parks and their administration. The friendly feeling existing between these people and the park rangers is the means of obtaining certain information of violation by outsiders of rules and regulations of the parks and identifying said persons, thereby securing the means of bringing such individuals to account for said misdemeanor or taking such action against them as each case may warrant.

GENERAL PARK ADMINISTRATION, BY MAJOR JAMES B. HUGHES, Acting Superintendent, Sequoia and General Grant National Parks.

This year is the first in which a conference of park superintendents has been called, the purpose of which is, as I understand it, to establish a bureau of national parks. This scheme I believe to be a move in the right direction. By such conferences an interchange of ideas may be had, a discussion of the various problems that each year present themselves for solution, and a uniform method of making decisions, granting certain privileges, concessions, and favors, applications for which are constantly being made, and at the same time doing justice to the applicants, and not giving others any occasion to make a charge of discrimination or showing of favoritism on the part of the superintendents. The rules and regulations for all the parks should be as uniform as possible, and practically the same as far as location, climate, natural resources, and the general needs and wishes of the public will admit. It seems to me that an annual conference would be desirable; but as this conference is the first one to be held, it may develop that a conference each year is not necessary, but undoubtedly a periodical conference is desirable, and the period may be determined at the present session.


I recommend that the administration of the Sequoia and General Grant Parks be placed in the hands of a civilian appointee (a retired Army officer, qualified by experience, knowledge, and interest would, in my opinion, make an admirable superintendent). I believe a similar appointment in the other parks to be equally desirable. A force of permanent park rangers should be appointed sufficient to properly patrol the parks, enforce police regulations, protect game and forests, and prevent violation of park regulations. I believe some permanent arrangement could be made by which a sufficient number of able-bodied men could be assembled on short notice to fight fires, which are of such frequent occurrence in the mountain forests. The large majority of these fires are due to lightning. The men proposed to fight fires should be paid from a fund set aside for this particular purpose.

This scheme I believe to be in the interest of both economy and efficiency. One good ranger is in my opinion more valuable in park work than a dozen soldiers. He is working in his chosen profession; he is interested in the park, its successful administration, and the enforcement of the park rules and regulations; it is his livelihood, and he is permanent, whereas most soldiers do their work in a perfunctory manner, and do it simply because they are ordered to do it, but not from any sense of interest they have in the park or its workings. Their work is temporary at the best, and there is a great probability of one season in the park being their first and last park duty.

These remarks are to a certain extent applicable to an Army officer detailed as acting superintendent. I believe the best interest of the parks are neglected by these practically annual changes of superintendents. One superintendent will become more or less interested in certain improvement work requiring several years in completion. He will get this work started, and at this time the season closes. Next year a new superintendent is appointed, and he is in no way interested in the work commenced by his predecessor, and probably this work will be abandoned for a new scheme deemed more important by the new superintendent, and consequently so much money uselessly expended. A permanent superintendent, such as I have suggested, would avoid this waste of energy and funds, and the consequent retardation of the general development and improvement of the parks. In my opinion park duty for enlisted men in the Army is more or less detrimental to discipline and military training. From the necessities of the park work a large number of the men are on detached duty, not subject to the personal observation and frequent inspection of their officers, and they become lax in discipline during this prolonged absence from proper military control. Under present conditions a large number of the enlisted men are recruits, and a recruit commencing his service and getting his initial instructions under the above conditions it is doubly hard to make a good soldier of him and disabuse his mind of the impressions he acquired while on outpost duty early in his career with only a noncommissioned officer to direct and discipline him. There are a number of noncommissioned officers at the present time with a too limited experience.

