MORNING SESSION, OCTOBER 14.
Secretary FISHER. Gentlemen, we may as well come to order. This, as you know, is the Second Annual National Park Conference, the first having been held last year at the Yellowstone, and I am very glad to see so many of you present here this year.
We are meeting one day in advance of the formal announcement, I believe, as it was not sure that I could get here from Honolulu before to-morrow, so that a day's leeway has been given. We know there are a very considerable number of people coming up during the day.
The conference is called to discuss the various questions relating to the administration of the national parks and issues that have to do with their proper management and development. There are a great many questions to be talked about. Last year we had a number of formal papers. We felt at that time that, being the first conference, it would be desirable to indicate somewhat the character of the questions we wished to talk about by having formal papers prepared by a number of people on different topics of interest. It was felt that in that way we would get before the conference suggestions that would lead to expressions of opinion or experience or advice from various members of the conference with regard to the problems that were confronting any particular park or any official of the parks.
The situation regarding park administration has not changed in a radical manner during the last year. It was, I think, the unanimous opinion of those who attended the conference last year that the national parks of this country would never be properly administered until we had established something in the nature of a national park bureau or other method of centralized administration. It was fully appreciated then by those who were present, not only those connected with the Government service but those outside of that service who had to do with park matters, that the system or lack of system that was then in effect was perfectly hopeless.
As you know, the national parks have never had any method of centralizing their administration. They have grown up, like Topsy, and nobody has taken any care of them as a whole. Each individual park has secured from Congress that amount of appropriation and that degree of attention that local influence was able to obtain in that body. The administration and the Secretary's office in Washington have called the needs of the parks to the attention of Congress from time to time, but so far as I have been able to ascertain at that time or since, the parks as a whole have never had their matters pressed upon the attention of Congress until last year. Each of these parks has problems that are also problems in other parks—questions of road construction, bridge construction, care and maintenance of the roads and bridges and trails, the concessions with regard to hotels, transportation, photography, and other matters of that kind. They all raise questions which are very similar in the different parks, and yet there is no way of coordinating these matters and bringing to bear for the benefit of all other parks the experiences of any particular park, or the successes or failures of particular park superintendents or other officials.
There has been no machinery whatever in the Secretary's office for this purpose; and so by process of elimination, by force of circumstances, the administration of the national parks has been intrusted primarily, so far as routine details are concerned, to the office of the chief clerk. That office is very heavily burdened with other matters of detail in the city of Washington. It has the handling of the ordinary clerical details of the office of the Secretary of the Interior and the handling of the clerical matters that come up to that office from all the different bureaus and subdivisions of the department.
In the very nature of the case, it has been impossible for the chief clerk's office to give the attention to these matters which their importance demands. The offices of the chief clerk and of the Secretary itself have never been equipped to handle these matters, if it had been possible to give them the necessary time and attention. Many of the problems are engineering in their character; many of them relate to the broader aspects of park development. The landscape questions, the questions relating to the forests and streams in the forest—sanitation and the construction of buildings of various kinds, both for park administration and for the accommodation of the traveling public—all require special qualifications on the part of those called upon to administer them, with respect to which Congress has afforded no facilities whatever to the Secretary of the Interior.
Now, as I have said, the discussion of these matters last year resulted in a practically unanimous opinion—unanimous as far as I am aware; no dissension of any kind appeared to exist with relation to the matter—a unanimous opinion that we should organize or secure from Congress the means to organize some form of centralized administration. The agitation for congressional action was taken up and supported by various organizations and individuals. It received support from the press of all kinds throughout the country—from the newspaper press and from all the weekly and monthly publications which were interested at all in public matters. It received the support of various influential individuals and organizations. The American Civic Association, whose secretary is here meeting with us again, as its president was last year, made it rather the particular subject of its annual meeting last year. A considerable discussion occurred and resolutions were passed. Its president, Mr. McFarland, and its secretary, Mr. Watrous, together with others connected with it, gave such active support and influence as they could to the passage of a bill by Congress. A bill was prepared, introduced in the two Houses of Congress, and apparently given favorable consideration by the committees to which it was referred, but conditions at the last session of Congress were such that it was impossible to procure any actual legislation on the subject.
The discussion with regard to inadequate appropriations produced a little result in some instances. We got a little start toward an increased appropriation for the Yosemite, but the policy of the Democratic party, particularly in the direction of reduced appropriation on the theory of cutting down expenses of the Government, of course, naturally stood in the way, as a general principle. It was very difficult to get any consideration, and I may say that increased park appropriations did not receive the vigorous support of some of the gentlemen of another party—my own party—that I would like to have seen. I am not discussing the question as a political matter at all, but merely reciting the facts. The result was that we failed to get either the increased appropriations or the remedial legislation that we very much need. I think, however, we have made a substantial beginning in the growth of public sentiment, in calling the matter to the attention of Congress in an effective way, and I am not without hope that at the coming session of Congress we may be able to get some action taken. There was some difference of opinion with regard to the particular form of the action that should be taken—as to whether there should be a bureau created or whether we should at first, at least, simply take steps that would enable us to get more effective work in the Secretary's office without the creation of a bureau—I mean, whether Congress might not prefer the second alternative, and confine its action to the passage of the necessary appropriations to enable us to employ park experts and engineers to assist in the administration of these affairs in the Secretary's office, together with some additional assistance on the clerical side for that express purpose. I think a very considerable sentiment existed in favor of the latter plan. I know that many Members of Congress in speaking to me expressed the opinion that the National Park Bureau should be created, but that possible it might be necessary at first to proceed in the way that I have just indicated.
Now, we have very many questions to discuss here to-day; some of them are subjects for open sessions and some of them for executive sessions. There are questions of very great importance affecting all the phases of park administration. One of the important questions now before us is the question of the admission of automobiles to national parks and the terms upon which they should be admitted if they are to be admitted, either to this park or to any other park. That, as I have said, is a very important question. It is by no means the only question. It is by no means the most important question we have to discuss, but there are a considerable number of individuals here who are enthusiastic users of the automobile, and I suppose they regard it as a matter of first importance—possibly they think it was the purpose for which this conference was called. If so, it is just as well to disabuse them of the idea right at the outset. We are going to take up the automobile question on its merits and in due course. The ordinary methods of agitation have been employed, and my secretary, I think, has finished opening a number of telegrams, substantial copies of each other, which the automobile associations have thought might have some influence on this gathering or on the Secretary. Of course an official letter by the executive officers of these organizations would have had just the same effect and saved considerable expense. However, if the gentlemen who are interested wish to show their interest by paying for telegrams, I have no possible objection to that course. I doubt if I shall have time to read them all; but I shall have my secretary classify them, and any that contain anything besides a desire that the parks shall be open to automobiles I will look at. Perhaps to-day the best thing to do is to hear informally, publicly, from the various park superintendents with regard to those matters that they would like to call before the conference as a whole, particularly as to conditions since our last meeting, and a general discussion of any of the questions that may be presented can be had later—either this afternoon or at some other time, to he determined at the end of this meeting. We will later have an executive meeting of the park superintendents, at which they may wish to discuss some of the questions that they think should be presented in that way.
To-morrow morning, if we do not find reason to change the plans and have then progressed far enough with the other program, we will hear from the transportation people, the railroad representatives and others, and from the gentlemen who are interested in the automobile. In that connection, I would suggest to the latter gentlemen, if possible, and I see no reason why it is not possible, that they agree upon, say, two or three persons who will present the special matters in which they are interested, and thus avoid unnecessary repetition of arguments or suggestions.
Again expressing my appreciation that so many of you have found it interesting and convenient to come here, especially those who are not in the official service of the Government, I will declare this meeting open, and start by asking Col. Brett, as the representative of the park that perhaps stands out most in the public eye in point of interest and attendance, to begin the meeting by telling about the conditions in the Yellowstone Park as they are now and the changes that have occurred since our last meeting.
Col. BRETT. Mr. Secretary, Superintendents, and others: The need for a bureau of national parks was particularly emphasized in the Yellowstone this season and in the latter part of the season of 1911. On the 1st day of August, 1911, all the money that had been appropriated for roads, bridges, sprinkling of same, and general improvements was exhausted. There was not a rainy day in August of 1911. The consequence was that the surfacing of the roads practically blew away. The engineer officer in charge thought that $10,000 would replace that surface. When he started in this season, after the appropriation became available, he found that $10,000 had gone a very short way, which demonstrates the fact that we ought to have a bureau of national parks in which there is a fund to meet such emergencies as were met in the case of the Yellowstone and to prevent any such excessive waste. Now, there was not a cent of money available in our park until some time in July. Then there was a portion—only one-twelfth of the former year's appropriation. Well, the engineer officer said he couldn't do anything with that, because he couldn't equip his crews to get into the park, and no material good was accomplished until the regular appropriation was available. Now, to meet the conditions and to insure the park being open to tourist travel, I placed 200 enlisted men of the command out in that park, and we repaired the roads, the bridges, and filled up all the washouts, and there were some wash-outs as big as this building, right down through the high, steep grades. We went to work and we either threw in enough rocks or bridged it over. On the road between the north entrance, which is Gardner, and Mammoth there is a moving hill. It is a clay hill on an inclined plane. We measured it. It moved over 8 inches in two days, and we had on an average of 40 men working on that thing off and on for several months. That piece of work did not cost the United States one cent, and we came pretty near filling up the Gardiner River and throwing away that hill.
Now, these are propositions that must be faced and they ought to be faced before the roads are allowed to deteriorate further. We hope, with the appropriation granted this year, just to be able to get the roads back where they were, and the appropriations for the entrances and the main road are considerably over $100,000, which just simply demonstrates what an extravagant method of park administration we are up against now, because there is no way of checking the waste. Those were the only main points, Mr. Secretary.
The SECRETARY. What was the attendance last year at the park, Colonel?
