Yellowstone National Park's First 130 Years

The first superintendent, Nathaniel P. Langford, had been a member of the 1870 Washburn Expedition and an advocate to preserve Yellowstone. There was no money available to offer him a salary for this new position, so he had to make his living elsewhere. This left Langford with little time to run the park, and he entered it only twice during his five years as superintendent. The first time was as a guest on the second Hayden Expedition in 1872, and his second took place in 1874 to evict a man named Matthew McGuirk. McGuirk claimed to own the Boiling River-one of the park's hot springs rumored to have healing powers.
Imagine how frustrating and difficult it would have been to be in Langford's position. He had no salary, no funding for the park, and no legal way to enforce protection for its wildlife
and geologic features. Political pressure, which took the guise of accusing Langford of neglect, forced the removal of Yellowstone's first superintendent in 1877. He was replaced by Philetus W. Norris.


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