Respecting the Creation of Yellowstone National Park
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42d CONGRESS, 2d Session.
REPORT No. 26.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THE YELLOWSTONE PARK.
FEBRUARY 27, 1872.--Laid on the table and ordered to be printed.
Mr. Dunnell, from the Committee on the Public Lands, made the following
[To accompany bill H. R. 764.]
The Committee on the Public Lands, having had under consideration bill H. R. 764, would report as follows:
bill now before Congress has for its object the withdrawal from
settlement, occupancy, or sale, under the laws of the United States, a
tract of land fifty-five by sixty-five miles, about the sources of the
Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers; and dedicates and sets it apart as a
great national park or pleasure-ground for the benefit and enjoyment
of the people. The entire area comprised within the limits of the
reservation contemplated in this bill is not susceptible of
cultivation with any degree of certainty, and the winters would be too
severe for stock-raising. Whenever the altitude of the mountain
districts exceeds 6,000 feet above tide-water, their settlement
becomes problematical unless there are valuable mines to attract
people. The entire area within the limits of the proposed reservation
is over 6,000 feet in altitude, and the Yellowstone Lake, which
occupies an area 15 by 22 miles, or 330 square miles, is 7,427 feet.
The ranges of mountains that hem the valleys in on every side rise to
the height of 10,000 and 12,000 feet, and are covered with snow all
the year. These mountains are all of volcanic origin, and it is not
probable that any mines or minerals of value will ever be found there.
During the months of June, July, and August, the climate is pure and
most invigorating, with scarcely any rain or storms of any kind; but
the thermometer frequently sinks as low as 26 degrees. There is frost
every month of the year. This whole region was in comparatively modern
geological times the scene of the most wonderful volcanic activity of
any portion of our country. The hot springs and the geysers represent
the last stages the vents or escape pipes of these
remarkable volcanic manifestations of the internal forces. All these
springs are adorned with decorations more beautiful than human art
ever conceived, and which have required thousands of years for the
cunning hand of nature to form. Persons are now waiting for the spring
to open to enter in and take possession of these remarkable
curiosities, to make merchandise of these beautiful specimens, to
fence in these rare wonders so as to charge visitors a fee, as is now
done at Niagara Falls, for the sight of that which ought to be as free
as the air or water.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, Washington, D. C., January 29, 1872
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 27th instant, relative to the bill now pending in the House of Representatives dedicating that tract of country known as the Yellowstone Valley as a national park. I hand you herewith the report of Dr. F. V. Hayden, United States geologist, relative to said proposed reservation, and have only to add that I fully concur in his recommendations, and trust that the bill referred to may speedily become a law. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
to set apart a certain tract of land lying near the headwaters of the Yellowstone River as a public park.
it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That the tract of land in
the the Territories of Montana and Wyoming lying near the headwaters
of the Yellowstone River, and described as follows, to wit: commencing
at the junction of Gardiner's River with the Yellowstone River and
running east of the meridian to the parallel of latitude, passing ten
miles south of the most southern point of Yellowstone Lake; thence
west along said parallel to the meridian, passing fifteen miles west
of the most western point of Madison Lake; thence north along said
meridian to the latitude of the junction of the Yellowstone and
Gardiner's Rivers; thence east to the place of beginning, is hereby
reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the
laws of the United States, and dedicated and set apart as a public
park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people;
and all persons who shall locate, or settle upon, or occupy the same
or any part therof, except as hereinafter provided, shall be
considered trespassers and removed therefrom.