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steps in an effort to bring about such a condition have been taken in Yosemite National Park. If this work is carried through, a blessing will have been conferred upon those whose lack of money has shut them from the greater part of our national parks. It will also be, in my opinion, the most potent factor in retaining, through the medium of our parks, a material percentage of tourist travel and will necessitate a careful consideration of the problem of a general policy.
Any plan, however, which may be devised for the management of our national parks should not be predicated upon the assumption that their function is solely to accommodate and retain our tourists in this country.
A GENERAL POLICY.
A policy to be efficient must be functional. One for the parks, therefore, must take into consideration the distinctive characteristics of national parks which, as before stated, are relative to the furthering of a national patriotism, public knowledge and health, and tourist travel in the home land. Upon consideration it will be seen that the first two follow as a natural consequence of the last. In the consideration of a general policy we are concerned primarily, therefore, with tourist travel.
To foster tourist travel it will be necessary to develop the roads, trails, and other accommodations in the parks to a point where the traveler will not be subjected to serious discomfort. This means the expenditure of money upon a larger scale than has been the practice heretofore, and the first question that should be settled is, What shall be the source of supply?
There are but two practical sources from which funds may be secured, namely, by Federal appropriation and by revenues from the parks themselves. Both resources are now resorted to, each of which is inadequate. If the Federal Government is to support the parks, then they should be operated so as to make the cost to the tourist as low as possible. If not, then the various sources in the parks themselves should be developed sufficiently to supply the needed money. The sources of revenue from the parks fall into four classes: 1. Automobile permits.
2. Concessions of various kinds.
3. Receipts from public utilities operated by the Government, such as light, telephone, etc.
4. Natural resources, such as timber, stone, fuel, etc.
Of these four sources it will be seen that they may all be classified as taxes in proportion to the benefit received rather than the ability to pay. An analysis of this character may help in the decision of the policy to be pursued, but it can do no more. The decision must be made in the light of public needs, and the park supervisors should know whether they are to develop the park revenues to their maximum, or whether the park is to be administered at the lowest possible cost to the tourist.
If the question of finances were settled, in so far as the source is concerned, and a well-crystalized policy, looking toward the development of the parks along lines that will foster the increase of tourist travel in this country, is established, much of the delay and confusion in the field will be eliminated.
WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED.
The work in this office has been distributed among the parks, giving attention where it seemed to be most needed.
One of the first steps taken after the creation of this office was the laying out of organization charts for the office of the general superintendent and a typical organization chart for the Yosemite National Park. Three charts were drawn-one for the office of the general superintendent, one organization chart for the Yosemite National Park, and a functional organization chart making a complete and detailed analysis of the functions of the various officers in Yosemite National Park.
INSTALLATION OF COST-KEEPING SYSTEM IN YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK.
With these organization charts well in mind, a system was devised which will enable the department to keep a close and accurate record of the operations in the parks where the system was adopted. This system was installed in the Yosemite National Park, and the records and information shown in the monthly reports therefrom enable this office to make many material reductions in the cost of operation. For example, the report of May, 1915, showed a cost of $1.66 per mile for sprinkling roads. The analysis given in the report enabled us to find the leaks and losses, and the monthly report for August, 1915, after repairs had been made to the sprinkling system, showed a cost of 72 cents per mile for sprinkling roads. Similar reductions were made possible in other departments.
This system of cost keeping comprises two general divisions, namely, statistical reports and financial reports. Copies of the monthly reports are forwarded to the department, showing clearly the operations of the month.
Before this system could be installed it was necessary to take an inventory of the physical assets, such as buildings, bridges, power plant, materials on hand, etc. This inventory was made, and disclosed the astounding fact that there were in the Yosemite National Park on April 30, 1915, $23,625.34 represented by materials and supplies on hand. The inventory further showed that the assets in the park in the form of construction work done, utilities, etc., amounted to $613,635.03, apportioned in the following manner:
$453, 923. 15
96, 601.75 36, 434. 29 23, 625. 34 3, 050. 50
613, 635. 03
The items that go to make up this inventory are segregated, showing fully what has been expended on each piece of work, and it is proposed hereafter to keep a record so that the department will have on file the amount of money spent on each road, trail, bridge, and every other feature in the park that demands an expenditure of money. It is considered that only in this way will it be possible to carefully
Construction work, such as trails, bridges, culverts, etc__.
telephone system, etc.
Equipment, comprising live stock, wagons, machinery, etc_----
check the expenditures. Further than this, it is only by resorting to a unit cost-keeping system that the department will be able to segregate accurately the moneys for maintenance from those expended for improvements and betterments.
PURCHASE OF SUPPLIES.
This office, since the 1st of April, 1915, has been purchasing all supplies for Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks and for the other parks where it was practicable to do so. It was found that a better quality of goods could be obtained and a better price could be had by making a personal inspection of the supplies purposed to be furnished.
It has been the custom in the past for the local supervisor or superintendent to purchase the supplies direct. The parks are so situated that they are usually quite a distance from a market, and this custom resulted in loss of time in sending proposals back and forth. When the goods arrived, they were often found to be of inferior quality and not exactly what the supervisor or superintendent desired. San Francisco has a factory representative of practically every line of manufacture in this country, and the purchase of supplies for the national parks can be done here on the same basis as though the purchasing agent visited each factory and made a personal investigation of samples of the supplies to be furnished. Shipping these supplies over bond-aided railroads to the various parks places the local dealers in the vicinity of the parks (who have heretofore had this business) in direct competition with the manufacturers and wholesale dealers of supplies required in the operation of the parks. This new system of purchasing from this office from factory representatives and wholesale dealers has resulted in a great saving to the department.
The superintendent or supervisor of each park makes a requisition on this office for material and supplies that he desires purchased. This office then submits proposals to the various dealers, makes personal inspection of the goods to be supplied, and makes the award, whereupon the supplies are shipped to the park, thereby saving a great deal of time as well as money.
IMPROVEMENT IN TRANSPORTATION, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK.
Starting on June 1, 1915, the Yosemite Stage & Turnpike Co. placed in operation between the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees and the village of the Yosemite Valley an automobile service for the transportation of tourists between these points. This service replaced the old horse-drawn stages, which were uncomfortable and slow, requiring at least four hours and a half between Yosemite Village and the Wawona Hotel and an additional hour and a half between the Wawona Hotel and the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees, and with this service it was not possible for tourists to go from the village in the valley to the Mariposa Grove without stopping at least one night at the Wawona Hotel. The new service provided a schedule that enabled the tourists to leave the valley in the morning and spend one hour and a half at the Mariposa Grove and return to the valley in the evening in time for 6 o'clock dinner.