Proceedings and Debate in Congress on the Bill which became known as the National Park Protective Act of 1894 (the Lacey Act)
excerpted from the Congressional Record and brought to you by
Jim Macdonald

George Graham Vest was a Missouri Senator
and the most vocal advocate of Yellowstone
National Park.  His tireless efforts not only
helped pass the Lacey Act but also helped prevent
many bills which would have hurt the park by strengthening
the hand of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
The National Park Protective Act, better known as the Lacey Act, helped solve the problem of jurisdiction and law enforcement in Yellowstone National Park.  The original legislation creating Yellowstone did not give the Superintendent much power to enforce any rules and regulations that he might publish nor any funds to carry out those acts.  Later, Yellowstone was put under the jurisdiction of Wyoming and fared not much better at meeting the needs of law enforcement.  As bison were near extinction, this law became a very important tool in combatting poachers.  Herein is the legislative record of how this bill became law in both the House and the Senate.  Some pages barely even mention the act, but it is the historical record which is necessary to any research.  Furthermore, it is interesting to see where the debate of this bill fits into the context of American history in 1894 and to see what else Congress had on its mind at the same time the fate of Yellowstone lay in the balance.

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