Tuesday, April 1, 2014

PL93-620 U2c. Jul 1974: Hunters Awake

This long narrative (over 50 posts in almost two years) is, I admit, heavily inflected by my having been a long-time advocate for an expanded, a complete, Grand Canyon National Park. So less-Park-friendly advocacies usually feel like intrusions to me; non-Park issues trying to climb aboard the Park bandwagon. In trying to make a comprehensive legislative history, I have preferred to present these other claims -- Havasupai land transfer, pro-dam action, e.g. -- in lumps of their own rather than as companion strands in a common tapestry. Another now needs to be dropped on the table -- the Arizona hunters' lobby, a group that heavily affected the legislation at its history's climax when they appeared in their natural guise as opponents of any Park expansion.

At the very beginning of 1973, when McComb & I were attempting to shape an "Arizona" bill that Goldwater could introduce as a broad compromise, we met with Arizona Game & Fish Dep't officials. Accommodating our desire for a broad Canyon designation and their desire not to lose any hunting grounds (indeed, to gain some), was a major impetus behind the concept of the zone of influence. However, our attempt got so mangled by Goldwater's office that we felt no compunction in using the 1973 Senate hearings to return to our original maximalist position. The failure of our excursion into consensus-building, and our subsequent advocacy of an optimal Park, was the subject of some misunderstanding and even grief. The hunters (organized in the Arizona Wildlife Federation, AWF) and the Arizona Game & Fish Dep't (AGF), among others, did not fully register this change.

Even more strange for a group with such strong opinions, they had been, not just quiet, but absent from DC activities after Senate action. They were, of course, disappointed that the plateau lands in the old Monument were to be added to the Park, instead of opened up for hunting and grazing as public lands. But they made no lobbying effort on that issue at the time. They seemed to have quit the scene, not appearing during the November 1973 House hearing or March 1974 bill mark-up. This is a bit puzzling, since there were multiple friends of theirs in the press and agencies, so they should have had no trouble keeping up-to-date. 

It is not until an article in the 27 Jun 1974 Arizona Republic that there is notice that the hunter lobby had caught up with events. "Surprisers in park expansion" read the article headline; subcommittee additions of 230 kac, "kept secret (sic!) from the public … since March" will be pushed before the full committee. The addition of the three areas "is contrary to agreement" between Sierra Club and Goldwater. They include the only bighorn sheep areas and the top trophy deer areas. Hunters want to kill the amendments or even the entire bill. They may have been asleep, but they woke up screaming.

Neither AGF nor AWF nor for that matter the National Wildlife Federation (the overall umbrella group for the state groups) had a presence in the House hearing. They did not put in an appearance during House consideration as we worked with Udall's staff from December through March to craft a pro-Park boundary that would avoid taking any prime logging, hunting, or grazing areas. AWF's Clemons had shown extensive knowledge and interest in the Senate, so his absence in House consideration was strange. Moreover, during the April through June period of Havasupai success, the AGF & AWF showed no signs of interest, even though some Forest lands open to hunting were included in the reservation expansion.

Whatever the reason, their absence meant they lost a major opportunity for engaging with us and Udall, including possible negotiation, on the expanded Park boundary. AGF/AWF reaction in July, therefore, is disingenuous, the protests of those caught trying to catch up with the parade with their pants around their ankles. I have to add that it is my prejudice that their opposition would have been automatic, unknowing, and fierce anyway; the point is, they gave themselves no chance to participate in the legislative process except as nay-saying spoilers. This post is dedicated to presenting what I know of the AGF/AWF position and the on-the-ground factual considerations we believed meant that their position was, to say the least, misguided and distorted.

(The following is based on material from the Udall archives):

Robert Jantzen, Director of the Arizona Game & Fish Dep't, wrote to Udall on 10 Jul of his "grave concern". He had called the week before, to tell Udall that he had been unaware of the additions. He stated that hunters would oppose them, since there was prime deer hunting area involved. Pontius then evaluated the issue for Udall this way: the deer are on the plateau and you did not add forest; he did not believe there were many deer down below in those barren side canyons over which he had flown a few months previously. 

Mid-July, the hunters were writing Udall that they had just visited the area and saw only "prime deer" lands. They were now in full throat. As part of our preparatory work (expecting hunter opposition), McComb in Nov 1973 had furnished Udall with a portfolio of photographs trying to show the canyon values of the areas we wished to add and the absurd arbitrariness of some of the Goldwater boundaries. They were an important element in convincing Udall that a Park boundary could be drawn on the rim without taking any plateau lands involved in hunting, logging or grazing (see below). The portfolio was particularly strong in showing that what was in the Senate-passed Park boundary contrasted with what had been left out, especially in the Kanab, Whitmore, and Parashant areas. Since Pontius had flown over the area with us, Udall's office was well-prepared to be skeptical about hunter claims. 

