Saturday, November 14, 2015

Grijalva introduces Grand Canyon protection bill with Grand Canyon Associated Tribes

U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva, Democrat of southern Arizona, has made another move dramatizing his long-term commitment to the Grand Canyon and its appropriate treatment. His approach is novel, yet antique, and full of up-to-date considerations. The current politics of the U.S. Congress does not bode well for the kind of action on the bill that we have seen in the past on Grand Canyon affairs, but by introducing the legislation, Congressman Grijalva has provided for discussion and debate.

The bill, H. R. 3882,  as introduced on 3 Nov 2015, can be seen here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Grijalva's Monument, by Felicia Fonseca

Arizona congressman pushes national monument in northern Arizona to keep mining ban in place

Published: 10/12/15 8:35 pm EDT - Updated: 10/12/15 8:35 pm EDT
      (A supporting op ed piece by Mark Udall, the sainted Morris Udall's son and  U.S.Senator from Colorado 2009-15 appears here.)

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona — U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva is reviving a push to designate a large swath of northern Arizona as a national monument.
Grijalva, a Democrat, said he would introduce legislation next week to create Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument while acknowledging it likely won't get even a hearing in Congress. The goal is to have a template ready that President Barack Obama could consider signing as a proclamation for a new monument, he said.
The proposed 1.7 million-acre monument is a mix of towering cliffs and canyons, grasslands, forest and desert that is popular with hunters, hikers, ranchers and other recreationists. It also includes 1 million acres rich in uranium ore that is temporarily banned from the filing of new mining claims. Grijalva, environmentalists and tribes want to make that ban permanent but have faced stiff opposition from Republicans and the mining industry.

Tribal leaders who joined Grijalva on Monday in a news conference said the creation of a monument would protect the area's water, sacred sites and other cultural resources.
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said the tribe has struggled with the effects of uranium mining decades after it ceased on the reservation. He said he'd like to see Obama proclaim the area a national monument, using his authority under the Antiquities Act and further strengthen his commitment to American Indians.
"We believe this falls right side his agenda," Begaye said.
Grijalva's legislation follows other efforts since 2012 to have the area proclaimed a national monument.
Under a previous proposal, the monument was to be named Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick held a meeting earlier this year to talk about creating such a monument. Environmental groups weighed in on the region's water, large-diameter trees and wildlife corridors.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission and sportsmen's groups criticized the effort to sidestep Congress and questioned the expense of running a national monument.
Don Martin of the Mohave Sportsmen Club said Monday he's skeptical of Grijalva's proposal as well.
"Anything that creates a national monument up there on the Grand Canyon is totally not needed, not wanted," he said. "It's just another ploy to lock things up from the American public."
Grijalva said access to recreation and hunting wouldn't change. Whichever federal agency manages the national monument would have three years from its creation to develop a management plan. A council made up of representatives from tribes, the sportsmen community, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, environmental groups, natural resources and science would advise the federal agency.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service now oversee much of the land in the proposal.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Havasupai Environmental and other Studies 1974-9

This round-up of Havasupai-related documents brings to a close my recounting of the studies ordered by the 1975 Enlargement Act.
 In review: The Suitability Study saved some of the old Monument lands for the Park. The Wilderness Study produced an excellent recommendation that was suppressed due to lobbying by motorized commercial river companies. The Adjacent Lands Study produced a deftly emasculated bureaucratic report that, completed in the early Reagan-Watt years, was disappeared. The Secretarial Land Use Plan for the Havasupai was approved, but no sign of monitoring or evaluation has appeared to indicate its success or relevance for the Havasupai today and in the future.
   As to whether the Act itself successfully altered the course of NPS administration of the Park, I have my doubts, and it would be a subject worth, as with the Havasupai Reservation enlargement, a full-fledged evaluation with public discussion. Breaths should not be held, but the agenda for future action is a full one.

