Thursday, May 26, 2011

GCNP boundary: Tinkering & fussing; 1952-6

There was a stirring on boundary thinking when Regional Director Tillotson recommended in Oct 1952 that a study be prepared that would include all modifications in one bill.  New Director Wirth agreed in Jun 1953, saying that your view should be of long time requirements assuming "very much greater use", and not just present-day demands. Analyze scenic, scientific, historic, conservation, and administrative values. Assume a dam built to elevation 1877'. But note that proposals made in recent years for moving the boundary to get it away from the upper end of the reservoir "might constitute a more dangerous and damaging precedent than would encroachment". Moreover, if there are areas in that region that have Park quality, recommend them. Your study should be made based on the quality of the area and the lands needed for conservation and best use by the public. "If compromises must be made, they should be made, of course, at the Departmental and Congressional levels of responsibility and not by the Services's field party." 

It is worth remembering that Tillotson did not want to fight Reclamation on its demands, and perhaps he thought that Wirth would be more amenable to his point of view than Drury. However, although the latter was gone, Wirth had been present when Drury convinced the Secretary to make Reclamation back off the Kanab tunnel. Of course, it is true that Wirth's main contribution was the large-scale NPS development plan in its Mission 66. Still, while Bridge Canyon dam was on hold through the 1950's, this was also the period of the fight to keep dams out of Dinosaur National Monument, although that effort was led by forces external to government. Bryant was still sup't, and would be to March 1954, Tillotson dying a year later. And of course, since 1953, there had been a new federal administration, and the new Arizona Senator, Barry Goldwater, had a personal knowledge and experience of the Canyon. All in all, the mid-'50's could have been a chance to take a good, hard look at how the Park System should treat the Grand Canyon, or a chance to duck one's head. 
In Mar 1954, one view put to Tillotson (by his Chief of Lands McColm) was to cut out 1. any grazing land in the Monument if it were not needed for rim protection and 2. the main canyon  below 1880'. The latter strip could be put into the Recreation Area. This would not require congressional action nor cause much publicity nor admit NPS made an error with the Monument, as would a legislated NRA.

Tillotson laid out his position in April. 1. Extend the Park to include Kanab Creek a minimum distance north of the main rim, the line to be settled after negotiation and field study. Work on this should begin at once. 2. Establish a Bridge Canyon NRA to incorporate points of development and scenic interest. This should include the Monument and land eliminated from Park along that part of river that would be flooded. Work out details with Reclamation and Indian Affairs. It is not necessary to start this aspect now. He reasoned from principles: a reservoir in the Park by extension is as objectionable as by construction. A uniform administration is needed, and Lake Mead NRA is already large. The Park now includes the most spectacular segment of the Canyon, and Kanab-Havasu is its natural western limit. He doubted the need and public acceptance of a major westward Park extension. Kanab, however, is welcomed by all, and would block the tunnel. 3. He thought adding any of Marble Canyon was impracticable because of the Navajo, and had said so back in 1932. [No mention, though, of land being returned to Havasupai.] He wanted "a firm decision", even though Bridge dam is now on hold. 

That same month, Wirth had written to the Secretary that NPS thought the best course was to abolish the Monument and set up a Grand Canyon NRA at the same time as the dam was authorized. In June, replying to Tillotson, he thought the NRA should run from the Park to the Grand Wash Cliffs. He had reservations about cutting reservoir-affected lands out of the Park, and preferred to look at the Monument as is, not focussing on grazing, but on long-range public demands for opportunities to enjoy the Canyon. He agreed on Kanab; Tillotson should confer with the Forest Service, and report by September. On Marble, although he agreed, he wanted to take into account the view of the Sierra Club's Bestor Robinson; he has been insistent on including some of Marble [see my 2 Aug 2010 entry]. Tillotson replied that he was sending a landscape architect to get details.

