Sunday, March 21, 2010


Here is how it went:
1902 (and earlier): Roosevelt reads Powell and others; he becomes excited about the Grand Canyon. 
1903: TR visits the Canyon, and explicitly calls for GCNP. He orders Interior to move along on readying Park bill. 
1904: he is re-elected. 
1905: he orders Interior, USGS & GLO, to bring forward the bill, now that the work on surveying and Santa Fe exchange is done. The bill is introduced along with Arizona statehood. 
1906-7:  Congressional fight  led by Rep. Lacey. Passed as tribute to TR's great conservationist leadership. 
Or if you are dubious, let there be a big fight, and with Lacey gone after 1906, maybe no bill; but the issues would have been joined a decade earlier. 
This, of course, is not what happened. Why not? Why didn't Roosevelt speak and act on this enthusiasm of his? Why did he not even start the administrative machinery working in Interior?

And specifically, what is there to learn from Brinkley (=B) on the mystery of Roosevelt and the missing Grand Canyon National Park? (Brinkley, Douglas, The Wilderness Warrior  Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, 2009)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Webb we weave with: TR, Douglas Brinkley, and a Canyon

No secrets: This entry is primarily a review and commentary (part I) upon Douglas Brinkley's The Wilderness Warrior  Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, a 2009 800+-page portrayal of TR as our premier conservationist President. 
I wanted to learn what an acclaimed historian could teach me about TR, giving me a broader context, a deeper understanding of how he achieved such an exalted place in American environmental policy, and what a less specialized but more formidable researcher than I could tell me about TR and the Canyon. I therefore read lots of the parts that told the overall story, skimmed other parts, and worked over the Grand Canyon references intensively.
When I left TR and the Canyon a number of entries ago, it was with the sense that though he is deservedly the patron political touchstone for us Canyon advocates, his record was unbalanced--rhetoric over action--, and I was left with one significant mystery: Why did TR never push for National Park status for the Grand Canyon.
Most of my research has been in government papers; I have read little of Roosevelt's own writings, for instance. So I was looking to Brinkley for a full portrait of hows and whys and whats of THE conservationist President. That would include an understanding of TR's thinking about the Canyon and what he did and did not do for it. 
No secrets: There is no new material on the Canyon for me; Brinkley's is both a shallow and a high-falutin', tendentious presentation. He uses secondary and tertiary sources, and spends entirely too much space on unsubstantiated (and too-often dubious) general speculation about what TR's thinking was. "Shallow"  because there is no original research or critical thinking about sources. His history of TR's proclaiming of the Monument in 1908 does not even cite Donald Hughes' In the House of Stone and Light, but relies on Stephen Pyne's essay and Robert Webb's book of photo comparisons; both valuable in their own right, but not anything like primary sources for the political history of Grand Canyon National Monument. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

GCNP river boundary 21; last 40 miles

The placing of the GCNP/Hualapai boundary is finished.
Comparing between the quads and the Google photos, there seem very few ambiguous places: @ mile 259.5, there is a rapid and a bend. Did the rapid push the river to the south, cutting off the beach, or did the bend allow deposition even before the reservoir silt?   
260.3 has a map sand bar/beach with tip sheared off on the Google photo, but still present on the terrain/map.
261.3, photo shows sand bar that is island, but covered by blue on maps.

In all cases, followed how map depicts old river edge, leaving all south shore, even if perhaps the result of reservoir silt deposition, in Reservation. 

Got rid of outmoded LMNRA references. Used the lasso to outline boundary stippling in order to replace color (red & pink & black) with background. Then some repair. Neat trick using [ and ] to change brush/pencil size. Worst problem is that some of the stippling is the same color as the contours. A different problem was the use of black in the water on some maps, so the boundary is not as clear. Also, I do not fully understand how the mode and the brush style interact. Dont understand how to get replacement color to match; using hue and lightness not enough.

