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.
JAN 31st, Senator Flint of California introduced the Generous bill at Ballinger's request as S.5938. The Senator had written that he had read the bill carefully and would take pleasure in introducing it. He had visited the Canyon many times. The Secretary said all are agreed on Park need and desirability. The NF cannot stop settlement; the NM prevented facility development. Also, he opined that protecting the Canyon was not really what a NM was for; GC of more interest to public than science (??). The main aim should be to provide facilities, and to get rid of diseased timber.
  Sec. Ballinger wrote a Senator stating he favored a Park, citing his annual report and Flint's bill.
MAR, Governor Sloan of Arizona supported the Park bill, attacking the idea of a trolley on rim: The rim should remain free to pedestrians and private vehicles. Maybe there could be a road, kept away from rim, to various points.

FEB, Graves, writing to the field about the Flint bill, offered that it was probable it would be passed since NP unquestionably suitable and no known objection. FS would be happy since we would be relieved of an "unremunerative tract of land" (Ives' "this profitless locality"? oh woe, oh woe). There would be firmer administration. Mining could take place if not injurious or inconsistent with Park.
  Local supervisor sends a map on legal lines as close to the rim as he could make it. Then he has a Generous twitch, including Kanab up to Snake Gulch, though only the bottom (of the canyon) has any scenic value.

MAR, Secretary of Agriculture sent a report on S.5938. Started by patting FS on back: we have authority to make roads and otherwise enable visitation, and we have made a plan for the Village. Santa Fe, with which we work, also plans a road, to Hermit. Cameron claims overruled. Noted Game Preserve. There is much timber, so the boundaries should be changed to exclude it. There should be permission for a railroad from the north for scenic "exploitation" and lumber, and to develop agriculture and minerals of area. Then repeats twice that lands are already fully protected and exploitable under FS existing authority. Also there is the Havasupai reservation. Conclusion: Since public interests are already protected, there is no necessity for the Park.

JUL:  How the March report developed out of the Forester's pro-Park letter of the previous month is one of those mysteries. Possibly there were second thoughts, or a bargaining maneuver was being executed. In any case, by July, the local supervisor had drawn a line,  approved all the way up to the Secretary, that was very close to the rim. The west, northwest, & northeast (Kanab and Marble) areas were removed, ending in the Tapeats and Nankoweap lines. Bright Angel on the north rim was excluded, but Greenland was kept.

JUN hearing in House on whether to grant a right-of-way (HR 2258) for a 25-mile rim railroad from Grandview to Bright Angel, where a sloping tunnel back from the rim would go down to the Tonto Platform, with a little tram to the brink of the inner gorge, so that people could take an elevator to the river.  Opposed by Forest Service as an exploitation and disturbance of the natural features, with destruction of trees and conflict with FS plans. The boosters' testimony was the same as it would be today. The trails are too dangerous and fatiguing; their scheme would allow visitors to do major sites in one day.They claimed they spent money and officials gave approval, then reneged. Santa Fe wants to do it, so in opposition; we had Secretary's approval, but Ripley of Santa Fe twisted his arm. Monument proclamation stopped us, although we have been working on this since 1905. Discussion ensues about whether Monument was proper versus approval of protection for Canyon. "National parks are made for the people, not the people for national parks", says one congressman. Another wants FS to make parks practical and attractive, and to stop making obstacles. After talk about private vs. government control, FS says it wants to avoid Coney Island. Interior man speaks for change to Park, which would allow better accommodations. When he cites objections to railroad by easterners, a western congressman scoffs. They argue about "cars on steel or cars on roads". Trolley on rim would detract from view, says FS. Some indication that it would be used for carrying copper ore. Good, says a congressman, and notes that would be why Arizona legislators favor railroad. Another suggests "average American citizen doesn't have three days to waste sitting on stone looking at Canyon". And, "God put it there for people to see". Even as they explain their opposition, the officials have to appear friendly to the idea of development and "accommodation". Their strongest line is that public development will provide the greatest good for the greatest number.

AUG, the trolley promoters tried the Senate, getting a Senator from Vermont to query Flint about possible injury to investors in a rim railroad/trolley, on which the House had held its hearing. So Flint, who agreed with Gov. Sloan, queried President Taft. Flint also asked about the FS intention to eliminate southern grazing lands from Kaibab NF.

This is the period of the ASHPS pushing its far-sighted Generous proposal (see my entries of 12/28 & 1/7. Indeed, if there is a mystery as to why the heroic TR never pushed a Park, it is redeemed by the oft-maligned Taft, whose administration was a time at least of making runs at the Park goal.) The Kaibab supervisor (Smith) was asked his opinion. He said: I have  been down Diamond Creek and over the lands between Cataract and the Aubrey Cliffs. Canyon there not so beautiful or deep nor colored so vividly, but a wonderful sight and well worth adequate protection, and while a shorter stretch would include all the best, I don't see why all the Canyon from some point shouldn't be included--a matter of policy. He notes the Hualapai and Mt. Trumbull. No pressing need, but the time may come when we wish to forestall conditions like those with miners now. Perhaps there could be a clause allowing for mining with reversion to Park. Some opposition also because of potential for water power. No settlement; little stock. [How revealing these comments are of the fluidity of opinion, just like the boundary proposals being tossed out. Maybe it takes the gimlet-eyed determination of a legislator like Hayden or a determined goal-oriented executive like Mather to settle down and obtain a compromise that nobody feels elevated by.]