The joint Park Service/Forest Service field trips were in July 1954, including a flight over the lower Kanab canyon. Short-term GCNP Sup't Patraw liked the views from Jumpup Pt in Kanab, although he thought the public need was slight since it was similar to the view from Kanab Point. He thought the boundary would be well-defined on the base of the Coconino ledge, taking in the south end of Jumpup and part of the Gooseneck, (He suggested one mile south of the north line of T36N, from the base of the Coconino at the central east-west line of 36N, then west to NF bdy.) There was no need to take the Point itself.
The Forest Supervisor reported that the lower Kanab - Fishtail was isolated, without timber. The line was not on sections because it would have caused hunting problems and taken timber. The Game Preserve protects against mining claims. The land west of Havasu, has canyons, little grazing, and no advantage for our administration. The Hull/Papago changes were approved November 1950. The idea of taking in some of Marble Canyon would involve land that is no more interesting than that under Navajo Bridge (sic. !) In the Monument, Toroweap is a good example of a grass-covered, non-overgrazed valley, but otherwise there is more land in it than needed for administration or development. He noted the NPS team recommended deleting most of the Kanab plateau lands.

August, Tillotson received the field report, including on a conference, that recommended keeping in the Monument two miles of upper Toroweap Valley cliffs, and eliminating sagebrush country while keeping enough for a road. Land near Havasu to be added should include Little Coyote Canyon and T33N. Patraw commented that he remembered some of the results differently, and did not agree on others. He wanted to eliminate sections 29-31 of 6w34, 35-6 in 7w34, 26-8 of 6w35, and 32 of 6w34. He was unimpressed by upper Tuckup. On the south side, exclude 32-6 of 5w44 while adding the "wedge" of NF between the Park and Monument.

Tillotson reported in November 1954 that Forest Service had not responded. He thought the Kanab line three miles too far north. He agreed on the Hualapai Hilltop and Long Mesa "wedge" addition, as well as Papago, and even on the Monument eliminations. 

I wonder if NPS, used to its internal debates, was startled to hear from the citizen's group, the Nature Conservancy, in Jan 1955. Its President Pough had heard of planned eliminations from the Monument, and he was dubious given the value of the land for wildlife. NPS replied that he could look at the boundary report, but in the office, since it was being reviewed. Another new voice was heard when Senator Goldwater asked about these studies, and was also told in Jan 1955 that they were being reviewed and needed Forest Service input. He replied that he had asked about eliminating the lands almost a year before and was awaiting a promised "expedited" study by Tillotson. So NPS met with him, finding him amiable (of course), agreeing to all our intentions, including field study on appropriate fencing. He said he was opposed to the Kanab tunnel. Pough followed up that field study by asserting the Monuments needed to be free of grazing to show what livestock-free land could look like. So he preferred a smaller non-grazed GCNM to a large, over-run one, and agreed with the "Cottam" report, although he also hated to see the whittling down of boundaries, since grazing will end someday. We should jealously guard what we have, given increasing population and recreation.

Cottam was a professor of botany at Univ. of Utah, and had been collecting plants at GCNM since 1930. In January 1955, he wrote Wirth that he did not see the need to keep much of the plateau, and proposed a fence line to create a genuine wildlife sanctuary on some of the points above Tuckup Canyon. Allow no grazing below rim there, the gorge areas should be kept primitive, as should the Uinkarets, where there is the least damage. The Monument is of scientific import, e.g., its distribution of plants. He lauded long-time Ranger John Riffey for his bird observations and cooperation. The latter reported in March on the grazing: The Cottam fence line would not be sufficient protection; cattle could still range at will, so more, better fencing required. There has been a drop in some numbers being grazed, so the plants may have a little better chance. However, the animals (sheep and cattle) on Tuckup Point use even the farthest points on snow. SB Canyon not controlled enough. Cattlemen are very reluctant at the thought of ending use. Riffey looks forward to time when permits would be gone, an indication quite contrary in spirit to Tillotson's unceasing (well, he died in this month) desire to placate the stockmen. He thought the Uinkarets were greatly over-used. Regional NPS did not see much in the Cottam report to cause it to change; grazing will terminate in a reasonable time. Sup't suggested a line in April to include important lands, not just a convenient fence; this would keep "a nice block of plateau land", and then we could eliminate the grazing. Other NPS advice agreed with the notion of dealing with the grazing so it would not be a problem after the Monument boundary was re-drawn. 

