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.
Is this lack of change important or significant? After all, it was to be a plan for the Havasupai's benefit and to meet their desires, regardless of public comment. However, from another perspective, this plan bears all the marks of its origins in 1975. Conceived and written during & just after the hard-fought effort of 1974 to acquire the land, the plan embodies the views that the Havasupai held in making their arguments for the land. Was it intended as a "realistic" land USE plan? Writing from today's vantage, it sounds too often to me like a collection of justifications for the arguments and statements desirable in the political and cultural climates of the mid-1970's. It was tailored to satisfy the legislation's requirements, yet throughout the seven years it took to complete and finally publish the plan & its EIS, there were no alterations to take account of the realities of the land and the people under consideration.
Section I presents some significant supporting parts of each document, while pointing out those changes that had been made in the review and rewrite period in late 1975 and early 1976 (after the rewrite the Draft and the Final are near-identical). The Plan provisions themselves take up sections II, III, & IV.
The Background on p. 1 of the 10-30-75 Working Draft, became the Final's Introduction. The Final added a very short history of events leading up to the passage of P.L. 93-620. Both versions stated that the purpose of the land use plan was to "safeguard the integrity of the land" restored to the Havasupai. The Final added that it was to "allay the fears" of those who feared uncontrolled development. Emphasized in both documents was the lead role of the Havasupai and their Council's Land Use Planning Committee. Interior's assistance was provided as requested, and the BIA coordinated studies and preparation of the plan. The Final drove the point home: "The plan is a true and direct statement of Havasupai desires; it was developed by them, and any suggested revisions (were) approved by them".
A course was set and criticism pre-empted in the Final's (p 2) wind-up:
"The plan is a statement of general intent…a set of general guidelines and intentions… No one should read this plan as a project description. It contains no timetables … rather, the Havasupai present this as their set of ground rules--their treaty with the government-- within which future developments … will operate. It is a moderate plan, addressing with care man's relationship with nature."
A further Statement of Principle (p 1, Working Draft) was greatly expanded in the Goals and Objectives (p 22, Final), and it is fair to reproduce that here:
For the final report, BIA produced professional cartographer-level maps of the geology, vegetation, existing improvements, and most important, the Plan. In the texts, the location map went from up close of the Canyon to one more area-wide, with Havasupai lands having more visual emphasis (p 4). A more detailed map of Havasupai lands was dropped in favor of the more professional renderings. I liked the authenticity of the 1975 version:
The 1975 Working Draft then went right into the Proposed Plan, whereas the Final pulled the description of the Havasupai's origins up to p 2. The points made are basically the same, with more emphasis in the Final on their belief they directly descend from the Cohonina. Recent history was added, to describe the disruption caused by the administration of the former reservation. The effects of the cash economy were contrasted with the earlier time when their economy was based upon subsistence.
The Final contained a section describing the lands' location. This was followed by a statement of their position on three boundary disputes: the easternmost portion abutting the Lauzon property, and on the west, they claimed lands also claimed by a private landowner or the state (the up-&-down line on the left of the map above).
The Final then went on to the area's physical description, starting with Air Quality, which differed between plateau and canyon. A more detailed look at helicopters causing dusty air in the canyon was dropped, along with some negative comments on road dust.
The Archeology paragraphs were largely unchanged, stressing the Havasupai connection with earlier settlers, Cohonina & Puebloan. Only the sentence order was re-done on Climate.
Bighorn dominate the discussion of Fauna. They were said to prefer the settled area of Havasu Canyon, rather than living primarily on the plateau. While the Havasupai livestock do not compete with the bighorn, the wild horses and burros may, and a strong caution was expressed in the Final about burro increase.
A Draft reference in Flora to the use of some cacti and grasses as food was dropped.
The Draft had several paragraphs (22) on the Grand Canyon, most of which appeared as Geology (11) in the Final. An account of the "shallow, meagre" soil, some history of the Canyon, and a description of Havasu Creek were dropped.