DEC, the President asked Chief Forester and Interior to confer about the Park. At this point, the Secretary asked for a draft GCNP bill to be prepared, along with a provision for the Arizona statehood bill that would keep exclusive jurisdiction over a Park with the U.S. There would be authority to preserve everything although tourist development on leased land would be allowed.

JAN 4, the conference was held between Interior (Finney), USGS, and FS (Graves) to reach agreement on a Park boundary. On the 7th, Finney and Graves wrote to Flint about their agreement. Southeast boundary changed to eliminate ranger stations. Also change on north side so that railroad can come from Utah without more legislation. Timber and minerals were taken off the list of things to be preserved, and a provision was added for cutting timber.  Grazing allowed. No railroad on rim; puny investment, and House has held hearings on that already.
This bill (see my 12/27 entry; second map) pulled the boundaries sharply in everywhere, --in accord with the local supervisor's proposal approved July 1910--especially in the northwest/Kanab area, where the very strangeTapeats line was introduced. There was a suggested addition of lower Cataract (or Havasu) Canyon. The map they used had detailed topography only to 112°-30', so the Cataract area was only a sketch; this led to a boundary error, corrected in the 1920's.
The Kaibab supervisor insisted on excluding waters at Hull tank and Rowe well.
The agreed-on boundaries, the most extreme Restrictive, were introduced by Senator Flint on Jan 11 as S.10138. This was sent, as if in confirmation of an agreement, to the largest rancher (Marshall of GCCattle Co.) in the Kaibab/House Rock area, assuring him that though several springs were in the Park, stock would have access, which would be licensed by Interior. This "should not embarrass your company to any great extent in your business".

The files are silent on the curious boundary that was set along Tapeats Creek instead of on the rim, a mystery emphasized in a 1943 inquiry by FEOlmsted, which revealed only that there was very limited knowledge of that area. My own review of the maps in the files (Kaibab NF at NARA Laguna Niguel) shows the Tapeats line adopted by the Jan 1911 conference and in S.10138, but the local FS proposal had been the generous one to include all below rim in Kanab and lower Marble. With some more detailed changes at Bright Angel  and North Rim points, this was the proposal recommended by Ag Secretary, Jul 1910. There were also arguments about forest administrative sites, of which two were northwest of the Tapeats line. But the direct ancestry of the western and Marble boundaries is not pinned down. Amusingly, Oct 1919, KNF supervisor Roak could not find "Topeats", and "Timpots" creek didn't go to river; Stina does. He couldn't find Spring Creek either, so suggests boundary is in error, and should be farther south. But then, he reports that an NPS man told him they were aiming to take the entire Kaibab into the Park.

MAR, Interior Secretary Ballinger resigned. Not a conservationist from the Roosevelt-Pinchot group, he nevertheless moved a Generous Park proposal along. He would have been alerted to the issues while he headed the GLO in 1907-8 when TR was using the Antiquities Act to create Monuments, including of course for the Grand Canyon.

NOV 5, another FS-Interior conference, and Graves inclined to give Cataract, and perhaps all of the north division of the Tusayan NF, to the Park. USGS is working on maps. On one (see the third map in my entry of 12/27), USGS floated a proposal with a north line similar to the January conference, but with a southern boundary several townships more generous, and a western boundary going over to the Hualapai, something they had suggested in 1907, too, though then they were more Generous on the north, taking in a good bit of the Kaibab.
  At end of month, Graves writes Interior that after several conferences between USGS (Marshall) & FS, a satisfactory boundary has been drawn. It includes all from Cataract to the Little Colorado. On the north side, the boundary is one to four miles back from the rim and includes Bright Angel Point. On the south, the line is even farther back to allow for roads. He discusses how timber -- 400 mbf --will increase need for railroad, as will mines at Grandview. Important then to have clause for limited railroad construction, but not within 1/2 mile of rim. Will also end Santa Fe monopoly. Supai will have rights of ingress & egress to enable their use. Marshall adds that there is need to be definite about the north bank of Tapeats. Interior man suggests need to move quickly if action is desired before Arizona becomes state. Also, this reverses policy of not allowing railroads in parks.
This seems to be the third boundary in my 12/27 entry.

 During the year, the USGS produced more than one map with suggestions. The one that follows, not as Generous as that described in the previous paragraph, is dated Nov 23, and has detailed recommendations on the south rim (the most nit-picky of the differences) around El Tovar and Rowe Well, for Buggeln, and to keep timber. The idea seemed to be to adjust the NM boundary before there was action on the Park.

The addition at Bright Angel and the three deletions seem to match. The southwest and eastern additions seem just strange, except that they were not lands the FS cared about. Of course, the entire southwest corner of the original GC Forest Reserve --on this map-- had been dropped from the National Forest in 1908/10.
  All in all, the Generous outlook of 1909-10 had dwindled into the 1911 proposals most protective of economic interests.

DEC, a proposal was bandied about to name any GCNP: "Powell Park of the Grand Canyon".

FEB, Arizona admitted as state.
Apr, USGS suggested considering more land south of NM, but was not picked up. Indeed the lack of file references after Ballinger left is striking, with the only action being the November 1911 conferences, with their curious mix of Restrictive and Generous. In any case, the matter seems to rest there for a couple of years.

MAR,Wilson inaugurated.
APR-JUN: Hayden --the first and sole Representative(Arizona had been admitted a year before)-- inquired for a constituent who wanted to be superintendent of GCNP. He is told administration doesn't know what will happen. New Senator Ashurst also wants to be kept advised.

                             (to be continued in 1914)

No comments:

Post a Comment