Smithsonian Institution money at work....12

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    Posted by Roadie ( on August 01, 2005 at 14:37:19:

    In Reply to: Sentinels on the hill ..... 11 posted by Roadie on August 01, 2005 at 14:35:39:

    In 1895 the Park received money from the Smithsonian Institution to build a bison “corral” in Hayden Valley to protect the dwindling, nearly extinct population. The bison fences were four miles around the perimeter, each section one mile in length. We had seen remnants near Glen Africa Basin weeks earlier, which would be the western edge. Elwood Hofer was the guy in charge. You know me, hooked on reading original documents; the possibility of seeing the remains of this structure turned me on when I first read about it in an “Annual Report of the Superintendent”. This was yet another “to do” item that has been on my wish list to find and see. Logs with human shaped or straight cut ends found on tops of sagebrush covered hills in Hayden Valley are definitely not natural…we literally stumbled upon them on our way out 2 weeks prior to this visit. This inspection revealed a series of these old woodies. We found the southern boundary! Yay. Old decaying posts. I am so easily entertained.

    A series of these logs and a little rusted wire are all that remain of this noble attempt to save the bison by America’s premier scientific institution of the time. Some day we will locate the east and north boundary just so I can put it out of my mind. For now, mission accomplished!

    Enclosing a herd of bison is not easy even in modern times. The winter didn’t cooperate and the bison didn’t migrate that way, not to mention that the water source was Alum Creek; hot, not very tasty and full of thermal organisms. The valiant bison fence project was abandoned by the following year.

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