The House Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation held its hearing on Grand Canyon National Park bills (HR1882, HR5900, S1296) on 12 November 1973, Roy Taylor of North Carolina in the chair. The witness list, 25 in all, started with Udall and Steiger, then NPS and the Forest Service, the Havasupai, and the Hualapai with the Az Power Authority. There followed a mix of Canyon advocates (10) and loggers (4). Interesting omission: No one from the Az Wildlife Federation (hunters) had signed up. More important, I do not have a copy of the printed hearing record, if it exists, but only the transcript, which does not have material submitted for the record like reports, bills, statements. It does contain what people actually said. Worst of all, it is a very poor, often unreadable, xerox copy.
According to the transcript, the witnesses differed slightly from the list. Udall was in a strip mining mark-up. NPS featured an associate director with Chapman and Stitt; The Havasupai sent Lee Marshall and Steve Hirst; the Hualapai, chairman Mahone and counsel Marks. That was in the morning. The afternoon crowded in 8 Canyon advocates, 4 loggers, and 2 from the pro-dam APA. Because there was floor action on the Alaska Pipeline and eulogies for Congressman Saylor, the hearing had to be short, and statements limited to about 4 minutes.
Udall absent, the hearing started with a Canyon skeptic. Steiger made clear he was no co-sponsor, though he understood how important the legislation was to Senator Goldwater. He then praised Goldwater's Emerson for his paper on the Bridge Canyon damsite, and promised to further protect the Hualapai-APA interest. So there we are, the first testimony on protecting the Grand Canyon is about protecting the f---g damsite. Thanks, Sam, for your many years of fine service in Wrecklaiming Arizona. (The blue are my personal comments.) Steiger's next point was in line with his previous actions in favor of expansion of the Havasupai reservation. Here, he came down in favor of the Havasupai "in opposition to the interests of the cattle growers" (please remember that statement), as well as those of the Forest Service and conservationists. In an exchange with Taylor, Steiger came out against the Havasupai study, saying boundaries for a larger reservation were already delineated and a study would be "just a cop out". Asked about the zone of influence, he cited its vagueness and administrative problems for the Forest Service, as well as timber interest opposition. There followed a confused colloquy about grazing tenure (which the change in language in the Senate had been intended to clarify), with Taylor thinking it was all about "Indian grazing rights". This gave Steiger the chance to champion both the Hualapai & their dam site right and the Havasupai. He then went on to describe the latter's grazing permit on the plateau and how dry the area was. Taylor, still acting as if Steiger were responsible for the bill, asked about the lack of condemnation power (already fixed in the Senate), but neither had information on any private land that would be involved. Taylor then put Goldwater's statement in the record.
And I can only wonder if Saylor, with his seniority, would have been able to curtail Steiger's mischief. Certainly the new ranking Republican member, Skubitz, made no effort to. And it is interesting that Alan Steelman, a Republican freshman from Texas, was one of the active Park-friendly questioners.
The Park Service Associate Director, S. Hulett, noted that the bill as passed by the Senate was mostly in line with what the NPS wanted. Sup't Stitt talked about the boundaries briefly, pointing to Marble's east side only as a proposed boundary. Hulett felt compelled to add that some areas would be added "only with the concurrence of the Hualapai". He also claimed the study for the Havasupai was underway and could be done within a year. There was then a muddy discussion of the grazing extension language, which was followed by an inaccurate history of the zone of influence, and an unilluminating description of the Havasupai study. There was a back-&-forth on the river, in which Taylor mistakenly said large rafts were needed for safety, possibly based on what he had been told on his trip in the 1960's. Taylor elicited the NPS view that it would be proper to "consider wilderness". He then asked if Hulett knew about other proposed additions. Unfortunately, Hulett said it was NPS' long experience that led him to say theirs was the optimal proposal. (Of course, over the past months and years, that "optimal" proposal had been changed multiple times by NPS responding to ideas from within and outside the agency.) The next page of the transcript is missing.