Existing Uses started on p 14 of the Final and 28 of the Draft. Several topics were carried forward unchanged: Agriculture, Gathering, Grazing. Numbers from recents hunts were added to the Wildlife section. Remarks under Residence stressed the difficulty the Havasupai had had in previous years, and their intention to clean up refuse and abandoned vehicles. Under Traditional Uses, the Final added the intention to keep details private for such items as burial, prayer, and other ceremonies. Visitation was almost entirely about Havasu Canyon. A comparison with Grand Canyon Village was to show that visitation to Havasu was moderate. A sentence was added that 25,000 people a year could easily be accommodated with improved management. The discussion of Water Resources dropped a table of fecal coli counts and added a negative evaluation of surface storage due to the shallow soils. Access was not a separate category in the Draft. In the Final, the one improved road (from route 66) was contrasted with the others, which were "extremely primitive". The Topacoba road was negatively described, as were any trails except for the Hualapai, it being constantly maintained.
II. Plan Organization
The Land Use Plan itself began on page 2 of the draft, which included "proposed" in the title, and on p. 24 of the Final. It had an added General statement of Goals and Objectives that lamented misguided efforts to develop their area of the Canyon. The Havasupai feared commercial development spreading from Park areas. However, now that the land was in Havasupai hands, its integrity would be assured.
[Similar snarky comments scattered through the document indicate that the Havasupai plan writers enjoyed twitting the defenders of the national Park System, as well as the Park Service.]
The Draft organized the Plan's 20-some topics under Social, Economic, and Cultural Purposes. The Final did not categorize, but dealt with each of the topics in alphabetical order, viz.
Stock Water Development
Transportation and Communications
Flight Restrictions (a proposal for an airstrip was dropped)
Public Access to Adjacent National Park Lands
Telephone and Radio
Visitor Use (Tribal Enterprise in the Draft)
The 1982 Final laid out the same planning goals and considerations as the 1975 Draft produced by the Havasupai-BIA Working Group. As I noted, the seven intervening years were occupied by the preparation and consideration of the Environmental Impact Statement, rather than in any difficulty the Havasupai or Interior had with the content of the Plan, as thought out in mid-1975.
[Given this devotion to a group of concepts and goals set down 40 years ago, it would be instructive in many ways were the Secretary to conduct a review of the Plan and its impact on the reservation's environment. (See IV. Reconsideration below.)
In particular, there is the over-hanging question of the stance one takes in interpreting the legislation's provisions. On the one hand: Did the legislation worked out, fought over, in 1974 end up as a guide for management by the Havasupai, suggesting the guideposts whereby involved agencies could amicably and supportively carry out the Act's goals in the spirit of the added lands working for the benefit of the Havasupai within a context of environmental care for the Canyon? Or on the other hand: Was the Act seen to provide a list of chafing restrictions on Havasupai autonomy, trimming their activities, channeling their desires, while giving non-Havasupai standing to criticize?
Consider clause 10.(b)(6):
nonmembers of the tribe shall be permitted to have access across (the added) lands
at locations established by the Secretary
in consultation with the Tribal Council
in order to visit adjacent parklands.
Is this clause an invitation for access, cooperatively arranged?
Or sanction for the various parties to make demands, arrange obstructions, and otherwise de-limit the execution of the Act's goals?
Or clause 10.(b)(3):
any subsequent revisions of this plan shall be subject to the same procedures as set forth in this paragraph.
Is this a strait-jacket for even small corrections or improvements, a dis-invitation to regular, open-minded consideration of the benefits or drawbacks of what was written in 1975? Was it to be a barrier to changes in Havasupai activities? Or could it be seen as providing for people -- Havasupai or not -- to raise questions or make suggestions about aspects of the Plan? Was it a way to avoid oversight of an important part of the Grand Canyon, or a way to provide it?
In short, Was the Plan intended as generous help or gimlet-eyed disciplinarian?]
III. Plan Goals & Guidelines
So what actually did the Plan call for? Here I summarize each Plan topic, condensed down to the practical suggestions or directions. With 20 topics covered in 14 pages, the Plan itself did not take much room for detail, speculation, or alternatives. I included the Final's map at the end of this section.
