January, from the time we sent out our draft proposals to the meeting on the 29th at Goldwater's house, was filled with conversations as we tried to ascertain the position of other interested parties. We had spent December taking soundings, and then produced a proposal that we felt comfortable trying to convince others to accept as center-seeking. We would try to discuss it with anyone who was interested. We also continued to collect data on hunting, grazing, logging, Havasupai uses, etc., learning as we did so the difficulties lying in the details. With everybody aware of what might be done, at the actual meeting there could be discussion and maybe agreement on the items that would constitute a bill with wide support, or at least acquiescence. This narrative of publishing a proposal, followed by wide-spread discussion in order to reach for an agreeable bill, seemed like a workable scenario. We actually thought we were proceeding under Goldwater's aegis, in order to avoid the head-on conflict that Senator Jackson had told him was undesirable.
As it turned out, people were a bit wary about us as ambassadors. For instance, in a talk with NPS regional director Chapman, McComb was critical of both Emerson and the Havasupai. Chapman listened, with no reaction. Our contact with Representative Morris Udall's aide Terry Bracey found a bright loyalist, who was cautious and hard to convince on the question of what Mo could do. Then, in a direct conversation, Mo told McComb to send him the proposal and he would have it drafted up, in part to find out what we proposing. On the 9th, it was in Bracey's hands to send to the drafting service.
Ben Avery did seem ready to work toward Goldwater's goal of a consensus. He told us he had read our draft and would try to sell it to the ranchers on the Arizona Strip north of the Canyon -- some of whom had had long involvement with the effort to remove Kanab Plateau lands from the Monument. The Conservation Zone¹ was a bit more iffy; he had questions about it.
Meanwhile, Eiseman had received a detailed review from Richard Thompson² of his archeological work on the areas of the old Monument marked for deletion. His surveys had found over 200 sites in various tracts, with a few being "particularly large". There were likely hundreds more, "in the neighborhood of 1,000 sites". These were not tourist-friendly sites, but the kind to produce "data on the westward expansion of the Kayenta Anasazi and their ultimate withdrawal". What Thompson feared was that, if turned over to BLM, the areas would be destructively chained, without any archeological work done. That had been BLM's record, and he could not see BLM ever giving anything like adequate attention to prehistoric remains. This information also percolated into the NPS knowledge base.
In line with what Ruch had said about NPS not being bound to previous proposals, we were told (a phrase, like "we heard" & others, that indicates someone told us something off the record or just speculatively -- there is a lot of that in the Washington sausage-manufactory) that GCNP Sup't Stitt was considering alternatives involving a three-way land change with the Forest Service and the Havasupai. What he had actually done was send recommendations to Emerson on the Great Thumb, the plateau east of Havasu Canyon. Primarily concerned with bighorn, he said there was a small band at one point, with lambing near the rim. There was dense sage, and the bighorn did not hesitate to cross the area. "It may sound ridiculous to want to save sagebrush, but it is within our philosophy to do so." The views from the north end were of the main canyon. The latest sheep count was the highest NPS had seen on Tenderfoot Mesa to the west. The Beaver trail was very steep, and would need improvement for stock; it was little used now. The grassy areas were farther south. He recommended accommodating the Havasupai by moving the Park boundary about 2½ miles north of the current one.
NPS set a meeting with us for the 18th, part of their attempt to decide what additional work had to be done pending the Jan 29th meeting. In mid-month Stitt asked for a memo on "ideal" Park boundaries, which took in so much Forest and reservation territory that it must have been just an exercise.
Avery's report on the Strip stock-raisers indicated they were OK with the boundaries, but not a Conservation Zone. One pointed out that the Strip itself was a conservation zone. They were willing, according to the Avery article, to have the legislation require restrictions on new development.
The hunter group, AWF, was to consider the Canyon question at an upcoming meeting, possibly in a hostile way, we were told. There might be internal differences, but we were not finding any AWF figure open about our ideas, so we just suggested they not fix on a position before the 29 January meeting. Meanwhile, we met with Game & Fish officials on the 11th, to discuss our proposals. They heard us out, and some of them did not object to the lower Kanab and Grand Wash Cliffs additions to the Park. The state G&F chief even wrote Goldwater about lower Kanab, but stopped short of endorsing so much LMNRA land going into the Park. Of course, he approved the Monument deletions. More happily, we heard that the Arizona water chief, Wes Steiner, even took some pleasure in having a Sierra Club request he could meet.