March 1955,  the Kaibab Forest had a new supervisor, and in reply to an inquiry from the DC office, said he was re-studying NPS ideas on the 46-kac addition in Kanab area, 1000 near Grandview, and the "thumb" near Havasu. He was sure that AzGame&Fish would "voice discord". NPS was close to finishing its report. All agreed there would be no publicity until we are in accord; NPS Director might talk to Chief Forester. GCNP sup't Patraw did bring in a report, sent to DC in April, where an inter-agency conference decided to have a field trip in May, since they could agree only on the two Coconino tracts of 1120 acres. Kanab was very scenic, but public domain was involved, too. NPS said that while there were deer, hunters seldom went in that area.

The Forest Service then showed how much it had changed, the regional forester counter-attacking by asking for forested strip on the North Kaibab that the Park had gained in the 1920's. The GCNP Sup't shot back in June that that issue was settled in 1927, and it was hardly too much land to have for a virgin forest and wildlife, free from logging, hunting & predator control. The FS riposted that their study of the possible land changes would have to wait past the "heavy field season", since local and regional FS needed to take some time to be sure of their facts about Kanab grazing.

August 1955, Riffey reviewed the Monument grazing situation: Permittees are reconciled, and will welcome a permanent solution with relief. The proposed retention lands are little used because of the terrain. "Martine" only holds their permit out of sentimental value; there are a few horses which her boys dont bother with. Others use the land so little, the loss of the retained lands would not matter. 

Nov 1955, new Sup't McLaughlin wrote that a Mission 66 development would be ideal in Havasu; NPS could afford to pay dearly for the area since there is water. Havasupai do covet portions of NPS lands for grazing, but their morale seems to be getting worse since the young are leaving and BIA may move them. DC replied that this idea of moving the Havasupai was worth pursuing.

Meanwhile, the Forest Supervisor had still not completed his report, although he told McLaughlin NPS was asking too much in the Kanab area. They were not done by end of the year, and that brought an order from the Chief Forester to have the report in by mid-January 1956. This was to be a full attack by the Forest Service, which said the process should be give and take, not just giving up Forest land. There followed a conference with local NPS on 10 Jan, and a FS supervisor's report two days later, centered on the new FS proposal to get some of the Kaibab timber out of the Park. The region agreed, saying a strong effort should be made since we are giving the Park what it wants, so it is only fair to take timber back  into the Forest. Superficially, the January 1956 talks were "friendly, cordial & cooperative", but the FS stance was evident from their first proposal to include only the inner canyon at Kanab. For the timbered land, FS used data from 1922 to make a 133 mbf proposal and another for 80. Kanab has good winter grazing, and the stockmen should be able to put cattle below the rim; a photo showed a grassy area just inside the NPS line. There were winter deer for hunting on horseback, so it is a good area for those who want to get into the backcountry. Also, NPS administration would be complicated if it had this area. So FS suggested a line going northwest up drainage in the center of section 29 of 3w36. Then along Kaibab rim from Fire Point to south line of 31 in 2w34; then east to line between 2 & 3e, then north. This would add 24 kac to the Forest, including the Point Sublime road. This heavily timbered land would contribute materially to the economy of the State and the Nation [no mention of the horrible logging practices then used that led to the collapse of logging and huge fires], boomed the Forest Service. There would be thousands of acres left for scientists and recreationists. The fire danger would be reduced, and scenic strips would be left along the Point Sublime road. They had also found some ponderosa on the west side of the Monument that could go to the Forest Service for a seed orchard. [Forgetting that they did not really want the isolated Mt Trumbull section of the Kaibab NF, which abutted the "orchard" tract.]
  On the south, Long Mesa was called "exceptional grazing land" [all mention of Havasupai rights have long disappeared from this cynically modernized Forest Service]. It could be developed for the Havasupai horses [which everyone had long refused to do, usually claiming the grazing was poor and the Havasupai would not control the horse population].
  This report went to DC, and in April 1956 to the NPS Director. A subsequent conference had the Forest Service agreeing to the Kanab transfer of 38,730 ac, changing the line from a legal line to a topographic one. FS also accepted giving up the Papago/Coconino north halves of sections 7 & 8 in 5e30, Hull Tank, and some of Long Mesa near Havasu. In return, FS wanted 24 kac of timber and the seed orchard near Mt. Trumbull. The Secretary of Agriculture also wrote to Interior hoping that they could agree on GCNP and other park adjustments. 

