Thursday, September 9, 2010

GCNP Boundary: G: EMBARRASSMENT ON THE west end wattle; 9/27/10 CORRECTION

The GCNP boundary segments in the extreme west are dumb.
CORRECTION: Well, no it is not a correction, for it is dumb, but I have remembered/realized to my horror, that I am the dumb one. This Segment G and the one north of the river, Segment H, officially appeared in 1969 on a map drawn by NPS for, I believe, Senator Case, based on the proposal Martin Litton and I worked up for the Sierra Club in March 1966, and that the Club Board approved in 1968. 

Segment F, on the south side of the river, is, at least, well defined. It lies between Lake Mead National Recreation Area (LMNRA) on the west, along the 1964 LMNRA boundary on the south, the Hualapai Reservation on the east, and the south bank (water's edge) on the north. BUT.

I would like to think that had we been less occupied by other additions and subtractions, we might have taken a hard look at this landscape and our goals, and come up with a more Canyon-oriented line. I would like to think that had we had someone to work with in Senator Goldwater's office with the kind of good will and smarts that we found in Representative Morris Udall's, this boundary would have been drawn well in the first place. The facts are that I had six or seven years to think about the boundary's details.

The facts are that in the years from 1967 through 1972, a number of proposals were offered with more or less the aim of going down river from the GCNP to include lands that would have been affected by Bridge Canyon dam plus some other acreage in the vicinity. Those friends of the Canyon who were advocating as complete a Park as possible thought that at least all of the Canyon in LMNRA should be shifted from the Boulder City administration to the Park.

At Dec 1972 and Jan 1973 meetings at his home, Senator Goldwater agreed to our idea of going to the Grand Wash Cliffs. Unfortunately, he turned the details over to his aide T. Emerson. When we (John McComb of the Sierra Club & I) came up to Emerson and offered our help in drawing the map, he stiffed us. Again in 1973, before the Goldwater bill was introduced, Emerson refused our help. Now, I dont believe for a minute that Emerson got out the maps and figured out where the boundary should be. My guess is that he passed it on to NPS and its Denver Service Center. This may be true, but it is not generous. What I did not do was get out the new 15' topo maps in 1973-4 and do my homework. Some kind of apology is in order.
The turkey wattle is what we got south of the river:

And here is a screen shot from one of Google's terrain maps  to provide context for the lines above:
The pink vertical lines highlight the western boundary, where it crosses the river, and where it adjoins the Hualapai Reservation on the east.
Between the west and river crossing, the boundary lies along the south bank of the river, while between the river crossing and the Hualapai lands, there is Park on both sides of the river. 

The major problem with the wattle is that the west section of it is below the Grand Wash Cliffs, and is not therefore part of the Grand Canyon drainage. In other words, west of a line indicated by my green crosses, the land should have remained part of LMNRA. Cave Canyon is the last of the Grand Canyon's side canyons and contains important sites like Rampart Cave, so even if the lands west of the GW Cliffs reverted to Lake Mead, this sliver is Park-worthy. Here is the USGS topo for that sliver:

One more task for the future's to-do list...

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