The President Arthur Expedition of 1883
In 1883, eleven years after Congress established Yellowstone National Park, the nation’s first national park was endangered by congressional neglect, lack of federal funding, and commercial interests bent on breaking up the park and exploiting the pieces. Senator George Vest and Army Gen. Philip Sheridan planned the presidential journey—including 350 miles on horseback through untracked country—to raise public awareness of the park’s splendors. The excursion, largely the work of Sheridan using military resources, included surprises, daily adventures, challenging trails through forests, over and near waters, and across rock-strewn landscapes. The group spent a month on the trail, a large portion of which was inside the park visiting the special visual wonders.
The author explores related intrigues and rumors spread by newspapers, the leadership of Vest in Congress, and Sheridan’s preparatory trips to Yellowstone, utilizing reports filed by the general’s military staff, documents in the National Archives, and letters written to and by Sheridan, to present a context for Arthur’s expedition, and capture how close the U. S. came to losing the park. The book includes copies of photographs taken on the journey by F. Jay Haynes, who later became Yellowstone’s official photographer.
Cloth and paper
194 pages, 19 pictures/plates
Sniktau Publications; Xlibris printer, 2007
It is so nice that we have this corner of Yellowstone Park history fleshed out.