On the 11th, Representative John Saylor once again introduced his anti-damsite bill, and once again I express my puzzlement at why I have no records of discussions with him as the senior Republican on the House Interior Committee and a long-time pro-Canyon conservationist.
McComb spent some days in DC starting 15 January, having talks with the bill drafters about the Hualapai boundary and aircraft regulation. What was needed to meet the aim of the bill for uniform river administration? Ruch, on the other hand, was even more concerned about giving "all kinds of land" to the Havasupai, and "blowing up the Indian problem". He would not be at the Goldwater pow-wow; perhaps he scented that it would not be so positive an experience as the December 4 meeting with its good news on river traffic.
Avery told me of his concern about the boundaries, since he preferred those Goldwater had set forth. On the other hand, wilderness designation was OK. He agreed that lots of negotiating remained, so AWF should stay open-minded. McComb, in DC, was finding no obstacles from fellow Park advocates to pursuing our proposals.
Chapman, Stitt & Lovegren of NPS met with me in Phoenix on the 18th to discuss our proposals. Lovegren featured heavily at the start. I noted, "he talks & talks & talks: here is what we did before". For historical purposes, i should have recorded him, but I was only impatient with this out-of-touch monologue. His view seemed limited to Havasupai concern over the Hilltop policiing and trail difficulties. He talked of the Havasupai clause in the 1919 Park Act as a gun to NPS' head. I replied very strongly that we wanted to stay away from any part of the issue; even discussing it would admit the area was not of Park quality. Chapman understood this, I noted. However, Lovegren kept playing his favorite role of devil's advocate: Won't the Hualapai squawk? What about the Monument boundary on the river? Shouldn't some Navajo land be taken? He said it was not legal for NPS to regulate helicopters on non-Park land just because they also used Park airspace. Chapman discussed motors and the Lake Mead section; is it really Park quality, he asked. NPS did seem to be puzzled by the administrative problems of including such land, whereas we were coming from the "complete Park" concept. They were also worried that removing LMNRA lands would offend Senator Bible, since he was Parks Subcommittee Chairman and LMNRA was his charge. He would also be concerned about what happened to the cattlegrowers.
Chapman was also concerned about the impact on NPS budget and discretion, preferring NPS control over a smaller Park, and not seeing an NPS role in the Conservation Zone. In spite of this limitation, it did seem to me that we were "in good shape" with NPS, even though Lovegren kept on with his approach and worry about getting rid of the Havasupai agricultural right in the Park.
From DC, McComb reported that the NPS bill drafters were difficult; they did not, for instance, like our provision recognizing the entire Canyon, and kept fussing, wanting to avoid anyone thinking this was an NPS or administration proposal. Their draft added secretarial discretion to make minor changes. There were questions about the longevity of grazing and wilderness review.
At this point--and should we have been more worried--, we received a letter from Goldwater saying he could not meet with us privately before the 29th. Gratuitously, he also hoped the Sierra Club would not cause trouble. On the other hand, the hunters group had relaxed and taken no action pending the 29th. Some did want to increase protection of areas like Kanab. Anyway, they understood this was an important piece of legislation, and Goldwater had to submit a bill, not just seek publicity. Fred Eiseman again expressed his support for what we were doing, while MNA's Danson gave us an encouraging word.
We checked with Goldwater's office about the 29th guest list, and found the logging people had called, and the Forest Service was being added to the list. Indeed, their regional office had decided it was of major importance. This would be along with a big hunter delegation, as well as NPS and us. In a 24 January talk with Bracey of Udall's office, I stressed Monday's meeting should be good, and not conflictful. However, he said Mo would not be there because there had been no personal invitation; Arizona politics were a consideration.
The Friday before the 29th, Forest Service staff met with us and pressed hard. We exchanged rhetoric, they with multiple-use platitudes, we with a review of our bill draft. They worried that the Conservation Zone would restrict their management, which in fact it would, to protect the Canyon. They proposed giving the Park the Coconino addition and a little of lower Kanab. The Forest would take some of the Park's forested land. As for the Havasu-Cataract area, we all agreed the Havasupai did not need or deserve any more land. Interestingly, they brought up the reservation expansion proposal the Forest Supervisor had made in the early 1900's. Indeed, one of the curious features of the Havasupai story is how the Forest Service had been willing to give up land even into the 1960's, when it completely reversed its policy. Now they were pushing an exchange where they would get the Great Thumb from the Park and yield to it the canyons and mesas in the western Forest. They argued for the Forest keeping most of Kanab since there was the usual trophy hunting, and anyway, they were studying it for addition to the Wilderness System. As far as the Conservation Zone went, on the plateaus, they favored plowing up sagebrush, though in a "natural" way. They were also working with BLM on Mt. Trumbull for timber and grazing. Of course, it was the North Rim of the Park they really wanted: it was flat and timbered, good for hunting. Fire could spread from the Park, as well as insects and disease. Being in the Forest would ease recreation pressures. [I bring up again how the fact that the Forest Reserve was created before the Park almost pre-determined the enduring struggle between these two resource views. Had the Park existed before the Forest, and the loggers had to petition for trees? A different world.] They ended their case with information intended to shore up our resistance to Havasupai pressures. What we did not know is that this debate had been run through between the FS and NPS in the 1950's, and FS was reviving their give-a-little/get-a-lot strategy.