I have not been able to obtain figures on the subject, but at a glance it seems to me that it would he a matter of great economy to have the parks administered by a civilian force. I do not mean that it would be more economical to the Interior Department, for the present arrangement, with a military police force, saves the Interior Department the amount it would require to employ the number of rangers necessary in the absence of the military. The expense to the War Department I believe to be much greater than would be the necessary expense incurred by the Interior Department in employing the proper number of civilians. As before stated, under this scheme, I believe more efficient park work would be accomplished and the military now engaged on park duty would be in a position to pursue the course of instruction, which I believe to be more in line with the training necessary to make competent and excellent soldiers of them.

It is recommended that the department supply a competent clerk for the acting superintendent, from the Washington office, who is perfectly familiar with all returns, reports, vouchers, and forms connected with the administration of the parks. This clerk to be present for duty in the park from May 15 to October 1 of each year, or for such period as his services will be desirable by the acting superintendent. It is practically impossible to secure a competent clerk on short notice for such a short period suitable for this work at a reasonable rate of compensation, and the result is, that the acting superintendent has to perform the clerical work or have it done by an enlisted man without any compensation whatever therefor.


This subject I know has been under discussion and investigation by the Government for a number of years, and I can say nothing new on the subject, still I might repeat some few of the facts and the advantages gained should such a policy be adopted.

The nation would be that much the gainer. The individual owners would receive a fair compensation for their property, which, held under the present conditions, can be nothing more than a source of annoyance and a constant demand on the Government for certain privileges connected with such holdings, in order that they may develop the same, or manipulate it, so as to derive the greatest pecuniary benefit therefrom, and as I understand the present ruling, the Government is not so disposed. The purchase of said lands would eliminate the possibility of any trouble or friction between present land owners and Government forces, and would materially aid in the general and natural development of the parks.


I recommend that the department regulate the price of commodities sold by individuals who acquire concessions, allowing a certain percentage on all commodities. I am also in favor of granting a similar concession to two or more individual parties desiring the same. This will have a tendency to induce concessioners to observe more strictly the conditions imposed upon them and will give the public a better return for their money.


I believe it to be a good policy for the department to encourage the development of the water power in the parks by responsible corporations. This, of course, when such development would not be detrimental or injurious to the parks. The public would indirectly be benefited thereby and the parks to the extent of having new roadways constructed and maintained, and would receive a certain revenue from said corporations that should be devoted to the general improvement of the parks.


The annual appropriations should be materially increased in order that the development work could progress more rapidly, thereby giving a material aid in the preservation of the forests.


Authority should be given to kill bears in the parks by certain authorized persons; so far as I have observed or have been able to learn the bear is absolutely useless as an ornament or for any good purpose; on the other hand, he has proven himself to be a general nuisance, pilfers the storehouses and refrigerators and frightens tourists (women and children), and on occasions is very bold.


Although the number of tourists in the Sequoia and General Grant National Parks is not very great, the majority of the streams are pretty well fished out each year, and this notwithstanding that a number of the streams are voluntarily stocked each year by the fish and game commission of the State of California. I recommend that a fish hatchery be established and maintained in the Sequoia Park and the streams and lakes in the parks be well stocked each year. This measure, if adopted, would certainly make the parks more popular, and draw a greater number of visitors each season, the desire, as I understand it, of the department.


Foreign and domestic game should be propagated in the parks, and the necessary funds appropriated to purchase desirable species, also an appropriation for the extermination of certain predatory animal's that prey upon the game.


I recommend that all improvement and construction work in the parks be done by contract, instead of the present method of employment of day labor. I believe equally good if not better work can be done, and certainly it can be done cheaper if honest competition in the securing of contracts can be secured.


As long as the military are in charge of the parks the surgeon of the command should be appointed sanitary inspector of the various tourist camps and make frequent inspections of them.

A list of simple sanitary rules should be drawn up by the surgeon and these posted or distributed among the tourists, and all the officers on duty and all park rangers should promptly report any violation of them.


As the Giant Forest contains what is probably the largest and most numerous group of Sequoia gigantea (including the Sherman tree), a firebreak should be extended around it for its protection.