Col. BRETT. 22,739.
The SECRETARY. And how did that compare with the previous year?
Col. BRETT. That was 72 less than the previous year.
The SECRETARY. Substantially the same?
Col. BRETT. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. We made some changes in the Yellowstone with regard to the general regulations and there were some arrangements made by way of adjustment of conflicting interest with relation to the entrance from Cody. Do you know in the practical operation, during the season, about how it worked?
Col. BRETT. Yes, sir; I think that new transportation company carried something like 209 passengers. I haven't the exact figures, but I talked with Mr. Holm. He felt very much encouraged. He didn't think that was a bad beginning for a new enterprise. The Wylie Co. also established a permanent camp—another station—and by the experience of last year it has decided to put, if approved by the department, a camp down near the eastern entrance, below the Sylvan Pass, and I think it would be a first-rate thing. There is no doubt but that there is going to be a healthy increase in travel from that entrance.
The SECRETARY. What happened in regard to the lake transportation? Were the steamers there put in satisfactory shape, and did they operate during the season?
Col. BRETT. Yes, sir; on schedule.
The SECRETARY. Was there an increase or decrease in the travel?
Col. BRETT. Increase, sir.
The SECRETARY. I don't know that there is any other question in connection with the Yellowstone which occurs to me at the present time. If there is anyone here who has any matter in connection with that park in which they are especially interested, we would be very glad to hear from them now. Otherwise, I will ask Col. Forsyth if he will tell us what the conditions are in this beautiful park in which we are holding this conference.
Col. FORSYTH. The season just ended in the Yosemite has not been a season with as much travel as heretofore. For the last two or three years, up to this summer, the travel has been about 13,000 in round numbers, but this summer it has fallen off over 2,000. Now that falling off in travel I think can be attributed to a number of causes. The old residents of the valley here tell me that the summer of a presidential campaign always reduces the travel in the Yosemite Valley, and we have had such a summer.
The road from El Portal up here has been kept sprinkled all summer, and the pleasure of reaching the valley has not been marred in any way. There has been no annoyance from dust on that road at all.
There are a number of things in connection with the Yosemite that it seems to me should with propriety be discussed at this conference. There is a proposition now in Congress to change part of the boundary line. I think we might to advantage discuss the desirability of that. Of course, the automobile question in connection with this park is one of the matters for discussion, and the general question of a bureau of national parks seems to be, from my several years of service here, an urgent necessity. The arguments are all in favor of it. I can think of no reason against it. As a business proposition it is very clear that the parks have increased so in number and variety that a bureau of national parks has now become simply a matter of business. We should have such a bureau.
The appropriation that was recently made by Congress was made so late that we have been enabled to do very little so far. There are a number of very urgent needs in the way of bridges right here that we hope all of you will see before you leave. Besides, they should not be replaced by the same kind of bridge, a wooden structure that lasts only two or three years. The bridge right there at the Sentinel Hotel is, as you may see at a glance, in a precarious condition. The resident engineer here has prepared plans for a reenforced concrete bridge about four times the width of that bridge which will be superior in appearance and in magnitude. That point is a very favorite place with visitors. There is a beautiful vista up the river. It is proposed that this bridge shall have seats along the side walls, where the visitor can spend hours, if necessary. There are a number of wooden bridges near the foot of Bridalveil Falls which are in a rickety condition. They should be replaced, and will have to be replaced before next summer, either by the same type of bridge we have there now or a reenforced concrete bridge, which will last for a hundred years. One of those wooden bridges lasts only three or four years, and while concrete bridges are expensive they are so durable that they are really an economy, and they will consume the other half of that $80,000 out of this current appropriation.
Now, to go over a number of the improvements that we have made during the current summer. It is now possible to go up to the North Dome and along the north rim of the valley and come down by the top of Yosemite Falls. That is a new trail.
The SECRETARY. It is a horse trail, is it, Colonel?
Col. FORSYTH. It is a horse trail. It divides evenly with the famous Pohono trail, which runs along the south rim, the honor of being among the scenic 10 miles of the world. A new trail has been built from Tenaya Lake, passing between Clouds Rest and Sunrise Mountain, so that you can ride up to Lake Tenaya, 13 miles from here, one of the prettiest sheets of water in the park, and you can ride from there on up to Clouds Rest, which is the highest point around here, 10,000 feet above the valley. A new trail is now being built from Merced Lake up to Washburn Lake, and an old fisherman told me that the fish in this Washburn Lake were so voracious that he had to climb a tree to fix his bait. It is in a locality which has been inaccessible, so that the fish have been undisturbed—haven't had anything to reduce their number.
We have repaired most of the important bridges in the northern part of the park. The horseman, or the one on foot, can go now in great comfort from the Tuolumne Meadows across to Smedberg Lake and Benson Lake, down Rancheria Mountain and the canyon of the Tuolumne to Hetch Hetchy in a great deal more comfort than they could a year ago. The trail leading from this point into the Hetch Hetchy and from Hetch Hetchy over to Lake Eleanor, which the Secretary rode over last summer, and which was then in a most awful condition, has now been made a most delightful ride—not the road over which the Secretary went through the harrowing experiences he did a year ago. But there are other trails up there that we have not been able to repair. We didn't get the money in time and didn't have enough, but we hope out of this $80,000 to put all those trails up in that remote part of the park in a better condition than they have ever been before.
Now, to go back to this boundary question, which is on the west side. Connected with that discussion is the question of patented land inside the park. To my mind, private land inside of any park is an anomaly. There should be no private ownership of anything in a national park. And it is a fact that the best timber and meadow land in this park, except this valley, is owned by private parties, and to my mind the great and urgent need now in the Yosemite Park is by some way eliminating that class of ownership in the park. As time goes on the vexatious conditions that arise in an administrative way from the ownership of these private lands increase, and those who are deeply interested in this park, and I don't think anybody who knows much about it can fail to be, are earnestly desirous, if possible, to eliminate that embarrassing and unsatisfactory condition of affairs. The roads that run into this park are all privately owned roads, every one of them, except the little road, the short road from here to El Portal. They are all toll roads, and in case their charters or franchises should be annulled those roads would lapse not to the United States, but to the State of California, because they became toll roads before this park was set aside.
Now, that is a feature that is very intimately associated with this automobile discussion that is pending, and I mention it now simply because we are talking about roads. The road from Pohono Bridge up to the village here, that most of you saw yesterday, is about completed. The little strip from Camp Ahwahnee over here to the village we expect to have underway before the cold weather of December comes. Now, whether the automobiles are admitted or not, for some years the great mass of travel in here is going to be by rail to El Portal and by vehicle of some kind from El Portal up here. Consequently, the road from Pohono Bridge down to El Portal should be made a highway and boulevard. There are dangerous places, you will have noticed, along the edge of that road, and in one or two of those places vehicles have gone over with frightful results. So that there is an urgent need of converting that road into a highway and boulevard from Pohono Bridge down to El Portal, with suitable guard walls at dangerous places. The engineer has prepared very thorough and complete estimates of that work. He has also prepared estimates for the continuation of this road that we are building from Camp Ahwahnee up here on up to Happy Isles.
The water supply system of the valley here is being developed and is turning out in a most gratifying way. The source of water supply for the Yosemite is perhaps ideal. An enormous stream of water runs right out from under Glacier Point, over 3,000 feet of granite vertically above, and no telling how many miles back, covering the source of supply of this little valley we are living in, so that the source is impregnable so far as contamination of any kind is concerned. Then the water itself is so soft that the use of soap is hardly necessary, and it is always cold. It is ideal in quality and the engineer in making his explorations has found that heretofore the quantity of that water that we were using was a mere dribble of the total flow. So that we have and are now taking measures to pen up all that water to make it available for domestic use here in the valley. If we succeeed in that, and there is every reason to believe that we will, it will perhaps never be necessary to use water out of the river at all. If we do that, then the visitor camping along the river can bathe in the river all he wants to. Campers frequently think that it is a hardship that they can not go in swimming in the river. We hope that after awhile they will be able to bathe in water that is about 62-1/2 degrees in temperature. The water is ideal for bathing purposes.
So much for roads and water. We have up there an electric light and power plant. The cost of that is very light, but so useful have we found it that when this rock crusher that we are running to crush rock is used, it simply is a picnic to run it. In fact, it runs itself. The pumps that supply those tanks are run by this electric power, and whenever the tank is full the current is shut off by means of a float, so that all we have to do is to start the pump and the water and electric power does the rest. It is like putting a nickel in the slot. Now, that can be improved and the sale of power be made a good source of revenue in the course of time we hope. I don't think there is any doubt of that. It is a good business proposition. I have had lots of men every summer come in and say that any time the Government wanted to stop doing business with the electric power plants they would be willing to take it off the Government's hands, and at handsome profit to the Government, too. When we build a fine new hotel, there will be lots of power at hand for that purpose and a great many other purposes.
The roads, then, and the water supply and the electric power and light are in a very satisfactory condition as far as prospects go. Now come the trails. We find by an examination of these old trails upon the rim of the Valley that very great improvements can be made in them. They can be relocated in places so as to very much modify and soften the steepness of the grade. Consequently, when we have that done the travel over those trails on foot will be very much increased. Hundreds of people come in here that have never been on a horse or a mule. They tell me that by modifying the steepness of those trails and making them a little wider they would prefer to walk. Now, it is fair to assume that that preference will continue. We hope, therefore, that the short and long trails up to Glacier Point and the trail up to the Yosemite will in a year or two be not so difficult an undertaking as it is now for the foot visitor.
I believe that is all that occurs to me now about the Yosemite.
The SECRETARY. Did you give the figures of the attendance this year as compared with last?
Col. FORSYTH. Not exactly. The figures as made up for this year are for 11 months only. The travel for last year was, in round numbers, 13,000. This year, for 11 months, it was a little short of 11,000. There has been a falling off in round numbers of 2,500 this summer over last; that is, for the last 11 months over the 12 preceding months.
