Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Beaver Falls Is In Grand Canyon National Park.

Beaver Falls Is In Grand Canyon National Park.
It was kept in the Park by Congress passing and the President signing the Grand Canyon National Park Enlargement Act of 3 Jan. 1975.*
Coming up from the river, you can travel without hindrance up its entire length because all of it, — to its top, upstream end — is in the National Park.

This entry has these parts:


The need to go over this situation again arises from a 5 Jun comment by Amy Martin on my blog entry VISITING BEAVER FALLS IN GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, May 22, 2018.
“As an NPS employee who works in this specific area, i would urge you to look closely at the map that you have provided as your evidence. The topo map shows that Lower Beaver Falls is in park land, but upper Beaver Falls is squarely in Havasupai land. When you do the up and over hike from the creek, you enter tribal land, which, as we charge to enter GCNP, the tribe reserves the right to charge visitors to their land.”

We are so used to relying on the expertise of USGS, that I was quite shocked to discover some years ago that the 1988 7½ topographic map that covers this area contained an unbelievable error. Although the legislative history of the 1975 Park Enlargement Act is quite clear, the USGS cartographer completely neglected the evidence that Congress retained Beaver Falls, all of it, right up to its top at its upstream end, in the National Park. But the damage done is not just on the USGS quad, it has also appeared in later maps, such as the USGS National Map, the BLM Arizona Strip map, and the National Geographic Trail Map for the west half of the Grand Canyon. (See my blog entries under the * below for a detailed look at the history.) I can only speculate, but I think that Amy Martin’s mistake is also fall-out from this USGS misfire.

Back to 1974, the crucial year in which the Havasupai convinced Congress to enlarge their Reservation. Either reading my blog history of the legislation or looking through the archives, it is pretty clear that there was a lot of discussion back and forth to get a fix on the Park and Reservation boundaries — proposals offered, accepted, amended, commented on, adopted, and even at the end, maybe not understood in the same way by all participants. That makes Beaver Falls as a boundary marker almost unique, since the language, referring to Beaver Falls, says that the “Secretary should cross upstream from the falls“ (I like the image of the Secretary splashing across) “in establishing the precise boundary for the park”.

NPS, acting as the map-provider for congressional action, drew the official map, reproduced in my earlier blog entry. Its scale makes precision impossible, adding to the importance of following the document wording. The second map in my May 22 entry was produced by the BIA, and is at a more readable scale, but still does not tell us much more than that the crossing point is upstream from the junction of Havasu Creek and Beaver Canyon. The reason I included it in my blog is to emphasize that the BIA accepted that the boundary followed two straight lines, making a shallow V as it went from Uqualla Point to the top of Beaver Falls, where it bends and heads up to Yumtheska Point.

The importance of the BIA map is that it is part of the Secretarial Land Use Plan for the Addition to the Havasupai Reservation. That is the 1982 plan document that the Havasupai themselves largely developed to express and govern how they wanted to treat their recovered lands. There is nothing in the plan about Beaver Falls, and given that the 1975 Act repatriating land to the Havasupai requires that the land be kept “forever wild”, it is appropriate that in the Plan there is no development of any kind indicated for  Beaver Falls.** So I included that map to indicate the land use plan’s copying of the boundary as drawn on the official map. Again, I emphasize that neither map was at a scale to show “the precise boundary”; the verbal directions are necessary for that.

So what happened? How did a clear congressional direction to precisely place the boundary at the top of Beaver Falls end up with people thinking it was downstream, perhaps even at the bottom of the Falls?

In 1974, as the legislation was being tussled over, the existing 1962 USGS topographic map covering the area was the 15-minute Kanab Point quad, scale 1:62500, contour interval 80’. I reproduce in large the section of that map at the junction of Havasu Creek and Beaver Canyon with the notation “Beaver Falls” and just upstream of the junction left of that notation, a little blue line crossing the Creek. That notation is historically interesting because it more or less coincides with the National Board of Geographic Names 1932 entry of the latitude and longitude for Beaver Falls, Of course, in those years, Beaver Falls and the land around was in Grand Canyon National Park. However, an updated topo covering the area was not published until 1988.

As shown by the following Google aerial photo, the real, physical Beaver Falls is not down at the junction where the old topo and BGN thought it was. In fact, the Falls are not one big drop but several smaller ones that run some distance, about 200 meters, along the Creek. Still, the words “Beaver Falls”  are on the second, not the uppermost, fall.
Courtesy of Rich Rudow, here is a photo of that same stretch showing the several falls, viewed from the downstream end and going up to the topmost fall. Bottommost fall is hidden.
Here is a close-up of that bottom fall, the first one encountered coming up from the river:

Next is the relevant piece of the 1988 quad, with important features indicated by Rich Rudow, whose few dozen visits to Havasu Canyon over the past 20 years make it possible to present here a definitive location at the top of the first fall. I have added text; the responsibility for the result is mine:

Note the two straight-line segments that make it clear that the Park land under discussion here involves more than just the stream; the banks and cliffsides, and the lower end of Beaver Canyon are in the Park. This is important for hikers, for the trail going upstream passes into Havasupai land on the Palm Tree Bypass (labelled at bottom). To see Beaver Falls, and not get onto Havasupai land, one must stay in the Creek or on either side right next to it. The Havasupai or the Park Service could put a sign up where trail crosses the straight-line boundary going up from the top of Beaver Falls to Uqualla Point.