Once McLaughlin re-stated the Park case for part of Kanab, FS backed off its position, offering the lower part of Jumpup Canyon and its south fork, then over to the Coconino layer opposite the Fishtail. A more northerly boundary in Kanab, the FS said, would take in grazing lands. [This was grazing along the creek; it would be 20 years more before the FS finally began to realize this was a hurtful, wasteful resource use.] They also noted there was a permit for horses in lower Kanab [when that permit finally did get in the Park in 1975, it was extinguished]. Also there was the "trophy hunting" below the rim [the FS, he pro-hunting groups, & the Game Dep't always drag out their trophy deer in these debates. Like "waving the bloody shirt" by Civil War veterans, the bow-&-bullet boys trot out the bloody big deer antlers]. 

My comment: Notice that once again, the notion of Park protection brings out the exploitative perspective as a way of defending even the scantiest of resource uses. The hunting and grazing were trivial and destructive; the Forest Service/BLM never should have had jurisdiction of Kanab Creek. Even now with grazing mostly gone, the hunters would still wave the bloody antler, even though no one ever produces any evidence that Kanab Creek Wilderness itself is used for killing deer. 

The Forest Supervisor continued his attack by spinning the tale that the mesa near Havasu was valuable for grazing. He then went after the Park southern boundary [never adequate for Park administrative and development purposes, according to NPS] by suggesting six sections of ponderosa should be given to the Forest as a "seed orchard". [The FS cyncism here is immense, since the logging in the Forest from the 1930's had been intense.] McLaughlin felt uninformed about this, but agreed anyway. Having warmed up, the FS now went after the real prize: that part of the Kaibab timber they had "lost" in 1927. Logs, cows, and deer carcasses were what the FS saw as its future . McLaughlin replied that he saw ponderosa, springs, and live deer, all important to the increasing visitor population, and putting the boundary on the rim would only cause trouble. So FS backed off on getting the Pt. Sublime road into the Forest, and offered the Mt. Trumbull area as a sop -- a gambit NPS had before declined. The Supervisor claimed the ideas all came from his region, making even more obvious that this ploy was based on raw territoriality. McLaughlin shot back that he was surprised the FS didnt care about recreation, instead concentrating on an extensive logging road net, while making no plans for ponderosa preservation. [All true, and those years of resource spoilation have all come back to haunt the Kaibab, with the collapse of logging, the fires, and the near-total dedication of the plateau for non-destructive recreation.] McLaughlin then shrugged his shoulders to his boss, saying he did not  see much gain to the Park from these proposed additions & subtractions, and NPS had nothing to bargain with, i.e., the FS strategy had worked. Also, he concluded, giving up the Monument lands was not worthwhile. He suggested that a more interesting course would be to negotiate with the Havasupai to get development sites in Havasu in exchange for plateau grazing lands. Such a move would take a long time, though. 