The SECRETARY. The hotel problem that you have here is one that was discussed to some extent at the last conference, and subsequently on my visit here. Have you received during the past year any proposals with regard to hotel construction here?
Col. FORSYTH. There has been received only one tentative proposition from Mr. Sell, now the lessee of the Sentinel Hotel, but it was merely a preliminary application to know what he might expect. That application, or inquiry rather, can hardly be called an application. No further steps were taken by him, so that what conclusion he reached was not made known.
The SECRETARY. What was the character of the answer?
Col. FORSYTH. That the Government would grant a lease for 10 years. It would give the builder of a suitable hotel the privilege of taking certain materials from the park for building purposes—sand, stone, some timber; that the Government would furnish electric power and light at rates to be agreed upon, I believe, in general terms.
The SECRETARY. What was said with regard to the renewal at the end of the 10 years?
Col. FORSYTH. That the Government would consider favorably such an application for renewal of the lease at the expiration of the first 10 years. Nothing, however, has come of that proposition.
The SECRETARY. No further reply?
Col. FORSYTH. No, sir.
The SECRETARY. I think perhaps I might take this occasion to say that there has been some report or rumor to the effect that during previous administrations, the proposal to construct a new hotel in this park had been discouraged or at all events that the terms, perhaps, had been discouraging, on account of the fact that they were limited to a yearly lease.
If any one has any misapprehension on that score as to the attitude of the present administration—I can not speak accurately as to the rumors of the past, of which I have no knowledge, but if any one has any misapprehension as to the attitude of the present administration, I may just as well set it at rest now. So long as I am Secretary of the Interior, propositions of this sort will be received with pleasure and discussed absolutely on a business basis, recognizing on the one hand that the investor must be given a sufficient assurance—a sufficient return to make it worth his while to make the investment and on the other hand, that anything in the nature of unnecessary or extortionate charge on the traveling public will not be tolerated, but will have to be governed by effective regulations. Reconciling those two propositions, there is no reason—and there has been none during the last year and a half—why a proposition for a hotel in this park should not have been made and pressed. If it is due to a revival of the old rumor, I take this occasion finally and definitely to set it at rest.
The necessity of having much larger and much more modern accommodations than those that exist here is apparent to all of you. The present accommodations are very comfortable in many respects, but it is perfectly clear that they can not take care of a very considerable traffic that would like better accommodations and that they can not take care of the travel that ought to come, and, in my judgment will come to this park during the fair at San Francisco, if the accommodations are here, and that will not come unless the accommodations are here. I don't know whether we had better discuss that matter now or later—perhaps later. I take this occasion to mention it, so that anyone here who is interested in the subject may understand that before the conference ends, if they want to discuss the question publicly, as to the character of the terms, what they ought to be, whether any of those that have been suggested by Col. Forsyth ought to be modified by the department, either in the interest of the public or in the interest of the concessioners, this is the occasion to discuss it, and an opportunity will be afforded later.
The SECRETARY. Perhaps we had better go on right now to a consideration of out next largest park, the Glacier Park. If Mr. Chapman will tell us about the conditions up there in that new park, which is so popular with those who have been to it, and which is but in the making, we will be interested in hearing him.
Mr. CHAPMAN. Mr. Secretary and members of the conference, the Glacier is the newest of the parks—the baby. It is not the baby in size, because it is larger than this and somewhat smaller than the Yellowstone, approximately between fourteen and fifteen hundred square miles in area. It is a country that I was familiar with for a number of years in the work of the Geological Survey, and it lies in Northern Montana, north of the Great Northern Railway, the only railroad reaching the entrances of the park to-day. I was sent to take charge of it the middle of last May. It is a very mountainous region, with elevations ranging from just below 3,100 to nearly 10,500 feet, and a great mountain range through the middle of it, dividing it into eastern and western portions. There is no means of communication across that mountain range for about seven months in the year except snowshoes—that is, north of the Great Northern Railroad—so that for part of the time it is practically inaccessible. It was made a park in 1910.
During the year 1911 a certain record was made of the visitors to the Glacier National Park. Those records, partly estimated, show that about 4,000 people visited the Glacier National Park. The estimates were high, in my opinion. This year between the 1st of May and the 1st of October we have had approximately 6,300 people. That is a record and not an estimate, which shows, to my mind, quite a healthy growth. The visitors that come to the Glacier National Park are confronted with conditions particularly that of transportation, which are very primitive. I spoke of the inaccessibility of the mountain range for several months in the year. There are several trails across that mountain range which have existed for a number of years. They are trails which have been developed by the game, the Indian, the hunter, and explorer, and finally the tourists have come to use them. There are practically no wagon roads in the park, considering it as a whole area. There is a wagon road for about 55 miles from the Great Northern Railroad through the western side of the park to Canada. The first 5 miles of that road it is better to walk over than to go over in a wheeled vehicle of any kind.
It was constructed in the first place to take in machinery for developing early oil prospects. There is a wagon road on the east practically parallel with the boundary and a few miles outside the park, and a few rough roads that have been used to transport wood from the canyons east of the range. With the appropriation of last year (1911) a road was constructed from the western entrance of the park, Belton, a little less than 3 miles, to Lake McDonald. That has been macadamized and is now in first-class condition. During the present season and since May the Great Northern Railroad has constructed on the east side, from Midvale, 27 miles of road, which they call a motor road. That road is entirely in the Indian reservation. From the Indian reservation line to the town of St. Mary, a distance of 5 miles within the park, a road has been constructed by the Great Northern under contract with the Government. Those roads were practically done by the middle of July, although only begun in May. The traffic has been light because we have had a villainous season of rain, and part of the time the roads were practically impassable. Between those roads and across the range, as I said, there are numerous trails which have been inherited from the Indians. There is one route which is very picturesque and quite famous. That is through the Gunsight Pass. During 1911 this route was improved some what, and this year I began as soon as the appropriation was available to make a first-class trail, and that would have been accomplished but for the early snows. The first snows came the end of August. They have continued intermittently ever since, and about three weeks ago the trail crew came out and said they wouldn't stay there any longer for any consideration, which stopped operations for the year.
We have a large variety of game in the park, most of which is increasing in numbers—the moose particularly, and the sheep and goats. We do not try to segregate the sheep from the goats; they do that naturally. Last winter was a severe winter and we lost a number of deer on account of the heavy snows. In the spring we began opening up many of the trails as best we could, chopping out the timber that had fallen in, to get them open for tourists, and since then we have been trying to improve them. Quite a number of persons years ago asked me whether it would be worth while to go to the Yellowstone National Park if they had already seen the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in Arizona. I told them it was worth while. There are a great many things to be seen in the Yellowstone that do not exist in the canyon, and so far as the Canyon of the Colorado and the Yellowstone are concerned, they are not alike at all. They are on different scales. Some people have asked me if it was worth while to see the Glacier Park or the Yosemite if they have seen the Yellowstone. I always advise them yes. One woman last year asked a guide, "What have you got to see in the Glacier Park besides mountains and a few animals? Down in the Yellowstone they have all sorts of interesting things," and she referred to the old story of standing on a rock catching fish in one pool and cooking them in another. The guide said "Yes; I have heard of that place, but I can take you to a place in Glacier National Park where you can catch your fish in one stream and just turn around and freeze him in a glacier."
The accommodations in parts of the park are primitive and in other parts do not exist. On the eastern side of the mountains the Great Northern has a number of chalet camps, some of which were taxed to their greatest capacity this year. On the west side, the older entrance to the park, there are several very comfortable hotels, most of them of the cabin colony type with large individual buildings, where a large number of people have been taken care of.
In the development of this park the one thing that is essential is the opening up by roads and adequate trails of the area for travel. In my opinion, a large mileage of roads as considered with the area of the tract will not be advisable—two, or possibly three, roads across the lesser passes of the main ranges to allow people who are not able to ride horseback to pass through some of the finest scenery.
Between these roads large areas should be crossed by trails for the use of saddle and pack horses, and even then there will be considerable areas that are accessible only to those on foot.
There will always be a variety of pleasures and amusements in the natural out of doors. I think that is all I can say, Mr. Secretary, giving you an outline of the conditions.
The SECRETARY. Last year there was some legislation, Mr. Chapman, with regard to the site of a town and hotel at Midvale, in the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. What steps, if any, have been taken by the railroad company toward the actual development of accommodations at Midvale?
Mr. CHAPMAN. The act of Congress giving it the right to purchase that ground was passed, and the railroad company selected the major portion of the town site of Midvale, which had been established previously in the Indian reservation. It immediately took steps for the improvement of their property. It is building a hotel there of very extensive proportions. It will be a very beautiful and attractive building, both the interior and exterior. On the outside, on both faces, there are columns, about 40 feet high, of the great fir trees from the State of Washington. The interior is a little on the plan of the old Palace Hotel, with galleries around a large gathering room, which will be three stories in height. At each end they have a large fireplace, and toward the middle of this great room they have a concrete hearth on which they will have a camp fire burning, with proper arrangements for removal of smoke. They have an adequate dining room, but they have a limited number of bedrooms, there being only 70 rooms, I am told. That building has not been completed yet. During the present season tourists were accommodated at the camp, in which the sleeping accommodations were the canvas collapsible, portable houses. They had an adequate number of those, but the situation is very windy, and they were not very comfortable, although the bedding and everything of that nature provided was of the very best. They have one frame building which is used for a gathering hall and for the dining and cooking of the establishment.
The SECRETARY. Is there anything else that any one wants to ask or call attention to in connection with the Glacier Park?
Mr. CHAPMAN. I would be very glad to answer any questions if I can.
The SECRETARY. The next park in size, I believe, is the Mount Rainier. We have been following that line, to some extent, together with the historical question, and if the representative of Mount Rainier, Mr. Hall, is here, will you tell us something about the conditions in that park.
