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CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK Mr. Mather plans to completely reorganize the Crater Lake hotel concession. The construction of the scenic highway around the lake was continued.
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK In Sequoia National Park the lack of roads and hotel accommodations, while not discouraging tourist travel particularly, has militated against the park's popularity. A new hotel or camp is a necessity, and it is essential that a new administrative building be erected and an adequate water system be installed in the Giant Forest; also that provision be made for the sanitation of the village in the forest.
As the Giant Forest is the scenic attraction of the park at the present time, and indeed the only accessible part, its improvement must have attention. The major portion of the trees in the Giant Forest grow on land held in private ownership, but, as has been stated, Congress has appropriated $50,000 and the National Geographic Society has advanced $20,000 to complete their purchase and revest title to them in the United States. Funds were also appropriated by Congress for a new bridge over the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River near the Giant Forest.
The new basis of compensation for privileges granted to the Mount Whitney Power & Electric Company in the park has netted the revenue fund more than $7000 during the past year. This fund is now just large enough to protect and administer the park. Appropriations for improvement only will be requested.
“THE GREATER SEQUOIA" Senate bill 5913, introduced by Senator Phelan, and House bill 13168, by Representative Kent, providing for enlarging Sequoia National Park to include the Kings and Kern cañons and several miles of the crest of the Sierra Nevada, including Mount Whitney, are now pending in Congress, and will be considered in the short session which convenes in December. The early enactment of this legislation cannot be too strongly urged.
The public land proposed to be added to Sequoia National Park by these measures will never be valuable for any other than park purposes. Cattle are grazed on the mountain meadows during part of the year, but the administration of these meadows as part of the park will not interfere with the exercise of grazing privileges for many years to come. Small tracts of land here and there will be fenced for pasturage of livestock used by tourists.
Sequoia Park now has the giant sequoia trees as its one attraction, but if enlarged as proposed it will become a scenic park of as much distinction as that possessed by any other park in the system. Furthermore, it will become a game sanctuary of as much importance as the Yellowstone National Park.
GENERAL GRANT NATIONAL PARK General Grant National Park had a 50-per-cent increase in the number of visitors this year. There has been a remarkable increase in travel to this park since 1914. In that season 3735 visitors registered in the park, last year the number jumped to 10,523, and this year to 15,360; 8612 people entered this year in automobiles.
The fees from automobiles so increased the revenues of this park that it may now be administered without appropriations by Congress. However, an appropriation will be needed for a water system, a new ranger station, and other improvements that are absolutely essential.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
This park had more visitors than any other large scenic park during the past year, and the accommodations were taxed to their maximum capacity. Additions to the larger hotels will take care of this heavy travel next year. It is quite essential that the Government appropriate additional money for improvements in this park. A bill now pending before Congress provides for the addition of a number of scenic tracts which will bring the entire boundary of the park close to the city limits of Estes Park.
NATIONAL PARKS CONFERENCE The National Parks Conference, held in the auditorium of the New National Museum, Washington, D. C., January 2 to 6, not only resulted in stimulating discussions of every phase of national park development, but also aroused unusual public interest. The evening sessions in particular, four of which were devoted to illustrated lectures on the parks, brought out such increasing crowds that on the final evening an overflow audience of between two and three hundred persons waited patiently for over an hour in an anteroom to hear the “Bear Stories" of Enos Mills, who generously repeated his talk for their benefit. We have not space even to enumerate the speakers, more than fifty men prominent in administrative, departmental, civic, and editorial work, men whose co-operation in this movement indicates the growing importance of the parks in national affairs. Talks by W. A. Welch, Chief Engineer of the Palisades Interstate Park, by J. B. Harkin, Commissioner of Dominion Parks, Canada, by Professor E. M. Lehnerts, of the University of Minnesota, and by Herbert Quick, the author, were especially significant. One session was devoted to "Motor Travel to the Parks," another to "Wild Animal Life,” and another to “Recreational Use of National Parks." The names of such speakers as Henry S. Graves, Chief of the Forest Service, E. W. Nelson, Chief of the Biological Survey, Dr. Charles D. Walcott, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Charles Sheldon, of the Boone and Crockett Club, Gilbert H. Grosvenor, Editor of the National Geographic Magazine, Huston Thompson, Jr., Assistant Attorney-General, and Mrs. John Dickinson Sherman, Conservation Chairman of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, indicate the scope of the conference and the broad, constructive policy of the National Park Service. The success of the conference was in great measure due to the untiring work of Mr. Robert Sterling Yard.
REPORT OF SUPERINTENDENT OF NATIONAL PARKS FOR 1916 The annual report of the Superintendent of National Parks for the year 1916 contains a tremendous fund of information of vital interest and gives in detail the plans and accomplishments of the National Park Service. The following recommendations concerning the Ranger Service are particularly important:
I strongly recommend that each member of the corps be appointed in the National Park Service, rather than as at present to the park in which they are to work, so that an employee in one park may be readily transferred to another park, where his training and experience make him more valuable to the Service.
The ranger force in reality makes the success or failure in administering the parks, and I feel that there should be a civil-service examination to determine the educational qualifications of the rangers. While such an examination can not determine the most important requirements, temperament, tact, etc., it would give an assured fundamental base to build upon, and after one season's trial, before a permanent appointment was made, the department would know if the ranger had the desired all-around qualifications for the ranger corps.
