Monday, August 27, 2012

PL93-620 B. Jan 1973: Our Offer

In the new year, our first priority was to write out and circulate our ideas. We worked through at least four drafts, developing some of the language and ideas that lasted and some that certainly did not. We had a fundamental concept of unifying the Canyon in the public's mind, a single interpretive entity, even though there was no possibility of having one administrative entity, especially if it was the toughest on non-Park uses, and even if a number of the uses would not be disturbed. So our basic strategy was to get as near to a "complete" Park as we could, and then use the tools of interpretation and regulation to present and protect the Canyon in its full glory on those adjoining lands not included in the Park. 

I am particularly fond of the recognition clause that became Sec. 2 of the Act:
Congress hereby recognizes that the entire Grand Canyon, from Lees Ferry to the Grand Wash Cliffs, including tributary side canyons and surrounding plateaus, is a natural feature of national and international significance. It is the intent of this Act to provide for the protection and interpretation of the Grand Canyon in accordance with its total significance.

In an earlier attempt, we tried to define a Grand Canyon Protective Zone including tributaries and surrounding plateau lands. It was to be administered for wildlife management, to enhance interpretation, and as protection against excessive development of roads and other facilities; logging and mining would be excluded. This became a Conservation Zone, and then a Zone of Influence. This concept was the bridge between a very restrictive NPS Park surrounded by extractive activities carried on with no respect for the Canyon, and the "complete" Park embodied in the bills introduced by Senator Case. Using the Zone or buffer concept, there could be a core Park embedded in a context of lands that taken all together presented a comprehensive view of the Canyon but allowed a range of less-destructive uses. 

Ideally, this context would include parts of the Canyon within the Hualapai and Navajo reservations. However, this "ideal" only pointed up the three very different relationships between the Canyon and those two nations plus the Havasupai. These last were, after almost a century, still deprived of an adequate reservation. Until the question of repatriating Havasupai lands was faced and settled appropriately, their cause would be the hot political center. They would be put off no longer, though we did not see that, and by defending what we saw as the integrity of the Park and the Park System against economic dismantling, the correction of a century-old error that had become an injustice was spun out as a battle of anti-Park against anti-Indian. 

The question of the Navajo relationship to the Canyon was as quiet as the Havasupai fight was fierce. The Navajo had already established tribal parks on their part of the Grand Canyon and the Little Colorado. They advocated no development there -- though there was that odd fear of Goldwater's that they might. [And possibly, looking at industrial mass tourism proposals being debated in 2012 for the Little Colorado junction, Goldwater may just have been prescient.] Nevertheless, proposals kept being floated for some kind of easement or Park protection on Navajo land, without any sign that the Navajo were interested in any changes.

The Hualapai leadership through this period had a third, very different, goal -- a goal totally consistent with their long-standing conception of their reservation as a base for some kind of prosperity for all the Hualapai. In the 1970's, their vision was fixed and focused solely on whatever would promote, or at least not further exclude, the possibility of building a large hydroelectric dam at the Gneiss site that was partially on their land. To further this vision, they continued their relationship with the Arizona Power Authority, which had been since the 1950's trying to win a license for some dam in the Canyon. 

So there we were, thinking we were working on Park expansion, in the company of Arizonans at best indifferent, but mostly hostile, to the concept, realization, presentation, protection, jurisdiction, and administration of a Grand Canyon National Park, the Park Service, and the thought there was even a National Park System at all. For any of us who think this System (and others like it, e.g., the National Wilderness Preservation System) is permanently embedded in the American political psyche as a Good Thing, I would argue that re-visiting this 1970's fight ought to be a thorough shaking awake to the realities of the the twenty-first century, which seems open to accepting the anti-Park sentiments and arguments that 40 years ago, we thought were way out on the fringes. Then, Park status could be touted as a virtue; opponents as promoters of self-centered interests. Today, this bids fair to be reversed.

Back to our attempt to draft a consensus-building bill. In January 1973, there were various angles to get at the goal of a unified administration of the Colorado all through the Canyon:
We tried this: "the Secretary shall provide for the regulation of the use of all watercraft on the entire surface of the Colorado River from Lees Ferry to Grand Wash Cliffs". This, along with a number of other regulations, disappeared from both our and Emerson's early drafts, though the idea and the phrase "entire surface" survived in accompanying legislative materials.

In earlier posts, I dealt with NPS approaches to river unification on the Park-Hualapai river boundary. In our new drafts, we tried this: the boundary "shall lie on the south or left, bank of the Colorado River (A) from Lees Ferry to its junction with the Little Colorado River and (B) along the Hualapai Indian Reservation" Later, there was this: "the easterly boundary of the Park shall be the westerly boundary of the Navajo Indian Reservation and the boundary of the Park shall be the south (left) bank of the Colorado River in the vicinity of the Hualapai Indian Reservation." For better and worse, such boundary specifications soon disappeared from the bill itself, and only show up on the map.

Another item central to our idea that even if the Park itself were not "complete", the Park Service could still be involved in interpreting the Grand Canyon in its entirety was the cooperative agreements clause, which we first drafted as promoting "interpretation pursuant to cooperative agreements with other Federal, State, and local public agencies and with neighboring Indian tribes, of the Grand Canyon in its entirety; such agreements to provide among other things, that the Secretary may develop and operate interpretive facilities and programs on lands and waters outside of the boundaries of the Park with the concurrence of the owner or administrator thereof". This became Section 6 of the Act.

The package we sent out on January 4 contained our draft bill of 10 sections: 
 1, The name of the bill did not include the word "enlargement". 
 2. Recognition clause.
 3. Map; boundary set to include the river; Secretary may make minor revisions.
 4. Old jurisdictions abolished.
 5. Acquire lands by donation, purchase, exchange;
     any state or tribal land acquired only with concurrence.
 6. Grazing for 25 years, Havasupai exempted from the limit.
 7. Regulate watercraft;
     prohibit aircraft below rim;
     cooperation in interpretation of entire GC.
 8. Conservation Zone: map; 
     disturb vegetation only for prescribed burning, science, interpretation, wildlife, grazing;   
     roads only after hearings & Secretarial approval, hunting & fishing permitted; 
     no mineral activity;
     administered by current agencies;
     cooperative agreements on interpretation.
 9. Map of designated wilderness.
10.Funds authorized.

We included the map (as shown in my previous post), a statement of objectives, and a list of alternative boundary suggestions. We said we hoped this draft material could be discussed at Goldwater's home on January 29. We did not claim anything like approval by all; only a consensus that something like this bill could attract necessary Arizona and national support. A final boundary would require working out on the ground. The alternative suggestions on boundaries were all, of course, to keep the Park smaller, bringing the proposed north side boundary down any side canyons (e.g., Kanab) closer to the river, and eliminating plateau lands. 

We summarized the consensus as including the objectives and bill provisions described in my previous post: A Park extending from Lees Ferry to Grand Wash Cliffs, little disturbance of the status quo or unsettling of existing uses, the conservation zone (easement) concept, dealing with the Havasupai problems by a thorough-going review and independent legislation. Our objectives included Arizona and conservation backing, a recognition of the world-wide significance of the entire Canyon and unified interpretation of it, as well as coordinated protective management. Toward that end, there would be limited tourist development, keeping  rim areas undisturbed, a prohibition on mining & logging, NPS jurisdiction over the river, and designated wilderness. The status quo would be maintained on Indian lands. Working toward this, we had found great good will, and we would continue trying to bring about a satisfactory result. 

Our comparison with the draft Emerson presented on December 4 pointed out that the proposed boundaries differed, that he added only a scenic easement limited to management controls plus regulation of grazing (10 years), aircraft, and river traffic. He included the transfer of land to the Havasupai and the deletions of northside plateau land. There could be cooperation on development on Indian lands. No land could be acquired by condemnation. 
Our attitude toward this proposal was understood by Ruch, aide to Ass't Sec. for Parks Reed, who reported on 3 Jan 1973 that it was completely unacceptable to conservation organizations. He thought the issue had been festering way too long, but the real problem was with the Indians, and NPS should meet to prepare for the 29 Jan Goldwater meeting. 

Sources: My journal and files

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