As the development of the Sequoia Park is in its infancy, I recommend that effort be made to interest sufficient capital to advertise the park and open hotels and camps for the accommodation of tourists and that a liberal policy to concessioners be carried out.


In taking up the subject of the past, present, and future of the Sullys Hill National Park I must confine myself almost entirely to the past.

Under the act of Congress of April 27, 1904, the President was authorized to set aside a tract of land embracing Sullys Hill, not to exceed 960 acres, as a public park. This was done by a proclamation of the President under date of June 2, 1904. In tracing back the history of Sullys Hill, I find that as far back as 1790 the land in the near vicinity of the hill was the gathering point of the traders of the Hudson Bay Fur Co., who sent representatives to this point to trade with the Indians that consisted almost entirely of Chippewa or Cree half breeds, and a settlement of rude cabins were built and used during the winter months within the shadow of the hill, which was then known as the Crow Hill. This point was used as a trading point for many years until the Sioux Indians began to send hunting parties into the territory claimed and used as the hunting ground by the Cree half breeds. The invading of their hunting country by the Sioux was the cause of frequent and bloody battles, which finally terminated in the Sioux driving the Chippewas and Crees north of the Devils Lake.

In 1863, a year after the Minnesota outbreak of the Sioux Indians, Gen. Sibley left St. Paul, coming from the east, and Gen. Sully following up the Missouri River, with the understanding to meet on the south shore of the Devils Lake, with the hope of rounding up and bringing to justice the Indians taking part in the 1862 outbreak. The command under Gen. Sully arrived at the point now known as Sullys Hill and left messages for Gen. Sibley by planting a post on the hill and placing the messages in the hollow post. He then retraced his march back down the Missouri River. Gen. Sibley, arriving a few days later, camped on the Cheyenne River, a few miles south of the present site of Fort Totten, sent his scouts to locate the command of Gen. Sully, found the messages left in the post.

In talking over the early history of the country in the vicinity of Sullys Hill with Chief Littlefish, who is now in his 92d year and the only remaining chief of the Sisseton and Wahpeton tribe of Indians located on the Devils Lake Reservation, he informs me that he located within a few miles of the hill in 1867, at which time the Indians called the hill the "Crow Hill," and that the construction of Fort Totten was then underway, the logs for the quarters being cut on the land now confined within the park limits. I am unable to state when or how the name of the hill was changed to "Sullys Hill," but it is likely that the name was changed by the soldiers who were aware of the previous visit of Gen. Sully in 1863. Many bloody stories have been circulated of a big battle lasting a number of days which was fought by Gen. Sully and a large party of Sioux Indians, but a thorough investigation brings to light the facts that the story was merely a frontier yarn which has been added to from time to time until now the story is nearly as famous as the battle of the Little Big Horn.

This is practically all of the past of the park as near as I can learn. As to the present, the park lies on the south shore of the Devils Lake, its western boundary being 1 mile east of the Fort Totten Indian School, which is conducted in the buildings of the old Fort Totten military post. The "Sullys Hill" is located on the eastern boundary of the park, and the remainder of the territory covered by the park is covered with rough hills, and in the southwestern part is a small lake covering 30 or 40 acres known as "Sweet Water." Almost the entire portion of the park is covered with small timber and brush consisting of oak, elm, poplar, ash, birch, boxelder, willow, and hazel brush. There is also an abundance of small fruit, such as raspberries, gooseberries, strawberries, plums, high-bush cranberries, June berries, etc. A number of very fine springs empty into the Sweet Water Lake. A number of prehistoric mounds can be found on the hilly portion of the park which have been explored and trinkets of ivory, stone, and copper have been found. The Indians of the Devils Lake Reservation ceded the 960 acres for park purposes in a treaty negotiated by Maj. James McLaughlin in April, 1904. This fact has been the cause of many councils and trips to Washington on the part of the Indians who had become convinced that the land was valuable for coal and that Sullys Hill contained valuable minerals, and, as the land was ceded without compensation, it was a choice matter to discuss, and many eloquent speeches have been made on the subject. In order to adjust the matter an appropriation was made by Congress in 1910 of $3,120, or at the rate of $3.25 per acre for the 960 acres, and this amount was expended in a payment of about $3 per capita to the Indians in February, 1911.

