Ben Avery, on 26 Dec, thought he had a Christmas present, saying President Ford had signed the bill while skiing in Vail, while he, Ben, had been given the low-down by Republicans Fannin and aide. For Ben, the "major action" was eliminating the northern additions. The Secretary could then study them for park values and ask for a new bill. He thought another study, that of the plateau lands in the old Monument, could result in a better boundary, eliminating from the Park "grazing and wildlife lands that have little or no park values". The River was put into the Park from the Paria to Grand Wash Cliffs. He thought the bill gave the Park jurisdiction over Lee's Ferry. There were a couple of small additions, but a big controversy was placing 185 kac in trust for the Havasupai. He correctly summarized some of the restrictions, including having the Secretary develop a land use plan with "step-by-step pubic review and comment".
There was no change in dam status, but "by including all of Grand Canyon within the park, the Congress gave those who are opposed to building any more dams in the Canyon a strong fighting position, assuring the entire nation will be on our side." [What a different song he sings from ten years before.] "This is as it should be because the Grand Canyon does not belong to Arizona. We merely hold it in trust for all". A great debt is owed to those who worked so hard: Fannin, Steiger, & Bible, who took a strong stand "to make this bill truly a Grand Canyon bill, and not a hikers and backpackers bill as was sought by the Sierra Club." His tribute did not, he wrote, lessen my disagreement with Steiger over the dam, and does not take from Goldwater and Udall the great credit of being the original authors. "It was Barry who helped nurture the dream of putting all of Grand Canyon in the park". NPS now faces a tremendous task in planning & managing this huge area, "much of it so remote that it is seldom visited by man." It has two years to make a new wilderness proposal.
The hunters' newsletter said the bill put an end to some 7 years of work by Goldwater and the Arizona Wildlife Federation, especially their map-drawer Clemons. Udall tried to add land which "included some prime hunting areas". Our opposition paid off since they were not included. The Havasupai transfer, AWF-opposed, was approved with severe restrictions "as a concession to 'environmentalists'". In final form, the bill is an AWF victory.
The article then provides a significant piece of the story by telling how they did it: After the 14 Aug Committee action, they prepared a large map showing the boundaries. The outdoors writers in Phoenix & Tucson wrote several stories. In September, they met with Udall, who was not encouraging, very non-committal. They met with Goldwater at his home, showed him the map, leading him to pledge he would kill the bill if the additions remained in it. The Governor agreed with that. However, their interviews showed "we might not be able to get anywhere with the Havasupai question". 22 Oct Emerson met with 15 hunters and game officials to discuss how to defeat the additions. Letters were sent to 2200 who had had hunting licenses on the North Kaibab. 29 Oct, they met with Steiger and he agreed on killing the additions, but was in favor of the Havasupai. A 1 Nov meeting with Udall was a little friendlier, but nothing more. Fannin was better; on 9 Nov he assured them he would work to kill the additions. They wrote all potential conferees, with their "beautiful" new map and other materials. Appeals went to hunter groups across the country. There were exchanges of letters, pro and con, in the Republic. Once the conferees wee known, prominent hunter allies in their states were contacted asking them to send telegrams. There was also local activity directed at the conferees. A later addendum to this report noted that they were "not out of the woods yet", since there is to be a study of adding the lands to the Park. There should be a hunter representative on any study group.
[My comment has to be that it was a nicely done campaign; but being snarky about their whole effort based on lies, misinformation, & distortions about where they hunted, I prefer to note that in the same newsletter, there is a letter from a local hunter "Unsportsmenlike hunters deplored on North Kaibab" that details horror stories about hunter behavior that left him "not bothered one bit if all hunting in Arizona came to an end".]
There was a more-or-less-inaccurate shot at the Havasupai from Denver, a Post writer retracing the usual arguments, noting the bill's name was a "misnomer", and concluding that chances for materially aiding the quality of existence for "this prehistoric band" are now more remote than ever.
A Tucson outdoors writer had no illusions: "No victory for hunters on canyon compromise; Lake Mead recreation area to be closed". First, confusion is cleared up as to what happened: Was the Park doubled? or, Was there a give-away, resulting in a loss of 40 kac? In detailing each addition, the writer says the Lake Mead lands had received much use by hunters of deer and bighorn. There were hunter losses elsewhere, so the total gone is about 350 kac. There may be a gain if the Havasupai permit hunting. The Sierra Club might not feel so "gloomy" if it takes credit for moving toward the goal of some to have all Grand Canyon land given Park status. This article ended by suggesting that uranium exploitation could renew the flap over canyon protection, but perhaps with the hunters and the Club as allies.
The Star, also in Tucson, featured a map spread across a whole page headlined, "Canyon Bill Jumps Size of Parkland". Since McComb supplied the information, it was accurate, but as I pointed out in a letter, although it was a "necessary start toward letting the public know what Congress did", it erred in suggesting all non-Indian land below the rim was now in the Park. I then attacked the hunters' "hysterical anti-truth campaign". I went on to recognize the Navajo for their two Canyon-related tribal parks, hoping for future cooperation. On the other hand, the disputes over Havasupai and Hualapai lands have left the future an enigma and a concern for those hopeful of recognition of the worth of the entire Canyon.
