Monday, August 20, 2012

PL93-620 A. Nov-Dec 1972: Working Together, Or Not


Public Law 93-620 is what the Grand Canyon National Park Enlargement Act of 1975 became after two-plus years of legislative effort and a Presidential signature. This entry begins its story.

The months before October 1972 were full of Grand Canyon action -- but on river traffic management, not Park boundaries. I have told that story in a 2003 paper book, Hijacking A River, A Political History of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The river controversy is important for Park legislation because it so engaged Senator Goldwater's attention in 1972, in part because Fred Eiseman had stirred the issue up. Fred, who lived in the Phoenix area, had maintained a Goldwater connection since he had been a boatman on a Goldwater Grand Canyon river trip, and he regularly ran his own trips in the classic mode using rowing dories. As I recounted in my post of 18 May 2012, Eiseman wanted Goldwater to do something about the rampant commercialization and motorization of river trips, and was worried that bad relations between Goldwater and the Sierra Club would prevent action by the Senator. A Park advisory committee on river matters brought Eiseman and Sierra Club Southwest Representative John McComb together, to the point where Eiseman appealed to McComb to join him in setting up a meeting with Goldwater to work constructively on joint concerns about the river and the Park boundary. 
During that summer, the Park fortunately saw a change in superintendents, Merle Stitt arriving, and a great increase in regional NPS office involvement through its Director, Howard Chapman, appointed less than a year before. I visited Stitt at the Park in August, shortly after we both arrived on the scene, and received an earful about the rumpus over river traffic increase. Fortunately, my near-decade-long personal and professional friendship with McComb, along with the close alignment of our views about the Canyon, made it easy for me to join with him in the rapidly developing events on both Park legislation and the river. I began keeping a Canyon activities journal almost immediately, and it is a major source for my account of the 1972-5 Park legislation dust-up. 

Among several meetings on the river, the most important was not held: Snow in Flagstaff prevented a get-together with Goldwater on October 25, so NPS and we gathered at Eiseman's. On October 26, I took advantage to write Goldwater with the hope that we could meet very soon on Park expansion. Eiseman then saw Goldwater on November 7, and they set December 4 at Goldwater's to discuss Park legislation. Fred invited high level representation to discuss boundary extension: the Arizona congressional delegation, NPS region, Ned Danson, Director of the Museum of Northern Arizona, two from the Arizona Wildlife Federation, and McC & me. Later we learned that coming from DC would be Jim Ruch, of Assistant Secretary N. Reed's office.  Goldwater had assured Fred that if agreement could be reached, assent for Senate action had been given by Interior Committee Chairman Henry Jackson. And Goldwater added, if "Indians object, damn'em". Well, to him, the Sierra Club was overbearing, and the AWF less than enthusiastic about the project. 

McComb & I  drove together to Page for a confrontation with commercial motor-boaters at a river Advisory Committee confrontation on November 11. On the long way back, we discussed the problems raised by park expansion and how to respond. Based on what Fred told us, we decided it was worth the effort to try to put together something that might attract support or at least neutrality from Park opponents, while meeting our major goal of extending the Park to include the Canyon from Lees Ferry to the Grand Wash Cliffs, including the primary rim of Kanab & Cataract Canyons, and most of the Shivwits plateau. No Indian land would be taken. We thought there could be the additional needed protection if a large buffer, like an NRA, could exclude exploitative logging and mining, while allowing grazing, hunting, and recreation.

We certainly had plenty of time to talk. Tucson where we lived was in southern Arizona. A meeting in Phoenix was 115 miles away. Flagstaff, a locale of many allies, 260, and the Canyon itself, for face-to-face NPS meetings, 350. The trip to Page was 400. These were not unusual distances to travel during this very intense period, with telephones and letters offering limited alternatives. Interstate 17 to Flagstaff was still under construction. The weather that winter featured several storms, I remember. 

Could we fashion legislation that had enthusiastic conservation support? it would need to include from Lees Ferry to the Grand Wash Cliffs out to the rim. There should be unified management, length and breadth (back from rim), and unified interpretation of the whole Canyon. We could live with no disturbance of present non-destructive activities (hunting, grazing), but there could be no disturbance of Park land. Wilderness would be designated. If the dam people were willing to be quiet, we could leave the reclamation provision alone. We did not want to disturb Havasupai, Hualapai, or Navajo lands or settlements, but did want to resolve the boundary along the river--Goldwater had already stated that the Hualapai owned only the south bank. Maybe there could be joint oversight of development in & near Canyon on reservation lands. 