If the December 4th meeting had squeezed out discussion of the Park because of the river controversy, on January 29th, we had even stiffer competition. Yes, Goldwater and Emerson were the principals. Yes, McComb & I, along with Eiseman, Danson, and the three NPS officials were there, more or less a pro-Canyon group. Yes, there were the hunters: Winter, Clemons, Jantzen; and their allies, the Forest Service regional forester with the forest supervisor and the two we had met, along with a stockman from Fredonia, and Ben Avery. Yes, there were several congressmen or their stand-ins. But, as a surprise, we also enjoyed the company of the Havasupai tribal chairman and attorney, and the Hualapai chairman & vice-chairman plus their long-time attorney. Guess what we spent most time hearing about?
Did this change in subject from Park to tribal concerns matter? Should there have been some prior notice about the 30-some people who were coming and what was to be discussed? Was it OK to stiff us after we had spent almost two months trying to do what Goldwater said he needed, i.e, discuss with different parties in order to work toward a proposal that would have Arizona and conservationist agreement? We had tried, mostly in good faith, though not without some suspicion, to talk over the issues with what seemed to be relevant individuals in an effort to avoid a simple head-to-head collision over extending the Park boundaries. And true, we did not believe that the Havasupai land matter should be part of the Park bill, and as for the Hualapai and their dam-building allies, we had fought them in the 1960's, and had no compunction about doing everything we could to keep the Canyon dam-free. So, yes, I think we were sand-bagged, ambushed, bushwhacked, by Goldwater (so very recently a prime public spokesman for those dams as well as a more-than-casual attacker of the Sierra Club and other Canyon advocates), and his ineffable aide, Terry Emerson. Fortunately, as far as the legislative process went, their competence was on the level of a Three Stooges routine.
Goldwater opened with the claim, "We have reached fairly good agreement in many meetings."
The December 4th meeting did not have enough preparation; it came as "a bolt out of the blue".
Emerson then announced Goldwater had met with the Havasupai the past weekend and agreed to give them Forest land with the trailhead at Hilltop. He was reconsidering what to do with deletions of some Monument plateau land.
I then summarized our proposals, to which Goldwater responded that he liked going to the Grand Wash Cliffs and up to the Canyon's rim, but had doubts about including Lake Mead and its motorboats on the part that intruded into the Canyon.
Avery now danced in. He liked Goldwater's Park boundaries and our Wilderness, although it made sense to keep motors below Diamond Creek, which meant different managements. He suggested language to restrict certain activities rather than a definite boundary in a Conservation Zone. He was followed by the northern Arizona cattleman, whose father had had a life permit on the north Monument, and had built a good tank there; the permit was cancelled upon his death. Goldwater asked NPS if the permit could be restored in perpetuity; Chapman said, "No". Fred then brought up the archeological remains being found there. Goldwater asked about the number of cattle, and Emerson intervened with "we can fix it up". At this point, he also asserted that they had "agreements" with the Navajo.
Goldwater introduced the Havasupai. (He may not have mentioned that he had gone to Supai by helicopter two days before. The tribal council had for him passed a resolution asking for repatriation of certain of its land. See Hirst³, 263 ff.) He first noted their area behind Grand Canyon Village. They were a tribe beginning to grow, now 1 man - 1 acre. The Forest Service cannot be interested in the Hilltop, where the trail to Supai starts.
Tribal Chairman Oscar Paya presented their case, first asking for a 99-year grazing permit for their horses and maybe some cattle. (I do not know why their 25 Jan 1973 resolution request for land was not mentioned at the 29 Jan meeting, which meeting is not in Hirst's book.) The reservation should go downstream to Beaver Falls. The land in the Monument is the best. We can pump water, perhaps 40,000 gallons/day (Avery shook his head). Mooney Falls has 38 million gallons/day. There is no stopping us.