Mr. HALL. Mr. Secretary, we have not been doing any work in the park this year on account of lack of funds, and I don't know if I have anything of particular interest to say, if you will excuse me. This year we had an attendance of about 9,100; last year we had 10,306.
The SECRETARY. What was the condition of your roads in the park this year?
Mr. HALL. Very bad this year, on account of heavy rains.
The SECRETARY. What appropriation did you get?
Mr. HALL. $40,000.
The SECRETARY. Was that in this year's appropriation?
Mr. HALL. No; that was not available until about the 1st of September, I think.
The SECRETARY. Then it was in the appropriation bill for 1912-13?
Mr. HALL. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. What did you have for the year 1911-12?
Mr. HALL. $5,000. That was mostly for maintenance.
The SECRETARY. Now, what is the condition there with regard to the hotel question?
Mr. HALL. The hotels are very good.
The SECRETARY. Are they giving, generally speaking, adequate accommodation for the travel that comes there?
Mr. HALL. Oh, yes; there are about 60 tents, in addition to the hotel.
The SECRETARY. Are the accommodations such, and the use of the tents such, that you think that has any bearing upon your attendance? In other words, would you have more attendance if you had better accommodations?
Mr. HALL. Yes, sir; I presume we would—there would be more automobile travel.
The SECRETRAY. There has been some question with regard to a short road just outside the park boundary that I would like to have you tell us about.
Mr. HALL. Well, that is in the forest reserve and there doesn't seem to be any funds for keeping it up.
The SECRETARY. What kind of a road is it?
Mr. HALL. It is a very poor road. It is not brought up to the grade that the engineers placed, I believe. There is no drainage. It is right through a young forest and has no opportunity to dry out.
The SECRETARY. Who owns the road—where is the title?
Mr. HALL. The title, I believe, is transferred to the War Department engineers.
The SECRETARY. Is it in a national forest?
Mr. HALL. No; it all goes through patented land, but the owners have all given deeds to it, all but one person, I believe.
The SECRETARY. Well, has there been any discussion or attempt to have the local authorities take jurisdiction over that road?
Mr. HALL. No; I don't know that there has. I recommended it once or twice, but I don't think there has been any action at all.
The SECRETARY. Where does that road lead?
Mr. HALL. It leads to the park.
The SECRETARY. And from what?
Mr. HALL. From the outside cities.
The SECRETARY. Well, is it one of the principal roads?
Mr. HALL. Oh, it is the only road there is—only road leading to the park.
The SECRETARY. It is the principal means of entrance to that park?
Mr. HALL. The only entrance—only road.
The SECRETARY. Now, as I understand you, the title is in private hands—land on either side is patented land?
Mr. HALL. All patented land—Northern Pacific and settlers.
The SECRETARY. Has there been any attempt made to get those people to join in taking care of the road?
Mr. HALL. They have all given deeds to the right of way except one man holding 160 acres.
The SECRETARY. You say the road has been transferred to the jurisdiction of the War Department?
Mr. HALL. I understand the deeds were made transferring the right of way to the War Department. The road was constructed by the War Department.
The SECRETARY. All the adjoining territory, I understand, there, is a national forest, and that this patented land is inside the national forest?
Mr. HALL. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. The Government does not own any of the frontage on either side of that road?
Mr. HALL. No.
The SECRETARY. Now, we have several systems that Congress uses in regard to national park appropriations in regard to roads. For instance, I understand in this park that you, Col. Forsyth, have charge entirely of road construction here under the appropriation for road construction.
Col. FORSYTH. Entirely.
The SECRETARY. I understand, Col. Brett, that in the Yellowstone Park that is not true at all, but that the expenditures for road construction are entirely under the War Department Engineer Corps?
Col. BRETT. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. What is the situation at Rainier? How is the money spent there?
Mr. HALL. By the Engineers of the War Department. They built the road and the Interior Department is keeping it up.
The SECRETARY. You mean the portion of the road inside the park?
Mr. HALL. Yes, sir; inside.
The SECRETARY. But Congress does not give any appropriation for the road outside?
Mr. HALL. No, sir.
The SECRETARY. I believe the city of Seattle and others of the cities there are very much concerned in regard to Mount Rainier Park—have urged that we should do all we can to improve the park and make it accessible and attractive, in which we entirely concur. I would like to hear from any representative of any of those places, if there are any here, with regard to what suggestions they have in regard to that short stretch of road. I am told it is one of the obstacles to effective development and use of that park.
Mr. MARTIN. Mr. Secretary, the cities of Seattle and Tacoma have joined hands, strange to say, in recognition of the great value of Rainier National Park, and in joining hands we promulgated a policy that the two cities joined in. A copy of that was lodged with your department last year. Coming particularly, however, to this road, this 3-mile stretch of road, it is one of the vexing questions, one for which there seems yet awhile no practical solution, because the roadway seems to be without status. There was quite a debate in Congress, or, rather, before committees, during the last session, and very strenuous opposition developed in this committee hearing to any sort of appropriation for the road outside of the park, because it passes over patented lands, and while it is true, as Mr. Hall has reported, that the owners of that land have deeded right of way to the War Department, Congress has never accepted that right of way, so that really the road is without status. We were apprised only recently of an appropriation coming out of the revenues of the forest reserve, available now, as we understand, to be spent through the Agricultural Department for the construction of roads entirely within forest reserves. The amount of money available now in that fund is approximately $12,000. As we understand the matter, our forester asked the district forester at Portland for instructions regarding the spending of that money. The district forester at Portland referred the matter to Chief Forester, Mr. Graves, at Washington, and Mr. Graves, at Washington, referred it to the governor of the State of Washington to know what recommendations he had in the matter.
Through the policy of joined hands between Seattle and Tacoma, Seattle and Tacoma agreed that if that money be available that it could be spent, so far as Tacoma and Seattle had will in the matter, for that 3-mile stretch of road. So we have jointly appealed to the governor to make recommendations along that line, and the governor replies that he has referred the matter to his State road commission. So, Mr. Secretary, that is the way that road and its possibilities and our hopes are bounding about. Pierce County, the county within which Rainier National Park exists, has spent something more than a quarter of a million dollars in a roadway leading from Seattle and Tacoma to the forest boundary, and this is the crack in the bottle—this little 3-mile stretch, of road. So far we have not yet been able to solve the problem. I hope that some solution may grow out of this conference and your further consideration of the matter.
The SECRETARY. What practical suggestion have you to make?
Mr. MARTIN. We have almost reached that willingness, as desperate as it seems, to ask Congress to recede from its technical position in the matter of the deeded right of way, which has never been accepted. If Congress officially decides that no money can be used for this road out of the $40,000 now available, our disposition is to ask the Government to recede from its technical position as to the right of way and allow it to revert to the State, so that in the end the State, jointly with Pierce County, possibly with our good friends from Seattle, may work out some way of repairing that 3-mile stretch of road and making the park available.
The SECRETARY. That is, if that 3 miles would make an ordinary highway?
Mr. MARTIN. It would be improved. I have conferred with our commissioners and they are disposed to that idea. In other words, if Congress recedes the right of way I think we could work that problem out. I want to make it very plain, though, that I do not speak with any definite authority, because there has been none given me and could not be yet awhile, in fact; but we will arrange that so that we can make that definite deal if it seems best.
The SECRETARY. Why is it necessary to have Congress take any action on it at all? How long has it been since the deeds were given?
Mr. MARTIN. I think some four years.
The SECRETARY. Congress has not acted upon it, has it? I mean why don't the deeds fall by lack of acceptance?
Mr. MARTIN. Well, that is a technical question that we would like to have a ruling on. If they have by disuse reverted, that would give us status.
The SECRETARY. It appears to be a matter, as you see it, upon which nothing can be done unless we get action by Congress at the next session?
Mr. MARTIN. We have a sort of lingering hope on this $12,000, but that is not very strong.
The SECRETARY. Do you know anything about that situation?
Mr. MARTIN. No, sir; I think the Secretary of Agriculture will depend upon the recommendation of the governor as to where that money is to he expended.
The SECRETARY. I do not think that is a true disposition of any part of that 10 per cent. That is not a State highway. It is a proper part of the national park development, and it should be handled by direct appropriation from Congress to build that road.
Mr. MARTIN. If it should revert, Mr. Secretary, it would become a State highway. I apprehend it would be available, would it not?
The SECRETARY. I do not know.
Mr. MARTIN. I understood from Mr. Adams that money was to be available for the State highways.
The SECRETARY. If the Forest Service were in the Department of the Interior I would answer your question, but I do not like to anticipate the ruling of my colleague, Mr. Wilson. That act provides that the money shall be expended in furtherance of the State highway system and from discussion at the time the amendment was offered, and the statements made by Congressmen interested in it, it was perfectly plain they contemplated giving assistance to States for continuing the extension of the State highways system through national forests, in view of the fact that certain sections were deprived of revenue from taxation on private property, on account of the reserved land; and while this, of course, might be said to be an extension of a State highway in that it is extended from a portion of the State highway, its sole purpose is to develop the park and contribute to the use of that park. Therefore, for that reason, I think it a perfectly proper thing for Congress to recognize it as an expenditure incident to the administration of the park, and I would suggest to the gentlemen from Seattle and Tacoma that they direct their energies toward getting their Congressmen to see that point.
Mr. MARTIN. That is one of the things our Congressmen have been trying to do, and if that money is not available—I am frank to say that our hope of it is rather selfish—I don't know but what drastic measures would be best for all of us—if there be yet a claim by the War Department, to ask them to settle that.
The SECRETARY. Is it a very expensive highway to construct, Mr. Martin?
Mr. MARTIN. No; there will be very little rock work, comparatively speaking. Indeed, I think a matter of $15,000 to $20,000 would make it a perfect road.
