Monday, December 13, 2010

GCNP Enlargement: Talking It Over, 1922-4

In the summer of 1922, the Forest Service wanted a survey of the indefinite Kaibab boundary since administration was difficult, although NPS had said nothing. Kaibab Supervisor Roak complained about the drift of cattle onto the Park and the need to get a one-mile strip out of the Park for the water; otherwise at some point NPS will push cattle out. He was concerned about getting the Quaking Asp/Stina/Tapeats drainage out of the Park, but his boss gave him no encouragement, since "the controversy over this would be poor". In September, GLO agreed to survey the Kaibab boundary. Feb 1923, although NPS had a brochure that included a complaint about GCNP's boundary inadequately providing space for tourist development, the agency stated it was not presently working on any change. The Park map, with the Mathes mapwork back in 1902 as starting point, was being worked on by R.T. Evans of the Geological Survey, during which, Dec 1921, he had proposed saving survey money in the southwest corner by excluding Beaver Canyon from the Park, saying it was unknown when the Park was created. Evans was also impressed with the Tapeats-Thunder drainage, thinking access to it should be in Park. But the President's Forest flurry of 1921-2 seemed a solitary disturbance. 

By late 1923, matters were livelier, and a more gritty discussion was starting to take place. This back-and-forth between the Park and Forest Services was the sort of detailed debate that had not taken place ten years before. Perhaps it could not have; even a few years of on-the-ground experience for NPS helped it understand better GCNP's administrative needs; and perhaps just getting the Park established in 1915-9 was enough to occupy Mather and Albright's energies. A few years later, and Mather could respond to a broadening of the Park's scope with enthusiasm.

Sep 1923, Mather had been on another visit to the North Rim. He travelled from Fredonia  with C. McCormick of that town, who suggested getting the boundary "back a little on natural features". Mather was reported by the FS as talking to locals Oct 1923 about moving the Park boundary. Poor controversy or not, now it was NPS who was considering going west to get Thunder River. Mather also wanted to pick up the top of the Kaibab including VT Park and Pleasant Valley, and add the southern end of House Rock. Since the Grand Canyon Cattle Company had the only grazing, at first, people were disposed to sign Mather's petition. An FS inspector countered by meeting with local citizens of influence to tell them his agency protected features of high recreation value, which Mather claimed would be lost if they were not in Park. The inspector opined that tourists liked cowboys and their camps at VT. KNF contributed funds to the county. It would be more difficult for NPS to deal with excess deer, and the Forest Service had a plan. These arguments, FS higher-ups were told, moved general opinion against the Park.

Mather instructed GCNP Supt Crosby in Sep 1923 to dispatch cartographer Evans to look the north side area over. Mather wanted lower Kanab and Marble "back", plus deMotte Park on the Kaibab and a swath of forest a couple of townships deep. His suggestions on boundary changes aimed to include much more of the Tapeats drainages. Short-term Supt. Crosby  provoked Mather by dawdling on getting Evans to the north side. Crosby replied he had sent Evans, and added his own ideas about fixing the southern boundary's "jogs", since hunters seem unable to find them; he worried about the area open to hunting. He expressed his preference for straight lines. 

Evans spent Autumn on the Kaibab, and he and Crosby agreed except about Dry Park. He then worked on the southern boundary in November, and reported his findings to his USGS boss (CHBirdseye, who had led the Colorado river survey that year) in December. Here is a copy of his roughly drawn map:
The red line and the dash-dot line show the 1919 boundary; Evans' is the heavier black. Starting with the southwest corner and the north-pointing finger of  Beaver/Little Coyote Canyons, he offered sweeping revisions to that restrictive cordon. Instead of dropping those canyons, as he had earlier suggested to save survey work, he straightened the boundary to go due west. He followed the 1919 law north and east to Kanab Creek, which he went up to reclaim lower Kanab (his ambition exceeded his map's reach) for the Park, curving around and down onto the Kaibab, which he crossed trying to pull in some of the parks (treeless meadows). He then threw up a northeast spur to reclaim lower Marble. As his line went south, he added an arrow (shown) and a note that the Superintendent did not want to keep that area east of the Colorado and north of the Little Colorado. His two diagonal lines must have been intended to approximate a line to meet the need to move back from the rim for roads and protection. And he was not bothered by the wiggling line going northwest along the road survey