As the period of congressional decision-making on repatriating land to the Havasupai was reaching its climax, in the summer of 1974, a document appeared that delighted opponents. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Standing Still: The Havasupai Land Use Plan from Draft (1975) to Final (1982)

Production of the Secretarial Land Use Plan for the Addition to the Havasupai Reservation, finally published March 1982, took, superficially, seven years. "Superficially", since as I previously wrote, there was little activity publicly visible after 1976. 

A more detailed examination of BIA and related archives would, I believe, show little re-consideration by the agency or the Havasupai of the content of the plan after mid-1975, since the only apparent activity after 1976 was researching and writing the EIS (which I will look at in more detail in another entry). That document was contracted by the BIA with the Office of Arid Lands Studies at the University of Arizona; work began in early 1977. 

The most accessible evidence of how little the plan changed after its public consideration in the period Oct 1975 - Mar 1976 comes from a look at the documents: The Working Draft of Oct 1975, the Draft of Mar 1976, and the Final of March 1982. In informal discussion, Nov 1975, McComb had learned that the Working Draft emerged from the work of Tribal Secretary Steve Hirst, which must have been along with local consultation since there was the Tribal Council's plan working group.  Whatever the source of the actual conceptualization and writing of the Working Draft, that 1975 document, as will be apparent in the analysis below, changed little in becoming the Final of 1982. From one perspective, it is remarkable that in a few months after the 1975 Act was signed, a land use plan was produced that not only remained unchanged over the next seven years, but as well as over the past forty years since the Act's passage.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Making the Havasupai Land Use Plan; an outsider's view, 1975-82

The 1975 Act expanding the Havasupai's reservation contained several provisions which Park and Canyon advocates could legitimately claim to be concerned about. Creation of a Secretarial land use plan had the broadest impact. Specifically, the plan's uses were to be scrutinized closely to be sure they were not "inconsistent with or detract from park uses and values". I wrote the Park superintendent in Jan 1975 that that phrase meant he was the "on-the-spot guardian" and should have a say. I went on at length in my letter that any hunting should be rigorously limited, and prevented in the area of the Park that the Havasupai could use for traditional purposes. Regulations for that Use Area were solely under the Superintendent's jurisdiction. We remained jumpy about rumored hunting, though evidently without cause. 
We thought there should be trails and designated campsites, but were determined to discourage even small-scale commercial structures outside the two or three places the Havasupai might need them for their own purposes.

The Havasupai quickly formed a land-use committee to work with the BIA, and hired Joe Sparks, who had led the congressional effort, in March 1975 to advise on getting the plan drawn up, reviewed, and approved. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Havasupai Land Use Plan, Jan 1975 - Sep 1979, intro

P. L. 93-620 called for four specific studies. Three were carried out by the National Park Service:  1 Were certain plateau lands in the second Grand Canyon National Monument of suitable-enough Park quality to be kept in the Park?
2. Were lands adjacent to certain parts of the northern boundary of high enough Park quality to be considered for addition to the Park?
3. What lands inside the Park were eligible to be considered by Congress for inclusion in the National Wilderness System?

By 1976, 1981, and 1977 respectively, the Park Service had completed its work on these studies. From the point of view of protection and proper interpretation of the Grand Canyon, study 1, leaving significant lands in the Park, was a success. From that same point of view, the result of the second study was inadequate and lamed by the demands and constituencies of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. However, as this history will later recount, the ghost of that study rose again almost 20 years later. The wilderness study was a model, completed on time and forwarding a maximum NPS recommendation to the President. Unfortunately, due to the lobbying by the owners of motor-based commercial river traffic companies, the study was never forwarded to Congress for its consideration. Wilderness status for lands in Grand Canyon National Park therefore remains a matter for Congress to take up. 

In addition, there are other land questions that in a more Park-benevolent world could be  discussed and resolved. One is the strange fate of Beaver Falls along Havasu Creek, intended by Congress, according to the legislative documents, to be included within the Park. However, due to ignorance by the USGS, Havasupai aggressiveness, and NPS passivity, Beaver Falls seems to have "fallen out" of the public hands of the Park and into the embrace of the Havasupai. 

