Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Format Available

The blog format has many advantages for the effort I am engaged in; however, a disadvantage is that it is not organized for ease of coherent reading. Books (usually, and particularly non-fiction) are organized, written and edited to present material in a way that intrigues, informs, satisfies, educates, makes sense to, the reader. Narrative and history, of course, have the obvious choice of being chronological to make sense. And blog entries can be scattered, and are often in the reverse of chronological order.

Fortunately, the blog format I use has a remedy for that. It allows me to set up a table of contents (TOC) to make my entries available to a reader in any order I wish. I can attach blog posts, no matter what date I created them, to that TOC in order by chronology or subject matter or any relating theme I choose. Posts can be attached to more than one part of the TOC. For instance, one part could be a chronological telling of the Havasupai land repatriation. And I could also have a section dealing with conflicts between tribes and federal agencies, using some of the same entries. The point, for each section of the TOC, is to bring together related posts to approximate how they would appear in a traditional printed book. 

The advantage of the blog format comes up again because I can edit a blog entry or add a related one, and then update the TOC, keeping book-form readability. However, I am not now taking the time to edit each blog entry to read as smoothly as in a print book, removing any digressions or repetitions. Nevertheless, a reader interested in the history of Grand Canyon National Park will be able to start at the beginning and read through to, well, to however far I have gotten in the story. For, of course, most subjects are not completed yet, since I have skipped around; many subjects have not even been started. However, as I add new or amended material, I will update the TOC, indicating the last date it was changed. As of this writing, I have set up the Havasupai land story, and will shortly add the Park history, the Park boundary, the dams, and so on.

To get to the Table of Contents page, click on the tab "CELEBRATING THE BOOK…GO TO TABLE OF CONTENTS". The TOC page includes an explanation and directions for using it. 

Please let me know if it works, if it doesnt, and of the need for corrections, changes, additions.

Friday, February 24, 2012

On the Edge X: An Active, Engaged Debate: Heat AND Light

After the public meetings on South Rim master planning held in mid-1974, NPS continued with ROMA to explore Grand Canyon Village re-design. As always, we Canyon advocates worried. A January 1975 letter from AWWW, a Tucson group I worked with, targeted the idea of a "parking garage" at Mather Point; it would "stimulate a whole new round of pressures for more development outside the present visitor service areas". "An already impacted area inside the presently developed district" should be found; cars should be well back from the rim.

In February 1975, a change was signaled when NPS, at ROMA's request, set up the 25th a two-day on-site discussion on Village planning with concessioners and "other interested parties". The past several months had clearly been busy for the consultants; the topic was a new ROMA report on "Program Design and Alternatives" for the Village, a 3# 14"-long behemoth for us to digest in a week. I am not sure I understand how such a document works even now, but the description and maps and charts indicated to use that the more radical direction of the Development Concept had been abandoned. No currently used space, such as the trailer area, would be closed or redirected in use. The maps, dated 24 Feb 1975, have visitors still driving to Mather Point for their first view, with parking and a visitor center adjacent. In the so-called alternatives, they go to Mather, then down the road a way for those facilities. The idea of parking at a distance and then approaching the rim on foot is gone (p 1-19), even though "because of its huge parking requirement the reception facilities are potentially devastating environmentally" and this "component will be largely responsible for visitor attitudes about the quality of the manmade environment at the Canyon". So in the six months of internal deliberation on the plans it had put forth, NPS had decided to junk all its own forward thinking, and instead worsen its and visitors' problems with cars.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hualapai - NPS Core Team; Oct 2004 meeting: De-Cooperation

In three previous entries on this story, posted January 2011, I summarized and discussed all the documents which the Park had furnished me under a FOIA request. The last meeting of the original series, held in October 2004, was not covered because its minutes had not been approved. However, in reading through the documents, I found that participants in a follow-up meeting in 2007 had decided that approval was not required. So I requested the Oct 2004 minutes on that basis, and recently received a copy. I am grateful for this, for these minutes provide a substantive answer to the question of why such a seemingly successful process as the Core Team meetings stopped. I note that the meetings were not public, so there was no reporting on them, and perhaps no news at all, although I have not checked newspaper archives.

To recap, over the years 2000-4, the highest authorities of Grand Canyon National Park, the Hualapai Tribe, and Lake Mead National Recreation Area had met several times a year to discuss issues that arose in connection with management of river affairs in an Area of Cooperation, i.e., the river and its shore where the Hualapai and Park lands adjoin, down into Lake Mead. Judging from the formal minutes only, this appeared to be a useful and productive enterprise. The issues were significant, and not always easily susceptible to full resolution. The will to continue, however, never seemed impaired. Significantly, the three top participants remained the same.

In June 2004, things changed. The Hualapai had elected a new chair, Charles Vaughn. He had the tribal counsel read out several grievances, a list attributed to the previous chair, oddly enough. The meeting continued, but appeared to be quite stiff, even argumentative. The details are near the end of my Summary, posted 11 Jan 2011. What follows is my reading of the October 2004 minutes.*  As Margo said in "All About Eve": Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

On the Edge IX: The Discussion Starts

In the statement I prepared on the Park's Master Plan and Village Concept, I got to the bottom of page 3 before "grappl(ing) with what to do with all the cars". Should there be "an asphalt-steel-&-glass dumping ground, or should the parking areas be designed in such a way as to be dispersed, small, and as little disturbed as is possible?" (Did I mean "disturbance"?) I admonished the planners, from my eminence, to prepare genuine alternatives reflecting different advantages and disadvantages. "Please do not just present one plan plus a bunch of nonsense." However, "I have long argued for the idea in the plan that the rim should be natural and should be approached naturally." Buildings, roads, parking lots, & other constructions should be absolutely minimal aids.

On the Edge VIII: A Radical Plan Advances

The concept study of 1972(-4) was done by NPS staff, two from the Park, two from the Denver Service Center. In retrospect, it was a bold, forward-looking design that we Canyon advocates could have enthusiastically embraced and urged to fruition. Insofar as we pushed in the same directions, however, it was with different emphases, as I will discuss in the next entry. The Park Service itself did move the matter along, with some on-the-ground actions, and following its own procedural concerns. In 1973, NPS brought in the architectural, urban design and planning firm of ROMA, Rockrise Odermatt Mountjoy Amos, of San Franciscio. The Denver Center and ROMA contracted in June a Work Directive for the "comprehensive design of Grand Canyon Village, with Robert Odermatt being the principal for the work. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

On the Edge VII: Setting the Scene, 1972

The Canyon's Visitors: A Problem for the South Rim; no, Grand Canyon Village; no, Mather Point…

At the time, the 1970's, we have reached in this hopping-about narrative (last entries in Oct 2011), 90% of Canyon visitors clocked in through the two entrances to the South Rim. Seemingly, they all got off on Mather Point at some point in their visit. The questions raised about handling this human flood consumed NPS attention. When Mission 66 was conceived of in the 1950's, to upgrade facilities throughout the Park System, the Mather Point overlook was a solution. Twenty years later, in the 70's, and throughout the decades since, it has been the focus for NPS of the problem.