Their lawyer, Joe Babbitt, followed by stating they proposed the status quo. The Havasupai are the keepers of the Grand Canyon. Isolated and left alone before 1880, then the miners came. Now they had met with NPS several times. They have been using the lands continuously, so to preserve the Park, make a clean delineation. They want to save their identity and will fade away without a land base. The Havasupai consider all lands they use to be theirs regardless of administrators. There are graves and houses, which would be confiscated under conservationist proposals. He cannot believe conservationists would say "lets get another Indian tribe". Wilderness would take the power plant and Topacoba trail. Havasupai claims are paramount.
At this point, Goldwater piped up that conservationists should reconsider their position. A feasibility study was needed about going downstream, to improve sanitation, and to get an increase in tourism income at their falls. They were not going to get rich on grazing. Eiseman asked if the study would be comprehensive. Babbitt said the key was water development. Emerson wanted to know if they wanted to be in the Park bill. Babbitt said they would be happy to be included. They morally deserve a land base. Avery asserted this was not going to solve the problem; the U.S. has to do something like a village near Grand Canyon Village. Goldwater disagreed, saying they could not wait, and would be happy with rights. They are not content to go up and down. Paya declared, "we claim it all," including the Big Thumb and Tenderfoot Mesa. When the NPS had put in a camping limit, we lost half our income. Horses are dying off. Goldwater asked if the huge ranch to the south of the Havasupai that was up for sale should go to the Havasupai.
The flow of Havasupai argument was stopped as the Forest Service now demurred, the regional forester saying the land was not potentially productive for grazing; it will never be really productive without an extensive irrigation system, which is not really feasible. However, it does have a game range and some watershed. Another Forest official then presented their full position: give land the Havasupai want to the Park. In return, the Forest Service wanted 40 kac of the Great Thumb. We could then fix it up for Havasupai grazing. (My notes say: "trapped themselves!") Moreover, FS does not want to give up Kanab Creek since it is a trophy area. They wanted 80 kac of forest on the North Rim; NPS would just let it burn. The Park can have the 640 acres at Coconino.
Nobody answered these irrelevancies, and Hualapai attorney Marks opened their case by bragging about preserving the sanctity of the reservation. The 1883 reservation goes to the river, and he "presumed that it goes to the middle". They were worried about the north side extension, since Park status would present some further obstacles to a dam. Otherwise we are content, though we are worried about control of the river. Vice-chairman Sterling Mahone (related to Fred Mahone, who conceived of the 1934 Hualapai tourism plan?) then thundered on about the dam: For 20 years, we have tried to develop; white people putting up laws and obstacles; dam is last resource; seems like you are knocking two Indian heads together and throwing'em in the river; protect our rights.
Goldwater announced we had reached a point of clarification. The north dam abutment is federal land, and the federal government will never build a dam--will probably never build another high dam: facts of life. Hualapai will not lose your rights. So, what about extending to the Grand Wash Cliffs; is there any conflict? Marks tries to threaten about being in the dark, but if no dam, then we will work on recreational development, and cooperate with NPS. Our concerns continue, however, and we will talk to you. Avery offers that the Hualapai would gain if they declared a tribal park with development and overlooks.
At this point, Goldwater repeated that Senator Jackson did not want to hold hearings with controversy, and then joked about Senator Case (introducer of Sierra Club bill) and David Brower (leader of the fight that killed the dams) never having seen the Canyon. (I dont know about Case; Goldwater was wrong about Brower.) When Marks asked about having several bills, Goldwater said there were too many tribes to have separate bills, but Indian toes were not to be stepped on. Then he announced that he had to go. He wanted to introduce a bill in mid-February. There can always be compromise, so keep talking. He left. Game & Fish decided not to offer any proposals, and the meeting ended.
A signal event took place. Emerson asked me who drew the boundary on our map. When I told him John and I did, he was very disappointed, wondering how he could get it drawn. He just would not deal with us.
