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Lasting beginnings…and a few side notes.Stephen Mather’s National Park Service Report of 1926

We recently looked at Stephen Mather’s National Park Director’s Report for 1920.   We are fortunate to have a copy of his 1926 report as well.  


In the introduction to his report, Stephen writes, “four new parks, three of them in the East have been authorized by Congress.”  One of these parks was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.   In 2022, Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the most visited of all 63 national parks! [12,937,633]


He also reveals that “The Yosemite Park & Curry Co. started construction of the new Yosemite Hotel the latter part of May.”  This hotel would be the Awahnee, which remains the coveted destination hotel at Yosemite to this day.


As we saw in the 1920 report, forest fires remained a concern. The report states, “All activities in Glacier National Park during the season of 1926 were so over-shadowed by the imperative need of fighting forest fires…the west slope of the Rocky Mountains became thoroughly dried, and fires once started were frequently fanned by the hot winds beyond human control.”


And, after noting that Old Faithful “has been playing at an average interval of 64 minutes…” the Yellowstone Superintendent’s report reminds us of that era, sharing the fact that the Commissioner’s Court at Yellowstone dealt with “2 cases involving violations of the prohibition act.”   You could either assume that the other 187,805 park visitors were teetotalers…or wisely more discreet.  Your writer goes with the latter!

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