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

By Karl Jacoby | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Fort Yellowstone

To most nineteenth-century conservationists, the military's arrival at Yellowstone marked a clear turning point in the park's fortunes. John Muir, for instance, rejoiced at seeing Yellowstone “efficiently managed and guarded by small troops of United States cavalry. ” “Uncle Sam's soldiers, ” the Sierra Club president enthused, are “the most effective forest police. ” 1 “I will not say that this Rocky Mountain region is the only part of the country where this lesson of obedience to law is badly needed, ” agreed Charles Dudley Warner in Harper's magazine, “but it is one of them. ” Like Muir, Warner saw Yellowstone's military administration as a notable improvement on its civilian predecessor: “Since the Park has passed under military control, fires are infrequent, poaching is suppressed, the 'formations' are no longer defaced, roads are improved, and the region is saved with its natural beauty for the enjoyment of all the people. …The lawless and the marauders are promptly caught, tried (by a civil officer), fined, and ejected. ” The conclusion to be gathered from such evidence was clear: “The intelligent rules of the Interior Department could only be carried out by military discipline. ” 2

Sharing Muir's and Warner's enthusiasm for “military discipline, ” many conservationists soon suggested that much of the rest of the federal government's conservation program be delegated to the military. In 1889, the American Forestry Association (AFA) passed a resolution recommending that the army “be employed to protect the public forest from spoliation and destruction. ” 3 The following year, Charles Sargent,

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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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