Crimes against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation

By Karl Jacoby | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Modes of Poaching
and Production

As the fall of 1892 drew to a close, Yellowstone's acting superintendent, Captain George S. Anderson, paused to reflect on recent events at the park. The past year had witnessed a number of developments: the erection of a new army barracks at Mammoth Hot Springs; heavy rains that had washed out many of the park's roads and discouraged tourist travel to Yellowstone; an early September snowstorm. Still, one issue above all preoccupied the captain. “Trouble with poachers, ” railed Anderson, “continues to be one of the greatest annoyances the superintendent has to contend with. There is gradually settling about the park boundaries a population whose sole subsistence is derived from hunting and trapping. ” It especially irked the superintendent that the poachers surrounding Yellowstone operated with the knowledge—and seeming cooperation—of the local population. “In most civilized countries the occupation of such vandals as these is held in merited contempt, ” grumbled Anderson. “But it is not so in the region of which I have made mention. ” The captain identified numerous violations during the previous months: “All the people are thoroughly cognizant of the location of the boundary lines, but only respect them in the presence of some member of the park force. Live elk, deer, antelope, and bears are caught and sold; the various fur-bearing animals are trapped for their pelts, and hunting parties are guided into the best game region. ” 1

More than any other phenomenon, it was Yellowstone's prolific poaching that defined the relationship between park officials and the

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Crimes against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations xi
  • Tables xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Introduction - The Hidden History of American Conservation 1
  • Part I - The Adirondacks 9
  • Chapter 1 - The Re-Creation of Nature 11
  • Chapter 2 - Public Property and Private Parks 29
  • Chapter 3 - Working-Class Wilderness 48
  • Part II - Yellowstone 79
  • Chapter 4 - Nature and Nation 81
  • Chapter 5 - Fort Yellowstone 99
  • Chapter 6 - Modes of Poaching and Production 121
  • Part III - The Grand Canyon 147
  • Chapter 7 - The Havasupai Problem 149
  • Chapter 8 - Farewell Song 171
  • Epilogue - Landscapes of Memory and Myth 193
  • Chronology of American Conservation 199
  • Notes 203
  • Bibliography 267
  • Index 293
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