Although the Beaver Falls item was not considered during the fourth study called for by P.L. 93-620, it certainly could have been, since that study, led by the Secretary of the Interior, was to prepare a comprehensive Land Use Plan for the lands added to the Havasupai Reservation in the 1975 Act (which might therefore have better been re-named the Grand Canyon National Park and Havasupai Reservation Enlargement Act). The Act had marked out two stretches of land: 1. some 195 kac of canyon and plateau, formerly in the National Park, Monument, and Forest, that were outright transferred in trust to the Havasupai; 2. a swath of the main Canyon of  about 95 kac running between the Colorado River and the new Reservation that were left in the Park but open to the Havasupai to use for "traditional" purposes. Here is the relevant part of the official map:

The Havasupai and the Bureau of Indian Affairs prepared, in a fairly direct way, the Secretarial Land Use Plan and its Environmental Impact Statement for the added lands. NPS at the Park worked less deliberately on guidelines it would apply to the lands left in the Park, but open to traditional uses. My files indicate that while Park advocates tried to be considered during the Land Use Plan preparation, we were definitely sideline observers. That is, most of the activity on decisions for the Plan was internal to the Havasupai and the BIA. Therefore, I thought I would prepare two entries for the Secretary Havasupai Land Use Plan, one what my files show about what I saw happening as an outsider, and another to describe the Plan itself. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Study 3: The Adjacent Lands Study -- Final Report November 1981


From a vigorous, pro-Park System stance in 1976, the final report on potential park land five years later had declined to end up as a comfort to the hunters and ranchers who had been the only ones to make their opinions felt.* Of little interest or pride to the authoring agencies, a May draft was made known through the Federal Register and some local agencies. I.e., notice was not sent out to those who had shown interest during the process; I have nothing in my files to indicate I even knew about the draft. No surprise, then, that (page 6) "response to the Public Review Draft was negligible", though what there was "agreed with the study team's findings". A whimper, indeed.

Fifty pages long, the report's major topics were the story of the study itself, followed by descriptions of the Canyon and the Arizona Strip. The study area's environment, archeology, and land uses were covered, with the conclusions contained in Management Considerations, Options, and Recommendations. The report remains notable for a series of maps that present snapshots of conditions in the area as of 1980. Even more notable is its demonstration of how one agency, NPS, was hemmed in and forced to knuckle under to the combined pressure of two other agencies, USFS and BLM, protecting their turf.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Grand Canyon River Running and Its Political Status Quo; An Outsider's View of Changes and Potential Change

So how has the economic organization of the River running oligopoly fared since I summarized it in 2003?* Tightened a bit, I would say. 

To summarize the background, (and see the pages from my book below), the events of the 1970's climaxed as a result of the 1980 election that brought the Reagan administration into power, including the motorized commercial operators' (comm ops) legal champion, James Watt, as Secretary of the Interior. At the same time, the Republicans gained a majority in the Senate, empowering the pro-comm op Senators, Barry Goldwater of Arizona and Orrin Hatch of Utah. This capped a dozen years of struggle over river traffic management as the National Park Service and Grand Canyon advocates 1. tried to get a motorless Grand Canyon Wilderness established, and 2. tried to develop & implement a research-based, environmentally sound, experience-enhancing Colorado River Management Plan (CRMP). The struggle resulted from the resistance of the comm ops, particularly those using large motor-driven rafts. 

The effect of the 1980 election was a political de-railing of both the Wilderness and the CRMP, marked by the passage of the infamous Hatch amendment. This political "settlement" of the main issues was locked into place by a comm op-friendly CRMP revision developed and then administered by new Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent R. Marks, who not only lasted through the 1980's, but presided over a further CRMP updating (solidification) at the end of that decade. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Study 3 1980-1 Whatever happened to the Adjacent Lands Study?