In taking up the subject of the future of the park I wish to say that the State of North Dakota furnishes only a very few wooded tracts, and the expenditure of a few thousand dollars in walling up of springs, road making, and clearing out underbrush for camping places would give the people an ideal spot in which to resort to for a few days' recreation. As a majority of the people living in the State follow agriculture as an occupation, the short work season demands the greatest effort to be put forth in spring. When seeding is done and during the months of July and part of August they have time to take an outing while waiting for the harvest to come, and if the park could be maintained and improved it would soon become a popular resort and a great benefit to the State at large.

If no appropration for the improvement of the park is made in the near future, I would recommend that the park be turned over and made into a forest reserve, as nearly every tree known to grow in this northern climate is found within the park limits.


The territory embraced within the Crater Lake National Park is largely of volcanic formation, and although Crater Lake is the chief attraction of the reserve, there are many other very interesting natural features, such as beautiful and almost ice-cold springs and creeks, deep canyons, magnificent and lofty peaks, vertical cliffs almost 2,000 feet high, fine waterfalls, beautiful and interesting pinnacles (some of which are 125 to 175 feet high), great caves, and many other beautiful and unique volcanic formations.

No picture ever does this beautiful lake justice. I have often heard this remarked by persons who for the first time were viewing the beauties, magnificence, and grandeur of Crater Lake. I have seen many fine photographs and beautiful paintings, but I have never seen a picture of Crater Lake; and this is true of almost every one who sees it; no photograph or picture of any kind ever fully portrays its marvelous beauty and magnificence; there is a certain grandeur and sublimity about it that can not be brought out in a picture.

Crater Lake was first discovered by white people on June 12, 1853, by a Mr. John Hillman and his party of gold hunters; the Indians of southern Oregon had told them of a mountain of gold high up in the Cascades, and it was while hunting for this that the party accidentially came upon this beautiful lake.

The lake is situated on the summit of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, in the crater of an extinct volcano, which, as the geologists tell us, many centuries ago destroyed the giant peak of the Cascade Range of mountains. It is 62 miles from Klamath Falls, 83 miles from Medford, and 97 miles from Ashland.

This lake has no outlet nor inlet; the supply of water is kept up by the precipitation, which is more than 72 inches annually; there is an average annual rise of about 3 inches; the snow at the lake and in other portions of the park falls each winter to a depth of from 15 to over 20 feet.

The lake is 6 miles long and 4 miles wide, and the water is 200 (2,000) feet deep; is of a beautiful ultramarine color and is so beautifully clear and transparent that the bottom may be easily seen at a depth of more than 100 feet.

The walls of the crater are almost vertical and stand from 1,000 to 2,000 feet above the water of the lake, and some are more than 8,000 feet above sea level; the elevation of the surface of the lake above sea level is 6,177 feet. The rim of the lake is described by Prof. Diller as the base of a truncated conical mountain hollowed to a shell.

While this "Gem of the Cascades" was known to the officers and enlisted men at Fort Klamath Oreg., as early as 1865, it did not come into much prominence as a resort until the early eighties.

There is little doubt but that the Indians had known of the existence of this lake for many ages, but owing to its peculiar awe-inspiring effect they were very superstitious concerning it, and would not go near it nor would they tell anyone about it. It was their belief that there was a great sea monster living in it; some sort of a great sea devil that would sometimes rise to the surface of the water, its horns extending several feet high, and would spout the water in the air and in its awful fury would lash the waters of the lake into a foam.

