From the Geyser Basin to the Yellowstone Lake is a distance of about twenty miles. The country is rolling, and for a part of the distance filled with fallen timber. To make the circuit from the southwest estuary of the lake to the point ten miles below its foot, it would be necessary to approach both extremes by roads from the Fire Hole Basin. From the point where these roads intersect below the lake, a road should be constructed to Tower Falls, and thence directly to the Hot Springs on Gardiner's River, and in as near a direct line as possible from that point to the northern boundary of the park. A continuation of this road for fifteen miles from the boundary to the first settlements above Boteller's ranch would furnish all road improvements necessary to approach the park, either by way of Snake River or by the way of the Yellowstone.
    Another road that is entirely practicable should be constructed from Gardiner River Springs, in a direct line across the park to the Lower Geyser Basin, a distance not to exceed forty-five miles.
    These roads, when completed, would enable the visitor to reach all the great points of interest by carriage, and at any of these points horses would be provided for interior exploration. The opening of these roads would insure the early erection of large and commodious public houses at Mammoth Springs, Yellowstone Falls, Yellowstone Lake, and the Upper and Lower Geyser Basins.
    Frequent application has been made to me during the past season by responsible persons for authority to improve these several routes by the construction of toll-roads, but I have invariably, with a single unimportant exception, (in which the applicants have not availed themselves of the privileges allowed,) declined to grant these applications, believing that inasmuch as this territory had been set aside and dedicated as a national park, the Government would prefer to construct its own roads, and make them free to all who wished to visit this wonderful region. It is, however, of the highest importance that roads should be constructed at an early day for the accommodation of tourists.
    I am satisfied, from the numerous applications I have received for leases of property for hotel purposes at the leading points of interest, that if the park were rendered accessible by good wagon-roads, it would immediately prove a source of considerable revenue to the Government, and in a few years would largely repay any expenditures needful for its present improvement. Leases have been refused to all, simply because it was deemed necessary, first, to know after fuller exploration of the park, what might be the intention of Congress respecting it. With a liberal appropriation now for roads, and a few other needed improvements, it is impossible to foresee what will be the future of this remarkable aggregation of wonders.
    Leases have been sought for the construction of saw-mills in parts of the property where timber could be spared. The manufacture of lumber will prove a lucrative employment whenever the erection of public houses shall be commenced. In fact, with roads such as I have recommended, the business might be extended to reach the settlements of Montana, in most of which lumber commands a high price. A large portion of the park is covered with a heavy growth of pine timber, fit only for manufacture into lumber.
    There is no land in the park suitable for agricultural purposes. Bunchgrass of a good quality, affording feeding for horses, grows there in abundance, and will always abound in sufficient quantity for the use of tourists. No mines have yet been discovered, and it is the general opinion of  Go to next page

Return to Table of Contents
Return to Yellowstone Historical Almanac
Return to Yellowstone History Guide
Return to The Magic of Yellowstone front page
Title Page
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9