Wildlife Conservation Society: Library & Archives

Hornaday Wildlife Conservation Scrapbooks

William T. Hornaday’s passion for the area known as Goat Mountain Park, in the East Kootenai District of British Columbia, was sparked by a vacation he took there in August 1905 with his friend, John M. Phillips. A mine executive from Pittsburgh, Phillips was a skilled sportsman involved in several game protection activities, and the promise of excellent hunting and a beautiful wilderness drew both men to the area.

Their trip, which Hornaday recounted in his Camp-Fires in the Canadian Rockies, also convinced them of the need for a wildlife refuge for the area. Although the local Fernie Game Protection Association supported this need in theory, they disagreed with Hornaday and Phillips about the refuge’s boundaries and what animals it would protect: whereas the local sportsmen wanted to focus on deer and elk because of their importance to the local economy, Hornaday sought to protect mountain goats and bighorn sheep, which were disappearing from the United States.

In taking on the local opposition’s plan, which he deemed a “hostile counter-proposal,” Hornaday launched a spirited letter-writing campaign to support his vision of the refuge—a campaign that he documented in this first scrapbook. He appealed to the public through local newspapers and gained the favor of government officials, including the Prime Minister of British Columbia. Additionally, he won over the landowners, the Canadian Pacific Railway, by emphasizing the tourism to be generated by his plan.

On November 15, 1908, the government of British Columbia established the Elk River Game Preserve, an area of approximately 450 square miles, with nearly all of Hornaday’s recommendations, including the focus on protecting mountain goats and bighorn sheep.

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