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SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK.
The Mineral King Road, which traverses the Sequoia National Park from the western boundary to the eastern boundary, connects the San Joaquin Valley with a small summer resort named Mineral King. There is urgent demand on the part of the public to use this road, which use has been denied them. I recommend that the department put this road in shape for travel at the earliest possible date.
The Mount Whitney Power Co. has built a road up the canyon of the Middle Fork of the Kaweah. Surveys for the extension of this road should be made so that it may connect with the Giant Forest Road, thus forming a loop in the park. Another survey of a road connecting Sequoia Park with General Grant Park has been made by the Office of Public Roads. This survey should be considered and, if accepted, adopted and plans for its construction undertaken.
To the east of Sequoia National Park is some of the finest mountain scenery in the world. The area in which the scenery lies is of little or no value for purposes other than the pleasure of scenery lovers. It contains the great Kern Canyon, Kings River Canyons, and Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the United States, together with almost innumerable other features. I can not recommend too strongly that the Sequoia National Park be enlarged to take in the areas to the southeast and east which contain these examples of wonderful mountain scenery.
CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK.
The present headquarters of the superintendent are at a point a thousand feet below the rim of the crater. The location is not satisfactory. Plans should be made for a secondary summer headquarters on the rim of the crater, either at the location of the present hotel or at some other point on the rim.
The ranger force in this park is not of sufficient size to adequately protect the park in the winter. The force should, therefore, be augmented to prevent poaching.
A trail should be built as near to the water's edge as possible and as far around the lake as practicability will allow.
Ranger cabins in the form of automobile-checking stations should be erected at each roadway entrance to the park.
The patrolling of this park is rather difficult, as it is in all parks, and in order that the superintendent may perform his duties effectively he should be furnished with an inexpensive automobile.
MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK.
The entire stretch of road in this park from the park entrance to Paradise Valley should be surfaced with crushed rock.
A survey of the entire road and trail system as outlined on the roads and trails map executed in this office should be made and the feasibility of following out the plans indicated should be investigated. Steps should be taken at once for the development of an encircling road around Mount Rainier and all construction work should be confined to portions of the general plan.
The village at Longmire Springs is particularly unsightly, and steps should be taken to either clean this place and bring about a more harmonious architectural scheme or the site should be abandoned and another one established. The plans for extensions of the trail system as recommended by the supervisor in his report should be adopted.
Tourists climbing the mountain are frequently overcome with fatigue before they reach the summit and are forced to stop over en route. A small comfort station should be erected along the trail to accommodate such people.
Satisfactory headquarters for department officials should be erected in the village and the park rangers in this park should be uniformed according to regulations.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK.
The development of travel in Glacier National Park has been in an easterly and westerly direction. As a result most of the trails in the park traverse the Great Divide. It is impossible to take a trip paralIeling the Great Divide, which would be by far the most beautiful trip that could be devised in this park. In addition to this, there are practically no roads within the boundaries of the park, and automobile touring, therefore, is excluded. I strongly urge, therefore, that the plans shown on the map executed in this office for the roads and trails development of this park be adopted in general and surveys made to determine how much of the roads and trails indicated thereon are feasible and practicable.
The headquarters of the supervisor are established at the foot of McDonald Lake. This is not in my estimation the proper location. A thorough investigation of the available sites at Belton and some point on the eastern side of the park, either near St. Marys Lake or in the vicinity of Glacier Park Hotel, should be studied and steps taken to establish the headquarters at the location chosen.
The park ranger force in this park is not adequate to properly patrol the area.
The telephone system should be improved and all metallic circuits installed. It is not in any way satisfactory that the Government should use private telephone lines erected by concessionaires. It is my opinion that the department should own its own telephone system, so that immediate service may be had in case of forest fires or serious accidents.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK.
This park is administered by the Secretary of the Interior, using the soldiers and officers detailed by the Secretary of War for the purpose of patroling and maintaining order. This constitutes more or less of a dual administration, which can never be satisfactorily carried out. In my opinion this park should be administered solely by the Secretary of the Interior or solely by the Secretary of War.
I recommend that the improvements requested by the acting superintendent for the buffalo farm be carried out and that the additional fire lanes requested by him be constructed.
At Mammoth Hot Springs are several buildings formerly occupied by soldiers of this military post which might be put to better purposes than those for which they are now used. There is a real demand for a museum, and I recommend that the feasibility of rearranging the interior of one of these buildings be investigated, and if it is found the same can be accomplished for reasonable cost, plans be drawn and contract let for the construction work necessary to establish this museum.
MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK.
The present road, leading from the park entrance to the top of the great mesa, is poorly located and unnecessarily long. The recommendations regarding this road submitted by the superintendent should, in my opinion, be carried out.
Many of the ruins are in such shape that it is practically impossible to get about among them. I would urge that a sufficient appropriation be secured to permit the Smithsonian Institution to carry on the work of restoration recommended by the superintendent.
The many relics of a forgotten race that were once in this park have been scattered to the four corners of the world. Those which were retained by the residents of the district are slowly disappearing. If a museum, even of the smallest kind, were erected in the park, most of these relics could be secured either by loan or gift and some of the implements, textiles, and other objects of interest could be permanently preserved.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK.
This park is the newest in the system. The first steps that should be taken, in my opinion, are the preliminary investigations looking forward to a complete road and trail system. This park will doubtless receive the greatest tourist travel of all of the mountain parks, and I recommend that plans for its development be at once undertaken on a broad and comprehensive scheme.
I would suggest also that no steps be taken in the granting of cencessions in this park until a policy is established for their operation similar to that which is now being developed in Yosemite and Mount Rainier National Parks. The crying need of this park for the next two years will be roads and trails.
PLATT NATIONAL PARK.
Platt National Park, like the Hot Springs Reservation, lays claim to its place in the category of national parks by virtue of the healthgiving waters to be found there. The accommodations and facilities for the proper use of these waters, however, have not been developed in any way commensurate with the real value of the water. There are two ways in which this water could be used and placed at the disposal of the great number of people who might be benefited by them:
1. By erecting a large hotel or sanitarium in the park. 2. By bottling the waters for distribution.
I believe these two possibilities should be thoroughly investigated and the choice determined. It is possible that both might be advisable. The principal question, however, is the quantity of the various waters that can be secured.
The French Republic operates a bottling plant at Vichy Springs and sends water from these springs to all parts of the world. If the flow of water in the various springs in Platt National Park is of sufficient volume or can be developed, I believe that it will be the part of wisdom to see that these waters are more generally distributed. Last year over 50,000 gallons of water were shipped by private individuals from Platt National Park to all parts of the country.
It will be entirely feasible, in my opinion, to secure the cooperation of a concessionaire to build a hotel or the bottling plant on a long-term and profit-sharing lease, providing a sufficient quantity of water is available. I would recommend, therefore, that the flows of these springs be thoroughly tested and the possibility of increasing them investigated. If the results justify, I would further recommend that steps be taken to secure a concessionaire who will carry on the operations in accordance with the above outline.
HOT SPRINGS RESERVATION.
There are two important problems in this reservation that should receive immediate attention. First is the public bath operated by the Government where medical services and treatments are free to those who are unable to pay for them. The present bathhouse is crumbling with decay, unsightly, insanitary, and reflects anything but credit upon the Federal Government.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been relieved of suffering and as many have had their lives saved to them by virtue of the medicinal qualities of the waters of Arkansas. It is a great institution and one that fully warrants the hearty support of our Federal Government. The bathhouses that are privately owned are many of them luxuriously appointed, and the growing contrast between the people who have money and can afford these bathhouses and the conditions with which the poor are confronted in the free bathhouse is one that arouses righteous anger. I can not conceive a more noble act or more justifiable expenditure of public money than the erection of a new and beautiful bathhouse as a gift from the Federal Government to the suffering poor of this country.
The second feature that needs attention is the general development of the reservation from the standpoint of a landscape architect. Several plans have been submitted for the reservation, but none has been adopted.
WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK,
As a curious wonder, I doubt if there is anything in this country which equals the Wind Cave in this park, which contains over 90 miles of explored passages which are hung with stalactites and sparkling crystals.
The cave, however, is in utter darkness and the tourists visiting it are only able to secure a glimpse now and then while a bit of
magnesium tape is being burned by the guide. I recommend that a system of lighting the cave be worked out. A test is now being made with storage batteries loaned by the Edison Electric Co. The object of using storage batteries is to avoid the necessity of running wires through the cave. If these prove succesful it will be possible to carry the batteries from the various chambers for re-storing.
The results to date indicate that this method of lighting the cave will probably be feasible, and if upon further test our present opinion is corroborated, I would recommend that some of the main chambers be equipped with these storage-battery lights. Respectfully submitted.
Landscape Engineer of National Parks. The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR,