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On April 21, 1915, authority was granted by the department to issue a permit to Robt. I. McKay, of Cooke, Mont., to transport machinery, ore, and supplies between Gardiner and Cooke, Mont., using 15 automobile trucks and 25 trailers, under proper restrictions as to schedules, etc., and to use one car as a utility or repair car, all on condition that he make certain repairs to the roads between Soda Butte and Mammoth Hot Springs, and pay a license fee of $20 per annum for each truck used, $10 per annum for each trailer used, and $10 per annum for repair and utility car. Mr. McKay arrived at Gardiner about July 15 with one truck and one utility car. He deposited funds to cover license fee on these and the following morning went to Cooke with them, after having made arrangements with the engineer officer in regard to repairing the roads. Since that time he has had the truck at work in connection with the work of repairing the road between Tower Falls and Cooke, but the improvements have not progressed up to the present time sufficiently as to render it practicable to haul heavy loads over the roads with trucks, but his crews are still at work.
Hon. Stephen T. Mather, Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior, visited the park twice during the season, once before and once after the admission of automobiles.
The Shaw & Powell Camping Co. completed the work begun last season of constructing log dining rooms, kitchens, and storerooms at permanent night camps.
The Wylie Permanent Camping Co. constructed a temporary log building for use as a hospital at its Swan Lake Camp, and another at the Riverside camp which accommodates the offices and news stand, and is also used as a recreation room.
Mr. Henry J. Brothers completed his bathhouses and plunge at Upper Geyser Basin and opened them to the public on July i. These baths have proven popular with travelers as well as with employees of the park. Mr. Brothers reports that the total number of bathers since July 1 was 7,681.
Mr. C. A. Hamilton bought the Klamer general store at Upper Geyser Basin and took charge of it at the beginning of the season.
Mr. G. Clyde Baldwin, district engineer of the water-resources branch of the United States Geological Survey, with headquarters at Boise, Idaho, who has charge of this important feature, has furnished the following report on this work for the year:
Records were obtained from the following gaging stations which were established during June, 1913:
Madison River near Yellowstone, Mont.
The small allotment of funds available for this work has proved sufficient only to keep up the necessary office work connected therewith and to permit the making of one visit during the year to each
of the gaging stations. Consequently it is still impossible to compute discharges of Snake and Yellowstone Rivers for anything except low stages of flow because of the impossibility of securing high-stage measurements until cables have been installed at these stations.
Detailed descriptions of the gaging stations, together with summaries of current meter measurements, and gage height and discharge data for each will be published in the annual Water-Supply Papers of the United States Geological Survey, Parts VI and XII, respectively, for Missouri and Snake River drainage areas.
The road work in the park is in charge of Maj. Amos A. Fries, United States Engineer Corps, who has furnished the following notes on the work in the park under his department:
The sundry civil bill of March 3, 1915, appropriated money as follows for road work in Yellowstone National Park and the adjacent forest reserve on the east and south:
Yellowstone National Park: For maintenance and repair of improvements, $125,000, including not to exceed $7,500 for maintenance of the road in the forest reserve leading out of the park from the east boundary, and not to exceed $2,500 for maintenance of the road in the forest reserves leading out of the park from the south boundary, to be expended by and under the direction of the Secretary of War, to be immediately available: Provided, That no portion of this appropriation shall be expended for the removal of snow from any of the roads for the purpose of opening them in advance of the time when they will be cleared by seasonal changes.
For widening to not exceeding eighteen feet of roadway and improving surface of roads and for building bridges and culverts from the belt-line road to the western border from the Thumb Station to the southern border, and from the Lake Hotel Station to the eastern border, all within Yellowstone National Park, to make such roads suitable and safe for animal-drawn and motor-propelled vehicles, to be immediately available, $50,000.
For completing the widening to not exceeding eighteen feet of roadway and improving the surface of roads and for building bridges and culverts in the forest reserve leading out of the park from the east boundary, to make such roads suitable and safe for animal-drawn and motor-propelled vehicles, to be immediately available, $20,000.
In addition there remained available on October 1, 1914, about one-half of the $255,000 appropriated for the same purposes in the sundry civil bill of August 1, 1914 (pp. 8 and 9, report of acting superintendent, September 30, 1914).
On account of early spring and the desire to expedite work in anticipation of record travel through the park during 1915, due to the combined influence of the European war and of the San Francisco and San Diego Expositions, work was vigorously prosecuted during the spring and summer of 1915 under both appropriations, and consequently almost all crews have either exhausted their apportioned funds or completed their work prior to the date of this report and have been disbanded.
The work during the year included general repair and maintenance of the entire system, including the west, south, and east approaches, both in the park and in the forest reserve on the east, and the Cooke City road; widening and improving the west, south, and east approaches, including the east forest reserve; sprinkling of 100 to 112 miles of belt line and west approach road; repair and construction of bridges; construction of concrete, wood, and galvanized-iron culverts; clearing of dead and fallen timber from the roadside; reshaping and ditching roads; maintenance of trees, shrubs, vines, and lawns.
In the following summary the work will be divided into that done on the belt line, the west approach, the south approach, the east approach, the Cooke City road, and work in general.
BELT LINE ROAD (INCLUDING NORTH ENTRANCE ROAD). General road repairs. In the fall of 1914, in order to prevent excessive damage to the roads during the winter, work on a considerable portion of the belt line was done to improve the drainage, smoothing and reshaping the roads, cleaning out ditches and culverts, and constructing "thank-you-ma'ams," or water bars, on some of the steeper grades. This work extended generally from the Thumb to Gardiner, via Lake, Canyon, Norris, and Mammoth, and from Norris south toward Madison Junction. Similar repairs were made on about 4} miles of the Mount Washburn road, between miles 101 and 154 from Canyon Junction.
Owing to continued rainy weather during the latter half of May and the first half of June, during the spring of 1915, and to the great amount of freighting being done into the park by the hotels and various transportation companies in anticipation of a large amount of travel in the park during the summer, the road in a number of places became very badly rutted and in some places almost impassable. It became necessary early in June to establish so-called drag stations at a number of the worst places, from which split-log drags were operated over the roads, thus smoothing, them out, reducing the ruts, and giving the roads a chance to drain off. The same bad weather caused a large fill over the 10-foot reinforced concrete arch culvert, built in 1914 about 1,000 feet south of Canyon Junction, to slide away; and a very considerable amount of work was required to repair this damage and bring the fill up to the cross section required. Between May 20 and July 3 a flying grader squadron, consisting of four graders, was sent entirely around the belt line, shaping up the roads, cleaning ditches, cleaning out and making minor repairs to culverts. To assist in maintaining the roads during the tourist season, each sprinkler crew was equipped with a split-log drag; and whenever rainy weather gave an opportunity for so doing, these drags were used to reshape and smooth out the ruts in the roads. This process the heavy tourist traffic made very necessary.
Gardiner slide.— The slide in the Gardiner Canyon, about 2 miles from the north entrance at Gardiner, Mont., which has given considerable trouble to the Gardiner Road for a number of years, was cut back in the fall of 1914 and the spring of 1915, prior to the tourist season, by means of hydraulic sluicing. During the fall of 1914 a 4-inch pipe-line, fed by an electric motor-driven pump, was used to furnish the water for the sluicing; but in the spring of 1915 this was displaced by a 6-inch pipe-line, conveying a gravity stream from a lake about a thousand feet west of, and 130 feet above, the top of the slide. This latter method allowed a greater amount of material to be moved and at less cost. It is believed, however, that the slide will continue to cause trouble for several years to come and will require sluicing once or twice a year until stopped. Notwithstanding the very excellent condition of the road at this point when the sluicing was discontinued early in June, the slide has again
encroached on the road, although not sufficiently to cause any inconvenience to traffic.
sprinkling and dragging. During the tourist season of 1915 from 100 to 112 miles of road was sprinkled, including, however, a large portion of the west approach. After the continued rains of late May and early June, an excessively dry spell started in and lasted for about a month.This, coupled with the excessive evaporation due to the high altitude of the park, made it impracticable in many places during this period for sprinkling to cope with the situation and satisfactorily lay the dust. These conditions were made somewhat worse by the fact that this excessive dry period unfortunately occurred at the very beginning of the sprinkler season. When the sprinklers are first started, the men operating them are new and inexperienced, and numerous small defects that occur each year in water ditches, rams, tanks, and valves have to be remedied before the sprinkling system can attain its maximum efficiency. In the latter half of July and thereafter occasional showers occurred, however, and these greatly relieved the situation. In addition to laying the dust, the showers enabled the sprinkler crews to operate their road drags, with which all crews are equipped, as already stated under "General Road Repairs."