I also replied to Avery's "offensive" but not "totally inaccurate" piece. First, 500 kac of federal land remain outside the Park, along with the 600 kac of Indian land. And given the "strange, noxious boundary" resulting from the Havasupai transfer, how will the Canyon fare under that weird mix of private ownership and BIA bureaucracy? Hunters' "hysterical noise" kept lands on the north side out of the Park, continuing the patchwork administration. A plus is that the entire river is included so there can be a unified set of rules and a unified wilderness designation.
McComb addressed his mid-January evaluation to a selection of local & national Club dignitaries, and a few allies. The Act, he wrote, was a significant setback in Havasu Canyon, and there were only minor beneficial features. Naturally, he began with the Havasupai transfer. He described which lands were involved, including "all of the Havasu Canyon drainage beginning at the top of Beaver Falls" (my emphasis, to show that we knew at the time what the Reports had said). The restrictions in section 10 "should effectively prohibit all but tourist developments by the Tribe, but (they) are mostly what we fear". "Major problem will be enforcement"; "doubt that public opinion will be given much weight"; we will be able to comment on any plans. Hunting was last-minute addition, and is of concern because of bighorn lambing grounds.
Acreages involved are still approximate, because they have to be settled by NPS. (He did not have the corrected map, either.)
There will be a one-year study to see if old Monument plateau lands should be deleted. We will follow this to insure the lands stay in the Park.
We did not get our 225 kac of north side additions, objected to by miners, hunters, ranchers, Steiger, and Fannin. The conference report directs a study to determine if the lands not added are Park-worthy. McComb thought this was of "minimal" value; at least Congress did not say the lands were not worthy. This study will be the first, though there will be no action "as long as Steiger and Fannin are in office" [they were both gone by 1977, but Reagan was President when the study report was presented]. The most serious threat is from the uranium exploration Exxon & Phelp-Dodge are carrying out.
The wilderness study, due in January 1977, may well result in an improved recommendation; the Park Service is getting better in what it will recommend.
The Act would still allow a dam to be built if Congress authorized it. However, putting the dam site in the Park is a substantial public relations barrier. The Reclamation provision ended up in the Act because of the "strenuous" effort by Steiger & Fannin. [This seems to me to be contradicted by the fact that Goldwater authored it, and Udall did not want to be bothered by what is, after all, dried goomwah on the Park's boot. The aircraft noise provision is "at least a first badly needed step".
In summary, NPS acreage is diminished. We would have preferred the bill to die. The Havasupai controversy may discourage anything similar. We must use the "small but significant" steps forward to work toward the Canyon's "best protection".
McComb also edited this report for a Club newsletter that cited the GCNP "Diminution" Act. It was a bit more chatty, but just as negative about losses & drawbacks. Still, the Act did consolidate management of the land and of the entire river, and gave no comfort to dam proponents. Overall though, he called the Act a "deep disappointment"
Wassaja naturally led off with "Havasupais Win 'Land Return' Legislation". It spoke of "an exhausting and uphill battle", due to their "bitterest opponents" who lobbied extensively against the bill in spite of endorsements from within their own environmentalist ranks. Some thought the opposition was due to racism, but public arguments were fears about development from factories to trams. After reviewing the provisions, the article said some Havasupai deplored the "petty show of lack of faith" in the requirement for public hearings and congressional review. Nevertheless, the Havasupai are jubilant; only a few months ago, it seemed a futile dream. The plight of the Havasupai was emphasized by Sparks and Havasupai such as Paya, Rogers and others, who spent many weeks fighting for the bill. "Ironically" a provision was added, without the Havasupais' knowledge or request, to allow them to issue hunting licenses. This was strictly "an Anglo idea". Sparks said the bighorn is sacred, and probably safer in the custody of these people who have been taking better care over a 1000 years than the Sierra Club could ever think of. This was a needless battle, but the Park Service, said Sparks, kept forgetting history. Goldwater & Udall were the leaders, along with many others, including Steiger, who wrote an accompanying editorial.
In an accompanying "editorial", Steiger decried "an onslaught of completely incorrect and erroneous facts" "so totally incorrect that it typified not only the tactics of the Sierra Club in its propaganda onslaught but exemplified the actions of allied environmentalist groups who certainly have proven that in the case of their crusade any means justified the end if it serves as a stumbling block to common sense." Continuing, he blamed the Park Service and the environmentalists for the death of those 12 Havasupai horses.
A friendlier observer in Salt Lake City's Tribune did a good job summarizing in a balanced way the bill's provisions. He did wonder whether rules and regulations for the expanded Park would adhere to the strict standard of the NPS organic act, or could the "'New' Grand Canyon Dilute U.S. Park Rule?" He concluded that the effect of the law will depend on how the Park is administered.
So lets see what the Park Service was getting up to.