Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Complete Park: IV. 1969-70 NPS decisions

As recounted previously, GCNP was working on its Master Plan in late 1969, including holding public meetings. The Plan naturally tried to deal with boundary changes, and this map  (113 20,000 Nov 1969, San Francisco Service Center) might be seen as a snapshot of NPS thinking. First, the east side:

The addition of Marble Canyon still runs on both sides from the Little Colorado up to Lees Ferry, but there is no one-mile buffer or easement above the rims.

Then there is the troublesome little Coconino addition, the perplexities of which I tried to deal with in the entry of 10 Sep 2010. In this nutty-shell-game, NPS started out in the 1950's wanting two half sections added along its East Rim road alignment, 640 acres--see the smaller rectangle between the lower purple bars. However, once the road was built (the Park could not wait for legislative action), the need for this addition lessened. Strangely, instead of forgetting the addition, this Master Plan proposal seems to extend it to three full sections--note the faint rectangle around the small one--about 1920 acres. Indeed, looking back at the map prepared for Senator Goldwater (entry of 11 May 2012), the addition shown is this larger version. Here, for a more detailed understanding of this miniscule detail is a piece of the current Kaibab National Forest map:

The green is the Forest, the Park is tan, and a bit of Navajo land on the right is yellow. The sections we are concerned with are the three below and to the left of the CO in the upper COCONINO: you can see the 7, 8, and 9 section numbers (5E 30N). The original idea was to add the north half-sections of 7 & 8 -- you can see how close 7 comes to the road -- the 640 acres. On the Goldwater & Master Plan maps, the full three sections are indicated. And not to give anything away, this current map shows the three half-sections that ended up in the Park in 1975. Was any of this a thought-out NPS idea? Or was it all due to the difficulties of representing such small details on what are, after all, pretty large-scale maps?
Of greater import was the new suggestion on taking in land from Lake Mead NRA along the river. Here is the west side of the Master Plan map, with part of the river in green:

This shows three of the Monument deletions, and the additions, lower Kanab and Long Mesa. And here was the first NPS attempt to go downstream. The northeast section takes in the river (a line of dashes here) up to a rim. So here is another old boundary artifact that will cause trouble: When it was created, the boundary of the Monument was placed on the NORTH side of the river. So the idea here must have been to go from the north side, take in the river, and then go up the cliffs, but stay off any plateau. The strangeness of that old Monument boundary will not be easy for NPS to deal with.
 When the southern boundary gets to the west end of the old Monument, it meets and follows the 1964 putative LMNRA boundary (which the Hualapai had rejected) down to Diamond Creek, and continues by following the Lower Granite Gorge rim to Separation Canyon, where it crosses the river to go back upstream along section lines to the old Monument, trying to miss the top of the Shivwits plateau while taking much of the Sanup Plateau and the Esplanade.

Since all of the proposal on the south side was Hualapai land, this was a DOA idea, even though in Apr 1970, Lovegren was reporting on a talk with Hualapai (was he chairman then?) Sterling Mahone, who said they had received differing interpretations as to whether the line was on the south bank or mid-stream. Lovegren's preference was that NPS go for the south bank, but not up in the reservation (as the map above does). This could improve relations by clarifying jurisdiction; anyway, there would not be any development in that stretch. Moreover, by reducing the map acreage (which NPS will not get anyway), more could be justified elsewhere. Later on, Lovegren got an informal field solicitor opinion that the boundary was the south bank, so any enlargement needed to take in the riverbed and the banks. 
 Contrariwise, the BIA insisted the reservation went to mid-stream, relying on several executive orders. Reclamation's legal opinion mentioned the south bank for the reservation, but also noted that the old Monument was on the north bank. The Hualapai had, NPS knew, endorsed -- with conditions -- establishment of Lake Mead NRA several times before it was actually legislated. However, after the 1964 LMNRA law, the Hualapai rescinded any approval, telling its lawyer Marks to get the best deal he could.  In Nov 1969, the Council opposed any land going into the Park. 

The downstream additions came up in a mid-June exchange between SW Rep McComb and BMG, with the latter open to discussion, but noting "much opposition" to removing multiple-use lands from LMNRA. There would be "loud complaint" from the Hualapai if any of their land were included. He would prefer to move one step at a time. [When ever was that not the story of the Canyon's Park?] So lets add the 250 kac in my bill. We dont have to go downstream since the dam site issue is spurious, he argued. "The legislative history … offers grounds for belief that the law now would prohibit the Bridge Canyon Dam from being built without a specific authorization from Congress." Should the dam site be put in the Park? BMG was hearing a great difference of opinion challenging the quality of the area and ending multiple-use. 

Meanwhile, the pressure for increasing the Monument deletions continued, so that the vegetation could be managed for game. Lovegren defended keeping Mt. Emma (in the west) for its ponderosa. There is not much hunting, and there are wilderness and scientific values. That may explain why the Master Plan map does not include that deletion. Other deletions could be increased, though, and used for compromise. 

Even though there was little action, apparently DC, including BMG's staff and the Interior Secretary, was pressing the Park and Region to settle on a position. March 1970, after receiving Lovegren's map, the Region put forth these views: No Hualapai land to be taken. The Marble addition would be rim to rim, with no buffer (as in BMG's bill). Accept all four Monument deletions. Work for an easement from the Navajo and Hualapai. 
In acreage terms: The Kanab addition was reduced to 36 kac. The westward extension would be broken down like this: along the old Monument, 2705 ac for the "Colorado Riverbed" addition; then 140 kac down to Separation for the Lower Granite addition. There should be a ½ mile control strip back from the rim. 

Reaction came from Lovegren, protesting leaving Lees Ferry with Glen NRA.  Also, LMNRA suggested that there were changes coming in the Hualapai, so dont give up. It also provided data on grazing in the Shivwits area. Lovegren scoffed about the Hualapai, and said that going to the south bank without conditions would be best. Maybe there can be a trade-off. 

The end result of intra-NPS discussion was a Grand Canyon National Park that would have looked like this (113-91,002  March 1970):

The above map was what resulted from decisions embodied in the following (113 20000A  Aug 70) :

Note that this is the first to carry acreages, and to drop topography etc., being virtually featureless. Did this make it easier or harder to determine where the line lay on the ground? 
Note the Coconino at 640 acres; yet close measurement shows that it is 1 x 3 sections or 1920 acres. Given the placement of the name, the Colorado Riverbed must refer to adding a 19-mile strip from the north bank to the south bank, although 2705 acres is way more than is necessary for a narrow river-wide (even to the high water lines) addition. The decision not to show a Hualapai addition is clear, but the Navajo were not so respected. All four of the Monument plateau deletions are offered up, and Jensen Tank is considerably larger. The Park starts at Navajo Bridge, a sad and symbolic indicator of just how far NPS was from having any vision of a complete Park. As always, Park values were sacrificed to the false hope of satisfying anti-Park resource users.

Anyway, the 91st Congress was ending. Maybe the 92nd would see more action, less talk.

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