The length of road sprinkled was increased at the opening of the season in 1915 to 112 miles. Difficulty was experienced, however, in several places, through the water supply of tanks giving out, due, as last year, to the very light snowfall during the preceding winter. The sprinklers which run between the Thumb and the 5-mile post toward the Lake, and between the 1 and 6-mile posts from the Canyon toward Norris, had to be abandoned during August, the benefits not being sufficient to justify the cost.
Considerable experimenting was done prior to the sprinkling season with gasoline engine pumping sets, with which it was hoped to replace all hand pumps on the sprinkler wagons where pumping is necessary, thus economizing in labor and extending, without increase in cost or plant (except for the purchase of the pumping sets) the total number of miles sprinkled. These experiments have not, however, shown the gasoline sets to be sufficiently reliable to justify their actual installation in the place of the present hand pumps, as owing to the hard conditions of service and to the probably inexpert attendance, the gasoline pumps would be out of commission a great part of the time and the sprinkling consequently often interrupted.
Oiling Gardiner Road.—In the spring of 1915, 1.6 miles of road inside the entrance arch at Gardiner was scarified, regraded, and treated with oil and gravel surfacing, as was also the 0.3 of a mile of branch freight road at Gardiner. For this purpose a light oil, which was left over from the preceding summer, was used, the intention being to provent dust and avoid having to sprinkle this stretch of road. The process used answered the purpose very well, much better than the application of thin oil on the unprepared road, as experimentally done one year ago. It is not believed, however, that this stretch of road will have the wearing qualities expected from the oil and rock macadam surfacing used at the west entrance.
Resurfacing.-In addition to the oil surfacing at Gardiner, there were resurfaced during the year several stretches of road which had
been particularly troublesome in wet weather, aggregating about 7 miles, as follows: From about 1} to 4 miles from Mammoth Springs toward Norris; from Canyon Junction about 1,000 feet south to the Canyon Arch Bridge; and 7} to 107 miles from the Canyon Junction toward the Lake Hotel.
Norris realignment.-A realignment a little more than 1 mile in length was built at the Norris Geyser Basin to avoid two bad hillsone north and one south of the Minute Man Geyser.
Bridges and culverts.—The reinforced concrete Canyon Arch Bridge, which was built under contract, was completed and accepted on June 16, 1915. This is one of the most beautiful structures in the park-210 feet long over all, with a 145-foot arch.
In line with the policy adopted several years ago, there were built or installed this spring on the section between the Upper Basin and the Thumb, 12 reinforced concrete-slab culverts, eight being of 8-foot span and the other four of 6-foot span, and about 14 galvanized-iron culverts, mostly 18 inches in diameter, and three triple 24-inch galvanized-iron culverts, with head walls. There were also installed some galvanized iron culverts at other parts of the belt line, notably about six of 24-inch diameter on the section between the Lake and the Canyon, and about the same number on the realignment, already mentioned, at Norris Geyser Basin.
In addition, a number of wooden culverts were repaired, on all portions of the belt-line system; the wooden bridge on the Bunsen Peak Road, over the Gardiner River, and the four steel bridges between Mammoth and Gardiner were refloored; and several concrete bridges, built in 1914, were backfilled and placed in commission in time for the 1915 tourist season.
On the west approach maintenance work, similar to that on the belt line, including sprinkling, was done. In addition, the work of widening and improving the road, to make it safe for animal-drawn and motor-propelled vehicles, has been pushed to the limit of the funds appropriated for this purpose.
Widening and grading:-During the year widening and grading of the west approach has been extended to include all of the Madison River branch of the approach, except about 1} miles (11 to 12} miles from the west boundary) and about half of the Gibbon River branch. This work has involved considerable minor realignment, and some few more important relocations, including one 2,500 feet long, between 8 and 9 miles from the boundary, which avoided widening and improving a stretch of rocky hillside road and eliminated a bad climb, while going down stream, over a 30-foot hill; and one about 1,000 feet long near the junction of the Gibbon and Firehole Rivers, where the triangle connecting the roads to Yellowstone, Norris and the Fountain, was made considerably smaller, and the grade improved.
Surfacing.—The top surfacing being used on the west approach is an oil and rock macadam. The rock crusher on hand proving to be of insufficient capacity, an additional one was purchased and placed in operation, together with the old one, early this spring. The plant was also increased by an additional road roller and several less important items of machinery. For the storage of oil a concrete pit,