However, Rep. Steelman did ask our question about adverse activities on the rims. So Stitt was able to say that he had heard there was to be logging adjacent to the Canyon. However, Hulett cut in to say that there were existing laws that could be used, and anyway, NPS does not want to tell other agencies what to do. Steelman pressed on about the zone, calling it an attractive idea, and wondering if its feasibility could be studied. Hulett avoided any commitment, talking about regional planning and land use legislation. Steelman then asked about viewing platforms, and Hulett talked only about the deletion areas, reflecting his total ignorance of the zone, rim problems, and no doubt, the Canyon in general. He was very careful not to call on either Chapman or Stitt, although he is clearly not only out of his depth, but deep in the doo-doo. However, when Steelman got specific, asking our question about Kanab, Whitmore, and Marble, and whether there are any studies about adding these lands, Stitt tried to answer. But before he could finish, Taylor cut in with, "What about the upper five miles?" Chapman first said that it was handled administratively, and then agreed with Taylor that "it is below the Grand Canyon." With that confused, Steelman put in the question about a two-year wilderness study, And Hulett shouldered in to say NPS wanted the old wilderness area mandated, excluding the river, which would be in a "wilderness reserve". "What's that?", asked Steelman. "Wilderness with a non-conforming use," Hulett explained.
The Forest Service testified, not on the Senate-passed bill, but on the unchanged HR5900, giving it a chance to oppose a Havasupai transfer, bringing up the payment from the Indian Claims Commission settlement. When asked about cutting on the rim, the answer was that they were sensitive to such matters, and no restrictions were needed. Committee Counsel McIlvane did try to pin down the rim matter, but the Forest Service pedaled furiously, throwing up dust about different levels in the Kanab area, making the rim hard to determine.
Marshall & Hirst appeared for the Havasupai. The latter's testimony as Tribal Secretary was first, taking five pages; Marshall spoke for three; three-plus pages of questions followed. Hirst stressed the long struggle for an appropriate reservation. He lamented the low opinion held of the Havasupai, and the failure of earlier attempts, such as that by BIA official John Crow in the 1940's. Bringing the story up-to-date, Hirst made clear that NPS had not been trustworthy. He then described the boundaries of the desired additions, totalling 200 kac including the 160 acre plot near Grand Canyon Village.
Marshall started by rejecting further study, and was eloquent: He warned they were mad, would fight, and were just getting started. The "so-called environmentalists" just wanted to keep the land away from us. The Park Service did not even know where the bighorn sheep live, yet they said they want to protect them. But NPS has destroyed Havasupai homes and burial grounds. They say they will help, and never do. So Marshall asserted: We demand all our permit lands be put in our reservation, including the area near the Village, and we want the Pasture Wash area.
In questions, Taylor asked Hirst if it would be satisfactory to have a grazing permit, Hirst replied, "In our case that would be for forever." "No, it would not," rejoined Taylor. There was a back-&-forth with Taylor trying to show the Havasupai came onto the Park, and Hirst pushing back. Taylor had clearly been prepped with numbers and questions. The Representative from Guam noted Hirst was not an Indian, and congratulated Marshall, sympathisizing with their effort. He asked if they still lived in the "old way". Marshall said they cannot; the NPS & FS prevent them from hunting.
The Hualapai Tribal Chairman, Sterling Mahone, spoke next, introducing their Tribal Counsel, Royal Marks. They took 9 pages to peddle their dam, which brought the morning session to an end. That is to say, the morning session of 1½ hours rasped along, marked by irrelevance, tunnel vision & mis-statement, attempts to gut the Park, and the celebration of special interest. In the afternoon, a passel of loggers and more dam-builders, got almost the same amount of time. Oh, along with the 10 Grand Canyon advocates. Park bill? Parks Subcommittee?
