Sunday, January 31, 2010


(In this entry, I want to bring together some summary items, to give all those separate posts a bit more coherence. First, an overall sketch.)

We started in 1882 with the cozy partnership of Powell and Harrison. The former was the prime mover, and came up with the "big square" to celebrate the Big Hole. They tried the Congressional route, but were stymied. In 1893, with Harrison President and a new power to reserve public lands, the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve was created, still the big hole inside its four lines. 

In a time of rampant exploitation of any & every resource, every year meant more people with more claims or dreams of many kinds were crowding in. But also, more people were learning about and coming to see the Canyon, suggesting all too often that here was a another resource to be developed. Amidst complaints from local sheepmen and miners about the Reserve, the GCNP idea gained solidity when Pinchot + Muir, big men in what was forming as the conservation movement, made a joint visit as members of the Cleveland-appointed National Forestry Commission. The Commission's favorable recommendation for a Park was made in May 1897. Funds for surveying the township lines were appropriated in June, and in January 1898 Examiner Edward Bender made a formal report to the General Land Office (GLO) lauding the Canyon and the Park idea. March 1898, Pinchot reiterated the Commission recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior. The GLO Commissioner made that move in May, and the SecInt called for legislation. Further support came from the new Forest Reserve Supervisor in October.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Yes, kid, we are there; we've arrived: The Park, 1917-19

JAN, Graves and Albright meet, with Graves' full approval of going with Hayden lines. His handwritten assurance adds, "I will see that no eliminations are made from the portion of the Tusayan or Kaibab Forests without consulting your office and the adjacent lands to the Park will be administered to secure full coordination of the common problems. If it appears that a revision of boundaries is desirable, we can jointly ask for the changes later." His acquiescence is justified, as shown in the resulting map making clear how the Park shrank, not only from any ideal, but from the Monument.

JAN 24, there is a Hayden bill, HR 20447, with tightly girdling boundary:
(though a pencilled note fixes two mistakes). It is the same as S. 8250 introduced by Senator Henry Ashurst. Sent over by Interior, there had been a south line change as Hayden had "suggested" using the road to get closer to rim than the more generous section lines.
 My red drawn boundary is a bit approximate-- the middle southern line is a road; the west line starts out following the west rim of Cataract/Havasu Canyon, then across to the north bank of the Colorado, up that to Tapeats, up that & tributaries to the NM line. The northeast boundary follows the hydrographic divide above Nankoweap, even "by the shortest route" to the east line. These lines seem more the actions of demented Restrictives than a Grand Canyon boundary. Above irony is that the one area above the rim that is Generous is the plateau land that should have been part of any reasonable Havasupai reservation in the 1880's; imagine what heartache might have been saved had the Park boundary been set on the east rim of Great Thumb Mesa? (Be very careful of getting what you ask for.)  Aside from that "Havasu" western section, this boundary is the extreme --the nadir-- of Powell's original misconception that all of the Canyon that was worth celebrating in a Park was the Big Hole. Where was the ASHPS spirit when it was needed? 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Strolling Along, to The Park 1914-16

Continuing the 1910's, starting with 1914. Interior staffs itself with Park people. NPS Act passed. GCNP taken up in Congress; Hayden/Ashurst central for local interests. A strong plea for the Havasupai at the last moment, gets muted.
Sources: The Hayden files become important, and we should learn a lot about this figure, key for over half a century. Park and Forest Service files.
(Some abbreviations: Months are in three-letter form. FS, Forest Service. NF, National Forest. NPS, National Park Service. NP, National Park, or Park. NM, National Monument, or Monument. Sec, Secretary, e.g. Ag, of Agriculture, and Int, Interior. sec, section of a bill. DC, Washington, or head of an agency. USGS, US Geological Survey. mbf, million board feet--timber. rr, railroad; row, right-of-way.)

Interior Secretary Lane appoints M. Daniels as general superintendent for Parks, and in 1915 brings in Mather as Lane's Special Assistant for Parks; he later becomes head of NPS.
In this year, this new, Democratic administration goes first for the center of the Parks issue -- creating a dedicated agency and providing an organic act for a National Parks System (signed in 1916 and which I will not review here). Meanwhile, the idea of an NP for the Grand Canyon merely simmered.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Park Legislation through 1913

This material presented by year, extracted by going straight through the various agency and other files and put in order. This section will take us, mainly, through the Taft years, and the curious tergiversations of Henry Graves, Forester.

