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There are many private holdings in the national parks, and many of these seriously hamper the administration of these reservations. All of them should be eliminated as far as it is practicable to accomplish this purpose in the course of time, either through Congressional appropriation or by acceptance of donations of these lands. Isolated tracts in important scenic areas should be given first consideration, of course, in the purchase of private property.
Every opportunity should be afforded the public, wherever possible, to enjoy the national parks in the manner that best satisfies the individual taste. Automobiles and motorcycles will be permitted in all of the national parks; in fact, the parks will be kept accessible by any means practicable.
All outdoor sports which may be maintained consistently with the observation of the safeguards thrown around the national parks by law will be heartily indorsed and aided wherever possible. Mountain climbing, horseback riding, walking, motoring, swimming, boating, and fishing will ever be the favorite sports. Winter sports will be developed in the parks that are accessible throughout the year. Hunting will not be permitted in any national park.
The educational, as well as the recreational, use of the national parks should be encouraged in every practicable way. University and highschool classes in science will find special facilities for their vacationperiod studies. Museums containing specimens of wild flowers, shrubs, and trees, and mounted animals, birds, and fish native to the parks, and other exhibits of this character will be established as authorized.
Low-priced camps operated by concessioners should be maintained, as well as comfortable and even luxurious hotels wherever the volume of travel warrants the establishment of these classes of accommodations. In each reservation, as funds are available, a system of free camp sites will be cleared, and these grounds will be equipped with adequate water and sanitation facilities.
As concessions in the national parks represent in most instances a large investment, and as the obligation to render service satisfactory to the department at carefully regulated rates is imposed, these enterprises must be given a large measure of protection, and, generally speaking, competitive business should not be authorized where a concession is meeting our requirements, which, of course, will as nearly as possible coincide with the needs of the traveling public.
All concessions should yield revenue to the Federal Government, but the development of the revenues of the parks should not impose a burden upon the visitor.
Automobile fees in the parks should be reduced as the volume of motor travel increases.
For assistance in the solution of administrative problems in the parks relating both to their protection and use the scientific bureaus of the Government offer facilities of the highest worth and authority. In the
protection of the public health, for instance, the destruction of insect pests in the forests, the care of wild animals, and the propagation and distribution of fish, you should utilize their hearty co-operation to the utmost.
You should utilize to the fullest extent the opportunity afforded by the Railroad Administration in appointing a committee of western railroads to inform the traveling public how to comfortably reach the national parks; you should diligently extend and use the splendid cooperation developed during the last three years among chambers of commerce, tourist bureaus, and automobile highway associations for the purpose of spreading information about our national parks and facilitating their use and enjoyment; you should keep informed of park movements and park progress, municipal, county, and state, both at home and abroad, for the purpose of adapting, whenever practicable, the world's best thought to the needs of the national parks. You should encourage all movements looking to outdoor living. In particular, you should maintain close working relationship with the Dominion parks branch of the Canadian department of the interior and assist in the solution of park problems of an international character.
The department is often requested for reports on pending legislation proposing the establishment of new national parks or the addition of lands to existing parks. Complete data on such park projects should be obtained by the National Park Service and submitted to the department in tentative form of report to Congress.
In studying new park projects you should seek to find "scenery of supreme and distinctive quality or some natural feature so extraordinary or unique as to be of national interest and importance.” You should seek “distinguished examples of typical forms of world architecture,” such, for instance, as the Grand Cañon, as exemplifying the highest accomplishment of stream erosion, and the high, rugged portion of Mount Desert Island as exemplifying the oldest rock forms in America and the luxuriance of deciduous forests.
The national park system as now constituted should not be lowered in standard, dignity, and prestige by the inclusion of areas which express in less than the highest terms the particular class or kind of exhibit which they represent.
It is not necessary that a national park should have a large area. The element of size is of no importance as long as the park is susceptible of effective administration and control.
You should study existing national parks with the idea of improving them by the addition of adjacent areas which will complete their scenic purposes or facilitate administration. The addition of the Teton Mountains to the Yellowstone National Park, for instance, will supply Yellowstone's greatest need, which is an uplift of glacier-bearing peaks; and the addition to the Sequoia National Park of the Sierra summits and slopes to the north and east, as contemplated by pending legislation, will create a reservation unique in the world, because of its combination of gigantic trees, extraordinary cañons, and mountain masses.