As the hunters' letters started pouring in, Udall wrote, Jul 17, to Jantzen, I recognize some hunting will be affected. Balanced against that is the broader public interest to designate the whole canyon and major side canyons. "Your statistics do not really provide me with enough specific information" for deleting Kanab. If you could provide data that substantial hunting is done in these canyon areas, I could recommend change.  Since you did not appear at hearings (nor during the subcommittee action), I will recommend that the Committee include these areas for study. I am sorry the subcommittee actions do not accord with your view. 

On 23 Jul, Jantzen telegraphed that he had not yet received a map of the additions; he was  disappointed. He had acquired additional data. (No such data from G&F are contained in the files, just repetitions of the usual anti-park arguments.) Pontius replied that no map was available, which must have meant an official map, since McComb had provided more than one version of the Park additions. Of course, this was all very late in the House game; had Jantzen been paying attention in November-March, this problem with the map & data could have been handled. 

There followed a bunch of hunter petitions, indicating their strong detestation of Park additions. At a professional meeting, all the Western state game commissioners stated their opposition. We responded with our telegrams asking Udall to ignore hunter opposition to Park expansion; it was to be expected and had come too late. And Udall did argue back to them that the land was not significant for hunting, but to meet their complaints, a post-legislative study would be done. This blaze would keep growing after the Committee acted in July; the Udall archives have three full folders of hunter protest.

(end of Udall archives material)

There is a big reason why AGF did not produce statistics to show how prime and of what relative importance the areas moved into the Park were: There were none. Given how devoted AGF was to statistics of the hunt, their success in kills and kind, and new animals, and the health of the herd, etc., how could this be? 

Lets start with the AGF "hunt area" map (this is just the northern half of the state) as it was in the mid-1970's. 

 Our additions were located in the far west of 12A and the southern area of 13. 

So the first obvious point is that they were gathering statistics over huge areas compared to the Park-desirable lands. Our argument went further--not only would the Park include only a small portion, but they comprised the least accessible parts, particularly in the Kanab addition, the one that most stoked hunter rage.

Understanding the topography requires something like a Google map. (I typed in Supai AZ and then moved around and in to get the maps I show below.) Here is the overall area of concern with our Park additions approximated in green:

A close examination will show most of the hunt area 12A (Kaibab North) covers the high plateau and the next level down, with the Park additions off in the lower corner. Later, we did obtain a more detailed AGF map of 12A broken down into sub-units 1 through 12 -- where units 3-12 were completely uninvolved in the Park question; with parts of 1 & 2 containing the Park additions. So we used that map to emphasize our argument that not much area was being taken, and it was a couple of thousand feet below the hunting grounds, anyway. 

The high areas (e..g. 5,10) go from ~8000', dropping to the sub-plateau above Kanab Canyon at 5800/6800', with the canyons themselves that we wished to add about 3800'. 
We also hoped this map would stress how the rim boundary would exclude higher flatter areas that contained the extensive road network put in by logging activities. Here is a general view of the Kanab canyons ( I did not draw in the proposed boundary to keep the topography clearer.-- we opined that just by looking at this part of the country, anyone could see how the prime deer lands were above the canyon system.

And here is a closer-in view inside the Kanab addition. On the left is the long south-pointing finger, which we excluded from the Park, showing a road along the rim. Then the canyon drops down to the Esplanade, and a bit farther to the right into one of the incised tributaries. 

So on the basis of such argument (and our own experience in the area), we thought it was obvious that 1) the areas we thought were Park-worthy were below the areas where deer hunters operated and 2) those Park areas were a very small percentage of the hunt areas where deer were killed. We truly did not feel we were depriving many (any?) hunters of their prey -- though I have to add that we and most of our allies did not participate in the fall-winter rituals; thousands across Arizona clearly did.

AGF countered our arguments with these figures (I added some later years at the top):

The numbers for the top areas are the sub-units of the Kaibab North 12A; the bottom two rows show all of 13, then all of 12 (A + B). My understanding of the hunt mechanics was that when there was snow up high, the deer would come down to the medium level (e.g. units 3 & 4), which was open and brushy, instead of big trees. But how many might venture down the walls of the canyons to the 3800' level, and how many hunters would follow them, to carry their prizes back up 2-3000', no one could tell us. That is, their own statistics were not broken down finely enough to support their argument. Indeed they varied so much and with so little explanation, that I suspect these data more obscured than supported the hunters' case. We were free to argue, then, that the canyon areas we wanted were only a quarter the acreage of units 1 & 2, as well as being half a mile farther down, so we did not see how they could be prime hunting grounds. A more up-to-date set of numbers McComb had obtained by calling AGF suffered from the same problem of including tracts much more extensive than what we were interested in. And again, what did all that variability mean? How could they know how many of these fawns & does (& bucks) were trophy animals?

