Monday, May 30, 2011

GCNP boundary: Legislative Dead-end; 1957-66 (added to, 12 Apr 2012)

Secretary of the Interior F.K.Lane, at the time the Park was established: "It seems to be universally acknowledged that the Grand Canyon is the most stupendous natural phenomenon in the world. Certainly it is the finest example of the power and eccentricity of water erosion, and as a spectacle of sublimity, it has no peer."

That was the rhetoric for 1920: The 1950's were different. So what happened to this very bureaucratic attempt to patch and mend the Park and Monument?

Jan 1957: Local grazing board approves of eliminations
Feb: Letters indicating interest, and worry, of conservation organizations, Izaac Walton, Sierra Club, Desert Protective Council.
BLM reported there was considerable uranium prospecting in the general area. Deletions would be good for grazing, but they will not satisfy the local operators, and they will continue to demand additional restoration; we agree. "Sportsmen" were increasingly opposed to Parks, but most of land is now in Game Preserve, so little effect. [My comment: A strange point. As I wrote in a 3 Dec 2009 entry, this Preserve had no teeth, and was only a gov't declaration of its interest in wildlife.]
Mar: State Game & Fish Dep't worried about not being able to kill deer; NPS replies that there are few even hunted in the additions; deletions are more suitable for hunters.

Apr: Correspondence with Goldwater pointing to difficulties arising from the uncertainty over Bridge Canyon dam. 
Reclamation region suggested deleting Kanab addition because of its effect on the tunnel scheme as shown in House Doc. 419, 80th Congress, 1st session. Otherwise the power project would be in the Park.
May: Reclamation opposed the Kanab addition, since it would interfere with tunnel plan: Although no work was scheduled, the possibility should not be foreclosed. On Bridge, those parts of the Park to be inundated should be eliminated to the high water mark 1876', and Interior should recommend this.
NPS reply: In 1949, Secretary ordered Reclamation to abandon tunnel idea since it was just a way to do outside the Park what it could not do inside, and would still be damaging. The tunnel would cause a controversy just like Echo Park (the fight to keep dams out of Diinosaur NM that had just been won). The Secretary had allowed Reclamation to study Marble dam, and we did not object, but Kanab is a superlative, and integral, part of the Grand Canyon. NPS objected to any action connected to Bridge until it was authorized, since it would be controversial. 

Nov: NPS, having heard nothing, queried about the bill's status, and whether any concessions were necessary to break the stalemate. Sup't worried that holding up will end chances of change.

Jan 1958: No action to this point.
Feb: Regional NPS office reported that the Washington office was discouraging about action because of Reclamation action. 
Mar: NPS and Legislative Counsel office agreed on a favorable report.
Jun: Sup't, after field trip, thought the awkward boundary in the northeast of the Monument should be changed,
Oct: NPS wondered if Arizona applications for dams will make Reclamation more favorable to a boundary change. 

Feb 1959: NPS wrote the Secretary about the boundary fixes, pointing out that Arizona had applied to build a power dam that would kill tunnel concept. However, it had heard that the Legislative Counsel was holding up action until opposition by Reclamation was resolved.
  In a confused irrelevance, Rep. Aspinall of Colorado recalled a plan for several dams on the Little Colorado, to "save the deserving Indians". Just "readjust" some boundaries, and Park integrity would be preserved.
Jun: Director wrote the Secretary again, but at the same time cast doubt on any effect from state dam application, so NPS should not discuss.
Aug: One of the stock permittees asked if there was any action, and NPS said no, but his permit would continue, even with lifetime policy. 
Oct: The local BLM Advisory Board forwarded its support for the changes to the Secretary.

Aug 1960: NPS re-sent the bill to be considered for the 1961 legislative program.

Jan 1961: NPS got the idea of doing an end run on the congressional route by using the Antiquities Act. So, following the election, NPS recommended that the Secretary send the President a draft proclamation that would have effected the addition of Kanab and the deletion of the Monument plateau lands before Eisenhower left office on the 20th. All agencies had concurred, though it seems unlikely that would have included Reclamation.
Feb: Sup't reported the proclamation had not been signed.
Cattleman told BLM that getting land out of NM is a "personal matter". 
Mar: NPS wrote him that a draft was being prepared.

With a new administration in 1961, PS again asked for action on their bill, and the FS made a new effort to gather information on lands to be acquired from Interior that were timbered and would be logically administered as Forest. Forest Supervisors were also to look at lands where there were isolated pieces of NF that could be gotten rid of. So the Kaibab NF resurrected its 1956 proposal of trading Long Mesa and Kanab canyon for much of the forest on the north side of the Canyon, as well as adding to the Mt Trumbull section. Part of the argument for getting more of the Kaibab was the extensive access due to the spaghetti bowl of logging roads which could open up the way to viewpoints no one ever sees. And anyway, the deer in the Park were over-populated; the area was not used by NPS. It is entirely unlike the Canyon, and it would be more in the public interest to harvest timber and wildlife.