They believed it was the abode of the evil spirits—the Llaos, and at the base of Llao Rock, a prominence on the wall of the crater standing 1,909 feet above the water, 1,400 feet of which is a vertical wall of rock, was the home of the Llaos, the evil spirits.

It was their belief that if any young member of their tribe ever looked upon this lake that his usefulness to his tribe as a warrier was forever destroyed; but in recent years through the advantages of education and enlightenment they have laid aside all such superstitions and legends and often make visits and camping trips to the lake and go out upon it on boating trips and excursions.

The Crater Lake National Park was established by act of Congress, approved May 22, 1902, and comprises 249 square miles or 159,360 acres. It is about 18-3/4 miles long, north and south, by 13-3/4 wide, east and west.

Being new, and until recently remotely situated, so far as railroad transportation is concerned, there has never yet been sufficient appropriations made by Congress for its proper protection and improvement, so that the development which is warranted by its merits as a resort has not been accomplished.

The Crater Lake National Park is an ideal summer resort; the altitude is from 4,500 to nearly 9,000 feet above sea level, mostly above 6,000 feet. In the summers, when it is hot and sickly in the valleys, this ideal camping resort is above the heat and smoke and the impurities of the atmosphere, and is clear, cool, and pleasant, and the atmosphere is healthful and invigorating, and the water is the perfection of purity.

The water of some of these springs as it gushes from the base of this Crater Lake mountain has a temperature of 35° the year around.

The park is in a timbered section, and portions of it are very heavily timbered. It is also situated in what is known as the semiarid section of the State.

Taking these two conditions together, that of being timbered and in the dry belt, increases at all times during the dry season the danger of forest fires.

The handling of the forest fire question in the national forests and other timbered sections of Oregon has been done on scientific principle, although I believe some improvements could still be made upon it, but as at present handled the damages resulting from such fires have been reduced to the minimum.

The main trouble in this respect in the Crater Lake National Park is the small appropriations made for the protection and improvement of the reserve, and the impossibility of placing a sufficient number of men on duty as park rangers and fire guards. These men should also be empowered and authorized to act as game wardens in the park. At the present time there is but one park ranger in the whole of our reserve, a territory of 249 square miles, having 65 miles of boundary line. It seems to me that it would be very apparent that such a small force is impossible to maintain a proper protection over the park; but with sufficient funds provided, and the employment of a sufficient number of park rangers and guards, any question concerning the administration of the affairs of the reserve would be solved. It would not be difficult to maintain perfect control over the situation in every portion of the park with sufficient help.

As I have before stated, there is now and never has been but one park ranger in the Crater Lake National Park; but from the urgent necessities of the case I would advocate and recommend the employment of 6 park rangers in our reserve. There should be one permanent ranger whose duties should be at and in the vicinity of the headquarters in the park, and 5 temporary park rangers stationed upon the lines in different portions of the reserve. In this manner there could be a constant patrol kept up on all the roads and trails. This is the only means by which the forests may be protected from forest fires and the game in the reserve protected from poachers. In this connection I am pleased to say that there is very little if any poaching done in our park, presumably, partly at least, because game is quite plentiful upon the mountains outside of the reserve; but as game becomes more scarce on the outside and more plentiful in the park, as it soon will under proper protection, there will be a greater inclination on the part of some to steal in across the lines and hunt inside, if there is not a sufficient guard kept up in all parts of the reserve.

In our park there should be a better system inaugurated for the protection of our game animals and birds.

The principal game animals are the black-tail deer, the black and brown bear, the silver-gray squirrel, and several other varieties of timber squirrels. The birds are the grouse and timber pheasant. There are few water fowl about the lake, presumably by reason of its great elevation above the sea level and its isolation from any other body of water.

In winter the snow falls so deep—15 to 20 feet—and lies upon the ground so long a time—from November to July—that all the animals and birds are compelled to migrate to a lower and warmer climate. They go down on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains, a great many of them never to return.

