Friday, July 22, 2016

GCNM 4 The Proclamation, Jan 2000

The full text of the Proclamation follows:

GCNM 4 Arrival, 2000

USA Today jumped ahead, in an article on 7 Jan 2000: “Decree to protect rugged Ariz. land”, behind a front page: “Arizona land will be preserved”, with a photo — cliffs and chasms, the Canyon’s watershed would be protected. Action is opposed due to fears of tourists despoiling and grazing being prohibited. No immediate threats, but set aside to prevent any. The protection of huge, largely roadless chunk brings joy to environmentalists and outrage from Congress. Many streams feed into Canyon, so need to protect area to north. Wilderness Society “could not be more pleased”. Utah’s Hansen: peaceful land will be threatened by attracting tourists.
Many more words would be spieled, but there was the essence.

GCNM 4 Waiting, 1999

This part of the story follows two paths. The first sums up the mysteries surrounding how the original Grand Canyon watershed idea was doubled and conceptually transformed. The second recounts the Arizona delegation’s retrograde, and futile, effort to derail an Antiquities Act creation of a Monument.


There was Babbitt’s watershed concept, which he would reiterate over the years. There was a wildlife/habitat concept, twice the size of Babbitt’s, originated and lobbied for by Arizona-based environmental groups. By what chain of decision-making did the first get replaced by the second?

GCNM 4 The Secretary Listens, 1999

Secretary Babbitt had a concept of a Grand Canyon watershed as the foundation for further protective designation of the northwestern Grand Canyon. The area was overwhelmingly under Interior jurisdiction, in either Lake Mead National Recreation Area or public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The set-up was prime ground for a presidential Antiquities Act proclamation. Nevertheless, rather than act first and then listen to the outrage, Babbitt chose to make his plan public in a preliminary way, thus providing the opportunity for public officials and the citizenry to offer up their views and alternative ways to proceed. 

GCNM 4 Opening Moves, 1998

1998: Before the News

Having the time to become once again involved in matters affecting the Grand Canyon, In 1998, I attempted to grasp the threads of affairs I had dropped 16 years before, even though few of the players I had known were still around. Particularly with respect to the park-worthy areas of the Canyon’s north side, the issues unresolved in the early ’80’s were handles I could grab in seeking to learn about a  new status quo.

I wrote letters to agency heads, sought conversation with them and with active environmentalists, and planned reconnoitering trips, particularly to the Arizona Strip. My timing on the latter was fortuitous, since as I was traveling, Secretary Babbitt was putting together, at his much higher level, his ideas about more Antiquities Act actions. Of course, I had no knowledge of his moves, and the Arizona Strip BLM staff that I interviewed said nothing. Unlike my efforts in the 1970’s, I was now an unfamiliar inquirer with no organizational connections. 

GCNM 4 The Secretary’s View, 1998-2000

Prelude: Back to Life

It was my good fortune to visit the northwestern segments of the Canyon early after my Western migration. From Toroweap westward to the Shivwits Plateau, from the rim to, and along, the river, I learned what a wonderfully varied landscape it was. When the time came, in the mid-1970’s, to change the Park boundaries, I was hopeful that this region would take its appropriate & logical place in a complete Grand Canyon National Park. Good news; bad news. 

GCNM 4 Better called the Grand Confusion — 1998-2000

The Fourth Grand Canyon National Monument — better called the Grand Confusion — 1998-2000

Having gone through the materials I have on the creation of the Grand Canyon - Parashant national Monument in 2000, and then gone through them again, one thing seems clear: born perhaps in confusion, it certainly went through changes and phases that at the end brought a product that, in terms of its original conception, does not make sense. Let me see if I can tell the story…straight. 

Reflections Of A Monument; My Interview With Bruce Babbitt

Reader beware. I recorded my September 27, 2012, interview with former (1993-2001) Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, and then transcribed it. This post is that material, gathered into topics. My goal was to produce his words, smoothed, ordered, and connected for reading purposes, but trying to keep his voice. I did not use quotation marks or paraphrasing. 

My main focus was his personal role in, and reflections on, the establishment of the Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument (the fourth for the Canyon). What I like about this material is that it became a mini-essay on governance in a society in which openness and participation are central values. When "I" is used, that is Babbitt in smoothed quote. Material in parentheses is explanation or bridging for smoothness. In an exchange, B is for B.Babbitt, J for me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Short History of the Origin of a Short-lived Monument, Marble Canyon, 1964-9

The story of Marble Canyon National Monument is a facet of one aspect of the mid-1960’s conflict over whether to build dam(s) in the Grand Canyon. (Pieces of this story are in other blog entries, e.g. Dams, The Navajo Boundary, but the material in the Stewart Udall archives makes it worthwhile to bring the pieces together.)
That aspect was the effort by the Arizona Power Authority (APA) to gain a license to build and operate a state, as opposed to a federal, hydroelectric dam in the reach of the Grand Canyon upstream from the northern boundary of the National Park. The federal plans were on hold through the 1950’s until 1964 due to a legal contest between Arizona and California over Colorado River water rights. This contest included a hold on federal Reclamation development in Arizona involving the dams and the Central Arizona and other projects. Some Arizona politicians, disgusted at this delay in federal activity, decided to bring about River development using state agencies, notably by the APA pursuing a state-funded dam in Marble.