Archives On The Air 95: Do Feed The Bears—The Arthur E. Demaray Papers

Jan 22, 2019

Arthur Demaray was a National Park Service Administrator who worked as the liaison with Congress. He worked for the park service from 1917 to 1951.

Demaray's writings teach us what Yellowstone National Park was like during the first half of the 20th Century. Back then national parks did not have strict policies against feeding animals.

Demaray described a game where children would drag string along the ground. Squirrels would grab the string and the children would lift up the squirrels.

Demaray wrote that Yellowstone visitors could typically find a pack of bears eating out of the garbage. He also described one bear that would stand in the road and force visitors to pay a toll of food in order to pass.

Today the National Park Service discourages interactions between human visitors and the wildlife.

You can read more about early Yellowstone in the Arthur Demaray papers at UW's American Heritage Center.