Our idea was to have areas for discussion rather than specific boundaries and designated  administration. Our effort would be exploratory and practical. So with two weeks, we made appointments with B. Winter of AWF, W. Steiner of the state water agency, B. Babbitt representing the Havasupai, Phoenix newspaperman Ben Avery, and Fred Eiseman. We started with Wes Steiner of the Arizona Water Commission, presenting our case for a unified administration and interpretation of the Canyon. Out of the friendly discussion, came "I would be hard put recommending that AWC oppose bill if the reclamation provision were left in and applied to new boundaries." I.e., status quo; no loss of face. 

The same day, 11/22, we talked, in a friendly way, with Avery, pushing on going to GWC. He resisted; I pushed. To him Barry was the key, so he would speak with Governor Williams and Goldwater. So we rushed to call Fred, then met with him on the 28th. He liked our ideas, and agreed on a hopeful prognosis for the upcoming meeting, since Goldwater was all fired up. Less positively, on the 30th, Babbitt, part of the firm counseling the Havasupai, told us they wanted a boundary going to the river. Water rights and mining control were also issues. 

Talking with Bill Winter of AWF was easier since he had been on the river group with McComb. We discussed concepts of the overall boundary, with Park, Wilderness, conservation Zone. AWF would need to approve. He suggested a boundary committee under congressional delegation authority.

As we summarized these discussions, we thought of a strategy to say to Goldwater, let us continue to test for agreement under your aegis on these items: map of boundaries of Park and Conservation Zone (CZ) & Wilderness. Take to the south bank means all the river along the Hualapai and Navajo Reservations, and voiding the LMNRA on Hualapai land. There would be no mining or logging in the CZ. Grazing permits were OK. Reclamation provision was OK. There could be a zoning commission for Marble and Little Colorado. Wilderness study was needed.
The three zonings would be for overall preservation of GC, with interpretation (Park), roadless recreation (Wilderness), recreation, some roads, non-destructive development (CZ).

December 4. From Congress came Representatives Rhodes & Conlon, a Udall aide, and Goldwater bill-drafter Terry Emerson. Avery, Winter, Clemons, also from the AWF. Stitt, Chapman, & Ruch were for NPS. McComb, Ingram, Eiseman, & Danson. Also, a commercial motor-boater was smuggled in. He must have been overwhelmed, since as it turned out, the meeting was dominated by anti-motor river management issues with a presentation by NPS followed by questions and discussion. With a small amount of time left, Goldwater opened on the Park talking about the Navajo "problem": his wish to limit construction within one mile of the rim. He wanted to give 60 kac to the Havasupai including their entry portal at Hilltop. He mentioned that the Hualapai were concerned about dam. I have to make the editorial point here that, as usual, when protecting the Grand Canyon is on the table, all the hungry bring their chairs to see what flesh and bone they can pick off.

Emerson, seeming nervous & hostile, then reviewed his bill draft.  Four years of work, he claimed, went into taking views into account, including Hualapai lawyer Royal Marks. His draft presented ideas on controlling river traffic, the plateau deletions still an issue after 40 years, a net acreage total of 960 kac, a scenic easement along Marble;--these sound like the NPS proposals of mid-1971 (see my 18 May 2012 entry) along with an enlarged Havasupai reservation, a 10-year phase-out for grazing, and a provision to study aircraft noise.

I replied by explaining our efforts, growing out of our desire to have some kind of entity that represented the Canyon in its entirety to the public. Rhodes stated that there was a need for definite boundaries and legislative provisions. I presented the several views we had heard, but that fell flat; the overall result was negative with nothing decided except to meet Jan 29. 

