Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ingram Events Journal, 1966-8, part 1; added to 6/3/11

December 1965, the Sierra Club Executive Committee had approved hiring me as the Club's first Southwest Regional Representative. Although I did not keep a journal then, I have been able to extract from my files a kind of record of events during those crucial years of the fight to keep dams out of the Grand Canyon. As a break from the NPS-focussed GCNP story of the 1950's, I will formalize that record here, although the mix of memory and scraps of paper makes for a "reader beware" exercise. And I expect that I will need to revise this as time goes on. First, how did I get there? 

Made a passionate devotee by the Grand Canyon in 1962, I went in early November 1964 to a Santa Fe conference hosted by the new Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club. I found compatriots with far more knowledge of what was needed to defend the Canyon, including the Club's Executive Director, David Brower, there with his wife, and Eliot Porter, the photographer, whose book of Glen Canyon, The Place No One Knew, was an eloquent headstone not to let similar destruction come to "the place everyone knows". Somehow, conversation led to an invitation to lunch from this inspiring group. Inspired, yes; I then spent much of the next year learning about how to fight Reclamation and its dam plans. At the second Santa Fe conference a year later, Brower was there again. We chatted and his ideas about expanding the Club's reach by hiring regional representatives led me to ask what such people did. He filled a page with a list of duties and challenges for a Southwest position, and at the bottom, wrote, "Are you interested?" Silly question. 

A jubilant call to my wife Helen was followed over the next couple of months by the quiet torture of waiting for an organization to make up its mind. Somewhere in there, and I hope my memory of the sequence of events does not betray me, I went with Brower to Washington (DC), to be given a sense of what was ahead in the congressional struggle to stop the dams. 
There was a meeting with staff of various conservation organizations to talk about GC strategy. Many had been involved in the defense of Dinosaur NM in the early 1950's. It was a strange group; not at all the set of purists I saw myself as. I thought them superannuated; we were the middle-class revolutionaries who would change how things were done. At some dinner, Brower & I encountered Colorado's Rep. W. Aspinall, chairman of the House committee overseeing legislation affecting the dams; one of our principal opponents. As courtesy demanded, Brower introduced me. Aspinall remarked, smiling. "You have more hair on your face than I do on my head." I can take a hint. if I were going to lobby and people paid attention to my facial hair and not my message, that would be bad. So off came my six-month-old beard. Brower did not like it, either, and I knew that I wanted to work with him and for the Grand Canyon.

28-9 First assignment: Fly to Denver for the Rocky Mountain Chapter meeting. I may well have stayed at the (Richard) Lamms' house -- he a rising liberal Democrat, leader in the effort to end old anti-abortion laws, and later Governor. Out walking (in RMNP?) with Estelle __, she espousing the spiritual basis for the conservation (as it was called then) movement. And also Aldo Leopold's daughter, a spark for the Save Grand Canyon movement. Only memory of chapter meeting: someone telling me he thought he was the SW representative.

8-11 Fly to San Francisco for orientation and discussion on Grand Canyon campaign. More exposure to the hotel-restaurant life of being in the Brower entourage. Dinner at Sausalito restaurant--had to borrow tie-jacket. Another night, dinner at the Browers.

14-5 Rio Grande chapter meeting; I lived in Albuquerque; meeting likely in Santa Fe.
Somewhere early on, I went to Tucson to talk with Joseph Wood Krutch. Brower had made up a list of advisors for his new SW Rep. David Bradley, in Colorado Springs, a scion of a dam-fighting family, was another. 
24-6 Denver for chapter meeting and a workshop on the GC campaign, Brower in attendance. Stayed at Brown Palace. Met with Weiners (Ruth & Bob), activists on GC; leaders in parallel Colorado Open Space Council effort. We discussed the upcoming hearings on the Colorado River Basin legislation (including dam) before the House--was it still in the subcommittee or the full committee; Colorado's  Aspinall in charge. The "opponents'" effort/strategy at that time, led in the committee by Arizona's Morris Udall, was to craft a kitchen-sink CRB-wide bill that would satisfy everybody. We, of course, focussed only on opposing Marble and Bridge Canyon dams.