In Pasture Wash, 6700 acres could be gardened, Hopi-style, for potatoes, beans, corn in small personal plots. The Draft nicely showed the zoning for each area that had uses:
Archeological sites will be protected & kept confidential; perhaps restored.
The Havasupai had used precipitation on arid uplands, but Havasu Canyon is the only reliable source; it would be possible though expensive to pump water up onto the plateau.
Underground water might be sought in Pasture Wash or near Grand Canyon rim. They might treat stock tank water.
As in the past, they could burn dead wood. It would be expensive to have individual generators for electricity, so better to build the power line from the south (but only into Havasu). Wind and solar might be feasible.
The existing cattle fencing on the east side would be kept. There could be other cross fencing for cattle without bothering wildlife. Perhaps, contoured fencing or land exchange could be brought about to make better protected boundaries.
Land is marginal for grazing. Old report suggests improvement possible. [New report disagreed.] There will be grazing districts, allowing control if water is available. They might re-think the type of grazing operation. (This discussion highlights the "conceptual" nature of the Plan; there is no consideration of the grazing realities, ownership, or economic prospects.)
Code against littering & defacement will apply to all, and will require several Havasupai police.
Some families may live on plateau year-round or seasonally; many say they wish to live in isolation, in cabins, log houses, or wickiups. Later, maybe, small settlements in four areas (see map above), but this is only where housing might be, showing there is to be none outside designated areas.
Livestock & game use of range will be adjusted to prevent degradation. There may be juniper removal in "well-watered locations", followed by grass seeding. Nothing will be done if not beneficial. Great Thumb is "surprisingly productive of nourishing grasses", and quality will be protected from degradation by leaving it undisturbed. (The Thumb had been a hotly contested area; it is so clearly an integral element in the Canyon landscape.)
Stock Water Development
Likely tank sites will be cared for, and maybe wells drilled. [The soil agency comments were skeptical.]
Health facilities will be provided as needed at plateau sites.
Pasture Wash would be the desired site for a school.
Commercial facilities for Havasupai could be in Pasture Wash or Hualapai Hilltop.
Transportation & Communications; Flight Restrictions
Existing trails must be maintained; there were to be no motors on them or in village (except for helicopters).
Non-emergency helicopter traffic (sightseeing, e.g.) will be regulated in extent, landing sites, and time. No flights over Great Thumb, Long Mesa, and Wi Gasala, nor below 6500' over Havasu Canyon.
Public Access to National Park
Above the rim, routes will be designated by Havasupai & Secretary. Below, the only access will be down Havasu Canyon or on Great Thumb trail; the latter is remote & hazardous and will be under the scrutiny of the Havasupai. No access on west side of Havasu from plateau, only river. Havasupai prefer Secretary not to use motors to access Great Thumb.
The road from route 66 to Hualapai Hilltop will soon be done. Paving the Willaha Road is desirable. A road from Pasture Wash to Tusayan would allow children to get to school. Roads would be low-speed, two-lane, on existing terrain, and unfenced. Five other roads should be improved to all-weather standard, and a couple need re-location. Havasupai want only limited access to reservation: Topacoba road, Hilltop & Long Mesa, Wi Gasala. No motors on Great Thumb north of Topacoba.
Communications could be established between plateau and Havasu.
Topacoba and Hualapai for public access. Otherwise, restricted (publlic) use allowed for Moqui, Kirby, Manakaja, Great Thumb, & Whitewall Bend.
Havasupai do not advertise to attract visitors; they get enough, and will limit numbers. The Havasupai would like to follow the lead of the National Park Service and establish overnight camping on Hilltop. Day trips would be more possible. Also, there could be a camp along the Topacoba Trail. Maybe there could be horseback or backpacking outside Havasu. Three campsites are designated. These camps provide rim views enough to satisfy anybody, but the Great Thumb will be available seasonally. Havasupai rangers will police this activity.
On the added lands, privvies are a reasonable choice for human waste, and there are more technologically advanced forms of disposal. Solid inorganic waste would seem to have no solution except clean-up by the Havasupai, although visitor education will continue, hopeless as it often is.