Our detailed review of the Emerson bill showed the big disagreements were over what lands to put in the Park, and what were to be deleted, including for the Havasupai. On the other seven provisions, we preferred our conservation zone to his easement one mile back from the rim. He had several provisions that restricted reservation activity and a couple for assistance in development. There was a very detailed river regulation program and a weak stab at  aircraft noise control. It was very far from a forward-looking tribute to the Grand Canyon's place in the world. The next day, an Avery article noted the lack of agreement, and the next meeting. He pointed out that the bill would enlarge the Havasupai reservation and delete NPS lands on the north side, but add Kanab and down to mile 234. He thought the consensus was to go to the Grand Wash Cliffs, and since it would be a compromise for the Sierra Club, asking for lots of national forest, we had asked for a delay in decision. 

This dispiriting encounter led us to make a concentrated four-day effort to resolve how much effort to make in what direction. In our discussions, we, including Fred, agreed that Emerson may be the key to seeing why a way forward seemed difficult. The focus on the river had the result of giving us more time to analyze the gloomy outlook. And indeed, we decided to go ahead and make the attempt to present our ideas for a "complete park" within a frame that might be more acceptable to Arizona groups Goldwater was sensitive to -- stock-raisers, hunters, water interests, his political friends. We continued to say we would not affect Navajo or Hualapai land, however, we saw no justification for taking lands out of NPS status for economic purposes, whether for grazing or the Havasupai. 

We published the following objectives: the bill must be backed by key members of the Arizona delegation and have the enthusiastic support of conservation groups. It must recognize the significance of the entire Canyon, and provide for unified protective management including one NPS office, no mining or logging, adjacent areas to be kept in undisturbed natural condition, limited recreational and tourist development.
The would be a unified interpretation of the entire Canyon under NPS, and assisting others.
NPS jurisdiction over Colorado River would be clarified.
A Wilderness would be designated.
Minimize political opposition by minimal disturbance of hunting & grazing, but no hunting in now-closed areas, no deletions from current NPS units, leave the reclamation provision as is.
No disturbance of the status quo of Indian lands.

This was followed by our first detailed bill draft, Dec 1972, to enlarge the Park, and establish Wilderness & a conservation zone.
1. Purpose, to recognize entire Canyon. (This made it through to the final Act with one substitution: "mouth of Paria River" for "Lees Ferry".)
2. Map of Park boundary which shall lie on the south, or left, bank along the Hualapai Reservation, and the easterly boundary shall be the westerly boundary of Navajo Reservation.
3. Administration: Under NPS, but no interference with Hoover;
Jurisdiction over all river traffic, except motor use shall cease on 12/31/76;
Grazing for 25 years;
Regulate air traffic within one year including prohibition of aircraft below rims;
NPS authorized to cooperate w/ tribes and other agencies to interpret in entirety, including to expend funds;
4. Conservation Zone: map; purpose to retain natural setting, wildlife management, stop excessive roads & facilties, interpret. No change in administering agency. Vegetation to be disturbed only after secretarial approval following public hearings and only for prescribed burning, science, recreation, wildlife mgt.;
no mining;
hunting & fishing permitted;
grazing may continue;
acquire lands, but no further development without secretarial approval after public hearings;
Navajo land within one mile of east rim developed only after secretarial approval after public hearings, but no restriction of Navajo valid existing uses. We drafted, then dropped, provisions  designating the left bank as the Navajo boundary "notwithstanding previous acts" etc., and for a joint development commission for Navajo lands. [Should have kept them.]
5. Wilderness map. Prescribed burning and archeological activity allowed.
6. Abolish old jurisdictions; acquire lands but only with concurrence.

Drafted & discussed bill, and Park and Zone boundaries. Avery called to say graziers on Strip may be OK and Gov Wms was OK with reclamation provision.  Made appointments with Babbitt, Avery, Winter & Clemons. McComb sees Danson who is OK with GWC, says he pushed NPS to go there on master plan, but was outvoted. He supports Havasupai claim. 
Second draft to McComb with map on 9 December. It showed a Park composed of 
1. NPS lands starting at Lees Ferry, taking in the west side of Marble Canyon, keeping all of the existing Park and Monument, and adding all of Lake Mead NRA below the outer rim, ending at the Grand Wash Cliffs; 
2. transferred Forest and BLM lands extending into the middle Kanab canyons, west of and including Cataract/Havasu canyon, and western side canyon pieces to complete a rim boundary;
3. a conservation zone of plateau lands remaining with the Forest and BLM that we saw as necessary for Canyon protection and presenting a "complete" Park entity. This complicated creature looked like this:

