House passage of S. 1296 was variously reported in October. In the National Wildlife Federation "Report", the "House approves of Grand Canyon Proposal", saying that by a voice vote federal lands were consolidated into an enlarged Park and the Havasupai were granted 185 kac. It would now go to a Senate-House conference to reconcile the differences between the bills as passed by each chamber. Most critical had been the 180-147 vote on the Havasupai grant. Representatives Foley & Dellenback warned other lands would be opened to claims. The Arizonans spoke for the grant. The amendment to reduce the Park by 185 kac was rejected. Much debate was on development, Udall denying there could be trams or hotels on the rim. Rhodes indicated the Havasupai could benefit from tourist development, and questioners wanted to know why a give the Havasupai land if there could not be economic development for tourism. Another difference with the Senate version was "particularly opposed by sportsmen" -- "all" bighorn hunting area and "a large section" of Kaibab deer wintering range were added to the Park. When hunting was prohibited once a half century earlier, there was a massive deer dieoff. Although called the Park Enlargement Act, it was more a consolidation of various NPS and other federal lands.
The Republic headlined, in an article by DC-based reporter Ben Cole, "House OKs bill to double Grand Canyon Park size". It also granted 185 kac to the Havasupai, in a battle led by Steiger for the "tiny band". There was a recorded vote, after pro-environmentalists made their arguments. Udall "rebuked" them for raising the tramway "frightener", which the tribe had rejected. Seiberling blamed the grant on a Nixon political promise. Steiger argued Arizona was united for the Havasupai, and his attack on Sierra Club "bigots" was quoted. A "weary" House held the debate in the evening after a long day before it recessed for the election. Steiger at one point roared at the top of his voice for order, since the chamber was so noisy. He failed to reduce the Park acreage, nearly all of which was federal lands. He also withheld his dam amendment, although Hosmer attacked environmentalists on these issues. [Did Sam hold back on the dam, a sure loser, to avoid tainting his pro-Havasupai anti-conservationist stance?
The Republic also reported that the only Arizona Congressman who voted against the Havasupai, J. Conlan, said he was supporting conservationists. The Havasupai were paid once, he said, why should taxpayers "be stuck twice". And in another report, noting the death of some Havasupai horses by starvation, the BIA warned that publicity on this could adversely affect their land acquisition. There were letters, too, one promoting the dam, attacking the additions, and labeling all the park bills as having "little to recommend them".
The Flagstaff Sun reported that Steiger's office said there would be "no great difficulties" in working out Senate-House differences -- Goldwater favored the Havasupai grant, and Udall was ready to compromise on the Park additions opposed by Steiger. So there were no major fights in the offing. The Tucson Star, reporting that Udall's bill had passed, wrote it brought "an equitable solution to a difficult problem".
My private evaluation of the House action was that there had not been any great effort by the anti-Havasupai forces before the House debate, which I thought we had won, although narrowly losing the vote. There was the last-minute Club letter, and heavy use of the federal-state development report. Goldwater sent a telegram to Foley-Dellenback warning them about their claims, but they did not respond. The immediate reaction by Verkler, chief of staff on the Senate Interior Committee, was, "Just kill it".
McComb attacked the hunters' group president's letter for alleging that "important" hunting areas would be closed and the wildlife harmed, while the facts were that "none" of the important North Kaibab hunting would be affected. The claim that bighorn sheep will be off-limits to hunting is contradicted by the fact that no sheep have ever been killed in the canyons to be added. The claim that boundaries will be hard to mark is wrong; most are on the very rims. The call for multiple use does not apply to these lands, where such uses are dams, logging, and mining. The facts do not support the hunters opposition. However, another pro-hunter report featured a fine map of what it called the "enormous" additions to the Park System; however, it ignored the Havasupai subtraction.
Even before the vote, I had figured it would be adverse. This led me to draw up and argue for a strategy of limited goals to accomplish at the Senate-House conference: 1) keeping our additions, and 2) not losing any Park lands from the existing Park. Even though the vote was close, the need for a determined limited strategy remained. A rough draft in my file says:
"Now: Hold line in Senate, esp. Jackson; contact Verkler; conferees?; 1) McComb to set up conference with Uall in TUCSON before 11/5 with 6 people--he will respond to message: Keep Park Land. 2) me back in DC 2 weeks, ~$600. 3) mailings to A. leaders in states of all Senators on Committee, B. members in states of probable conferees, House & Senate, with message: its a Good Park; anti-Havasupai. 4) delegation of leaders to visit Jackson (with Foley?). 5) Arizona mailing to members to reach Goldwater, Fannin, Udall, Steiger. 6) Get a letter from NPS arranged with Rep. Taylor and Senator Bible.