Need to check river appearance again with boundary. Some maps need GCNP labelling. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

GCNP river boundary 20; reservoir considerations (edited 7/11/10)

Several considerations:

The 1882 Executive Order establishes the Hualapai Reservation "to and along" the river. Thats the 1882 river. It was not mapped.
The river channel was mapped before Hoover dam was built; call it the 1923 river, a now buried, and for any but the longest term uses, unrecoverable channel in most of the last 40 miles of the Grand Canyon. 
The reservoir has been at intermediate and even maximum elevations, where it was trapping silt and filling in channels, and creating land on top of the old banks and the old channel. Call this the 1983 (maximum) river. Even though the USGS quads were produced before 1983, I believe they were intended to show the theoretical maximum, along with something that probably(?) is supposed(?) to approximate(?) the 1923 channel. 
The river now is in the grip of another current prolonged drought, bringing the river back to a condition of flowing and carving into the silt, many miles beyond the Grand Wash Cliffs. The result is a channel that may or may not be exactly that of the 1882 or 1923 river. Call it the 2010 river.

The river in 1882 and up until Hoover went into operation fluctuated seasonally, ranging from a few thousand cfs to 300,000+ cfs. 
Hoover's operation and the Colorado's water supply produce fluctuations in Mead reservoir over a multi-year period.
With Glen's operations, beginning in the mid-1960's, daily fluctuations become possible, although attenuated by the time they reach the reservoir backwater.

The purpose of the 1975 Enlargement Act with respect to the river was to unify administration of its use under Grand Canyon National Park. To that end, the boundary was put "on the south bank". That was in order to include the entire river surface in the Park, as emphasized in the legislative documents, and is a refinement, a definition, by Congress of what the language of the 1882 reservation proclamation meant by "to and along the river". 
No one intended to take any of the Hualapai Reservation into the Park. This was qualified by language that land could be taken if the Hualapai consented. This, however, is a meaningless clause, since it was clear from the history of the LMNRA legislation that the Hualapai have fought hard enough for their reservation that they have no intention of agreeing to any violations of its integrity. This leads to the wet foot/dry foot doctrine: If you step off a boat on the river in the Canyon, and your foot goes into water, you are in the Park. If you step off onto land (even squelchy mud right next to the river) on the south bank along the Hualapai Reservation, you are on Hualapai land. The doctrine is a sensible, practical way of letting people know whose jurisdiction they are under, avoiding fencing and signs and court battles. It may be, for fiercely territorial types, a funny sort of boundary, since it fluctuates due to Glen Canyon dam operations. However, it is always well-defined, and good will prevailing, will serve the purpose.

The wet foot/dry foot doctrine is quite clear in its application until we get down into the reservoir-impacted stretch: Congressional intent was to reserve the administration of the river, regulating the use of its water surface, to GCNP. It is clear that there was no intent to take Hualapai land, and the EO language of "to and along" certainly is compatible with the wet foot/dry foot doctrine. Congress did not adopt either of the extremist views: that the Reservation extended to the middle of the river, or that the Park boundary would go to the historic high water line on the south shore. Neither extreme makes sense in terms of the practical aim of unifying administration over river use. What Congress did was exercise its powers to make specific what had been ambiguous. If one prefers, one can speak of Congressional compromise between extremes. 

How, then, to depict the boundary? We cannot recover the 1882 river. The 1923 river is one snapshot of a fluctuating target. The prohibition (as I like to think of it) against taking any Hualapai land means that the maximum water surface as shown as of 1983 is irrelevant, because to depict that as the Park boundary would amount to acquisition-by-dam of Hualapai Reservation land, which the Hualapai have no intention of giving up. 
We are left with the practical alternative, to take the depiction on the USGS quads of the "original"  channel as an approximation of the 1882, 1923, and 2010 rivers. (The last, by the way, is also approximated by the Google map photographs, although they are not as up-to-date as 2010--see the lack of a rapid at Pierce Ferry.  Another approximation.)

With these considerations in mind, I have settled on drawing the ---- + ----- + Park boundary by following the river edge line on the variously dated USGS quads. This line seems intended to indicate, "approximately", the river channel pre-dam, that is as of 1882, or 1923, or whenever the quad data was collected. In this way, the encroachment and silt pile-up on the south bank under previous high waters of the reservoir does not imply any taking of what was certainly, and is certainly, Hualapai land. In the present river-flowing regime of the upper Hoover reservoir, the wet foot/dry foot doctrine is mostly fairly obvious. To mile 273.3, if you step on land on the south bank, you are on Hualapai land, even if it is onto silt or mud. And if the reservoir should rise again, and water should cover that silt, remember that all things change, and behave well.