The lines of the park should be extended to the north 12 miles and to the west 20 miles so as to include Diamond Lake on the north and a portion of the lower mountain elevations and foothills on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains as a wintering ground. At the very least one good range station should be established and maintained the year round in the added territory on the western slopes to maintain a constant and vigilant protection of the game during the winter as well as the summer. Such a move properly carried out would result in making the Crater Lake National Park the ideal game preserve of the Pacific coast.

There is also great need of more roads and better roads in our reserve. The roads and trails have been kept in the best possible condition with the very small appropriations made for repairs and improvements, but since the inauguration of the move for the location and survey of a complete system of roads in the park, under the supervision of the Secretary of War, I have not deemed it advisable to expend large sums of money upon the old roads that apparently will soon be abandoned. The soil over which all of the roads in the reserve run and are to be constructed is of a very light and porous lava formation. Travel soon makes a fine and deep dust, which is the least pleasant condition of traveling in or through the park; and while I would not favor expending large sums of money upon any of these old roads, I believe it would be money judiciously expended if Congress would take a sufficient appropriation for the proper construction of a small section of road and the experimenting upon the same with sprinkling and with treating it with an oil finish to the end that we might be better prepared for the construction and finishing of our better system of roads when they shall come.

At the present time there are two permanent camps or hotels furnishing accommodations to the visitors and tourists in the reserve; one of these is at Camp Arant, 5 miles down from the rim of the crater, and one is immediately upon the brink of the crater. These hotels are operated by the Crater Lake Co. and are both doing a fairly good business and giving the people a good and satisfactory service.

This same company has a good equipment of launches and row boats on Crater Lake and a great many avail themselves of the pleasures of a trip across or around the lake under the gigantic wall of this great caldera in which the lake is situated.

The Crater Lake Co. also has a good automobile transportation line running into and through the reserve and to the lake.

In addition to the commercial transportation cars, there have been 223 private automobiles licensed to run in the park July 10 to September 1. The license fee for a single round trip through the reserve is $1 and a season license is $5. Some automobile owners and drivers object to paying this fee unless it be used for the benefit of the roads which, under existing laws can not be done. The amount thus collected would be sufficient to pay the salary of one good man during the whole season in the park, but under existing conditions the reserve gets no benefit whatsoever of this money.

This matter should be taken up at the next session of our Congress and a law enacted authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to allot the funds arising from the collection of these fees for the benefit of the roads in the parks.

The tourist season in this park is little more than three months—July, August, and September, and sometimes part of October—but during the season of 1909 more than 5,000 people visited the reserve, and during the season of 1910 there would have been as many or more, only the erroneous impressions regarding the danger from forest fires kept a good many out. There was not much travel in the park after August 24 last year. This year the number of visitors is as good or better than during the preceding seasons.

Now, referring again to the matter of appropriations for the Crater Lake National Park, I would say that with a sufficient amount appropriated for the purpose there would be no difficulty in maintaining a good administration over the affairs of the reserve. The appropriations that are made are for the protection and improvement of the park, but the funds provided are not sufficient for either the protection or the improvement. There has been no more than $3,000 appropriated any year excepting one, and that amount must cover every expense of the reserve, including all salaries as well as all other expenses.

The amount available for the roads, trails, and bridges in the park this year is $850. Exclusive of any consideration for the construction of new roads, there should be an appropriation of at least $20,000 for the proper protection of the reserve.

That, of course, would include the protection of the game; of the timber from forest fires, and other damages; the establishing of a sufficient number of ranger camps upon the lines of the park, and the maintaining a constant patrol throughout the reserve; the protection of the natural objects and curiosities in the park, and a general administration over all of the affairs of the reserve.


By the acts of Congress of July 1, 1902 (32 Stat., 641), and April 21, 1904 (33 Stat., 220), 629.33 and 218.89 acres, respectively, at the town of Sulphur, Okla. (then Indian Territory), were segregated as the "Sulphur Springs Reservation," which designation, by joint resolution approved June 29, 1906, was changed to "Platt National Park."