The SECRETARY. Is the rest of the road good enough for satisfactory use by automobiles?
Mr. MARTIN. Yes, sir; they work with the greatest of satisfaction. I want to say, though, in emphasizing the wretched condition of that road—the three miles—the entire traffic for the season just closed has had to turn away from that road—it has been absolutely barricaded, and they have had to turn away and go through an old road in the forest as rough as that was, because it was absolutely impassable.
The SECRETARY. Now, one of the questions you people are interested in is the automobile question—the question of transportation to and into that park, and we will see what you have to say on that proposition later. But is there, in your judgment—I wish you would consider it—in your judgment, is there any way of imposing a satisfactory financial burden on automobiles that would take care of the construction or maintenance of that road?
Mr. MARTIN. The tax on the automobile traffic now is possibly as heavy as it would stand.
The SECRETARY. What is that tax?
Mr. MARTIN. It is $5 for the season.
The SECRETARY. I find out in the West that they collect more than that for an ordinary hired chauffeur who exceeds the speed limit a few miles. [Laughter.]
Mr. MARTIN. Our minimum on that, Mr. Secretary, is $25, but there is a very good revenue on it. Our fee of $5 covers the season. I don't know that it would be possible under some levy of that kind to produce a quick fund that would be necessary. In time it would accumulate. If I may say so, I don't know if I understood you correctly in the matter of general opinion upon the automobile traffic, Mr. Secretary, in Mount Rainier National Park. That, I understand, will come up later. If you care to hear from me further, I would be very glad to express what I believe to be Seattle's and Tacoma's views.
The SECRETARY. I think we had better reserve that for general discussion. I may say I think the most helpful way of discussing the automobile questions would be first to consider the general principle applicable to national parks and then to see how that would apply to individual parks, taking this park, perhaps, for the one immediately concerned; but I think perhaps we had better defer that until we take that question up.
The SECRETARY. Now, perhaps, we had better hear from Crater Lake, Mr. Arant.
Mr. ARANT. Mr. Secretary, I was not expecting to be called upon to respond for Crater Lake, but was advised by the chief clerk's office to prepare a little paper.
The SECRETARY. Have you the paper with you?
Mr. ARANT. My paper is at the hotel, but I can present it any time and I believe that the interests of the conference will be conserved by my not occupying the time orally to take up the different questions concerning that park and discuss them and I believe it would save time and be to the best interests of the park for me not to do so.
The SECRETARY. Very well; we will postpone for further discussion the Crater Lake Park for the present time.
The SECRETARY. Now, Mr. French, we will hear from you on conditions at the Platt Park.
Mr. FRENCH. Mr. Secretary, I, like Mr. Arant, have prepared a paper, which I will present.
The SECRETARY. I think you had better read it.
Mr. FRENCH. I am in about the same condition I was last year. I caught a terrific cold here.
The SECRETARY. Would you like Mr. Kelly to read it for you?
Mr. FRENCH. Yes, please.
The SECRETARY. It occurs to me that perhaps Mr. Myers, of Hot Springs, can give proper emphasis to that paper. We are going to invite you to read Mr. French's paper for him.
Mr. MYERS (for Mr. French). Located farthest south of all the national parks of the United States is the Platt National Park with its picturesque Travertine Creek, made up of a succession of murmuring waterfalls.
Just to sit on the banks of this pretty stream and listen to the music of the songs it sings will soothe into the land of dreams the sufferer from insomnia, and make the tired business man forget his cares. But this is only one of the assets of this little park. Its varied assortment of mineral and fresh water springs make up a "water cure" for the tired, worn-out body that can not be excelled in any park in the whole country.
In the city of Sulphur, near by, the sulphur water is administered in the form of baths, thus greatly facilitating the cures. One of the crying needs in the park is the establishment of a number of bathhouses in which the waters from the natural sulphur springs should be used. That supplied the bathhouses now existing in the city is obtained from artesian wells. Any bathhouses which might be erected inside the park should be owned and controlled by the Government, but if it is determined that it is against the policy of the United States to erect bathhouses in any of the parks, some form of agreement should be entered into with individuals who would be willing to operate these bathhouses under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior.
The fresh-water springs constitute the source of the Travertine Creek and are 98 per cent pure. One of them bursts out of a group of solid rocks in a hillside, while the others boil up in a bed of sand. These are called the Antelope and Buffalo Springs, because of a legend handed down by the Indians to the effect that antelope and buffalo formerly came down in droves from the surrounding hillsides to drink from these springs.
Up to the present date the appropriations for this park have been insufficient to make any marked improvements within it, the principal expenditures having been made in the construction of bridges that were indispensable and in the building of roads and trails that were absolutely essential for the accommodation of visitors. Some necessary repairs have been made to springs, park residences, pavilions, etc., but, as a whole, the park is still in a rough and undeveloped state.
In my opinion the first requisite toward the improvement of the park is the employment of an engineer to make a survey and establish grades. He should lay off roads and trails and furnish blue prints and specifications of the work to be done preparatory to landscape gardening and permanent improvements, so that all expenditures made would be of a permanent nature.
The park is sadly in need of an administration building that would comport with the dignity of a national park of our country. The one now in use was originally constructed by two old Germans as a summer camping house. It is cheaply constructed of rock and lime and sand cement and is loosely put together, which makes it available as a harbor for rodents, thus rendering it unfit for an office both because of its being unhealthy to occupants and dangerous to records. The building is very inconveniently located for an office, and a new and convenient location should be selected and a suitable and sightly administration building be erected.
In the latter part of 1908 Mr. R. L. Rogers, of the Forest Service, made an examination of the park with a view to ascertaining the practicability of reforesting certain portions and early the following year made a complete report covering his findings, but to date very little has been accomplished along this line. The former superintendent, Mr. A. R. Greene, planted a number of young trees along the roadsides in the park in the spring of 1909, but the extreme drought that visited the section of the country in which the park is located during that year killed all but one of the trees that were planted before they could get a start. During the past summer about 70 young trees were planted, all of which are still living, with exception of about 8 or 10.
This matter has recently been taken up with the district forester at Albuquerque, N. Mex., with a view to supplying the park with trees of suitable variety for this locality, and an allotment has been obtained for the purpose of setting them out in parts of the park where they are likely to thrive.
In connection with the system of reforesting the park and the eventual laying off of garden spots for ornamental purposes I have worked out a plan for irrigation which would be of great benefit during years when droughts occur. The system is to bring the water down from Lake Placid by gravitation to East and West Central Parks and other portions of the park. Such a system would save expense in obtaining and replanting young trees and shrubs, which would otherwise die after having been set out before they could adapt themselves to the new soil and obtain sufficient growth to enable them to live through hot, dry weather.
Owing to a lack of system in enforcing the city ordinance regarding loose live stock in the city of Sulphur, horses, cattle, and other domestic live stock often run at large and stray into the park, where they do considerable damage. During the entire life of the park it has required considerable time of the rangers to keep stock driven out of it. Even this availed but little, as nothing could be done to prevent them from coming back. The former superintendent had a fence built around the park hoping to relieve the situation and leave the rangers free for other duties, but the stock continue to come into the park, breaking down the fence in order to get into the better pasture, which requires continued repairs to fencing and considerable difficulty in getting the stock out of the fenced inclosures. The owners of the stock seem not at all concerned over the situation, and I have thought it would be a good plan to establish a pound inside the park, in which all animals found therein might be impounded, requiring the owners to pay a 50-cent fee, as well as all expenses incident to the taking up and detention of such animals, including the cost of feeding and caring for the same. Such a plan would probably abate the nuisance, allowing the rangers time for other duties, and lessening the probability of destruction to young trees and shrubs. This should provide for the sale of unclaimed stock.
In conclusion, I might add that the Platt National Park is one of two or three parks available as a resort during the entire year, and one of about two within reach of the middle classes of the South and Southwest, and as such it should be promptly developed and made attractive for their pleasure and comfort. The park is especially endowed by the Creator for the inspiration and uplift of all who are privileged to behold its beauties, and no man possessing the proper appreciation of the beauties of nature can visit it and go away without feeling mentally, morally, and physically improved, even should the curative value of the waters be not considered, but contemplating the marvelous cures that have been effected by the use of the waters that abound in this park leads me to hope that the benefits that are to be derived from them may not for much longer be hindered or impaired for lack of proper advertisement, which can be effected in only one way, namely, its appropriate development and improvement, thus rendering it attractive and agreeable to the visitors who annually seek rest and recreation within its boundaries.
The SECRETARY. We will hear from Mr. Shoemaker, of the Mesa Verde Park, now.
Mr. SHOEMAKER. I did not come prepared to make a speech or anything of the kind, gentlemen, but I can give you an idea of a few of the features of our park and what has been done since I have been there. I took charge a year ago the 1st of this month. I have had very little money, but what I have had I tried to put to good use. I repaired the road for about 14-1/2 miles on the Mesa. I have repaired some of the cliff dwellings and built some few trails. I let contracts just before leaving home for the completion of the road. In this park there are some 400 ruins, some large, some small. The largest is about 280 feet long, with 214 rooms in it—a large cave in Wild Rock Canyon, hard to approach for the reason that we have nothing but trails so far. It will be remembered that this is a very new park and very little has ever been expended upon it.
The SECRETARY. How was the attendance last year, Mr. Shoemaker?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. Very good. We had some 480 visitors this last year.
The SECRETARY. How does that compare with the year before?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. It exceeds the year before by 180.
The SECRETARY. How far is it from the nearest railroad station to get to Mesa Verde?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. By the main road it is 29 miles; 12 of that you have to go on horseback.
The SECRETARY. The principal attraction of the park is what—the ruins?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. The ruins and the canyon, and the wonderful view from the top of the mountain. When you rise onto this point of 8,500 feet you see all of the Montezuma Valley. It is laid out before you there just like a checkerboard. Just to the south you see the Ute Indian Reservation; the line of mountains running north and south, clear through, for 150 miles.