Parts 1 and 2 of this mini-saga recorded the first burst of NPS enthusiasm and its quelling, followed two years later by a devastating public review that featured almost solely the hostile reaction of local ranchers and Arizona hunters. Had the study never recovered, it would have been no surprise. During this period, 1978 through 1980, a huge amount of effort was expended to put into place a sound river management plan and to have a sound Wilderness proposal sent to Congress. (I also had taken on a full-time job.) As well, whatever connections I had to people who might have been involved in the study had frayed away. So I find it no surprise to see that my files are barren of interesting material. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Study 3: Adjacent Lands: Some publics speak out 1977-8

Apparently not pleased with the zeal shown by Frank Collins of the DSC -- perhaps reacting as well to displeasure of the Forest Service and BLM at that zeal -- NPS Western Regional Direction Howard Chapman brought this study preparation into his own office in San Francisco, assigning Landscape Architect Nicholas Weeks to the task of completing the Task Directive.. During that same period in 1976, the Wilderness Study had been completed and passed on to Washington. The effect on us advocates was that in the first half of 1977, my files indicate we had no active sources of information. Finally in July 1977, I wrote to Chapman wondering "whatever happened" to the study to add lands.

Chapman's reply was artless: the "tri-agency effort" continued; a task directive had been written by NPS and was being reviewed. There would be a public announcement, and workshops held, perhaps in a couple of months in Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff & St. George. 

Silence again until I inquired in early September. Again, all was continuing, and following a meeting of the three agencies on 15 Sep, actions would be taken to open the directive up for public discussion. The Draft Task Directive, with sign-off dates from 8 Aug to 15 Sep, did in fact appear soon thereafter, along with a cardboard leaflet announcing "A Study of Possible Additiions to Grand Canyon National Park. 1977". It provided a tear-off postcard, with space for comments, that one could send to the Park Sup't asking for the Directive. The crucial matter of dates was released 7 Nov, setting the week of 12 Dec for the public meetings.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Study 3: 1976: Should the Park Include the Canyon's Adjacent Canyons and Plateaus?

The passage of the 1975 Act re-drawing the GCNP boundary launched four studies.
The first, to check whether the northern areas incorporated from the Monument were suitable for Park status, had been completed by NPS within the year and found the lands belonged in the Park. End of story. Well, except that I learned through talks with NPS officials that BLM had objected to being considered part of the recommendation, so some language had to be adjusted. There was also a bit of a flap over the cost.

The second, of Wilderness, covered in my book on river management, Hijacking A River, but not in this blog, was completed by NPS within the mandated period, and a near-perfect recommendation sent to the President, at which point the commercial motorboat operators and their allies prevented the recommendation from being sent to Congress. 1980 brought the Reagan administration that deep-sixed the wilderness proposal. Not quite the end of the story; the recommendation remains viable, awaiting a change in the political environment. 

The fourth study, the Secretarial Land Use Plan for the lands added to the Havasupai Reservation, was under the jurisdiction of the Havasupai themselves and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It took several years. I will deal with it later.

The third study was not set up in as clear-cut a manner as the others. First, it was not mentioned in the legislation itself, but was instead ordered by the conference that resolved differences between the House and Senate. Not even really a compromise, it was what Representative Udall could salvage from the opposition to actually adding to the Park certain prime pieces of the Canyon's north side. Second, the areas involved were not officially designated, though named in the Conference's report, and they had been included in the map approved by the House. Third, the Interior Secretary was directed to do a study and send the recommendations to Congress, but without any sort of due date. What was clear was the instruction "to study these areas to determine if they, or any part of them, qualify for national park designation" and report those findings to Congress.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

40th Anniversary Commentary on the 1975 Grand Canyon National Park Act

A couple of weeks after the 1975 Park Act was signed, I gathered my thoughts about the 2+ year (or really 10-year) effort to expand the Park so that its border more accurately would portray for the public and the world, the extents of the Grand Canyon (length, depth, width, complexity). I then wrote a 7-page letter to Superintendent Merle Stitt to set forth in a section-by-section analysis what I thought the law meant and was meant to accomplish.  