4-6 Flew to San Francisco for my first Board meeting. Conservation staff meeting too, I bet, though I would have been introduced around the office in February. So who would have been there: McCloskey, of course; Brock Evans (NW).  But Lloyd Tupling (DC), Gary Soucie (NE), Bob Waldrop (DC) yet? Stayed at the St. Francis that time; more than once. Also, with Helen at the Fairmount another time. At dinner: John Oakes, editor of NYTimes editorial page, Eliot Porter, Martin Litton, Sunset Magazine travel editor, were Board members, recruited (?) by Brower. (Oakes & I disagreed about Vietnam over dinner, so I know I was still benighted at that time.) Biggest shock was Board meeting behavior; I even wrote a pained, and private, denunciation at the huge amount of time spent on procedural matters compared to substance (GC, Redwoods, N. Cascades, et al.) Oakes & I agreed on that; he left in disgust later.

9 Discussion in Albuquerque on GC; new group formed sometime in here, to fight GC dams and also Hooker dam proposed for Gila Wilderness. Corey MacDonald; memory's gone on name of the others: Too bad, for they helped with my writing an article for the Club Bulletin on the Forest Service's new fascination with Supertrails, flatter and longer; machine-maintained; see Mt. Wrightson, Sandia Crest.

Time for editorial. Although I focussed on the Canyon, my job's emphasis was as support for the activist/volunteers/citizens who provided the strength of the Club. Im sure I was not always perfect in that exercise, but I did know what my responsibility was, that it was central, and that any staff/volunteer conflict was a thoroughly bad thing.

12-16 With Brower on trip into the big-time: Pittsburgh for North American Conference of all the conservation organizations. Much discussion on GC; Nat. Fed of Wildlife Kimball responded to Arizona members who were pro-dam; so wasnt helpful; a villain. Somewhere in here, we took a quick trip to NYC (see below).

17-18 Back to NYC to discuss with Club and J.Walter Thompson (ad agency) staff an impending conference at the Grand Canyon hosted by Readers Digest. Litton there, and thats where we sat down to draft the bill for a "complete" GCNP: our positive response to the dams, to be introduced as part of the conference. I remember we worked on it in a hotel room. Brower always stayed at the Commodore (?); had a regular room. We worked long distance with Colorado, New Mexico, & Arizona chapters to organize attendance at GC conference. Panel of speakers (no celebrities; knowledgable types) set up. Successful planning session.

24 To Santa Fe to show regional NPS staff our plan for GCNP legislation. At chapter meeting to urge attendance at Canyon. 

29-31 With Brower, first to Phoenix; met with some activist; monied? Then to GC for RD conference. Stayed at El Tovar. That tumultuous event needs to be written about on its own. GC bill was introduced by Rep. J. Saylor et al. Publicity was generated about the dam fight.

8 With Brower, in Denver to work with group on House hearing preparation.

21-3 Brower in Albuquerque, to work with GC Workshop and chapter on preparation.

25 To Phoenix, to meet with chapter on GCNP legislation. Came down with hives.

18-30 Back in 1965, I had started working on how the dams fit into the financing of the CRB projects. I continued this work at home. I was working out the arithmetic to show that the CRB waterworks could be paid for even if the GC dams were not built. The results were presented in what Reclamation called payout schedules. Aspinall had announced that only new material could be presented at the hearings. So thats what we were preparing. 

1-4 Finished up testimony, which was to be printed in a big poster format for the hearings.

5-7 Flew to San Francisco for Board meeting. Met Alan Carlin, who was preparing testimony on a nuclear alternative, and Larry Moss, with further damaging technical material. I had to report on the RD conference. 

8-14 Flew with Brower, Carlin, Moss, to DC for hearings. They were a week long, and we were allowed a spot on Friday. Rep Hosmer of Calif was mean to Carlin. I had a good time presenting my charts and numbers. More on that in the appropriate place.
I am not sure if this was our first contact with the key Washington state players: Rep Tom Foley and Sterliing Munro, administrative aide to Senator Henry Jackson. I became a regular visitor to their offices over the coming years to discuss status and what might be going to happen; hard to praise these two enough, except to compare them in acumen to Mo Udall. During this visit, Foley prevailed on us not to have our Northwest Representative testify since it would given Udall an opportunity to open up the issue of how much water there was in the Columbia and how come some couldnt be spared for the thirsty Southwest.