These considerations made the hunters' case a hard sell to a congressman and his staff with limited time to try to unscramble what was going on. It was easier to give credence to our common-sense position that the hard-to-get-to lower-down canyons could not prime hunting grounds for any but a few hunters. Most would use the more extensive, more heavily vegetated,  intensely roaded, higher-up plateaus. It was also easier because their emotion-laden pleas emphasized the Kaibab Plateau, sacred to them, but which we were no longer trying to grab away.

To recap, AGF's 10 Jul letter was more qualitative statement than offering quantitative evidence. AGF complained that all they had was a "very poor, small scale map". A portion of the deer herd wintering range was taken. Data have been collected over 8 years from these areas, a large portion of which would be closed to hunting. "Experience of many Department personnel has shown that many hunters use the area included in the extension, varying from 11% … to 65%". (The last equaled 7000 hunters;  Such a crowd would be quite a sight down in the canyons.) Without these canyons, "it is a certainty that deer populations will be difficult to manage", perhaps leading to a population explosion. Also, the chukar partridges AGF had introduced into upper Kanab (Snake Gulch) would be off-limits. 

The letter was on more solid ground when it focussed on the Shivwits Plateau. AGF claimed that 20% of the hunters in the huge area of Hunt Area 13 used the Shivwits, about 7000 "man days" of outdoor recreation. Also many parts of the Whitmore-Parashant-Andrus section were wintering areas, and hunted when there is snow higher up (though no figures were offered). Bighorn sheep have been hunted throughout those additions since 1968 (no numbers, which I think is a surprise). This "hunting recreation" will be eliminated. Emphasizing their lack of data, they claimed twice as much acreage would be affected as in fact would have been. They hoped for a correct large-scale map, and no doubt if AGF had been sincere in pursuing an accurate picture, the map would have been produced. What seems more likely to have been the case is that the hunters' position found friendly ears in enough other places (Steiger, Goldwater, the other Arizona senator, Fannin), and they decided lobbying Udall was not worth the effort. At any rate, there seems to be nothing to indicate that AGF or AWF took him up on his offer of a post-legislation study.

When Jantzen came to see Udall in DC (and no doubt other delegation members: Goldwater, Steiger, et al.), the visit still did not result in AGF having a good map of the additions, apparently, and there is no indication of detailed discussions between AGF and Udall's office. Instead, after the visit,  Udall summed up his position: 1. Park advocates had already compromised, for instance in not asking for land from the Kaibab Plateau. 2. Hunting must be balanced against the "broader public interest" of a "truly worthy National Park". Major side canyons are really part of the whole complex. 3. Your statistics  are not specific enough to substantiate any deletions; please try again. 4. Since you didnt offer your views at the hearing, I will recommend a study of the suitability of these areas. 5. Im sorry you do not approve the subcommittee action and did not have the opportunity to make your views known. I will advocate further discussion of your concerns. [I can read into this Udall's tiring of shifting to make accommodations, and being ready to just push the legislation on through the Committee; something he knew then he had the votes to do.]

So the upshot of this johnny-come-lately July outburst of hunter concern was that Udall felt justified in ignoring their pleas, leaving to a later study the unraveling of the mystery of how many killed what where. This did not stem the flow of hunter letters over the next few months, but the legislation stayed on track, dealing with the issues -- Havasupai, the dam-- that had already occupied the attention of the committee members.

(Again, from the Udall archives):

In a similar late-arriving complaint, a Utah cattle family discovered that the new Park boundary would cost them an allotment below the Shivwits rim in the western Park expansion. They tried to get their congressman, Owens, to slow the "theft" down. Udall's  reply was that permits are privileges, and this is public land, though he agreed to add the lands to the study roster. Together, this draft amendment read that the areas known as the Parashaunt Allotment in LMNRA and the Kanab Canyon formerly in the Forest or BLM should be studied (p2, l23; p3 l 1). However, in the end that issue did not come up, perhaps because, as Pontius wrote us, if the areas were in the Park as expanded, they probably will not come out. Owens chose not to push the matter in the full Committee.  
[A side note: originally, NPS had drawn the western boundaries to exclude all grazing allotments just as Senator Bible had wished. However, by the time the bill was introduced in 1973, this wish had been "forgotten" and our position to add lands out to the Grand Wash Cliffs, vigorously voiced at the Goldwater meetings, prevailed. Given that Bible chaired the Senate Parks Subcommittee, it is fortunate that this matter did not come up until so late. Of course, we did not know about the Bible "wish"; otherwise, we might have been wracked with guilt at slipping something past so august a legislator.]

(end of Udall archives material)

Other materials from my files.

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