NOV, Forester Pinchot, head of the US Forest Service (FS) states position against a railroad near the Grand Canyon's rim, which had been applied for in 1908 by Grandview miners. Railroad needs our consent, he said.
DEC, the Forest Service was discussing, internally, the appropriate Monument/Park boundary. Their main concern was in the vicinity of what even then they were calling the Village. FS staffer Matoon had written a plan for Village development in this year, including the most developed rim points, as well as those with potential. El Tovar was to be inside the NM because it was integral in any plan for the proposed village. Also, anything left out would be covered by (spurious) mining claims. Another consideration was a good fire line, given the danger from the railroad. The GLO had objected because it interpreted the NM as closed to the railroad.
Meanwhile, the FS was making large-scale changes in the NF boundaries to the south of the Canyon. In two steps, 1908 and 1910, they junked Powell's original rectangular boundary, dropping the entire southwest quarter (no timber; open range), while adding a chunk on the east to round out the Coconino Plateau. The result was what we have today as the boundary of the Kaibab NF south of the Park.

In the same month, Taft's Interior Secretary Ballinger sent that very Generous boundary (lots of Kanab and Marble; see my 12/27 entry) to GLO for checking out of conflicts. Where the idea for this boundary originated, my files are silent. In its answer, GLO listed 2 homesteads, 1 mining claim & 2 pending, unconveyed railroad lands, the Yava-Supai, 10 administrative sites, and 52 Kac of school lands.
This became Senator Frank Flint's S.5839, which brought opposition from locals and the Forest Service field, though it did not come that much above the rim.

H.S.Graves, a Pinchot man, was Forester through the next decade, starting after Taft fired Pinchot in Jan 1910. Graves did appear instrumental if not successful in pushing action on the Park and an (see my entry of 1/6) appropriate Havasupai reservation. (Pic @

However, mid-decade, Interior's Park effort, led by Stephen Mather

(pic @
took the lead, first getting the National Park System organic act legislated, then the GCNP established, but weighing in against the Reservation.
I am, to say the least, ambivalent about these gentlemen. Graves seems almost to be playing a game, making Generous proposals, only to vaporize before anything has to happen. As for Mather, no one hides the fact that he was a strong proponent of the Parks, and of development of the Parks. He was no Aldo Leopold, but a doer and shaper, an industrialist (even of Parks) and builder. So it goes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Generous vs. The Restrictives: A Contested Boundary

Even at the beginning of this archive exploration, it is clear to me how contested the Grand Canyon National Park boundary would be in almost every part. Here's a summary as I begin compiling the detailed record:
Proceeding counter-clockwise (see map at end), and starting with
1. the developed rim area from Bright Angel (the Village, as planned out by the Forest Service in Matoon's report and dominated by the Santa Fe) to Grandview. The struggle is almost down to the square foot for railroad right-of-way, the road, hotels. At times, it seems as if the Restrictives don't want Park visitors to have room to breathe.
2. The south rim in general was in a tug-of-war between grazing, particularly over water & cattle movement, and Park administration.
3. The east side seems of little interest, maybe because of the Navajo pressures.
4. How much to include of Marble Gorge? As with each piece, the struggle was between the Generous and the Restrictives. The latter had a narrow vision of the big hole from Nankoweap to below the Powell Plateau, often for exploitative reasons. The Generous did not have a vision of the greater Grand Canyon, but they had some sense of beginnings, extent, and geographic relationships.
5. The Kaibab Plateau. In spite of the timber, the area may have been too little known to generate much fight yet, though the Monument was on the Restrictives' side. The talk so far is about the trees on the south rim. But we shall see.
6. Kanab Creek. The Generous really lost out, and it is not clear why.
7. To the west. Again, the area was perhaps too little known. Although both Hualapai and Havasupai were in residence, they figured little in the contest.
8. The southwest. Grazing interests entered in, and the Havasupai get mentioned, but the friendly 1914 proposal by the local Forest Service for an adequate reservation had been shelved, even after approval by the Agriculture Secretary.

In general, the discussion often went back and forth over how to change the Monument boundary, though it has its own difficulties. Here is that complete Forest Service 1907 map again showing the 1908 GCNM as proclaimed and administered by the Forest Service until 1919:

The Park --> Legislation in the 1910's --> Introduction

Sources and Methods

When we began this exploration of Grand Canyon National Park's past, the story was slimmer; the agents and agencies, the events, often seeming connected so it was relatively easy to tell a story: Powell, Harrison, Pinchot, Muir, Theodore Roosevelt. (Yes, that could only be so because I suspended for a while the telling of others' stories.) Yet, as previous entries have unfolded, complexities and doubts arose. The Roosevelt years proved richer in participants even as TR lofted soft, inspiring words rather more than wielding sticks.