Evans' arguments based on this map were that VT/DeMotte Park (the north jog on the Kaibab) was needed for administration and as the transport hub. As deer winter range, it will delight all summer visitors. He described his line as going up Kanab for 7 miles, then turning up Sowats for 3, and Indian Hollow for 17. It had the advantage of being insurmountable for the most part. His boundary would include rim points, natural features, and make the area easy to reach, in contrast to Crosby's ideas, which were too close in to the rim. So in 1w35 [my shorthand for R1W, T35N], follow the trail for 9 miles; it could become the road to the Tapeats rim, more or less south and west from VT. Then use section lines across the Kaibab because of the breadth of topography, to keep "chance hunters' shots" away. Enclose VT along divides, then go east on the south line of Township 35 to get the rim points on the north side of South Canyon. The road from VT to North Canyon had good views, and should be in the Park. This would total 50 sq. miles.
  On the south side, he wanted to add section 12 of 2e30 at the entrance (just above the second "A" in PLATEAU), with two diagonals in 3e30 and 4-5e30, thereby avoiding Hull Tank and private land. Then go east 5 miles (off the map) and north across Little Colorado, adding timber and the road to Cape Solitude. Toward the west, he would make the line straight from the Supai road 15 miles. There could be a wild game pasture on the long promontory (above Beaver) west of Hualapai Canyon, where there were 24 antelope. The canyon he had previously wanted to cut out was now of "rare beauty possessing curious and fantastic recesses and a large group of pinnacles". Deer population seemed stable compared to 20 years ago; natural and human predation kept a balance.
Evans' argued that Crosby's and Mather's ideas were too restrictive. Certainly, his vision was the most sweeping made in this period.

By Feb 1924, Eakin was the new superintendent and added his complaints about trespass east of Grandview near the Navajo lands. He mostly agreed with Evans' ideas, but since the Navajo reservation was not by treaty, and had been part of National Forest, he wanted to take in more land to the Little Colorado (but only to Straight Canyon). However, he wrote, north and east of the junction of the rivers is difficult to administer, so he recommended returning it to the Navajo and argued for a natural boundary.* On Evans map of 1 Dec 1923, there are initialed notations that this trans-river area above the junction is of no interest to the Park and very difficult to administer, although Cape Solitude (south of the Little Colorado) is extremely valuable to the Park; with water development, it has the greatest possibilities on the south rim as a game preserve.

In that month, Chief Forester Greeley was visiting the regional office that covered the Kaibab NF, and found there the opinion that the Park needed "certain small areas" for roads and administration. They will forward recommendations, since if "adjustments are needed for rational development", we should support them. The KNF supervisor was asked what he thought of changes to give "elbow room" to the Park, including only timber that can be spared. Also, look at the section containing the route to Thunder River, since that feature seems to be a type that justifies being in the Park. [I ask of them, a question still relevant, what is the "type" of land that justifies any of Kanab canyon Not being in a Park?] We want, said Greeley, to make our recommendations before other sources act. A policy statement was also prepared on the Kaibab. After describing the FS "conservative" management and the many problems, the statement noted the need for development space for the Park, and the value of adding Thunder River & trail. The FS, however, did not want to lose areas on east and west that might be needed for winter cattle range. A game utilization plan would use the plateau rim as a boundary, meandered at the foot of the main rim. The Sublime road should be improved, and also one to Quaking Asp. 

KNF agreed that the Park did not have enough land for proper roads, trails, and ranger stations. The supervisor's suggestions were adopted by his boss, including keeping all of the Quaking Asp drainage in the Forest. He says that Little Park had water within two miles and could be used for proper buildings; there could be roadheads to Point Sublime and Greenland, as well as the route toward Thunder. The discussion among the three levels continued until November 1924 when they agreed on a recommendation close to the fuschia line:

It was described as a line ¾ mile below Topeats (sic) or Thunder, then along the divide on the west side of Topeats to the basal slope of the Kaibab, and then along Stina to a line one mile east of the Gila & Salt Meridian, near the common corner of 7, 8, 17, 18 of 1E34, then 10 miles east to corner of 11,12,13,14 of 2E34, then south1½ miles, then east 6 miles to divide between South and Thompson canyons, then along divide between South and Saddle on north, Thompson,( Road, Bright Angel?) and Nankoweap on south, 8 miles to Saddle Mountain, then on divide north of Nankoweap to the Colorado. They said they gave no consideration to transferring any deer range, and that their recommendations were "very liberal", giving Park everything but deer. 

