History and Policy for the Left Bank of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon (cont.)
The recent stir over Hualapai rights on the Colorado's left bank led me to review the two Interior Department's Solicitor's office reports (1976 and 1997) on the Hualapai Indian Reservation and Grand Canyon National Park boundaries. It is good to see our agreement that the Reservation line was established to go TO and ALONG the River. And not to go to the River's middle, the Hualapai's haitat, and not to include the riverbed. Nevertheless the Solicitor officials were incorrect when they inserted the "high water mark" (HWM) language in their opinions, whatever legal theories may have led them to assert this. The HWM was never under consideration or of importance in the 1883 Reservation establishment nor in the 1975 Park Enlargement Act. As we shall see, other considerations were of greater import in the early 1880's and were explicitly expressed in the Act.
The Solicitor was correct to bring up the often-neglected question of navigability of the River under the Commerce Power. It is of overriding importance in the question of Park jurisdiction, since the sponsor's intent was to unify administration over river traffic, on all of the river in the new Park, on all of the water surface. There was no intent to disturb existing ideas about the Hualapai boundary, or to stage a raid on Hualapai land. Unifying a fragmented responsibility for river travel was a desired and desirable object, which the 1975 Act met.