Whether the conservation zone (also called the zone of influence) would have provided real protection is clear if you know the locations of uranium mines in the Kanab Canyon area. However, if we were to present any real compromise we had to offer something that both covered the Canyon, but in a way that did not insist on full NPS protections. We had to take the initiative since NPS/Goldwater/Emerson already thought they were taking big steps toward expanding, enlarging, the Park. We, on the other hand started from the concept of a complete Park, so we had to pull their bit-&-piece boundaries farther out if the resulting entity were to make sense, a process going on since 1882, and still today. So a clash over how to conceptualize a Park. It was easier for other agencies and user groups on the north side, their goal was to gain, re-gain, or keep their access to hunt, graze, drive vehicles, etc. 

The conservation zone was therefore a rhetorical tool, a way of being able to talk to people in Arizona who really had no interest in, or who opposed, changes in Park boundaries. Where Goldwater-Emerson tried to find conflict-less acres to add, we wanted to establish the recognition of the complete Canyon as some kind of fact: administrative, jurisdictional, on-the-ground, lines and colors on maps. And with that accepted, the details of conflict resolution could be carried on. Once again, recall the history: The Forest coming first, the Park was always scrabbling to carve out acres for itself. But had the Park been set up first, in 1882, loggers, hunters, cattlemen, and other resource users would have been the ones having to justify their needs to get lands out of the Park. Our goal was to provide some advantage for Park advocates.

Moreover, had Goldwater simply introduced his conflict-free bill, and Case and Saylor introduced their bills, the fight would have been on, quite possibly on the same lines that it did follow, though the reader may be a better judge of that. In any case, that was not our problem in December 1972; then we were trying to establish the credibility of an approach that was founded on the completeness concept while not rousing the dogs of warring resource conflict. That was what Goldwater indicated he wanted -- for the bill to proceed, he was supposed to assure Senator Henry Jackson, Interior Committee Chairman, there would be no conflict.  But even as we continued our effort, the attitude and behavior of Goldwater's aide Emerson was unsettling. 

Stitt pushed NPS idea of keeping north end of Great Thumb for bighorn; he had a letter & map prepared. 

Dec 19, Avery was friendly (and since he was even closer to Goldwater than Eiseman, that was a relief). He was firm that the Zone administration had to stay the same, not be a transfer to NPS. He wanted to avoid stirring ranchers up, and did not like our more generous Kanab boundary. He knew there would be a problem with the Havasupai, but thought the Goldwater bill was "inevitable". OKed our idea of some kind of joint Navajo-NPS-public commission to oversee development along the Marble rim.

We (McComb & I) presented our case for going to the Grand Wash Cliffs to Congressman Udall. Udall, as an experienced legislator type and with high seniority on the House Interior Committee, as well as a popular Democrat in a Democratic Congress and with credentials as a conservationist ally, and our Congressman, and just more approachable in general, was the person on whom we pinned our hopes for real advances in the Park legislation, although it was very clear: Goldwater was the lead and the Senate would have to act first. He did tell us that Goldwater now wanted to take his boundary to the Grand Wash Cliffs. 

The interview with Bruce Babbitt for the Havasupai indicated the trouble ahead. Emerson had cleared his approach before the 4 December meeting; it was accepted as the status quo to work for. There was nothing in our ideas to interest the Havasupai; they were interested in sovereignty. In conclusion, dont bother. McComb & I discussed our options; we did not really doubt that the Park and the idea of keeping Parks inviolate from land grabs for any good reason was a worthy cause.

Meanwhile, there were news articles about Goldwater's bill, indicating changes being made and when, Dec 20, McComb talked with Udall, he was a little irritated at not being consulted; thought Emerson might be worrying about Udall as rival. He would strongly consider introducing our bill if Goldwater did not like it. 

We had a pleasant time with AWF's Bill Winter; agreeable and also irritated at Emerson always answering for Goldwater. He saw trouble with the Havasupai, and was positive about the Zone, although he raised some questions about hunting in some of the more remote Park additions. Our talks with AG&F seemed to go OK.

McComb learned NPS was not happy about the Emerson second draft; it was looking for something it could support. Help might be available from them if they were not willing to be tools of Goldwater-Emerson. They were now rationalizing the Monument deletions as providing land for exchange. Emerson was wondering about using exchange for Havasupai reservation. 