The park, with a total area of 848.22 acres, extends in irregular form a distance of approximately 3 miles from northeast to southwest along Travertine and Rock Creeks.

Within the park are 33 known mineral and 3 nonmineral springs. The principal groups are the Bromide, Medicine, Bromide Sulphur, and Black Sulphur Springs, in the southwest part of the park, Beach and Pavilion Springs in the northwest corner, and the Wilson Springs in the south part.

The sulphur springs predominate, but bromide, medicine, soda, and iron springs are in evidence and very popular and effective as curatives. Many, many gallons of the bromide and medicine waters are shipped to patients on physicians' prescriptions monthly.

The Antelope and Buffalo Springs, nonmineral in character, are situated in the extreme northeastern end of the park, with an elevation of 1,080 feet above sea level and an approximate normal flow of 5,000,000 gallons daily into Travertine Creek.

The Antelope and Buffalo Springs have been affected by the drouth of the past two and one-half years to a considerable extent.

Cold Spring, situated midway between Pavilion and the east end of the park, is nonmineral in character and affords water for many of the families of the city living immediately north of same.

The following is a statement of the mineral springs which have been developed:

Flow of springs.

Bromide Springs (3)300
Bromide Sulphur250
Medicine Spring528
Taff or Black Sulphur500
Pavilion Springs (7)200,600
Beach Springs (3)125,000

The amount of water per capita used on the premises and taken away for individual use averages three-fourths gallon per day. This statement applies to all mineral springs, except Wilson and Jerico, from which the amount taken is inconsiderable.

Visitors partaking of the waters of Bromide and Medicine Springs during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1911, numbered 124,078. Many of these made visits from day to day while remaining at the springs, and many of them were residents of the city who visited the springs and were enumerated on each occasion.

The approximate number of actual visitors to the springs during the fiscal years 1910 and 1911 were 30,000 persons.

There were 877 campers in the camp ground within the park during this year for a longer period than 3 days.


Hottest. Coldest.Mean.
Hottest. Coldest.Mean.
July987483 January704049
August967177 February711844-1/2
September906479 May825673
November743650 June967686

It is evident that Platt National Park would make a delightful winter resort. With those that are acquainted with its advantages as a delightful and pleasant place to tarry during the extreme warm and sultry summer months there is no question of their choice, it being from 10° to 12° cooler than the surrounding country.

The trails and driveways leading to the most attractive points have been improved as much as possible with the limited means at hand. The trails leading from the city to the different springs and pavilions, and Cliffside Trail leading from Pavilion Springs and following Rock Creek and winding along the mountain, give many picturesque scenes, overlooking the city and surrounding country.

The trail leading to Antelope and Buffalo Springs, at the east end of the park, follows the meanderings of the Travertine Creek and is shaded almost the entire length by a heavy growth of healthy timber.

Anyone endowed with a love for the beauties of nature, looking into the faces of these picturesque falls and listening to the music of the songs they sing, will truly be impressed that this is a spot ordained by the Creator for health giving and life restoring of mankind, worthy the protection of our good Government.

The permanent bridges are the Washington, Lincoln, and Bromide. The Washington Bridge is a structure of first-class material and workmanship, combining strength, durability, and beauty. It is apparently in as perfect a condition as the day it was completed except that it should be painted in the near future to protect the material from rust.

Lincoln Bridge, a foot bridge over Travertine Creek where the Roberts Trail leading from second street west to the Pavilion Springs crosses the creek, is a stone structure very beautifully designed and graceful in every feature.

Bromide suspension footbridge, which spans Rock Creek at Bromide and Medicine Springs, is a beautiful and unique wooden structure of the arch type suspended by wire cables. This bridge is in very fair preservation except the floor and possibly a portion of the underdecking, which will be clear for inspection when there is a new floor laid, which should be done during the next year.

