Campers in Yosemite National Park in 1901 Were "Somewhat Troublesome"

Early campers in Yosemite National Park.

Early campers in Yosemite Valley, about 1900. Photo from Library of Congress.

Bob Janiskee posted a recent story on the Traveler entitled, "Believe it or Not, Yosemite National Park Once had a Zoo." Some wags might suggest that title could also refer to campgrounds in Yosemite Valley in times past—and a old government report suggests they wouldn't be very far off the mark.

The "Report of the Secretary of the Interior for 1901" confirms that challenges in dealing with some park visitors aren't new, and that era in fact predates the establishment of the National Park Service. Here's an excerpt from that report about Yosemite National Park:

There were 9,000 visitors in the park during the season, being 4,000 more than last year. About two-thirds of the visitors this season were campers.

The regulations now in force in the park were prescribed in 1890 at the time the reservation was set aside and do not cover conditions as they now exist in the reservation. New ones should be promulgated, containing very stringent provisions regarding campers.

The latter have become somewhat troublesome, and good evidence has been found that this class of visitors have used dynamite or similar high explosives to kill trout. Furthermore, it appears that every fire that has occurred during the past summer within the park or outside of its limits (some of which were very dangerous) was caused by the indifference, carelessness, and no doubt in some instances by the criminal acts of the campers.

Today's rangers still have plenty of challenges trying to keep things on an even keel in campgrounds, but hopefully "fishing with dynamite" is no longer a regular occurrence!