Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Harry Yount

In 1880, Yellowstone's superintendent set Lamar Valley aside as a game reserve to protect the remaining herds of deer, elk, antelope and bighorn sheep, whose numbers had been devastated by market hunters. (Hunting was then allowed in the park.)

Harry Yount, a frontiersman known as "Rocky Mountain Harry," was hired as gamekeeper for Yellowstone by the superintendent's recommendation. Living alone in a cabin near Lamar River, Yount could not single-handedly protect the herds, so he resigned in frustration after a year. His report to the superintendent envisioned the National Park Service of today: "A small and reliable police force . . . is what is really the most practicable way of seeing that the game is protected from wanton slaughter, the forests from careless use of fire, and the enforcement of all the other laws, rules, and regulations for the protection and improvement of the park." Adapted from an article by Timothy Manns, NPS.