Monday, September 20, 2010

GCNP Boundary: N Kaibab Forest Park

There are those who hate the idea of a loggable tree being in a National Park. Or a shootable deer. And thats the story of the Kaibab Plateau's magnificent forest and animal populations. Just as in Kanab's story, the first idea was a Park for the Canyon, but instead the Forest came first, and when the Park did struggle to get born, the Forest Service and its utilitarian friends had the upper hand. Here is the original GC Forest Reserve in red, and the 1908 GCNM marked by green diagonals.
You can see what a deep cut was made in the northern boundary to put the boundary on the rim, and thus most trees in the Forest. And notice too, on the eastern end, Segment O, Marble Canyon, and how its boundary was pushed downstream. 
When the Park was set up in 1919, it got some trees back, but lost all of Marble Canyon. Then in the 1920's, NPS, particularly Director Stephen Mather, waged a strong campaign to gain control of the famous Kaibab deer herd. Here is the battleground, suitably dark:

This is a copy of a Forest Service map made by the National Archives 35 years ago. I assume their technology has improved. Anyway, it is sort of fun. The key to the map is the white line across the middle, straight, stepped, straight, then jagged. That is the 1927 boundary between the Park and the Forest. Below it, around 60 sections worth, in a pale wash, is Forest land that went to the Park. So the lower boundary of that is what the Park was allowed in 1919, not much better than the Monument. And while the Mather effort to get more of the Kaibab forest had some success, all of Marble Canyon remained in the Forest or, farther north, in public land. That even paler wash above the Park line, all across the Plateau is what Mather asked for in 1925. Given the determination to keep every tree out of the Park shown by the Forest Service and its allies in 1908 & 1919, he scored.

And must be the fight satisfied or fatigued everybody, because the boundary across the plateau has stayed the same. Here is the 1975 Act official map:

There was change in Kanab and the west rim (Segments L & M), and change in Marble on the east (O), but Segment N stays as described in the 1927 Act:
 "thence southerly along the Gila and Salt River meridian to the northwest corner of what will probably be when surveyed section 18, township 34 north, range 1 east; thence easterly along projected section lines to the northeast corner of what will probably be when surveyed section 14, township 34 north, range 2 east; thence southerly along projected section line to the southeast corner of said section 14; thence easterly along projected section lines, a distance of approximately six miles to a point on the divide between South Canyon and Thompson Canyon; thence southeasterly along said divide, including the entire drainage area of Thompson Canyon and Neal Spring Canyon, to the intersection with the upper rim of the Grand Canyon; thence easterly along the main hydrographic divide north of Nankoweap Creek and Little Nankoweap Canyon to its intersection" Marble Canyon.

Here is BLM's prettier version:

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