Smoothly, Mahone claimed their "utmost concern" for the environment of "our great country", noting "now the rest of America is beginning to show some concern for the same values". But "catchwords" of conservationists masked "arbitrary destruction" of others' rights. The Hualapai would not stand by while a few stopped the economic development available to Indians. The bills would "destroy" the economic opportunity created by a contract with the state power authority to build Hualapai Dam. The Hualapai had granted the authority exclusive right to tribal land, for which the Hualapai would receive extensive economic benefits. Taylor then broke in, asking about this "Havasupai" dam, on the Hualapai river. Mahone continued, describing the economic benefits from recreation. Arizona was in dire need of the dam's power. The bill's language did not preserve Hualapai dam-building rights, only talking about a federal dam, while it reinforced the ban on Federal Power Commission authority. Marks then referred to the amendments that Steiger would introduce for them on "permission for Bridge Canyon development". The electricity was greatly needed, and impediments to the dam being built by the Hualapai and Arizona should be removed, as Governor Jack Williams had called for. He cast scorn on "some propaganda that the dam would flood the Grand Canyon". Taylor then noted that they had had "thousands of letters and thousands of cards" about the dam during the dam fight. Marks repeated the tired old fallacies about the dam's impact. Taylor said he had floated down the Canyon, to see it. Marks avoided dealing with that, asking only for consideration of their amendments.
In the afternoon, an ardent and long-standing advocate for the Canyon, geologist Bill Breed, spoke first, representing, as president-elect, the Arizona Academy of Sciences. He used the geologic map for emphasis on the Canyon's extent, and used this to correct the confusion the Hualapai had fostered, asserting that a dam "certainly" would flood the Canyon. He pointed out that Navajo Bridge was just a "man-made boundary"; the Canyon started at Lees Ferry, and should end, not at the upper part of the Grand Wash Cliffs, but the lower part, mile 278. Taylor pointed out NPS wanted the Park to be above the reclamation withdrawal. Breed pointed back there were other places with fluctuating lakes, and the Canyon has had natural dams. "It would be easier to put the … boundary right … at the Grand Wash Cliffs, and not worry about little fluctuations". He spoke of other areas interesting to the scientist: the Cockscombs, the Little Colorado (if the Navajo concurred in adding it to the Park), all of Kanab Canyon, parts of Cataract. This last led to a colloquy with Taylor trying to find out if he was asking for more, and Breed talking about the Hualapai. He moved on to advocating addition of the top of the Shivwits--a part of the Canyon's rim not included and a paradise for wildlife. He called the narrowness of the strip of Park near Parashant and Whitmore "unreasonable", extolling the former canyon for its close walls. And even though this was the first explication of desirable parts of the Canyon, Taylor asked him to finish in a minute. Breed then mentioned Toroweap, and made the case for wilderness study and protection. He ended by saying that he felt safer on the rowing rafts than on the big motor rigs--very dangerous when they tip over.
Then the four loggers came up, using their 11 pages to pound more nails in the coffin of the far-from-influential "zone of influence". One operator boasted of supporting the well-being of Fredonia (until some years later when they closed the Kaibab operation down) and the fine Forest Service administration. At one point, Taylor pointed out that the zone was broader and more unlimited than any buffer the Committee had ever considered, and he was going to ask Udall if all of Arizona could go into it, adding "he would have had a good answer; he always does", at which there was laughter. Committee Counsel McIlvain asked if the loggers would object to a very narrow buffer strip right on the rim. The loggers agreed to that, but claimed anyway there never had been any damage where the forest comes up to the rim.