[This Forest Service system-gaming is an unrefreshing reminder of just how far the agency had sunk, showing up here as only an abettor of the conversion of a national resource to private profit. Entrenched by its local political connections and narrowly blinkered in vision, the FS was a long way from the resource conservation agency of 1910 that had promoted a Park and an adequate Havasupai reservation. It has climbed back a long way from this 1950's low point, but a tremendous amount of damage had been done.]

Even though Tillotson was departed, his spirit seemed to prevail in the NPS regional office. In February, it agreed to the Forest Service line across Kanab, and failing to see what the FS was about, suggested maybe giving ground on the Kaibab timberland, yielding the northern row of sections. It asked McLaughlin for clarification on various points. He replied that if the ponderosa is so great, then we should keep it as a virgin stand. He also continued to argue for keeping Monument land. This led to further discussion, which highlighted that this was an office exercise, a section here and a section there, a fixing up with no overall vision.

The May 1956 reply by NPS was to say thank you for the land it was given and no thanks to FS desire for timberland. The Director went back to the 1920's justifications for adding the lands to the Park: evaluation and use, roads, proper interpretation, better protection of scientific features, wildlife. He was willing to make a cooperative agreement on the seed orchard. FS replied 28 May 1956 that it did not object to a bill, but was disappointed on "not getting our lands". But when NPS tried to get the agreement cleared for legislative action, Reclamation opposed because the Kanab tunnel would be foreclosed. 

There were outside pressures as well, as indicated by inquiries from cattlegrower allies through Goldwater to put pressure to have lands released from the Monument. This led to  another field trip in June 1956, and the usual response, e.g. on the Uinkarets, McLaughlin wanted to keep, but "in the spirt of compromise" he could let the north part go. [ Compromise, pray tell, of what?] The regional director, noting he was not familiar with the territory, was working on the "seed orchard". NPS in DC seemed to be supporting this process of deliberation, detached as it was from reality, saying in June that a draft bill would be prepared soon. Indeed, Director Wirth talked with Senator Hayden, who wanted to know about the effect on Bridge's reservoir. So field was asked to comment on including a 1877' limit on the dam height, and wondering whether conservation groups would go along. Again, the answer was more words on paper: maybe put the northern Monument in an NRA, and the southern part in the Park; that would be most convenient. In a meeting, the Sup't told the Director he was worried that any change in Monument status might end up with a specific authorization for both reclamation and grazing. This would lead to a fight by the conservationists. So lets keep changes to the Monument a separate issue. DC wanted to keep the possibility open, and discuss it with Hayden and Goldwater. June 1956, NPS sent Goldwater a draft bill to review. Nothing was done in the rest of that Congress.

NPS sent its formal proposal to Goldwater in January 1957, and it was introduced on 17 Jan 1957 by Goldwater and Hayden. The entire bill was a description of the proposed boundaries. Here is the map showing affected land in yellow. The areas were:
DELETE: 1 Tuckup
               2 Jensen
               3 south tier of sections
ADD: 4  Long Mesa
         5  Lower Kanab
         6  Hull Tank
         7  Papago (later Coconino)

Just for fun, here is a reproduction from the bill of the description-by-word for the Kanab Creek section:


NPS stated the first addition was to preserve the "interesting side canyons of Little Coyote, Beaver, and Hualapai" and to straighten out that irregular boundary near Havasu. The addition of major importance would add the north side of the Canyon and lower Kanab Creek, with superlative scenic and recreation features.  Near the Village, NPS wanted 1120 acres in two pieces for road buffers. Then there were the three parcels excluded from the Monument; there were not necessary for administration, so could continue as grazing land.

Note that NPS asked only for what the FS had conceded; the NPS original idea for Kanab was a line three miles north of the northernmost point of this proposal. But by running the boundary up the middle of a side canyon, NPS was being illogical: Why was half the side canyon Park-worthy, while the north side was only good for deer-killing?

Sources: NPS archives: Regional Office (NARA, Denver); DC Office  
Also, NPS archives from DC (McKinney's office) (1956)
FS Albuquerque regional office (1954-63)

No comments:

Post a Comment