Animals such as deer, pronghorn, rabbit, & porcupine will continue to be part of the traditional Havasupai diet. However, public hunting will be restricted. There will be a survey of wildlife and a management plan for the optimum numbers of wildlife. In succeeding annual surveys, if the game animals are leading to degradation of the land, measures will be taken to sell or cull animals, perhaps involving public hunting. The reservation is a sanctuary for bighorn; there will be no hunting. Burros will be controlled in cooperation with NPS. Predators will not be taken lightly, and investigations will be carried out to understand their impact. Fish are unlikely to be an issue for Havasu Creek. There may be re-stocking of some species, to strengthen diversity. In any case, the Great Thumb north of Tobacoba will be closed to hunting.
So could this be considered a "realistic" land USE plan? As it says, it has no time tables or financing schedules; to me it sounds as if it was writtern to satisfy the politics of the mid-70's. And although by 1980, there were surely signs of how much each item "made sense", no amendments or addenda were made after 1976.
There is therefore an opportunity for the Secretary of the Interior to take a look at how the Havasupai live on and with the added lands, and what expectations they have, if any, for changes. A good start would be take the list of items prepared 40 years ago, and cross off those completed or in existence. Then drop all the ones that are clearly irrelevant and unobtainable. The 1974 arguments for adding land to the Havasupai need to frame such a review: How have the negative conditions been remedied? What expectations remain to be met? Are there desires that need to be formalized in a revised plan?
As an exercise, I am going to look at each plan item, and how the plan works after 40 years with questions suggested by the concepts and recommendations of the plan as adopted. Matching the reality of Havasupai life with the plan as written could help indicate how their vision of themselves and of the Canyon may work out in the future.
What has been the utilization of the designated areas for farming?
Are archeological sites protected? Has archeology been done? Has there been any restoration?
How much is precipitation used? Any more thought or action about pumping Havasu Creek up onto plateau? To what extent have aquifers (wells) or stock tank water been sources?
Is dead wood still a source of fuel? Is the power line from the south sufficient? What is the status of wind & solar power?
Has fencing been kept in a satisfactory state? Are there any remaining questions about boundaries?
[The Havasupai appropriation of Beaver Falls was not mentioned in the Plan; they may not have foreseen this reservation extension.]
Have improvements for grazing been made? Are there districts? What is the status of grazing animals?
Is there Havasupai law enforcement on the added lands, in particular against littering and defacement?
Where on the plateau lands do families live, and for how much of the year? What style of residence is used? Are the residences isolated or have communities grown up?
What is the condition of the range? Has there been any juniper removal?
Stock Water Development
What is the condition of the stock tanks? What is the reliability of their water supply?
Is there any medical support outside of Supai village?
Has there been any work toward educational facilities or commercial facilities outside Supai?
Transportation and Communications
Are motors restricted as the Plan indicates, especially the motor ban on the Great Thumb?
Flight Restrictions (a Draft proposal for an airstrip had been dropped.)
Are flights prevented over Great Thumb, Long Mesa, WiGasala? What are regulations for
Public Access to Adjacent National Park Lands
Have routes for the public been designated? Is traffic to the Park adequately scrutinized?
Has access on the west side been prevented?
Has there been any paving or substantial road work done on any highways except the
paved one from route 66? Have the five lesser routes been brought to all-weather
standard? Is the condition of the Topacoba road and hilltop satisfactory?
Telephone and Radio
Is there communication between parts of the reservation?
Has access using the 7 listed trails proved satisfactory? Is there trailwork being done?
Visitor Use (Tribal Enterprise in the Draft)
Are numbers limited on access to the added lands? Is there overnight camping on Hilltop? Are there camps or designated sites along the Topacoba or at wilderness sites? Is visitor activity adequately policed by Havasupai law enforcement?
What methods of human and solid waster are employed? Are they adequate? Has visitors' behavior improved?
What is the status of Havasupai hunting? Have there been wildlife surveys and a management plan? Is there any public hunting? What are the game and the regulations covering them? How have the bighorn fared? Are there burros? Have any had to be removed? Has there been a restocking of wildlife? Are there requests for hunting on the Great Thumb?
Sources: In preparing this entry, I have used only the documents, draft and final, referred to.