The SECRETARY. What is the character of the ruins?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. They are of stone, altogether.
The SECRETARY. What were they? Separate dwellings or community buildings?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. As a rule, they lived in small communities.
The SECRETARY. How extensive are they?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. Well, it is supposed that the roads on top of the Mesa extend about a mile—the principal ruins are in the caves. Those that have been renovated and cleaned up are the most interesting, of course, because they show exactly how these people lived.
The SECRETARY. What population is it estimated at one time lived there?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. Variously estimated at from 10,000 to 15,000 souls on the Mesa.
The SECRETARY. How about the cliff dwellings?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. In those cliff dwellings, it is supposed from 200 to 400 people in each cliff dwelling.
The SECRETARY. How many such dwellings are there?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. Three principal dwellings that are now in repair.
The SECRETARY. Did you ever have any exploring parties out there this summer?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. I have done a great deal myself, with my two rangers—found a great many new ruins.
The SECRETARY. Didn't have any parties there from any of the universities or colleges?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. No, sir; not this year.
The SECRETARY. There were some applications.
Mr. SHOEMAKER. Some people went in there from The Hague in Holland, and they expect to come back again. They were very much interested.
The SECRETARY. What is your total appropriation for the last year?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. This year?
The SECRETARY. Last year and this year—how did it compare?
Mr. SHOEMAKER. This year $15,000. Last year we had a remnant of $1,600 to spend on the road.
The SECRETARY. Is there anybody that wants to ask any questions or have anything to say with regard to the Mesa Verde? If not, we will take up the next we have on the list—the Sequoia and General Grant Parks, Capt. Whitman.
Capt. WHITMAN. Mr. Secretary and gentlemen, in speaking of the Sequoia and the General Grant, I won't attempt to describe the topographical or natural features of it, as they are already described in a circular, further than to say that the tremendous forests of giant sequoia trees, the range of mountains, the deep canyons, the trout streams, and the coverts of wild game, make that little piece of America fully as picturesque as many European resorts, to which thousands of our tourists go each year and in which they spend their money.
It seems to me that the people of San Francisco and Los Angeles and other California cities, both native and visitors, should be enabled to penetrate these parks by a nice run by railroad, and from there have their path made so easy that they may reach these attractions by wagon or motor in comfort and find good accommodations at their journey's end. At the present time these conditions are far from being so. The traveler to these forests, after leaving the railroad, is confronted now with 45 miles of road, most of it in miserable condition, especially the county road, which he has to traverse at a snail's pace through stifling dust.
The administration of the park, as it is now, is not economical. The history of the Sequoia Park shows that it has practically a new man in there each year. The funds that are asked for by one superintendent for the development of some object are partly spent and the next year his successor abandons the scheme. The necessity of some commission or bureau to follow the line of development that can be made to tell is apparent, and has been desired by everyone who has touched upon the subject.
The first necessity is road improvement. Road improvement is always a good investment. I consider it feasible to build a good automobile road in the Sequoia Park separate from the wagon road. Such a feature is not difficult from an engineering standpoint and would tend to open the park to the public. The parks are set aside for the benefit of the people. They are the heritage of the American people, and it is my belief they should be made better acquainted with them. As a matter of road improvement, the Interior Department has faithfully kept up the Giant Forest Road from the park gate to its terminus, but it is difficult for the superintendent, especially a new man, to work in harmony with the county supervisors to connect that road with the railroad. This could be, of course, more effectively done by a commission that represented the United States than by an individual who is a stranger there each year. Then the next important item, in my opinion, is the acquisition by the United States of the patented lands which lie in the park. The holding of these lands makes it impossible for roads to be developed through the park. The question of rights of way and expense arises at once, and regulations for the government of the Sequoia Park should apply to every square foot within its boundaries. As it is now, the rights of parties are trespassed upon, as they believe, and if the Government of the United States does not acquire these it will not be long before individuals will be cutting down the big trees, which they apparently have a perfect right to do, and ruining the streams, and thus defacing the park and making it less attractive.
The SECRETARY. What is the total area of the park?
Capt. WHITMAN. I will ask Mr. Fry that question.
Mr. FRY. Some 200,000 acres.
The SECRETARY. And what part of that is in the private holdings, or does that include the private holdings?
Mr. FRY. Including some 3,900 acres of private land. Prices were obtained upon these some years ago by one of my predecessors at the rate of an average cost of $20 per acre. The man who held the principal holding stated it would go up $5 an acre each year, and he says it is now worth $65. So, as a measure of economy, it is patent that the Government should take this without any further delay.
The SECRETARY. Are these private lands all heavily timbered?
Mr. FRY. They are beautifully timbered, and in most all the cases they control the prettiest canyons and headwaters of the streams—a few level places in the park through which our roads would penetrate if pushed to completion.
The SECRETARY. What are your hotel conditions?
Mr. FRY. They consist simply of tent accommodations. The construction of a road which would permit automobiles to come in would not only bring in visitors, but, as a natural corollary, the erection of hotels would follow and that would tend to swell the revenues of the park, which should be properly managed by a park commission. The American people, in my opinion, have outgrown the stagecoach habit, and the automobile is a factor that will have to be recognized, and in that park particularly I should strongly advise that its admission be encouraged.
The SECRETARY. Not intending to anticipate the automobile discussion, I would like to know if any estimate has been made there about the location or cost of a separate road such as you have recommended.
Capt. WHITMAN. An estimate has been made with Mr. Fry's assistance and submitted to you in my annual report.
The SECRETARY. And what, in round figures, was the estimate?
Capt. WHITMAN. $40,000.
The SECRETARY. How long a road?
Capt. WHITMAN. To connect the roads that already exist.
The SECRETARY. Would that make a separate line of roads for automobiles?
Capt. WHITMAN. Yes, sir; the entire length.
The SECRETARY. And leaves an available road equally attractive for horse traffic?
Capt. WHITMAN. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Is there anything else, Captain?
Capt. WHITMAN. The only other important thing I can think of is to emphasize the need of more efficient game protection. There is no penalty now attaching to the killing of the deer except the ejection of the offender and the confiscation of his outfit; but the chances for detection are so small that it simply adds zest to the sport. Once his deer is killed and got across the line he is perfectly safe. I strongly recommend that Congress be called upon to place that park on the same status as the Yellowstone, where the offense can be punished by fine and imprisonment.
The SECRETARY. No such law exists at present?
Capt. WHITMAN. Nothing at the present except what the superintendent makes.
The SECRETARY. Simply regulations?
Capt. WHITMAN. Yes, sir; totally inadequate. As to the question of a bureau or commission under each department of the Government that could officially act I don't feel prepared to answer, except that my business relations with the Interior Department make me in favor of that commission being under the Secretary of the Interior.
The SECRETARY. Has anybody anything to suggest or questions to ask?
Capt. WHITMAN. As I am acting superintendent of the park only during the summer months and Mr. Fry is there during the balance of the year, I should like to have him supplement my remarks.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Fry, if there is anything you would like to call to our attention about the remainder of the year, we would like to hear it.
Mr. FRY. Mr. Secretary and gentlemen of the conference, my ideas fully concur with those of Capt. Whitman in all that has been said, so I will not discuss any of those subjects to which he has already called attention, but I wish to say that we have had a very pleasant season in both the Sequoia and General Grant National Parks; we have had no fires of a serious nature. The military troop that was stationed there performed its duties well; I do not believe Capt. Whitman received during his administration, and I have not received since, one complaint with reference to the administrative matters of the parks. The number of tourists entering the park this season exceeded that of any other previous year. That was notwithstanding the fact that at the beginning of the season our camp concession for the Sequoia Park expired during the month of April. It was impossible to procure other parties to take up a concession until well into June, and word went out throughout the San Joaquin Valley that there would be no accommodation there. During June two persons obtained concessions, one for transportation and the other for hotel accommodations, and there were no complaints made that the transportation facilities were bad. There were objections raised on the ground of the infrequency of the trips, but we have had this year, in both parks, up to October 1, near 6,000 people, the Sequoia Park receiving about 600 more tourists than the General Grant.
The important subjects that I would like to bring to the attention of you and members of this conference pertaining to the Sequoia and General Grant National Parks—I would like to hear them discussed and like to hear them disposed of—one is the creation of a national park bureau, in order that the park work may become more systematized.
We all know what it is at the present, so it is useless to dwell on the subject at the present time. Another is the elimination by Government purchase of the deeded pieces within the reservation. We have some 4,000 acres of deeded possessions within the reservation that should be purchased by the Government in the interest of the preservation of the magnificent forest. It would also go toward the improvement of the park and the benefit of the tourists to enforce sanitary regulations, and another important thing would be the enactment of a law providing a penalty of both fine and imprisonment for the violation of park regulations. It would keep down depredations and it would be in the interests of game and bird life. Another thing that I would like to bring to your attention is the advisability of admitting automobiles on the Giant Forest Road in the Sequoia National Park. Many requests are coming, calling for that permission and the extension of long terms to persons taking up concessions, in order to encourage large investments making more efficient service. Now, Mr. Secretary and gentlemen, I believe those are the important subjects I have to offer. Thank you.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Ziebach, we would like to hear from you about Sullys Hill—what the conditions are since last year and what particular matters, if any, you think should be called to our attention.
Mr. ZIEBACH. Mr. Secretary, the Sullys Hill National Park, I think, is the baby of all the parks.
The SECRETARY. You mean in size?
Mr. ZIEBACH. It is only a small park of 1,000 acres, and it was created a park by act of Congress of 1904, and no appropriation has ever been made, and as acting superintendent and connected with my other work there I have made hundreds of recommendations for improvements but do not seem to have gotten anything.
