Mammoth Hot Springs in Park County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
A Most Fortunate Thing...
Inscription. Before the Army arrived in Yellowstone, the park's future was in doubt. Vandals destroyed thermal features, squatters sawed down trees and poachers decimated herds of wildlife. Perhaps the Army's greatest contribution to Yellowstone's history was bringing law and order to the park.
By Rich Pfingsten, March 23, 2009
1. A Most Fortunate Thing... Marker
In the winter of 1894, soldiers caught the notorious poacher Ed Howell killing buffalo. Because no laws existed to prosecute Howell, public indignation caused Representative Lacey of Iowa to propose a bill "to protect the birds and animals in Yellowstone National Park, and to punish crimes in said park..."
The House and Senate quickly passed what became known as the Lacey Act. This and other laws enacted after Howell's capture were called by Yellowstone's Commander, Captain Anderson, "the most fortunate thing that ever happened to the park."
1) This new guardhouse (green building, end of row) was built in 1911 and stills serves as the lockup for violators of the regulations protecting visitors and the wonders of Yellowstone National Park.
2) Officers of the Sixth Cavalry pose with confiscated buffalo heads-probably those taken from poacher Ed Howell.
Location. 44° 58.456′ N, 110° 41.909′ W. Marker is in Mammoth Hot Springs
, Wyoming, in Park County. Marker is on Officer's Row 0.2 miles south of North Entrance Road - eastbound lanes, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. The marker is next to an asphalt sidewalk. Marker is in this post office area: Yellowstone National Park WY 82190, United States of America.
By Rich Pfingsten, March 23, 2009
2. A Most Fortunate Thing... Marker
Buildings in the background are now used as homes for park workers.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Crime in Wonderland (a few steps from this marker); At Guard (within shouting distance of this marker); Guard Duty (within shouting distance of this marker); A Soldier’s Life (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); A Sense of Community (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named A Soldier's Life (about 500 feet away); A Good Duty Station (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named A Sense of Community (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mammoth Hot Springs.
Also see . . . Expedition Yellowstone Forest and Stream Articles. The National Park Service provides the text of a number of Forest and Stream articles relating to the capture of Ed Howell. (Submitted on September 10, 2015.)
Categories. • Animals • Military •
3. Heads of poached bison seized by military, probably confiscated from Ed Howell
On the capture of Ed Howell:...Early the next
morning, very soon after starting out, he (Burgess) struck
an old trail of snowshoes, and following it up
stumbled upon a cache of six buffalo scalps and
six skins, from three of which the hair had been
partially removed as if for the manufacture of
rawhide. He took this plunder in and passed on
to the south until he had come near the mouth of
the Astringent Creek, where he again struck a
snowshoe trail, this time freshly made....The man was busy skinning the buffalo, and
five of these animals lay about him. Burgess
rushed upon him, and Howell was so occupied
with his work that he did not see his captor until
he was close to him. He had no time to think
about making any resistance, but threw up his
hands at once. Burgess brought him in and
reached his guard house at Fort Sheridan at about
4:30 on Wednesday, March 14. Howell is now
confined there, and will no doubt remain until
news has been received from Washington as to
what is to be done with him.... There have been at least eleven buffalo killed
and no one knows how many more. It is certain
that Howell has been in the Park several times
during the winter, and it is not very unlikely that
he may have killed a large number of these
animals. It is evident that unless something is
done at once to make poaching a crime, the
Yellowstone Park buffalo will very soon be
wholly exterminated. -- Forest and Stream, VOL. XLIL-- No. 13., March 31, 1894
This is the image used on the marker, courtesy of the National Park Service.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 16, 2011, by Rich Pfingsten of Forest Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 646 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 16, 2011, by Rich Pfingsten of Forest Hill, Maryland. 3. submitted on September 10, 2015. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.