In the 1960s, a bit of Two Harbors, Minnesota found its way into the landscape of Yellowstone National Park and Steamboat Geyser. And now Park officials are seeking to recover the background of Hazel Decker, who lent her name to a few features in the Norris Geyser Basin.
Decker, a woman from the northern Minnesota community, visited the Park several times in the 1960s. She often waited in a grove of trees to see Steamboat erupt. It is believed she saw Steamboat erupt 20 or more times, more than anyone else.
Rangers started calling the area where she waited Decker’s Island. And when a short-lived geyser erupted there in 1967, it was named 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 in the 1960s, in an interview with WDIO-TV in Duluth-Superior:
Almost 50 years later, Dalton is trying to find out more about this mysterious woman. All that is known about her is that she lived in Two Harbors, had children, spent summers in Yellowstone and wore tennis shoes during said summers. For now, Dalton hasn’t had any luck finding her family or any other information about Decker.
“What I’m hoping to do is to be able to find some of her family, some of her descendants, 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,” said Dalton. “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.
Photo of Steamboat Geyser courtesy National Park Service.