In May 1883, President Chester A. Arthur under stress from the first years of his unexpected presidency, was encouraged to take a good rest by his advisors.
One of those advisors, Senator George Vest of Missouri, suggested a trip to the new national park—Yellowstone. By early summer, the unusual trip was being arranged. President Arthur would visit the park for two weeks in August, unaccompanied by any journalists. He was the first sitting U.S. President to visit Yellowstone. Through his notoriety with the Northern Pacific Railroad and early trips to Yellowstone, Frank Jay Haynes, soon to become the official Yellowstone National Park photographer, was selected as the official photographer for the trip.
In 1882, Vest became aware of concession abuses and outright attempts at uncontrolled monopolies being proposed for Yellowstone National Park concessions by the railroads and other businessmen. He introduced and eventually helped pass legislation that required the Secretary of Interior to submit concession and construction contracts to the Senate for oversight thus stifling potential corruption and abuses. Throughout the remainder of his Senate career, Vest was considered the Self-appointed Protector of Yellowstone National Park and his encouragement of the Arthur expedition brought national attention to Yellowstone.