I talked this strategy over with McComb, and we refined it. He would pay my expenses for telephoning and the trip to DC to work on the conference. We needed to reach for potential support among Verkler, Munro, & Van Ness, (all associated with Senate chairman Jackson) and Udall-Pontius and McIlvain on the House side, to build up support for House additions and prepare alternatives for the Havasupai transfer that would retain the Park lands. We could lobby Udall right away by meeting with him and local conservationists in Tucson during the recess. McComb was ready with an appeal to Arizona Sierra Club members to write Udall, Steiger, and Fannin, likely members of a conference. Members in other states (Washington, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada) with Committee Senators would be asked to write, too. He would try for Goldwater & Fannin meetings, and talk further with hunter spokesmen, maybe even take a trip to some of the Kanab area.
This strategy fit in with Pontius' reassurances after the House vote that Udall would "wheel & deal" in the conference to keep our gains. The problem we had was illustrated by a Ben Avery (Goldwater friend, outdoor writer at the Republic) column on the conference to decide about the enlarged Park that would include "a large amount of public grazing land north of the Canyon that has no park value but is coveted by a handful of extremists in the Sierra Club and Wilderness Society." By grazing land, he meant the canyons like Kanab and Parashant. He spoke of "vital wildlife areas" and how the deer had to be "cropped" on the winter range. There were also "pioneer families" grazing who would be put out of business. He included just one sentence on the Havasupai transfer. He hoped congressmen would have enough "common sense to wad a rathole" and leave the Park boundary as Goldwater had drawn it. And again he referred to "this open grazing country" being added to the Park. [We may have been relieved back in early 1974 that the hunters did not get involved in the legislation, but their frantic lying in late 1974 suggested that perhaps we should have tried to defuse their misapprehensions much earlier. We depended on Udall, and he did come through, after all.] A dentist who had an interest in one of the grazing leases lobbied Udall to protect what he admitted was a "tax shelter" for him. McComb then gathered information on grazing lessees affected by all the changes, and found a couple of dozen would be impacted to some degree. We were probably fortunate that only one or two permittees had made a fuss.
And of course, as indicated by exchanges of letters in newspapers, friends and foes of the Havasupai transfer continued to wail away. A seldom-heard voice on these issues, some concessionaire river runners, organized by Martin Litton, wrote to Fannin opposing the Havasupai transfer. He replied 24 Oct with the now-standard defense: the land would not be developed and would remain forever wild. Western River Guides Association followed up with a resolution in November calling for the deletion of the Havasupai provisions. And there were other Litton letters both to state the case publicly and to lobby on the conference.
I had to deal with a new president of the Izaak Walton League, which had been pro-Park, who once in office backed the Havasupai. This was an indication that our strategy of limited goals would not free us from remaining entangled with the Havasupai grant.
Out of curiosity, I called the state office that had prepared the contentious economic plan for the Havasupai. At first suspicious, the official then laid out changes they were making that would dim the most upsetting references, e.g., the tramway. He complained about BIA disinterest -- lack of focus on employment, no powerline funding, choice of the cheapest sewage solution. As everybody admitted or urged, the Havasupai situation could use some attention.
On the other side, a most affecting piece in the Assoc. on Am. Ind. Affairs newsletter, spoke of "word of an astonishing victory" coming to Havasupai, weary after a "toilsome" day gathering pinyon nuts. Land was to be transferred in trust, along with "strict and unprecedented environmental controls", ending the "onerous" permit system. NPS had confined them to 518 acres, where they suffer hunger, poverty, disease, and untimely death. They are not free. Last spring it looked hopeless, but Paya appealed and thousands of citizens wrote and scores of newspapers supported. After House passage, there will be a conference battle. The article went on about Havasupai life and NPS interference, then reviewed at length the story of seeking and being denied land rights over the past century. It wound up charging that word was slow in reaching the Havasupai because all telephone contact was "knocked out--ingeniously sabotaged". But now they will be free from arbitrary and abusive federal actions and can rebuild their homes on the plateau. Range will be improved; their herds increased. They will lead longer, healthier lives, their school-age children at home; scattered members can return. This future was echoed by a Joe Sparks interview: Havasupai economic problems would be reduced; garden plots were more suitable on the plateau; stock tanks and schools could be built, wood gathered. Most important is the "anthropological" question: "The land is dear to the Havasupai culturally".