Even as we drove home, there was news on the radio & later tv that Goldwater was going to enlarge the Havasupai reservation and protect the Hualapai, while extending GCNP boundaries to include a million acres (of what was already mostly NPS land). Local news articles featured Goldwater planning to expand the Park, but with curious variations.⁵ One started off, "Park bill stresses Indians' interests" with Goldwater stressing the importance of protecting the tribes. It spoke of "four years' work by Goldwater and his staff to draw up a bill acceptable to all parties". Hualapai title would be preserved to their reservation "south of the Colorado"--no mention of the dam. The Havasupai were to have 100 kac mostly on the rim to "save the tribe from virtual extinction". There would be aid to those tribes and to the Navajo for tourism development. Toward the end, the article said Goldwater had accepted a Sierra Club proposal for the park "as a single entity, stretching some 250 (sic) miles from Lee's Ferry to the Grand Wash Cliffs".
Another led with Goldwater calling for a mid-February introduction that extended the park to the Grand Wash Cliffs within the canyon rim. Then came his proposal for expanding the "Supai Reservation to the tribe plateau grazing lands", and protecting Hualapai rights. However, there would be no dam: "I don't think there ever will be another high dam built in the United States."
A third, possibly by Avery, started with Goldwater's plan to expand the Park to include the two Monuments, and then mentioned Goldwater and Danson as expressing hope the bill could be passed "this year". The listing of attending groups started off with the tribes, then "ranchers, the U.S. Forest Service, Arizona Fish and Game Department, Arizona Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, …, park service and others". (For NPS, not even upper case; hmmm.) Again Goldwater concurred on extending the park "all the way from Lee's Ferry to Grand Wash Cliffs within the canyon rim", although he had pointed out there were problems. The article then mentioned the Supai expansion and the no-dam statement. If the author was Avery, he then expressed the unsupported belief that "all of the groups were in close agreement". That stunner was followed by three paragraphs of Goldwater attacking commercial river runners "threatening to try to stop the whole thing", so at least his fantasy this time was not directed at us.
In a letter I drafted and did not send, I regretted my petulance at the meeting preventing me from standing up to say what had to be said: You, Senator, propose taking land from a National Park to advance the purpose of providing an economic base for the Supai (sic). I oppose this and will encourage others to oppose it. Better no Park bill than diminishing the Park System for an economic purpose. And so forth, a clear indication to me today of the strong sense I (we) had that the Havasupai's proposal had to be opposed as strongly as possible. For the previous few years,⁶ the Havasupai and Grand Canyon advocates had been, with renewed energy, pursuing their seemingly incompatible goals on separate tracks. Goldwater's personal interests in the Canyon and Indians had now led him to decree a course for those tracks so that they were hell- and self-righteously bent toward collision.
It was certainly more pleasant to receive a letter Fred Eiseman wrote to McComb & me on the 30th; it serves as an excellent epitaph to our two-month adventure in "cooperative compromise".⁷ He had hoped there would be a spirit of finding a middle ground. (Remember when Eiseman started this whole thing, he had worried that needless disagreement would be hurtful.) Unfortunately, all but you two came as special interests with their tired pet proposals. He knew how hard we worked, trying to find an acceptable proposal. We deserved an enormous amount of praise. He wished there had been a gratifying conclusion, but we could be satisfied we had done all we could for the Canyon.
Well, not all. There were to be two more years of "doing all we could for the Canyon"
¹A little story to indicate how I came to view our experience with introducing a new half-way measure like the Zone: About 20 years after the events, I was interviewed by Robert Keller, a co-author of another one of those studies purporting to show how the "American Indians" suffer at the hands of the "National Parks". He was very interested in the Zone, why we invented it, what it might have meant, and how come it disappeared from view. Not only could I not provide answers for his questions, but the 1972-3 experience was apparently so disagreeable that I had suppressed my memories of this strange creature, born of our impulse to try to bridge the canyon between a "complete" Park and Arizonan anti-park interests.
²Letter, 8 Jan 1973, Richard A. Thompson, Prof. of Anthropology, Southern Utah State College,
to Fred Eiseman; in my files
³Hirst, Stephen, Life in a Narrow Place: The Havasupai of the Grand Canyon, 1976
⁵From, in order, Tucson Daily Citizen, Arizona Daily Star, Arizona Replublic; all 30 Jan 1973; in my files
⁶Of course, the collision of interests had been laid out 90 years before, when a Reservation for the Havasupai and a Park for the Grand Canyon were conceived on the same ground. Hirst, in his book, and I in this blog have dealt with this formidable and tragic knot in our own ways, but see my post of 13 May 2011.
⁷The alternative to this "lets find a compromise" exercise is to determine your position, find your allies, launch into battle, preaching to the choir the whole time you are trying to out-smart, out-maneuver, outright crush the opponent. You still do not get all you want, but it sure feels better.