The SECRETARY. How appropriate do you think it is to keep Sullys Hill as a national park?
Mr. ZIEBACH. I would recommend that the park be abandoned.
The SECRETARY. Do you think the park ought to be entirely abandoned as a park, or do you think the city or local authorities might maintain it?
Mr. ZIEBACH. I suggest that park be turned over to the Forest Service as a part of the national forest.
The SECRETARY. Is there a national forest contiguous to it?
Mr. ZIEBACH. No, sir.
The SECRETARY. It would have to be a forest of itself?
Mr. ZIEBACH. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Is it really a forest in area?
Mr. ZIEBACH. Yes, sir; it is. There were no campers there at all since I have been acting superintendent there.
The SECRETARY. One of the things we suppose the park bureau might appropriately take up would be an examination of these various parks with a view of turning over to the local authorities or otherwise disposing of such parks as are not strictly national in character and where Congress on that account has refused to give them appropriations. You feel that is one of such parks, do you?
Mr. ZIEBACH. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. By way of illustration, can you tell us how many visitors you had last year?
Mr. ZIEBACH. I couldn't say, Mr. Secretary. There were a great many local visitors around in there, but it is out of the way of any tourists and there are really no attractions in there for tourists.
The SECRETARY. Have you an office force or any other means of keeping up a record of visitors?
Mr. ZIEBACH. I am acting superintendent there in connection with my Indian work.
The SECRETARY. You are superintendent of the Indian reservation?
Mr. ZIEBACH. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. And it is merely handled by you incidentally because there is no one else available to do it?
Mr. ZIEBACH. Yes, sir; I think I wrote to your office some time ago that we didn't even have a national flag there.
The SECRETARY. That ought to be remedied in some way—through the contingent fund if in no other way. We ought to have a flag. Have you a building to float it from, or would you have to tie it to a tree?
Mr. ZIEBACH. I think we would have to tie it to a tree.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Boland, will you tell us what the conditions are at Wind Cave this year?
Mr. BOLAND. The attendance at Wind Cave for the last year has increased—has been more than the attendance for the last two or three years.
The SECRETARY. Put that in figures for us.
Mr. BOLAND. The attendance for the last year was nearly 4,000. It is only increasing two or three hundred each year, but is increasing all the time.
The SECRETARY. How much of that travel would you say was from a distance, say, from farther away than 500 miles?
Mr. BOLAND. All of it, you might say; all of it is. All of it comes from a distance of over 500 miles—comes from neighboring cities.
The SECRETARY. What localities contribute most of the traffic?
Mr. BOLAND. Nebraska and Iowa are the two States from which the attendance is gained.
The SECRETARY. How do people come there mostly?
Mr. BOLAND. In automobiles from Hot Springs, which is about 12 miles from the park.
The SECRETARY. Do they come mostly through Hot Springs?
Mr. BOLAND. Yes, sir; they all come that way—they have to—all people who are staying at Hot Springs or passing through there and come to the park.
The SECRETARY. Now, it has been suggested that that park is so much of an incident to Hot Springs that it might be one of the parks which are local in character rather than national. What do you think of that?
Mr. BOLAND. As it is now, of course, my park will be taken by the Department of Agriculture and made a national game preserve.
The SECRETARY. The whole park?
Mr. BOLAND. I don't know. They have made an appropriation to take it and make a national game preserve. Two men from Washington, D. C., looked over the park about a week before I started. They said there would be about 8,000 acres of my park put under fence and probably 160 acres of the land for the cave and new superintendent's headquarters at the cave.
The SECRETARY. The only natural feature is the cave?
Mr. BOLAND. Yes, sir; that people could get to.
The SECRETARY. So the travel comes there and you maintain your buildings at the entrance to the cave and the people come in and see the cave and go out and go away?
Mr. BOLAND. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Boland, have you any road problems there at all in the park itself?
Mr. BOLAND. Yes, sir; I have about 6 miles of road in the park.
The SECRETARY. Has Congress made any appropriations for those roads?
Mr. BOLAND. Not this year.
The SECRETARY. What did they make last year, if anything?
Mr. BOLAND. $800 last year, for the roads.
The SECRETARY. That was merely for its incidental care?
Mr. BOLAND. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Is that about the way it runs—$800 or less?
Mr. BOLAND. Yes, sir; about $800 a year.
The SECRETARY. What is the total appropriation that Congress makes for the Wind Cave?
Mr. BOLAND. $4,500 a year.
The SECRETARY. Is there anybody here who has any questions or suggestions about Wind Cave?
Mr. Arant, have you brought your paper here?
Mr. ARANT. Mr. Secretary, I was advised not to bring it in until afternoon.
The SECRETARY. You didn't get it, then? That, then, covers the list of the national parks, with the exception of that park which we always segregate from the rest. We always like to hear from Mr. Myers, of the Hot Springs of Arkansas—a park which presents many problems of great importance. It is not only a park, but a health resort of very great magnitude. Some of those problems doubtless Mr. Myers would prefer to take up at the executive session. At all events we would like to hear from him now as to the essential conditions and features at the Hot Springs, and as to what changes and events have occurred since our last session.
Mr. MYERS. Mr. Secretary and gentlemen of the conference, as a preface to my remarks I want to say that I have listened with a great deal of pleasure to a great deal of painful and many valuable suggestions pertaining to different parts of this great country of ours—one which was exceedingly pleasing this morning was made by the representative of the great new Glacier National Park. His designation or classification zoologically of the different animals abounding there gave me a great deal of pleasure, particularly when he went from the moose to the goat. I wondered if that was a merger that would be prominently recognized in this country at a very early date.
The Arkansas Hot Springs, as has been said by the Secretary, are a very remarkable and peculiar phenomena. There is nothing in the world like them—possibly there never will be. The Hot Springs National Reserve is the oldest in the Government, I believe, having been set aside by Congress in 1832, at which time many of you were mere youths. It is the only resort, I am told, that is self-sustaining—we are independent of Congress and its idiosyncracies. We have annually about one hundred and thirty to one hundred and forty or one hundred and forty-five thousand visitors. Our resort has increased annually for the last four years. I can account for a decrease in visits for these wonders here because of the great prosperity of the American people. Having been enlarging for the last 12 or 15 years, they have led rather a rapid life, and as the fires of the American genius are sort of quenched by too rapid a pace, they abandon the beauties of nature and come to the Parian Spring and are revived at Hot Springs. I imagine, gentlemen, that in the creation of the world the all-wise, omnipotent Creator knew that even when he created man in his own image that he was necessarily, in the course of generations, going to accumulate some perversities; that he would stay out late at night and be irregular in his habits and maybe accumulate disease; and as an antidote to all these things, in the early hours of creation, just as the dawn of day came forth, he created an antidote to this condition in the Hot Springs. He recognized the fact, evidently, that man would sometimes in the bending of the knee, in connection with prayers, accumulate rheumatism; in the bending of the elbow, accumulate neuritis; and for these accumulated diseases he fixed a place which is, in my opinion, the most valuable asset in the world.
There are 911 acres in our reservation. There are 50 springs that bubble forth as clear as if from the mountain side at a heat of 140° to 145°. This water is very palatable to drink, and there were administered last year over a million baths. A great many western people come to Hot Springs and accumulate the habit of bathing more than once a week. It is impossible in the short time that I will have your indulgence to enumerate the wonderful cures that are effected there daily. This very year I have observed such wonderful cures that were I to tell you, even with my well-known reputation for veracity, what they really were, I doubt that you would believe me; and, speaking of that, my friend Mr. Fee, over there, said to me that he hoped this time if I obtained an opportunity to speak, that I would not indulge in any false statements, reminds me when I was a boy in the little red schoolhouse back in Iowa. The directors one month came around and asked the class in English history who signed the Magna Charta. Unfortunately no one knew. The teacher repeated the question several times, and the last time he threw rather exceptional emphasis upon it, and he said, "Tell me who signed the Magna Charta." A little red-headed urchin sitting back of me said, "Please, sir, I didn't." When we went outside, the directors took to task the teacher on account of our unpreparedness, and little Jimmie Gallagher declaring he didn't do it. Now, the teacher said, "Don't put too much dependence in little Jimmie Gallagher. He is the biggest liar in the school. He may have signed it."
I have no doubt, Mr. Secretary, that Arkansas was the Garden of Eden. Traveling through there you come to a great big mountain of granite out of which gushes a little cold spring. This is the most stupendously glorious thing we have. It seems to me that there is not anything in the whole field of governmental affairs that contributes so much to the welfare of humanity as do these Hot Springs. When you think of the people that come there from all over the world, we are not national, we are international. Its bromidial water brings sleep, gives vigor to the vigorless and cures those whom the cares of business have brought to a physical breakdown.
We have maintained roads and we do not have any trouble with our mountain roads because we have a gravel that has been provided by nature for us. We have a beautiful city there with a population of 20,000 regular inhabitants and we have a floating population of 20,000 to 30,000. Our great problem is the maintenance or conservation of our natural resources. It is more or less confined to protecting the visitor from the unscrupulous designing citizen who comes in there sometimes for the purpose of practicing medicine, and we have sometimes had a great deal of trouble in the past, but fortunately we are very much better now than then.
We are glad to be represented here to-day—very glad to have you come down to Hot Springs, Mr. Secretary, if there is a next time for us. I don't know if there will be or not. I have been told in some sections there was not going to be any. I thought as I came up this valley, just as I beheld the wonderful, stupendous evidences of the handiwork of the great Creator, I just thought to myself how awe-inspiring it was and how infinitesimally small it had a tendency to make us realize we were, and how appreciative, how wonderfully appreciative we should be to be citizens of a country that possessed such gigantic and magnificent scenery and things as we have in the Yellowstone, the Glacier, this beautiful, majestic, grand Yosemite, and all these other natural wonders. I think the idea of seeing America first is one of the finest propositions that has ever been indulged in. As an American citizen, I think the foremost want, Mr. Secretary, for the proper administration of these parks, a rational administration, is an intimate acquaintance upon the part of the heads of the department with the immediate conditions in each particular park. From my observation last year and this year, and having visited other parks during other years, I am firmly convinced that no particular rule or fixed policy will avail at all the different parks.