The intensive preparation for and legislation of the National Park ratchets up the complexities. My notes come from the various archives of the Forest Service -- D.C. office, Region III, the Kaibab and Tusayan National Forests,-- the Park Service--including before it existed, suggesting the papers originated with GLO or the Interior Secretary--, and Arizona Representative Carl Hayden. Each of the archives has topic  subdivisions and repetitions. Related material is as scattered as were the physical archives. This means that chronological order has to be imposed by sifting completely through all the items from each group so that I can gather related events together.

So after the couple of efforts to isolate items (the ASHPS proposal, three more modest ones I had maps of), I now think the only way this effort will make sense is to go through the papers as I have them, extracting items and placing them in date order. At least for a while, it probably will not make sense to put this material on the blog until the density of detail for each year, or some time period, is such that the story seems unshakeable in its flow.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A timely map

With changes in National Forest boundaries, and proposals for an enlarged  Havasupai Reservation and a Grand Canyon National Park, the teens of the XXth century could be called pivotal in the swing away from the tentativeness of the previous decades. So this GLO map of 1912 is an excellent base:
Here are some noteworthy features, starting in the northwest. Two sections of the Dixie National Forest had been proclaimed. They only lasted a decade, though the upper right was trimmed to be the Mt. Trumbull section of the Kaibab NF. In the 1970's, it was dissolved into the surrounding Arizona Strip BLM lands, and some of it became a wilderness. The other Dixie lands ended up, mostly, in Lake Mead NRA; and later, some, but not enough, in Grand Canyon National Park.
The Kaibab National Forest at this time had been made the Kaibab Plateau. Later it was put under the Tusayan administration in Williams, all renamed the Kaibab NF. Too bad; a unified regional adminstration of the Arizona Strip public lands would have made lots of sense over the years.
There were a number of changes in the Forest boundaries, and the Navajo lands would be moved west toward the Colorado.
The GCNM boundary is the dotted line.
The Havasupai Reservation is misnamed as the "Yavapai", and it is easy to see how all those townships of the Tusayan NF south of it could have been natural additions.
Hualapai lands look intact, but the struggle to wrest half of them from the Santa Fe was only nearing its beginning. 
And here is what that ASHPS Park proposal of 1910 looks like (compare with terrain map on Dec 28 entry):

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Havasupai learn the ropes -- lasso or noose?

In my Sep 21, 2009 entry, I described the mystery (to me) of how the Havasupai got stuck with the miniscule reservation of 1881. Just as the next three decades were full of partial and inconclusive action with respect to national recognition and protection of the Canyon itself, so these decades brought realization to the Havasupai and those who sympathized with them, that the reservation was not a base from which they could continue their ways of living undisturbed, but on its way to becoming a prison, work furloughs allowed. And there is little mystery as to how that came about.

The Havasupai now “had” ( not “owned”) a reservation-- land held-in-trust by the government just for them. What happened, then, when the days shortened and the temperature dropped, and the Havsupai went up onto the plateau to hunt and otherwise occupy their usual haunts?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Havasupai: Origins; Speculations

There can be no surprise that in Grand Canyon affairs, political weight is partially derived from narratives of how long we have been here, where we came from, who was first, who we are related to. Origin-stories, creation-myths, are potent psychological knowledge easily transformable into fierce political weapons, whether rooted in millennia-old passed-on-then-fossilized oral narratives, the hanging sign claiming “serving our community since 2003!!”, or even concocted to suit imperatives of the moment.

In their century-long striving to gain sovereignty over some of the lands that they used and lived on from “time immemorial” into the late XIXth century, Havasupai narratives dealt with multiple origin-stories. Hirst mentions Havasupai agreement with the Hopi in thinking of humans originating from a canyon south of the Grand Canyon. He speaks, too, of Havasupai tradition recounting migration northeast from the Colorado into the Grand Canyon area, spending time in Matawidita, then moving on into Havasu Canyon, as well as reaching Indian Gardens in the early XIXth century. That tradition is echoed in one of the archeological narratives, a migration of Yuman-speaking bands that moved from along the lower Colorado, to constitute the Hualapai and Havasupai. Still another story, with several episodes, has a more general migration traced back tens of millennia, with later arrivals from the far north animating a journey down California, then into southern Arizona to become the Hohokam. Some of the latter were affected by expansion out of Mexico to move into central Arizona and above the Mogollon rim. These people, the Cohonina, disappeared from their settlement area around 1300, a time of drought, moving north into the better watered places below the Grand Canyon’s rim, evolving more or less seamlessly into the Havasupai.