I summarize it here along with some current thoughts. For comparison, the actual text of the Act is reproduced at .

Each of my comments has three parts:

What the section said, in paraphrase

My 1975 comment

Where we are with all of that 40 years later

It said:
The Act was titled "Grand Canyon National Park Enlargement Act"

I said:
"almost a mockery", indicating quite how depressed we were about losing to the hunters and the Havasupai.

40-year thoughts:
A truer title would be "The Grand Canyon National Park and Havasupai Reservation Enlargement Act".

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

40th anniversary of 1975 GCNP Act; press release


Celebrating a 40th Anniversary, with a Lifetime of Work Ahead

JANUARY 3, 2015 was, in Tucson, sunny, coolish, a southwestern winter's day. A fine day for celebrations, and at 10 a.m., as John Weisheit of Living Rivers, reminded me, it was the moment to note and celebrate the 40th anniversary of the presidential signing and thus final enactment of the 1975 Grand Canyon National Park Enlargement Act. 

This moment was important enough to John to bring him from Moab into my backyard that bright Saturday along with Tom Martin of River Runners for Wilderness, Chris Forsyth & Doug Nering, Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Assoc., and Rich Rudow & Jason Bowman, Coalition of American Canyoneers, to note the past, celebrate its accomplshments, and lay down the markers for what we all hope will be a future where the Canyon gains greater protections while continuing to offer its advocates, connoisseurs, & new-comers unique chances for the enjoyment and adventure of being for and in that place, the Grand Canyon. 

A world of commentary and "yes,but"s could be generated on that last, long, sentence, but Saturday, 1/3/15, was for celebration. To be sure of a happy event, those gathered above, in surreptitous cahoots with my family, organized a presentation as a surprise to me (a survivor's prerogative) of  an "unsung hero" (blush) award for reasons shown on these plaques, elegant and eye-catching:
Text on the left:   Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpackers Association
Presents to Jeff Ingram its Unsung Hero Award  
In Recognition of his Outstanding Contribution to the Preservation of the Grand Canyon

   And on the right:
Tatahatso's towering limestone pillars, discovered in 2007, were nearly lost forever under the waters of Marble Canyon Dam. In the 1960's, Jeff's tireless efforts with the Sierra Club helped stop the dam from being built, saving boundless known and unknown natural beauty.  Jeff's work on the 1975 Grand Canyon Enlargement At cemented enduring protection for these places by making them part of Grand Canyon National Park. We're proud to present Jeff our Canyoneering Descender Award for Conservation.  Thank you for helping save Marble Canyon and Western Grand Canyon; today an inseparable part of Grand Canyon National Park.
Jeff Ingram - Canyon ACE     
Coalition of American Canyoneers    Access through Conservation, Education and Safety (ACES)

There was also a press release of unabashed generosity and accuracy, accompanying this entry on the same date here. 

Bewilderingly, for as we all know, the Grand Canyon "is a profitless locality", I was also rendered a bit shaky by their organizations awarding me $4000, a generous act that I can only hope to render some thanks for by continuing this blog, hoping that it somehow benefits the Canyon and its lovers.

Here are photos of some of the principals:

Laughter: Rich R, Ji, Jason B

My grandson, Quinn, already intimate with the Canyon's floor and depth

GCHBPA: Doug N, & Chris F, JI, + Jason, John

Chris F, GCHBPA award, JI

Tom M, picture-taker (though these are all by my daughter Mrill Ingram), Rich R

ACanyoneeringA, JI

Also intimate with the Canyon's interiors: Hazel C, my granddaughter Miranda, JI

ACA award with Rich, JI, Jason

Doug, Chris, Hazel, Miranda, JI, Jason, John

Jason, Chris, JI (the Canyon is a serious place)

Now, what about that commentary?   Next entry.