Canyon Automobile Camp
Yellowstone National Park

By ISADOR W. MENDELSOHN, Associate Sanitary Engineer, United states Public Health Service

1Reprint from the Public Health Reports, vol. 40, No. 24, June 12, 1925, pp. 1248-1258.

The progress of the automobile industry and its influence upon public health—as a factor in the spread of communicable diseases—constitute new problems of increasing magnitude which are now receiving the attention of health officials. Persons who a few years ago remained at home now travel by automobile to Florida, Maine, California, and other States for pleasure and for business. A reliable indicator of such travel is the number of visitors at the national parks, especially Yellowstone. In 1924 there were 144,158 visitors in Yellowstone National Park, of whom 100,186 came in 30,689 automobiles. In 1923 there were 138,352 visitors, of whom 91,224 came in 27,359 cars. These visitors represented every State, as well as Alaska, the Philippines, Hawaii, the Canal Zone, and 23 foreign countries. An estimate places the number of motorists camping out in public grounds in the park at 85,000. When one considers that the park season is limited to the period between June 20 and September 20, these figures show the large congregation of people in a short period.

Realizing the attendant public health problems introduced by the mingling, in these parks, of so many people from all parts of the country and even the world, the National Park Service obtained the cooperation of the United States Public Health Service in looking after the sanitation of the parks and assisting with medical service. Sanitary Engineer H. B. Hommon, of the Public Health Service, was placed in charge of such work in 1921, with headquarters at San Francisco, Calif., and with two sanitary engineers as assistants.

A part of the policy of Superintendent Albright, of Yellowstone National Park, is the establishment of public automobile camps at various scenic and central points in the park. These camps are to be provided with all necessary sanitary conveniences for the comfort and health of the automobile campers. Experience has shown the advisability of having many small camps, large camps with 800 or more people being unsuited to conditions in Yellowstone. In accordance with this policy, automobile camps have already been established at the principal points of interest, such as Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone Lake, and the Canyon of the Yellowstone. The Canyon automobile camp is the newest, having been begun in the 1923 season and completed in the 1924 season.

MAP OF YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK (click on image for a PDF version)

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