Friday, February 25, 2011

‘Buckskin Bill’ lived off the land

Sylvan "Buckskin Bill" Hart received his nickname when he visited a Forest Service station at Mackay Bar on the Salmon River in central Idaho. Hart had been living on the river for two years where he was killing deer and using all parts of the animal to survive. He made clothes out of deer hide, which he wore with the fur on the inside next to his skin. The fur absorbed his perspiration. When he arrived at Mackay Bar, he smelled so bad in his tanned skin clothing that the rangers called him "Buckskin Bill." "These guys are not being replaced," said Megan Murphy, executive director of the Ketchum-Sun Valley Ski and Heritage Museum in Ketchum. Hart lived from 1906 to 1980. He was born in Oklahoma Territory and was the oldest of six children. During the Great Depression, he left Oklahoma to work in Texas oilfields. He worked toward a master's degree in petroleum engineering at the University of Oklahoma but never finished it. In 1932, Hart and his father arrived at Five Mile Bar on the Salmon River. His father eventually left for a larger city but Hart stayed. Managing to live without eviction or conviction, Hart was constantly threatened by the U.S. government, including by the Internal Revenue Service. Hart died of a heart attack in 1980. His outpost is now a popular stop for whitewater rafters, kayakers and anglers who float down the Salmon River...more


jmgrossman said...

If he was still living today the Forest Service would send in their law enforcement officers to kill him.

Anonymous said...

Or, the F&W Service would prohibit him from using the river during certain times when spawning runs were occurring.