Jan 1962: Maps were prepared for a possible hearing on the NPS boundary fixes. No action.

In 1963, the enterprising Kaibab supervisor had figured out arguments to keep Hull tank and Long Mesa. They should have called him not-an-acre Hodgin.

Nov: NPS and FS met in DC. FS still wanted land on the north Kaibab, and did not understand why NPS wanted to keep it. FS asserted local people and hunters would not go along with the Kanab addition unless FS got something in return. 

Jan 1963: Following the NPS-FS discussion, the Director decided to push for other additions, since Reclamation would not go along with Kanab either, but we must be ready with a strong justification for keeping Kaibab forest land.
  Sup't McLaughlin wrote to a conservationist that lots of people were behind the Kanab addition, but talk of the tunnel continues, and its proponents think the Park addition would be a death blow. But Kanab should be pushed. 

Mar: FS changed its mind on the Hull addition, wanting to keep its tank and road, reducing addition to 1040 ac. McLaughlin sent this on, along with praise for the Park's Kaibab strip as a buffer against the heavilly logged and grazed Forest. It is a spectacular forest; he appreciated FS desire to log it. It also contained roads to Pt. Sublime, Powell Plateau, and springs. There is no grazing there. We could give them Fire Point, since it has ponderosa, and although there are views, it is isolated. 
Another NPS-FS discussion reaffirmed the FS desire to keep Hull, even though NPS wanted it for pipeline. When FS asked about Kaibab, it was rebuffed, and then it asked for Fire Point.  FS did not want Long Mesa wedge, so NPS said it did not care either, avoiding a bargaining chip. A log-hauling road was brought up. NPS decided not to ask for only part of Kanab, so a revised boundary report only dealt with the changes on the south boundary.

May: In the first action of this kind, the Sierra Club Board of Directors voted 4 May a resolution recommending that "the Grand Canyon National Park and Monument be extended to include the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River between Lee's Ferry and the Grand Wash Cliffs, or that the area be protected by other suitable means, to preserve unimpaired this outstanding scenic part of the river in its natural state, and the Sierra Club opposes any further dams or diversions in this area". According to the cover letter sent to NPS Director, this resolution was passed following "prolonged discussion and lively debate". 

Jul: In Oct 1962, Havasupai had asked for lands to be used in economic development and tourist enterprise expansion. NPS had refused permission to do grazing improvements for their pack animals. Havasupai wanted 110,000 acres from the Park and Monument, north of south boundary of 2w32, west of sec. 13. This had been considered in 1957 without action, and in Jul 1963 NPS re-consideration rebuffed the idea, seeing these lands as undeveloped natural area; part of wilderness. They were needed as buffer on the rim, and NPS did not want them grazed, saying Havasupai overgrazed and let stock run uncontrolled. This is all part of a much larger story, when events overran this bit-&-piecing effort.

Aug: GCNP urged action on small areas involving the cooperative agreement with the Forest Service (Coconino & Hull), since it was not working. Indeed, just to jump a bit to complete a piece of this story, in Feb 1966, the local NF ranger told the Park Sup't that the Forest now had need for the structures for timber inventory, mistletoe sale, and a full sale after that. Anyway, NPS had changed the highway, so it no longer needed the land. Although NPS had never kept up the buildings, it did argue that the esthetic & biotic values were important. Unconvinced, the Regional Forester terminated the 1951 cooperative agreement on 21 Feb 1966. 

Oct 1964: The GCNP boundary changes were not listed in the Interior proposed legislative program for 1965.

Mar 1965: New Park Sup't Stricklin met with remaining Monument permittees (7 of the original 15 were gone). Legislative action on boundary not likely.The permittees wanted to keep land for heirs, but NPS was not willing to change policy.

Jun: A letter came to NPS, a citizen with an idea: extend the Park downstream to Grand Wash Cliffs. And though not acted upon, it marks a good point to close this phase of our now eight-decade-long story, since the focus of Park legislation would  be radically changed during the 1964-75 efforts to stop dam-building, create a (more) complete Park, and repatriate Havasupai land. 

Sources: BLM archive in Denver NARA for Arizona office

FS Albuquerque regional office (1961-63)
NPS: DC, (incl McKinney's office);  regional archives (Md & Denver)
Reclamation archives in Boulder City

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