Posted at: 06/14/2013 5:39 PM
Updated at: 06/20/2013 12:36 PM
Decker Geyser erupting in summer 1967
Photo: Lee Dalton
Did you know part of Yellowstone National Park is named after a Two Harbors woman?
Hazel Decker spent several summers at Yellowstone in the 1960's watching geysers erupt. She waited in a grove of trees to see Steamboat Geyser erupt, and is believed to have witnessed twenty or more of Steamboat's eruptions - more than anyone else.
Rangers came to call the area where Decker waited for the eruptions Mrs. Decker's Island. When a short-lived geyser erupted near Mrs. Decker's Island in the summer of 1967, rangers named it Decker's Geyser.
"She's become a legend in the park up there, people still tell her story, still point out Decker's Island, yet nobody has a picture of her, nobody knows much of anything about her," said Lee Dalton, a retired park ranger who met Decker working at Yellowstone in the 1960's.
Now, Dalton is trying to find more information about Decker. All that's known about her is that she was from Two Harbors, had children, spent summers in Yellowstone during the 1960's when she was older, and wore tennis shoes on her trips there. So far, Dalton has had no luck locating her family.
"What I'm hoping to do is to be able to find some of her family, some of her descendents, and see if we can get some photographs of her or any other information about her that we can put in the Yellowstone Park archives," Dalton said. "It's a shame that nobody ever took the opportunity to learn more about her, but that's the way it was so now I'm trying to make up for lost time."
Dalton plans to be in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas in late July and early August and hopes to meet with people who knew Hazel Decker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-389-0259.