The longer a man is in the service the more valuable he is, and, therefore, I think a ranger should enter the service with the desire of making it his life's work, and after the service is once fully organized, promotions to higher positions should be made in the corps, so that each man would have the fullest incentive to give his best service, knowing that advancement would be based solely
on character and general efficiency. The suggestions concerning appropriations for road and trail construction are particularly pertinent and point out the tremendous waste that is certain to result from piecemeal appropriation. It is questionable if Congress can be induced to alter its “pork barrel" methods, which are diametrically opposed to the greatest efficiency and economy of expenditure. Mr. Marshall also points out the great need of sanitation and appropriate sewer systems in the various parks, which need is becoming doubly important because of the continually increasing travel.
Appended to this report are the reports of the various park supervisors. Particularly interesting to us is the report of Mr. W. B. Lewis, Supervisor of the Yosemite National Park. He points out the necessity for suitable bridges across the river, to take the place of those that no longer meet the existing requirements. He recommends the extension of the Washburn Lake trail to join the Isberg Pass trail, also a new trail from the McClure Fork of the Merced via Babcock and Emerick lakes over Tuolumne Pass, to take the place of the present trail over the much higher Vogelsang Pass. This is a most desirable change, as it will enable travel to pass from the Merced Lake region to Tuolumne Meadows much earlier and with much less effort than via the Vogelsang route.*
* We are informed that last fall a trail was built from Lake Tenaya via Magee Lake to the Tuolumne River and thence down to the Waterwheel Falls in the main Tuolumne Cañon. This is a splendid piece of work, and the trail should be con. tinued on down the Tuolumne Cañon. 'However, members of the Sierra Club feel very strongly that a trail should first be built from the vicinity of Hardin Lake near the Tioga road down into Pate Valley, following the grade of the old Indian trail, crossing the Tuolumne River in Pate Valley, and continuing on out of Pate Valley to the north to a connection with the present Pleasant Valley-Rodgers Lake trail. This trail would enable parties to leave the Yosemite Valley and easily enter the northern portion of the park, which is now walled off from easy access by the Grand Cañon of the Tuolumne. The work of the city of San Francisco in Hetch-Hetchy Valley has removed the main opportunity for camping on the floor of the valley, and has rendered the crossing of the cañon at that point much less desirable. It is important that the route suggested through Pate Valley should be opened up at as early a date as possible, to take the place of the former route through Hetch-Hetchy, so that the northern portion of the park may become easily accessible from Yosemite Valley. This would have the double advantage of allowing persons to return via Tuolumne Meadows, thus making a round trip that can not be excelled, and will en. able a trail to be started from Pate Valley up to the Tuolumne Cañon to meet the trail already commenced leading down from Tuolumne Meadows.-Editor.
All of the reports of the various park supervisors will bear careful reading, and we recommend these comprehensive reports by Mr. Mather and Mr. Marshall as being the most convincing evidence of the great progress in national park affairs during the past year.
VISITORS TO PARKS, 1909 TO 1916
Hot Springs Reservation....
(1) 120,000 130,000 135,000: 135,000 125,000 115,000 118,740 32,545 19,575 23,054 22,970 24,929 20,250 51 ,895 35,849 (1) (1) ? 450 450 3 450 2 500 500 1,909 854
2,407 3,114 2,923 3,823 4,667 7,647 10,780 13,182 13,619 12,530 10,884 13,735 15,145 33,452 33,390
798 1,178 2,160 2,240 2,756 3,735 10,523 15,360 5.968 8,000 10,306 8,946 13,501 15.038 35,166 23,989 4,171 5,000 :4,500 5,235 6,253 7,096 11,371 12,265 3,216 3,387 3,887 3,199 3,988 3,592 2,817 9,000 25,000 : 25,000 30,000 2 31,000 2 35,000 : 30,000 - 20,000 - 30,000 190 190
? 200 300 500 1,000 $1,500 165 250 2061 230 280 502 663 1,385 ? 4,000 6,257 12,138 14,168 14,265 12,839
231,000 : 51,000
86,089 198.606 224,407 229,534 252,153 240,193 335,299 358,006 1 No record.
EXTRACT FROM ANNUAL REPORT OF Hon. David F. HOUSTON,
SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE
RECREATION USE OF THE FORESTS The use of the national forests for recreation purposes continues to extend. Thousands of local recreation centers, public picnic and camping grounds, excursion points, and amusement resorts are being developed. Some of the areas, located near enough to cities and towns to be reached by considerable numbers of persons, serve already the purposes of municipal recreation grounds and public parks. To meet local needs along this line, the department is co-operating with municipalities. These forms of public service can be rendered without difficulty in connection with the fulfillment of the general purposes of the forests.
NATIONAL FORESTS AND NATIONAL PARKS The handling of the national forest recreation resources inevitably raises the question of the relation of the national forests and the national parks. At present there is no clear distinction in the public mind between the two. Both are administered for the benefit of the public along lines which overlap. The parks and forests occur side by side and have the same general physical characteristics—extensive areas of wild and rugged lands, for the most part timbered, with development conditioned upon road construction and similar provisions for public use. They differ chiefly in the fact that the attractions of the national parks from the recreational standpoint are more notable. Yet this is not always true. Several of the parks are inferior in their natural features to portions of the forests. The need of drawing a clear distinction between national parks and national forests and of a definite policy governing their relation is increasingly evident. Parks are being advocated where the land should stay in the forests, while elsewhere areas which should be made parks continue to be administered as forests—for example, the Grand Cañon of the Colorado.
A national park should be created only where there are scenic features of such outstanding importance for beauty or as natural marvels that they merit national recognition and protection and, on this account, have a public value transcending that of any material resources on the same land-such areas, for example, as those now comprised in the Yellowstone and Yosemite parks and in the Grand Canon National Monument. The areas should be large enough to justify administration separate from the forests and the boundaries drawn so as not to include timber, grazing, or other resources the economic use of which is essential to the