At this point, pre-Christmas, our hopes had risen since Emerson had uniformly stirred antipathy. But to succeed in getting a sound bill introduced, we had to have the approval of the professionals and those who offer informed opinions. So we needed to work on getting assistance on an official draft by mid-January, trying to parlay any credibility we had to get support for such a draft. And, of course, we needed to inform and enlist Park advocates in Arizona and Washington for what we were doing. Preaching to your choir is definitely a priority.

I also noted that Republican Congressman Sam Steiger (whose district included the Canyon, and who was on the Interior Committee) was an obstacle, which causes me to pause for a moment. The senior Republican weight on the House Interior Committee rested with John Saylor, from Pennsylvania. A Wilderness advocate, opponent of Reclamation dams, defender of wild rivers, Saylor had been a stalwart conservationist for decades, a great ally during the Grand Canyon dam fight. As I have noted, he introduced every Congress an anti-damsite GCNP expansion bill. Yet my notes say nothing about him. He died during heart surgery in November 1973 before the House Committee acted, and perhaps he was ill during that year. Otherwise I am baffled as to why he does not appear, since he would have been an effective counter to Steiger, and surely a source of counsel for our efforts.  

We had a meeting with Stitt after Christmas. He knew about archeological work on Monument plateau lands, some 80 sites on the Tuckup "deletion", and a potential total of about 1000. So the idea of exchange was dead. Some in NPS liked our idea of adding more of Kanab, but there are internal questions about going to the Grand Wash Cliffs because of the reservoir. He did not want  the river regulated in legislation. Our NPS conversations indicated no basic objections to our changes; there will be a meeting with regional director Chapman soon. In Flagstaff,  discussion with Danson focussed on Havasupai problem. There was lots of Havasupai publicity; their local lawyer was Joe Babbitt, Bruce's cousin. 

The smooth discussion contrasted with the next day's with AG&F's Jantzen, as he raised their concerns about changing administration of the forest for wildlife habitat, and about grazing intrusions in "his" areas. Though he thought our bill was more workable than Emerson's. Havasupai ought to have a separate bill. And we take in too much land in our northern boundary. Wilderness should be in separate bill. And the AWF's Clemons was even bumpier, saying they would go along with Emerson. Conservation Zone OK, but new, and why were the Monument deletions not in it? Resolve differences after Goldwater actually introduces bill. In a discussion with Eiseman, he saw the need for a non-Sierra Club bill backed by the Sierra Club. 

A conversation with Ruch, Reed's aide who had come from DC to attend river and Park meetings, was pleasant. He couldnt believe Emerson's behavior; there was never agreement on proposals, and there was nobody around now who approved of the old positions. This was important information, for we had often assumed that NPS was working with Goldwater. However, Ruch's point is that that group of NPS staff was now gone, and the new group, Stitt & Chapman, e.g., was trying to work things out for themselves. He was among the most anti-Havasupai of our contacts. The formula seemed to be they had a reservation of 519 acres in Havasu + 2540 acres in Cataract + a payment of $1-¼ million for everything else they had lost. So why were they asking for a bunch more acres of Park and Forest. He, too, knew about the archeology on the "deletion" lands. 





Sources:
The story of P.L. 93-620, as I tell it, is from the point of view of intensely involved advocates and activists for the presentation & protection of the Grand canyon. The papers of other participants, e.g. Senator Goldwater, Representative M. Udall, were secondary sources at best. Moreover, there are some individuals still kicking around whom I did not interview. My point is that this story, which will be quite long enough, is told from one participant's point-of-view, and the student of the Grand Canyon's history still has many sources to plumb. I used:
My files, including a journal of meetings, discussions, and activities; also a collection of work papers with data, plans, contacts, etc.
Also papers from Goldwater's and other offices; official documents, hearings, bills, etc.
NPS archives: GCNP; DC, LMNRA
AzG&F & APA files
On the Havasupai, I have made several entries in this blog before, but the essential first source, both primary & secondary, is Stephen Hirst, Life in a Narrow Place: The Havasupai of the Grand Canyon, New York, 1976. He authored a second edition a few years ago, but the earlier book is the one fresh from battle.

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