In considering projects involving the establishment of new national parks or the extension of existing park areas by delimination of national forests, you should observe what effect such delimination would have on the administration of adjacent forest lands, and, wherever practicable, you should engage in an investigation of such park projects jointly with officers of the Forest Service, in order that questions of national park and national forest policy as they affect the lands involved may be thoroughly understood. Cordially, yours, MR. STEPHEN T. MATHER,
FRANKLIN K. LANE,
Secretary Director, National Park Service
BY WALTER MULFORD
LAGUNA MOUNTAIN RECREATION AREA
An important new development of recreation in the open is taking place in San Diego County on the Cleveland National Forest. This is the Laguna Mountain recreation area, very careful plans for which were worked out in advance by the United States Forest Service. The plans are being carried out under expert supervision, and the Forest Service has already spent about $60,000 in the development of the area. It is situated only 1472 miles from the San Diego-Imperial Valley state highway, with which it is connected by an excellent automobile road. It can be reached in a few hours by the people of the hot interior valleys. It has both public camping-grounds and private lots which are leased to individuals for a term of years, thus making it worth while for the lessees to build substantial cabins. Many people are already taking advantage of the opportunity, and Laguna Mountain bids fair to become one of the best outing areas in southern California.
LARGE TIMBER SALE IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA One hundred million board feet of national forest timber in Siskiyou, Trinity and Shasta counties has been sold by the United States Forest Service to the Weed Lumber Company. The three counties will receive about $70,000 from this sale, as an act of Congress provides that twenty-five per cent of all national forest receipts be paid to the counties within which the forests are located.
GRAZING ANIMALS ON THE NATIONAL FORESTS To help in meeting war needs, the United States Forest Service in 1918 continued its efforts to secure full utilization of the forage resources of the national forests. In 1917, because of the war, 23,000 more cattle and 71,000 more sheep were placed on the national forests of California than had ever been grazed on them previously. In 1918 the numbers were still further increased by 18,000 cattle and 114,000 sheep. This is said to make an almost complete utilization of the grazing ranges of the national forests.
SENTIMENT, CENTS AND SENSE A great recreation center at Laguna Mountain; a large sale of timber in the Shasta region to meet the needs of mankind for wood products; a greatly increased use of the national forest range to enable greater production of meat, wool and leather—such are some of the uses of forests, each legitimate when in its proper locality and under proper control. Let stockman and lumberman grant that forests are needed for playgrounds as well as to make lumber-piles and stockyards. Let them also realize that love for the forest is a sentiment greatly to be desired, which is already a force in public opinion and is destined to become stronger. On the other hand, let camper and hunter and forest-lover concede that forests must have their purely commercial side, and that it is right that it should be so. Our various interests must needs overlap. Each must yield something. In getting together, we all need broad-minded common sense.
FOREST INDUSTRIES COMMITTEE An example of this common-sense, get-together-around-the-table policy is shown in the work of the Forest Industries Committee. No changes have occurred in the organization and personnel of this committee as described in the "Forestry Notes” of a year ago. In 1917 California fires burned more than 15,000 acres of standing grain, valued in normal times at more than $375,000; 233,000 acres of timber, valued at about $315,000; and nearly half a million acres of grazing and brush land, a large part of which would have supported grazing animals. Furthermore, Forest Service data showed that it took 1600 "man-months," or the equivalent of 400 men working every day for four months, to put out the 1000 man-caused, or preventable, fires which occurred on the national forests of California in 1917. In the light of these facts, the Forest Industries Committee decided to concentrate its energies for 1918 on a vigorous fire-protection campaign.
THE 1918 FOREST FIRE RECORD The campaign produced results. On the national forests there was a reduction in 1918, as compared with 1917, of about forty-nine per cent in the number of man-caused fires, seventy-two per cent in the amount of damage done, and seventy-seven per cent in the cost of fighting them. This result was due in part to the vigorous law-enforcement campaign of the Forest Service, which secured 100 convictions out of a total of 110 arrests for starting forest fires. Outside the national forests, twenty-six counties were organized in 1918 for protection against grain, grass, brush and timber fires. Two counties had been organized in 1917. In the twenty-eight counties thus operative in 1918, there were 412 rural fire companies, with over 500 sets of fire-fighting equipment and more than 6000 members pledged to fight fire. The territory thus protected is estimated at over 16,000 square miles, and includes about fifty-six per cent of the grain-producing area of the state. Fire-protection ordinances have been passed by fourteen counties.