Did we go to NYC? Somewhere in here, the first of the full-page Grand Canyon ads were designed and produced. Brower & I did one; and the professional Jerry Mander another. His was more effective, hands down. 

16-17 With Brower (this is what his life was like: fly, fly; meet, meet; speak, speak; with Tanqueray as spice. He thrived; the charismatic feed on the response, yes?), we flew to Salt Lake City to give a talk on the GC. "After all, it is the Grand Canyon," I concluded; he approved.

17-18 Appeared on tv about the GC. The New Mex. Dem. party and Rep. party passed resolutions against the dams and for the GCNP. [Can that be true? Certainly there were pro-GC people active in the parties.]

20-1 Debate with Reclamation regional director in Santa Fe at a Democratic Party meeting.

23-4 Arranged for Denver activists to go to Phoenix to advise.

23-28 Worked with Albuquerque volunteers to form Save Grand Canyon Committee. Prepared materials for DC lobbying.

13-17 Lobbied in DC. We divided offices up; I visited offices of Texas congressmen. It may be an apocryphal memory, but I do recall one leathery old chap offering that age-old bit of advice about how the House worked: I scratch Udall's back; he'll scratch mine. 
But then there is Morris Udall's story about his lobbying a congressman who told him: "You want me to build dams in the Grand Canyon; the Speaker wants me to vote to expand the Capitol. Sorry, Mo, I can only do one desecration at a time."

20-7 Successful activation of Albuquerque volunteers.

28-30 In San Francisco. Martin Litton had given the film from his Grand Canyon trips to a movie-maker, along with a hard-hitting anti-dam script. Brower and I watched a first edit. I was appalled, and told Brower so. Ok, he said, you do it. 

1-5 Began work on film. I thought Martin's script was too much bomb-and-blast against the dams; I wanted to bring out what the Canyon is, its drama and excitement, its quiet and beauties, its variety and its eternity of meaning. So i had to write a script. But the film was already heavily cut for Litton's vision. Anyway, what did I know?

6 With Brower to Denver; work with Weiners; I noted "tv and film". 

10-12 To San Francisco to work on the film script. 

15-18 With a geologist knowledgable about the Gila, I took a field trip to the Hooker dam area, and looking as well at suggested alternate sites. None existed; it should all remain undammed. (And why werent there more such trips? I could understand how Brower would always say, when asked about some great place: "No, I havent been there, just flown over it."

11 More time in DC, but I dont show when. On this date, the House Interior Committee approved the huge, unwieldly, much too delicately balanced CRB bill, and California continued to undermine the process by claiming that the opponents of the bill like us would be too likely to change it in full House votes, upsetting the balance. So California would not allow it to come to the floor, in spite of Udall's belief he had the votes. The gargantua died a quiet death.
Sometime in here, when we were in Washington, Brower and i called Udall and invited him to come and speak to the third Santa Fe conference in November. After all, he had a pro-conservationist record; he was not all bad. And of course, overall in his career, he was an environmental champion. Well, over and above all, he was a great and vastly skilled politician. As I said in introducing him at the conference: "If we had had his energy and intellect behind protecting the Grand Canyon, we would now have a complete National Park." Well, it would take a few more years, but in the 1970's he helped us get half-way there. But thats for later, too.

Martin Litton organized a three-week rowing trip down the Grand Canyon in his & other wooden dories. I went, as did another Club lobbyist, Bob Waldrop. Brower joined at Phantom Ranch. Ernie Braun, a professional, photographed, and his pictures went into a small-format Sierra Club book on the Canyon.

The third Santa Fe Conference, me organizing this time, was held. Udall spoke on the Sonoran Desert National Park proposal, all in the name of good future relations. On the way up from the Albuquerque airport, he remarked to his driver, a friend of mine, that conservationists were a little hard to get along with sometimes.
The National Reclamation Association held its wound-licking meeting in Albuquerque. Brower was invited to debate Udall. All that is for another place.

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