The pavilion just being completed over Hillside Spring is built of heavy timber, with good red cypress shingle roof. It is supported on rock posts laid in cement, is 20 feet square, substantial, and well proportioned. With one more coat of paint it will be complete.

Medicine Spring has been developed and improved during the last year. It is located about 200 feet west of Bromide Spring and Pavilion and protected and confined by a cement cistern built around it after blasting away the rock. This spring discharges 528 gallons of water daily.

As Platt National Park is small, compared with many of the other national parks, the problems of protection are not so large and varied. This factor, however, makes it all the more important that the roads and drives be maintained and improved as rapidly as possible, and that the natural beauties of the park be developed as rapidly as possible in a natural way.

The presence of an unusual number of medical springs, to which people come in increasing numbers, calls for close watchfulness against any possible source of bacterial contamination of the waters. The importance of this will grow as the park is more extensively used, and may ultimately call for very close supervision of the water.

Platt National Park ultimately should be covered with a most beautiful velvety turf in the untimbered portions. It is located in a region where Bermuda grass, if given an opportunity, quickly heals over the scars on the face of the earth and transforms rough and wasted slopes into grass-grown hillsides. Judicious planting of the roots of this grass wherever washes begin developing will not only add to the beauty of the place, but will make unnecessary expensive labor later to overcome the damage caused by unrestrained erosion. This grass possesses another advantage that it thrives with use. No unwelcome signs reading "keep off the grass" are necessary where it grows.

The principal necessities of the Platt National Park are the following:

(1) The protection of the waters of the springs and streams from pollution. The protection of the health of the residents and visitors requires the installation of a sanitary sewer system. There is seemingly no outlet for the sewerage of the town of Sulphur other than through the park. A trunk-line system should be installed at the earliest possible date, with laterals at the most convenient and natural points of drainage. This trunk line should be built by the Government under direction of the Secretary of the Interior, with permission granted the city of Sulphur to build the laterals under direction of the Secretary, or the city of Sulphur should be compelled to install the entire system at the city's expense, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior.

(2) Steps should be taken to increase the number and power of the lights in the park. There should be one light installed at Hillside Spring; one between Hillside Spring and the Pavilion Group; and one in the superintendent's office.

(3) A comprehensive plan of improvement of the driveways and trails should be adopted.

(4) A pavilion should be built at Beach Spring, and a footbridge constructed over Rock Creek at this point, making the spring accessible from West Central Park.

(5) A new Government building should be erected, with vaults to protect the records of the office. I suggest that this building be located at a point just within the park and facing or in front of Second Street west.

(6) The work of fighting off weeds and thistles should be kept up, especially in the park adjacent to the city and springs. The weeds and underbrush in the woodland should be cleaned out in order to preserve the desirable timber. It has been suggested that a flock of goats would effectually accomplish this part of the labor, and at a profit rather than an expense.

(7) Forest trees should be planted in East and West Central Parks.

(8) The residences in the park should be repaired and painted.

(9) There should be built a barn in which to keep forage and feed; the so-called barns within the park are totally inadequate. There is no room for feed in the shed at the superintendent's residence, and but little at any other of the residences, save at the old Robinson residence, where the teamster Milligan resides.

(10) Where the roads cross the creeks there should be constructed small concrete culverts with sufficient openings to carry four or five times the normal flow of the stream. If these culverts were built the grades of the approaches would be lightened, and it would not be necessary to drive over the very rough bottoms of the creek.

(11) I recommend the installation of a bathhouse on and in the reservation, either by and under the management, of the department or through concession. I think a bathhouse would add as much or more to the interest of the park and the convenience and welfare of the visitors than any one thing that could be installed. The people can get baths here in the city, but this does not satisfy them. They want baths from the water of these springs, and desire to see the spring water running direct into the tubs.

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Last Updated: 03-Mar-2009