On the south side, the Tusayan NF Supervisor claimed NPS was pushing for section 12 of 2E30, which Evans had recommended. NPS complained back that Tusayan NF had opened for settlement a small tract in that section near the Park entrance. Apr 1924, it was withdrawn from settlement. It was at this time that M.Tillotson, engineer, later superintendent and regional director, began his quarter-century preponderance in GCNP affairs.

So, by Spring 1924, McCormick and Evans had formulated similar ideas about new boundaries, and the FS region had its ideas for adding an area to the park for resorts, about 40,000 acres. Not presciently, Mather expressed his opinion that killing deer would not be necessary. The focus on the deer and other wildlife was not new, but in part because of its swelling population, the Kaibab mule deer herd was much more visible, the kind of tourist attraction that Mather thought NPS was created to conserve. So there was talk of adding still another tier of townships, since "winter range was the key". McCormick wanted to go even farther north, to a Sowats-North Canyons line, but knew there was too much opposition. He thought the line the Forest Service wanted was poorly chosen with no natural restrictive features, and cut out east-side mountain sheep range. He would settle on going from South Canyon rim, across VT Park, and then along the north rim of Quaking Asp to Sowats, including Showerbath Spring in Kanab canyon. He also wanted to protect House Rock for the buffalo and antelope. July 1924, Eakins told his north rim ranger to get ready for a Mather-Evans-Greeley visit in August, but keep it extremely confidential because it "might be fatal if local residents of that country should know about it".

Oct 1924, Mather wrote that "the tame deer are a great local asset". An enlarged Park would be a sanctuary for them. He offered to pay a local man to spy on the deer shipments, and expressed his opinion that initiative for boundary changes would best come from local people. He suggested that McCormick be consulted, and then Hayden, who would be largely guided by local views. McCormick offered to circulate a petition, and called attempts to drive the deer to other areas "total failures". He also cautioned Eakin that the locals oppose jogs and non-natural boundaries. Eakin replied saying that there would be employment for locals as well as increased tourist travel. Mid-November, the Regional Forester settled on a proposal with definite lines.

Mather wrote McCormick in Jan 1925 that he was remaining quiet, but sent along USGS maps displaying Evans' views, and agreed that natural features were best for control and administration. Sup't Eakin said NPS goals were summer and winter range (for deer), and space for roads. So for full development, the Park needed more land. Eakin was trying to meet with Hayden. Feb 1925, Mather made his case to Hayden for boundary changes: proper road development, water for hotel and camp, VT as a natural administrative center with trails and road leading out, winter range on east and west for the advantage of the deer. At this point, Forest Service officials were pleased with NPS relations, which were mostly friendly cooperation. NPS had gone to lengths to help on fire education. At first, they said, we thought it was a real raid, but not so, and we would not object to small changes for definite reasons. 

So there were jointly felt needs for boundary change, and there was this new NPS enthusiasm over the deer herd. There had been discussion internally and between agencies throughout 1924. Given the gap between the lines, the question was how to go about moving discussion along to some resolution? Or would talk bloom up into a real controversy over the "proper" management of the Kaibab Plateau?

*I have argued elsewhere (posts of 19 and 21 July 2010) that the Navajo Reservation meets GCNP on the left shoreline of Marble Canyon (land = Navajo, water = GCNP), and that NPS yielded its claim to any of that left-bank land in the 1920's. In the current narrative, we see the then-superintendent making that position explicit exactly during a discussion of what changes to make in the Park boundaries. He did not want the trans-rivers lands. For anyone to claim that any of those lands were put into the Park 40 years later (in the Marble Canyon NM proclamation) or 50 years later (in the 1975 GCNP Enlargement (sic) Act) is to attempt a latter-day "conquest of the red man", an embarrassing atavism that should be explicitly renounced by amending the 1975 Act to make it clear that the Park-Navajo boundary is the left shoreline. 

National Park Service archives, DC
Forest Service regional archives, Denver

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