On what ought to have been our main issue, McComb prepared mailers boosting the "substantial step forward" of the House additions to the Park, and decried the misguided campaign by hunters that was particularly impacting the Arizona delegation. He re-marshaled the anti-Havasupai arguments as well, hoping to squeeze even more letters out of Park defenders. He had also gathered information on grants, payments, and loans the Havasupai had received recently from federal agencies to show they were not neglected and abused. The flyer concluded that no bill would be better than one containing the Havasupai land transfer. His letter to Club members represented by potential conferees was less apocalyptic, just describing the two issues and asking for personal letters to be sent.
What we were up against, however, was shown by Goldwater writing a friend that the Park additions meant the "Udall amendment is absolutely worthless", and he "might just call the bill back". Steiger further contributed to the voices of unreason in a press release attacking Sierra Club zealots & their propaganda, somehow connected to the death of 12 Havasupai horses.
As November opened, there was another letter exchange in the Republic between AWF and McComb. One opposed the "land giveaway"; the other repeated our protestations that hunting would not be affected. A gathering of hunt information by AWF continued to blur the argument, since their data was for areas that included both the prime hunting grounds and the marginal hunting areas in the additions. However, out of this exchange, came a very nice map showing the breakdown of what jurisdictions would contribute what areas to the expanded Park. I reproduce it as a tribute to the resources some organizations can command, along with a list of identifying numbers and acreages (the hand-written numbers are my "corrections").
A new obstacle now showed up: There were rumors that Phelps-Dodge had been prospecting for uranium around Kanab Canyon claiming there were tons of breccia pipes that were promising, including one in a side canyon, Hacks.
We worked on our local meeting with Udall from mid-October until we saw him on 1 Nov. The discussion focussed on the Kanab addition. A trip was proposed. He would see what happened at his meeting later that day with the hunters group. The mining came up; he wanted the study to be beefed up, and to find new approaches soon, as he wanted to move fast. He had talked with Goldwater, and mentioned the boundary changes. He speculated that maybe we just ought to by-pass the conference.
Later, Udall reported to John that the hunters did not want a trip; they wanted the lands left as they were.
A local Canyon advocate was told by Fannin that some land should be taken out.
Goldwater had already told the hunters that he would take the additions out.
Pontius told me Goldwater's Emerson was in Arizona talking to hunters. Pontius wondered about substitute language for the additions: study and automatic recommendation with a legislative veto. I said ok (so it must have been clear that we thought the hunters had the edge). He would be leaving Udall's office soon to take a job in Arizona.
Emerson actually returned my call, and maybe would see us; he had already met with the hunters. McComb would follow up.
McComb now confirmed the uranium rumors in a talk with a Phelps-Dodge official; they had already spent thousands on exploration, and Hacks Canyon did look promising among the "100's of Uranium pipes". They were also working on Hualapai lands. Hacks was assessed at 500,000 pounds of uranium plus copper. Also, a division of Exxon was prospecting in the Parashant area in Lake Mead NRA, and had three leases. [The uranium mining narratives set over the past 70 years (and continuing) in and around the Grand Canyon are numerous and episodic, miners' interest rising and falling with the price. The stories range from the futile blanketing of areas with claims to the actual extraction and transport out of uranium with all the attendant mess and danger. Sometimes, one wishes the presiding spirits of the Canyon had taken better care of their charge, and not left it open to such despoilation.]
As Congress reconvened for the lame duck session (the election had brought no changes to the personnel principally involved), a few missives flew.
Danson of the Museum of Northern Arizona appealed to Fannin to support a study only of Havasupai needs. Fannin replied 15 Nov in detail to McComb: he had met with Arizonans (not us) and was well aware of the lack of Park value in the additions. "Wholesale land grabbing" will "deprive the area of the vast hunting fees", and draw upon tax dollars for Park upkeep. "I will oppose the House additions in Conference." I need further information, however, to justify the Havasupai transfer. McComb's appeal to key constituents to write to potential conferees just happened to be sent out on the same date. And Goldwater contributed his bit, supporting the Havasupai transfer, to be managed "under a plan which must be approved annually"(sic).
An oddity was an appeal by the Sierra Club's river trips subcommittee to Senator Jackson against the transfer to the Havasupai. Of major concern was the precedent, again, and their favoring development, again. The writer suggested giving them management of Park facilities. His point was that the Senator should "hold fast" to the Senate version. Friends of the Earth, over the name of A. Roosevelt, issued a press release on the precedent aspect, even though environmentalists did not want to get involved; "we are pro-Indian"...in principal.
The sources for this narrative about events leading up to the conference are, as usual, my journal and materials I collected at the time.