Courtesy again of Rich Rudow, here is a view of the upper end of Beaver Falls with Fall #1 (ladder on right), Fall #2 (tallest at 20') and Fall #3.
The ladder and the picnic table beyond it were placed on this National Park land by the Havasupai, and are unauthorized. Havasupai land does not start until past the upstream end of the last fall, here on the left screened by the tree.


How did the legislators know about the reality of Beaver Falls? Although I did not get to visit Beaver Falls until September 1975, working with me on the legislation was Sierra Club Southwest Representative John McComb, who had been there, and indeed, my memory (fallible as it is) tells me he had done a backpack that came down Beaver Canyon to the Creek — something, Im sad to say, that the Havasupai no longer allow. Thus it was possible during discussions on the boundary in 1974 to discount the topo’s mislocation, and for the legislation to honor the House of Representatives’ wish to keep Beaver Falls in the Park by specifying in the relevant documents the words that told the Secretary to take the “precise” boundary across the Creek at the upstream end, the top, of Beaver Falls.

Very good. However, time passes, and USGS did upgrade its topos to 7½ minute series, coming out in 1988 with the Havasu Falls quadrangle, of which this is the relevant piece:

There is more contour detail, and the Beaver Falls notation, along with the little blue stream-crossing line (just to the right of the “r” in Beaver), has moved upstream, and is maybe even close to the actual upstream end. So all is well, right?

WRONG! Because the anonymous USGS cartographer decided that the official boundary (shown in my 22 May entry) just would not do, and he committed an egregious breath-takingly erroneous act.*** Part of his illegal creation is visible as the boundary’s dash-dot line just above the H where it takes a sharp upward bend into the water. That person decided to take the boundary from Uqualla Point, wander down the ridge (dash-dot, dash-dot …), jump off the height down to the Creek DOWNSTREAM OF the Beaver Falls notation, and then just for the fun of it, splash on down the middle of the Creek. Finally, tired of having wet feet, this happy-go-lucky ignoramus jumped up on the west bank with the boundary line and carried it on up in that wandering way to Yumtheska Point. Un-f…-be-lieveable. (I describe this and other map business further in my entry of June 10, 2014 GCNP Boundary: E Havasupai (additional Information): THE BEAVER FALLS MYSTERY, IN THREE PARTS ).  Anyone depending on the 1988 USGS quad would now be completely misled as to the actual location of the Park-Reservation boundary.

One kind of consequence of this waywardness shows up in various consumer-oriented maps drawn based on USGS work. Here is the relevant piece from the National Geographic Trails map for the west half of the Grand Canyon:

How someone coming up from the river could conclude from that map when they were still in the Park even below Beaver Canyon is beyond me. There oughta be a law.

I also mentioned The National Map from USGS, viewable in my June 10, 2014 entry. It actually shows both the official straight-line boundary for the Havasupai lands, and also  a National Park boundary apparently derived from the 1988 quadrangle. A no-one’s-land is left in between the two lines. Makes no sense whatsoever.

Finally, here is the 1988 topo showing the boundaries between Uqualla and Yumtheska Points. I have overlain the erroneous boundary in blue, and shown the boundary derived from the official documents in green, emphasizing just how much land USGS grabbed out of the Park and passed on to the Havasupai, along with confusion and mistaken understanding.

The most offensive part of the blue line is that it is at the lower end of the Falls, instead of the top, upstream end. Had the USGS cartographer, even using this (incorrectly applied) “natural-features” method, come to the correct, upstream point, then moved over to Beaver Spring, and thence up the little gulch, across Yumtheska Mesa to the ridge and the Point itself, one might be more resigned than offended that the straight-line boundary of the official map was ignored. However, the point here is that bureaucratic arrogance growing out of USGS expertise is not just offensive and unjustified, in this case it is doing actual harm by misleading NPS, the Havasupai, the visiting public, and other cartographers about the actual location of Beaver Falls inside the National Park.

To conclude as I began: Beaver Falls along its full length from its top, upstream end, is in the National Park. Any visitor coming up from the river or overland below the Great Thumb is in the Park, and can visit the Falls without additional payment to, or permission from, the Havasupai. I certainly hope that for any visitor there can be a useful discussion with any Havasupai encountered at the Falls that will lead, without conflict, to a mutually beneficial understanding of the situation. Perhaps, however, the best course is just to stay in the Creek or on land right next to it.
* For my original writings on this matter, please refer to my earlier blog entries in which I discuss that part of the GCNP boundary abutting the Havasupai Reservation as a result of the 1975 GCNP enlargement act, and specifically the Beaver Falls boundary point. They can be found by selecting the tab “BOUNDARIES” above, and checking out the five entries labeled “E.”
E: maps, law, reports on Beaver Falls being in Park 
  What a visitor needs to know to visit Beaver Falls
E: The 1975 Havasupai line
  The map and words are clear, but on the ground?
E: Correcting an error
  Beaver Falls is in the Park, Congress decreed 
E: More evidence on Beaver Falls
  Another report, from the Senate-House Conference, gives the Falls to the Park
E: Beaver Falls is IN THE Park
  The Havasupai are illegally occupying Beaver Falls, with NPS help!

 **Sec. 10(b)7 of the Act says that except for uses specified in the Act, the “lands hereby transferred to the tribe shall remain forever wild and no uses shall be permitted under the plan which detract from the existing scenic and natural values of such lands.”

***My guess is that ignoring the legislation was an act of laziness and ignorance — the cartographer just did not do the due diligence to find the correct boundary. Nevertheless, to change straight lines into ridge-followers seems particularly arrogant.

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