For the Sierra Club, and as the major statement, McComb started by describing with a map the ideal, and Taylor asked if that meant he approved of the bill with additions, and getting assent, asked to have them pointed out on the map, which showed areas within the Canyon that should be added and also adjacent areas needed for protection. Taylor asked about acreage and ownership, allowing McComb to explain that the additions were mostly LMNRA land plus some Kaibab National Forest and BLM land, as well as some state land and an "extremely small" amount of private land. Getting detailed, he pointed out the Tapeats rim, which had timber sales scheduled. Although Havasu Canyon had high Park values, McComb wanted to await the study results. He also wanted the Park to be able to acquire state land by exchange. Taylor asked his opinion of the zone of influence, and McComb offered that it had "some real merit", but he feared the Secretary had too much discretion as to its establishment, and he would want a boundary delineated in the legislation. Asked, McComb thought the Havasupai could be helped without "violating" the Park; a study was a sound course.
The Chairman and Counsel of the Arizona Power Authority made their plea for continued relevance; Goldwater had promised their dam dream would not be further squelched. However, not satisfied, they wanted the House to "protect" their interest in a damsite. (The oddity, of course, is that the APA pursued and "came close" to getting a license for a dam in Marble Canyon, but they no longer pursued that dream. I guess they thought that as long as they were to get nothing, they might as well go for the bigger nothing. Yet they may also have said to themselves, "Who knows, history was for the dam, then against the dam; maybe it will turn for us again.") The Hualapai were pushing for a dam, so the APA was not going to give up either. (The APA was paying the Hualapai a monthly fee for their interest in a dam.) They also had Governor Williams' support. To all of which Taylor responded that they had heard a lot about the dam in 1966-7, and he thought it was "pretty much a dead issue". The APAers did not think so, though they admitted Congress would have to authorize it. (And if it had, surely it would have authorized a federal dam.) Nevertheless, they hoped for stronger language to be clear that the bill would not in any way affect the dam's future. (Though everyone knew that extending the Park would do just that.) Taylor remarked that it is "a little unusual to place a dam in a national park", and he went on to insist that the dam would be inside the boundaries of the expanded park, based on confusion generated by NPS wanting the boundary to run along the reclamation withdrawal, which affected Hoover's reservoir, not Hualapai's damsite. Then, just to make sure they would get nowhere, the Counsel insisted that the purpose of their amendments was to allow them to get a license for a state-Hualapai dam from the Federal Power Commission while not expanding the Park to prevent Congress from approving a dam. To which Taylor correctly replied that any action now could be overridden by a future Congress. And the Counsel asserted that putting the site in a park would make it less likely. And Taylor assured him that that is exactly right, a situation, the Counsel hoped, could be avoided.
And now, as the November shadows lengthened over the Capitol, came the remaining Canyon advocates: Rodack, Dahl, Alderson, Ingram, Cooper, Painter, Boman. (Some others could not stay and left statements, but the record I have has only the oral testimony.)
Juel Rodack, from Tucson, chaired AWWW, founded to fight the dams. He stressed the need to protect the "entire" Canyon. Taylor questioned him about moving the start point upstream to Lees Ferry from Navajo Bridge, and Rodack insisted, and pledged to keep on insisting, that for proper understanding and interpretation, the Park should run from one end of the Canyon to the other, and just as important include its side canyons and uplands. He also advocated a Wilderness with the river in it and motors out of it. Taylor got a laugh: "We will put you down as being against the dams."
Kevin Dahl, a Scottsdale student active in conservation, spoke for several groups in standing against deletions and for studies. He supported the addition especially of upper Kanab Canyon, and Whitmore Wash, which he had visited. He lauded the views from the end of the very remote Shivwits Plateau, "some of the best scenes of the Grand Canyon", advocating that all the Grand Canyon's Lake Mead NRA lands be added to the Park. When asked, Dahl made the point that the zone of influence would not be needed if his recommendations were followed. Under time pressure from Taylor, he quickly supported establishing a Wilderness. And then Taylor asked him about the acreage in the deletions, and Dahl was able to say the Senate-passed bill was acceptable. Taylor commented that he thought they would be retained, along with standard Wilderness provisions being added.