In other words, that the Mesa Verde must have special legislation or a special rule. What would apply to this park would have no application to Hot Springs, and vice versa. In other words, the Secretary or the Interior Department has heretofore, it seems to me, been sort of scattered. There should be a concentration of effort and a concentration of the management of these parks, all of which would bring about a condition of much improvement. The best way to illustrate that would be perhaps to relate an ancedote. I was out in a western State a few years ago, campaigning for a great political party. I made 40 speeches in this particular State, and it went 40,000 the other way. On one of my visits I was traveling across the country with a Senator who was blind. He made a speech at one particular place and we were driving to another, and on the way I noticed a tremendous big field and a big herd or flock of hogs—I don't know which you would call it. When I noticed them first they were dashing across the field and then in a moment or two they were dashing across the other way, running back and forth, helter-skelter, and I called the attention of my companion to it and I explained what it was.
Presently I saw an old man who owned the farm, and I asked him what was the matter with his hogs. He said, "I lost my voice last winter, and the only way I could get my hogs to the barn to be fed was to take a little stick and knock it on the barn, and since that these consarned woodpeckers have got so bad my hogs are just about crazy." There was a lack of concentration. If the woodpeckers could all have been concentrated on one tree the hogs wouldn't have gone wild. If this concentration of park supervisorship were developed into a reality, an inspector of parks should come around—I wouldn't choose that job because from visitations I have made to these parks in the past, Mr. Secretary. I am ready to throw up my white flag and say not for me. It takes too long to get through some of them. There are many things which I am sure would be very useful. Speaking of reputation—our State has, I may say, suffered because of its reputation—the Arkansas Traveler—the greatest misnomer—Arkansas is the greatest State in the Union—more natural resources than any other State in the Union, even the State of California.
Now, our reputation has been against us, but with our great faith, and with the good that has been accomplished, Mr. Secretary, and with the administrative support that we have been receiving during your administration, during the present administration of President Taft, there is no one now but that admits that the Arkansas Hot Springs have improved wonderfully, and are improving every day. We have nothing special to talk about. There are some things we wish to talk to you privately about. You may be able to diagnose our troubles and give us a remedy. We think we know what is the matter. Our notion of governmental management is the same as a commercial or corporation management, Mr. Secretary. Select your subordinates, and hold them responsible, and accept their recommendations as final—no appeal therefrom.
The SECRETARY. Gentlemen, that problem which I thought my friend Myers was going to touch upon, and which he carefully avoided, namely, that one of separating the sheep from the goats, will I presume be reserved for the later session. If anyone has anything to suggest or any questions to ask in regard to the Hot Springs that are fit for publication, we will hear them now, while otherwise we will adjourn until the press representatives are not present.
Now, we have left the national monuments, which are different from the national parks, although not so different from some of them, because one of the chief differences between the national parks and national monuments is supposed to be that Congress never makes any appropriations for national monuments except a purely nominal one for all of them. I believe the national monuments are in the same class with Sullys Hill, then; but nevertheless there are some interesting problems connected with them, and we would like to hear from Mr. Bond what changes, if any, have occurred in national monument affairs since last year. We have, of course, one national monument which is knocking at the door, and I am glad to see Mr. Harvey here, because Mr. Bond may have to say something about the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.
Mr. BOND. Mr. Secretary, nothing has occurred during the last year with regard to national monuments. Our history has been the same as for the past several years, since 1906. We have had some complaints as to visitors in a few of the monuments, and a strong request has gone forward for some effort to stop this sort of work. The El Morro Monument down in New Mexico, which is covered with inscriptions, some dating back nearly 300 years, is being defaced by the people who want to inscribe their personal names and dates. There are thousands now on that monument. Unless they are removed, as I recommended at the Yellowstone last year, very soon valuable inscriptions will be lost. During the last year the department made its annual recommendation for $5,000 for the administration of national monuments. The House committee, in accordance with precedent, ignored the matter; the Senate committee made recommendations, and the Senate itself approved it, but the appropriation was lost in conference. That has been practically the practice now ever since the national monument law was passed.
There was, however, in one case a bill introduced by the Hon. Carl Hayden to appropriate $25,000 for the protection of the Tumacacori Monument. That is an old Spanish mission church in Arizona and is of great interest. It is in bad condition at the present, and the name writers have covered its walls, as in the case of the El Morro Monument; and I want to say, in connection with this, that while the General Land Office approved the purpose in general of the bill of Mr. Hayden, I think that legislation of that character should not be undertaken. I think the appropriation should cover all monuments; that is, a lump sum should be appropriated to this department or to the Secretary of the Interior. In the case of this bill, I think it would not be improper to say that the amount appropriated was very excessive. It was at least twice as much as needed for the purpose. The bill also provided for a salary for custodian which was far in excess of necessity. If we are going to undertake to make separate appropriations for the various national monuments, we are going to get a great deal more money than we can use, and I think there is only one way, and that is to make a general appropriation and allow its disbursement to be made by the Secretary, in his discretion. We are still living in hopes that the concentration recommended last year will be carried out ultimately. I think, from all that I could get upon that subject, that there is a strong following in Congress favorable to it, of which the Secretary himself is best advised. I believe that is all I have to say, Mr. Secretary.
The SECRETARY. Any other remarks with regard to national monuments? Mr. Harvey, have you anything to tell us about the Grand Canyon? Has there been any change since last year? I have heard of no particular movement in Congress.
Mr. HARVEY. Nothing I know of. They are still building that road along the rim.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Leighton, are you prepared to read the paper you referred to now, or would you postpone that till this afternoon? We are going to have an executive session.
Mr. LEIGHTON. I think it would be better this afternoon. I have a formal paper which perhaps will only take three minutes, and the rest will be largely discussion on other subjects.
The SECRETARY. Then, I think we will adjourn until this afternoon at half past 2. The plan I think best for this afternoon is to have the executive session of park superintendents, and perhaps not undertake to do anything more at that time. The others who are here will have the opportunity during the afternoon to see something of the Yosemite Park. We will have a public session to-morrow morning at half past 9, and at that time we will take up first the transportation question and after that the automobile discussion. Before, however, we adjourn this morning, I think we should hear from Mr. John Muir, who, I see, has come in since the meeting convened.
Mr. MUIR. Mr. Secretary, I don't want to start making a speech. They will all be hungry before I stop. Isn't this lunch time?
The SECRETARY. We are going to have a speech from you unless you decline. If you would rather postpone it until some other occasion—
Mr. MUIR. I think that would be better than to have it just now. A Scotchman can't just touch it and let it go. He has to discourse as they call it and hang on like grim death.
The SECRETARY. We will expect to hear from you to-morrow morning when we open the session if that will meet your convenience. If Congressman Raker is here we would be glad to have a word from him now or later.
Mr. ???RAKER. There are some matters about which I would like to hear some further discussion. There are matters in relation to the improvement of the parks as it appears to me and the question of transportation and entrance into the parks, and I was thinking that personally I would like to hear from some of the men who are possibly personally interested as well as those who take it from a governmental standpoint. I would like to hear the subject discussed, and while I individually have fairly clear ideas on the subject, at least to myself, I would like to hear some of the discussion from the others first, and while I am not a Scotchman, my people, my class of people, are in the same way; when we get started on a matter we like to run it down, hear both sides, and know that we will not unconsciously give one side the advantage of the other, the whole subject depending upon the facts, and in justice to the general community, thus having placed ourselves, we feel like knowing ourselves like the bulldog at the root, grabbing there and hanging until we pull that one out, then at another one to dig that out until we get the bad tree down, and we think these matters ought to be taken up and discussed in the same line. I am a little sorry that the automobile question and the matters pertaining to that could not be taken up some???time later this afternoon, so we would have more time to go over it to-night and to-morrow, but, of course, the Secretary, I realize, is busy and we will abide by his time.
The SECRETARY. As far as that is concerned, if the automobile people are all here at that time and they want to wait around until we get through the executive session, we will be very glad to take the matter up at that time, but it is important that we have the executive session, and it seems better to have it this afternoon than to-morrow or some???time later, and I did not think you would like to do that. We expect to be here over to-morrow, and if necessary to hold a session on Wednesday morning, and I think they will have ample time to get all the facts as to the automobiles before us. I do not think we will require a great deal of time to discuss the matter. We want to get down to cases and discuss the particular facts. I do not think it will be particularly helpful to have assurances of the desires of the automobilists to use the roads. I hope that we may find some way to do it, but until we find the right way I believe it would be a mistake. If they have a way to suggest we want to hear from them.
Mr. RAKER. In that regard the Secretary and I agree fully upon that subject. It seems to me that we did not come into the park for the mere purpose of seeing its beauties at the present time. Certain superintendents have to some extent to get information. It has been my observation that a number of men have their souls full of a certain subject. While we like to cut them down at times, they feel that if they had five minutes longer or two minutes longer they would have gotten the subject better before the one who is to pass on it. I know it takes considerable time, but I feel this way; it is a matter that the Secretary, I know, wants to go into fully and to see the proper method and mode of carrying it out to the interests of the park, to the interests of the Government, to the interests of health and life, and to the interests of those who are seeking pleasure at a smaller expense, but individually I will submit to the Secretary. I would like to say something before the conference adjourns, but will reserve that because of the promise I have made.
The SECRETARY. If the automobile people are represented or have a spokesman and want to wait until the adjournment of the executive session and then come in, I do not care. We will adjourn, then, until half past 2 for the superintendents and to 9.30 to-morrow morning for the general meeting.