Friday, March 5, 2010

GCNP river boundary 19; reservoir boundary (cont)

Looking at the big bend at mile 277, where the boundary crosses from river left to right. This does not involve the Reservation. Using the Google satellite map brings up the brown "flats" as shown on map 50. The brown river is flowing close to the right bank. If we use this as a discussion platform for "to the Colorado River", then we can see that 
1. historically, the boundary went to something like this river-like stream (even though the channel of 1880 might have been further to the south), and 
2. the representation should surely coincide to that current (the new) channel. 

In other words, to be true to the EO of the Reservation, we need to bring the boundary to the river, as defined on that Google map by the wet brown and dry brown. Even though there have been times when water covered the dry brown flat. That is, we can define a river resembling the 1880 river, and a south bank resembling the 1975 bank. I.e., to meet the EO description requires that the lake spread be ignored, wet or dry, as a phenomenon different from the daily fluctuation of the river from dam releases. 

Looking at various places along the shore, there are sandbars/islands where the map shows the  blue reservoir; implication being that at certain points, the boundary needs to be checked against the photo. But same thought applies, that the south bank, TO the river, is stable, and the sand bars are more similar to daily fluctuation. 
  The Google photos show the slumping of the silt banks, and some sand bars on the maps have eroded (mi 262). However, a comparison of the relevant 40 miles on the maps and on the photos indicates there is very little change. Drawing the boundary on the river then is not only symbolically correct, but usually physically accurate in that it matches the silt deposit.

It is still possible that the blue between reservoir max. line and the old river channel (which may have shifted due to silt deposit) should not be just blue, but blue-green-brown.

GCNP river boundary 18; reservoir boundary

I have continued on downriver, putting in the ------- + ------- + boundary on the south shore, and also removing references to LMNRA --stippling, labels--, and other clutter. I found one error: at Granite Park, after I removed the stippling on river left, I put sand over the left channel around the island; corrected to show water, since that is the boundary.  I am now down to the Separation quad, where the reservoir high water line begins to show below Bridge Canyon.
  The problem is that both the old river south shore and the maximum reservoir edge are depicted. As we go downstream, the quads show the area between these lines in a lighter blue.
And at times, there has been water there; at other times, like now, the water is back in a moving river channel, approximating the old line. However, silt & vegetation have certainly been added. So how to show the "wet-foot/dry-foot" boundary?
1. Along the old river edge. Most approximately appropriate (in miles and years) as an indication of Park jurisdiction. Doesnt imply any taking of Hualapai land.
2. Where the reservoir maximum visibly obviously departs from the old river edge. A boundary drawn along the reservoir line would be mostly wrong, particularly for the near drought-influenced future.
3. Split the difference? 
Two ------ + ------ + lines? 
A scattering or stippling over the intermediate area, now light blue? A combination of brown, green and blue? Would be simpler with just one color, say green, scattered over the blue?
4. In any case, there is a greater need to add text to say "Park boundary on south shore" or "Park boundary at water edge".

Monday, March 1, 2010

GCNP river boundary 17; river boundary

Starting at upstream junction with Hualapai land boundary, I am putting in a ------ + ------ + boundary along the river shore/edge to show the National Park Boundary. This uses the black pencil plus a + defined as a brush stroke. Also cleaning out any references to LMNRA boundary on Hualapai lands. Playing games with removing color caused by stippling. Really tricky when it runs across green. Leaves a residue, but not worth a complete clean-out. Selection brush A with enhance-> adjust color -> replace color is ok, but there should be a way to match the new color, so I may be missing something. 
File size goes from about 40 to 140 mb when shifting from indexed to RGB. 
Also figured out that river guide and quads are same size, a mile to about 2-5/8". This is about 42% file size in PSE, so use 50%. 
I will end up with a pretty good set of "boundary quads" from mile 164 down. Also put in a land boundary on Columbine and Snap Canyon, showing turkey wattle, and up toward Snap point. Shows pretty clearly that there should be an adjustment when western Canyon section is added to GCNP.
Backed up versions before adding boundary, so I have set that is like those I sent Duwain last week. Noticed that I forgot to remove crosses on Gateway.