George Alderson, DC lobbyist for Friends of the Earth, supported the Arizonans' position (Dahl had been speaking for the local group) and that of the Sierra Club. He recalled my "expert" role in the 1966-7 decision against the dams, which was nice, as a springboard to come out against the reclamation provision. He supported the Havasupai study, hoping that it would really help them, especially if imaginative alternatives could be found and park values respected. The study of the deletions was unnecessary, however.
I started my testimony with a tribute to the late Representative John Saylor, noting his long opposition to the dams. For myself, I referred to my time-- "only eleven years" -- advocating park protection for the entire Grand Canyon. I supported S 1296 as passed by the Senate with its improvements as a base on which the Committee could build an appropriate Park. Although it is mostly a matter of shifting Park Service units, "interpretively and educationally" gathering the Canyon lands within the Park "will make a very important difference". I noted that when we advocated that the river be included from Lees to Grand Wash Cliffs, we were advocating what had been, since 1923, the official United States definition. I emphasized starting at Lees Ferry. Noting that 40% of the Canyon is "the property of the Hualapai, Havasupai, and Navajo", I urged the committee to consider the precedent of the Navajo Tribal Parks, the regulations of which "show a regard for the land and Navajos currently living there", and quoted them as follows:
"The Marble Canyon Navajo Tribal Park was established to preserve an area of grace and beauty, and one of cultural and social significance to the Navajo people. This basic consideration dictates that all present and traditional Navajo religious, cultural, and economic and social uses shall continue without interference or regulation, and the following guidelines are applicable only insofar as they do not interfere with those traditional uses of this area by the Navajo people. All visitors to the Park shall respect the privacy and property of Navajos residing within the Park boundary." Urged to finish, I subsided after another couple of minutes extolling Tribal Parks.
In my written testimony, I set forth the position we would lobby for on clearing up any ambiguity about who should have authority over river traffic: "The Park Service should have the power to regulate all river traffic on the entire Colorado, from shore to shore, from Lees Ferry down to Lake Mead, a power strengthened by a boundary that puts all of the River under the United States."
Toby Cooper spoke for the National Parks and Conservation Association, supporting Alderson's positions on studies, deletions, and Wilderness, especially emphasizing the need to restrict aircraft. He was concerned about logging in the Canyon watershed, right on the rim even. In dealing with Havasupai needs, he expressed concern about the possible negative impact of tourist development.
Bill Painter, American Rivers Conservation Council, gave his time to pushing the Wilderness study, including the entire river. He supported removal of the reclamation provision. Ending the testimony, Keith Boman, a Colorado River boatman from Nevada, asked for time for his "different perspective", and Taylor rejoined, "We have been here a long time." Undeterred, Boman got to do a few pages of the poetic riff, on his having "experienced a romance with the Grand Canyon", and ending with a paean to the Canyon as wilderness that should be preserved as such. No political workaday prose from him, and he ended by inviting Taylor on a trip, which allowed Taylor to say he had been on the river, and "you can go down the entire distance if you have the time. There are no dams until you get to Lake Mead." He then opined there would be no action on the bill for a while, and all witnesses were commended "on their enthusiasm".
Reporting from DC, the Republic reporter had Udall say there would be few changes in the bill. The article then emphasized pro-dam testimony. Proposals for additional lands were proposed by McComb & Ingram and opposed by the Park Service. That last point was just the slant we had hoped we could avoid by prepping the Committee with questions, a tactic that was thwarted by the active or unknowing resistance of NPS DC testifier Hulett.
In my report in the AWWW newsletter, I noted the one-week notice of the hearing, and congressional apathy on the issue: few committee members were there; often only the chairman. I boiled down the testimony of the 25 witnesses into four major issues: We asked for major expansions. The dam advocates advocated their dam; we asked that the reclamation provision authority for a dam be repealed. Loggers opposed taking any forest; we asked to protect the rims from logging. The Havasupai asked for a major expansion of their reservation; everyone else urged a study instead. Readers were urged to write to the committee to back our positions.
With the formalities over, it was time for some direct lobbying by these "grass-roots folks from back home".