MORNING SESSION, OCTOBER 15.
The SECRETARY. Gentlemen, we will come to order, please. The first question that comes up in connection with national parks is, of course, how to get to them, and that always makes the transportation facilities a matter of prominent concern at the conferences and in the entire administration of the national parks. Last summer at the Yellowstone we had with us a large number of the representatives of the different railroads that are connected with the national parks, and I am very glad to see that many of them are with us again this year and that there are a number of new faces. Before we go into the discussion of the transportation facilities we should have after we have traveled over the railroad, perhaps we had better talk a little with the railroad people and see what has developed since last year; whether they have any new suggestions, and what they now report as to the results of our conference last year. Mr. Fee, this is to a certain extent your bailiwick; perhaps we had better hear from you first.
Mr. FEE. Mr. Secretary, ladies, and gentlemen, the matter of transportation of people to the Yosemite, as well as to the Yellowstone, is of special interest to what is known as the Harriman lines. In the matter of the Yellowstone, I think the arrangements at this time with regard to railroad transportation are reasonably satisfactory to the traveling public, as is evidenced by the fact that this travel is constantly increasing from year to year, and with very few exceptions the situation in the Yosemite is radically different, although the service has been very materially improved within the past four or five years. The season in the Yosemite is practically a 12-month season. The greater volume of travel, however, comes to the Yosemite between the months of May and October. During that season of comparatively heavy travel, the railroads operate between San Francisco and Los Angeles through sleeping-car service to and from El Portal, at the terminus of the Yosemite Valley Railroad, some eighty-odd miles from Merced, on the lines of the Southern Pacific & Santa Fe. I think the greatest drawback to-day to travel into the Yosemite is the lack of such hotel accommodations as we find, for example, in the Yellowstone. I think the people that managed and are to-day managing the hotels, especially at El Portal and in the valley here and at Wawona, are to be commended for the care they have exercised in taking care of the travel to this park, considering the facilities which they have. They certainly have been improved materially within the past four or five years, but as a matter of fact they are still very far from being what they should be, and the best evidence of that is that the travel to this park as compared with other parks in the United States of a similar character is really very small. I note from Col. Forsyth's report that the Yosemite had 13,000 tourists in 1911 and 11,000 in 1912, a decrease of 2,000 as compared with the previous year. Those figures, of course, may be accounted for by the difference in the volume of the transcontinental travel brought about, perhaps, by conventions or the lack of conventions at Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and northern cities, but when we consider the fact that the Yosemite National Park lies within a few hours ride of both San Francisco and Los Angeles, and that around San Francisco Bay there is at least a million of people, and around the city of Los Angeles, say, a half million people, I think it must be evident to the Secretary and to everyone who has made a study of the question, that the very small travel into this park is largely due to the fact of its not having A number 1 roadways and thoroughly commodious hotel accommodations.
I was very much pleased yesterday, as no doubt many others were, to hear the Secretary say that so far as the matter of leases in the Yosemite are concerned, it will be the policy and is the policy of the department at which he stands at the head to grant leases that will in every way facilitate the building and maintenance of good hotels in the Yosemite National Park, leases running for a full term of 10 years, with the assurance that an additional or an extension of 10 years will be favorably considered. That, certainly, is most encouraging, and I think I may say quite in contrast with the policy as those whom I see on the ground have understood it as far as concerned the Interior Department during the past four or five years. I am very much in hopes, therefore, that with the definite statement made by the Secretary yesterday, we may have hopes that capital, and those particularly interested will move promptly in the matter of supplying the Yosemite National Park with entirely suitable hotel accommodations. This is especially desirable from the fact that the exposition of 1915 at San Francisco is bound to bring to this coast from all quarters of the world a very large travel. I think a conservative estimate of the admissions to the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915 can be stated at 15,000,000. We are well aware that a very large percentage of this attendance will naturally come from within a radius of, say, 500 miles. The whole coast, however, from Vancouver to San Diego will contribute its share of this travel, but independent of the local coastwise business centering at San Francisco in 1915, there will be a very heavy travel, I am satisfied, not only from the Orient, but from the Eastern States, the Atlantic coast cities, and from Europe.
It was my fortune to discuss, only a few days ago, the matter of travel from the continent with a gentleman who had spent some four or five months there, who was in the business of transportation, and knew, I am satisfied, whereof he spoke. He stated that the interest throughout the continent and throughout Great Britain, so far as he traveled, was very wide and that it seemed to him to indicate a travel to this country, such, perhaps, as we have never seen in the United States. It is very necessary, therefore, that not only the roads leading to the park, that the railroads leading to the park should be up and doing and preparing for this travel of 1915, but that this park itself should be supplied with such hotel accommodations as will make the traveler who comes glad that he made the visit and willing to go away and recommend his friends to do likewise. I have in my possession, to-day, letters received only very recently from people who have made this trip, during the present summer, in which they spoke of the beauties of Yosemite National Park, of the desirability of every one seeing it, but at the same time they said they would hesitate to recommend their friends to come in now, for the simple reason that the hotel accommodations were not such as were to be found in the Yellowstone or to be found abroad—in Switzerland, for example.
And that is what they expect and that is what the folks who travel to a park like this will have before we can expect to get a very large number of people. I want to emphasize the statement made by Col. Forsyth yesterday with regard to the building of a boulevard from El Portal to this valley. It seems to me that this is of the very first moment. We have nothing to say against the matter of automobiles in the Yosemite National Park. That is a matter that the Secretary will deal with in such manner as seems to him to be for the best interest of the people as a whole, but we do feel, as far as the transportation lines are concerned, that we want from El Portal, where the people leave the trains of the Yosemite Valley Railroad, a highway that they will be proud of and that it will be a comfort to travel.
I do not know, Mr. Secretary, that I have anything further to add, except that with these improved accommodations I think the Yosemite Valley and the park where we are to-day may look closer to such a tide of travel as was described to us yesterday by Mr. Myers as going toward the famous Arkansas Hot Springs, which he very aptly termed the "National bathhouse." And when he referred to the matter of the travel from the Pacific coast and the desirability of providing all of those people with bathing facilities when they reached Arkansas Hot Springs, I was especially moved by his statement to me, made a little bit later, that such was the Spartanlike fortitude of the people of Hot Springs that they willingly forego the opportunity to bathe in order that they might accommodate the visitors; in other words, like the shoemaker, their children were shoeless. I appreciated, therefore, the Secretary's remark that the administration of affairs at Arkansas Hot Springs was attended with many and very peculiar difficulties. Thank you.
The SECRETARY. I wouldn't like to have it said, Mr. Fee, that the terms of hotel leases at this or any other park are misunderstood on account of the fact that I did not refer to them, and therefore permitted that statement to go as though it were my own. I want it distinctly understood that the question of the length of term of lease is a matter which will be considered under the broadest general principles, such as I stated yesterday, and that I am no more wedded to a term of 10 years than I am to one of 20 or more or less. There was no intention in what I said to indicate a definite view with regard to the length of the term. What was intended to be said was this: That I believe that the leases for hotel sites and for other concessions involving the permanent investment of money should be of such a character as to afford an investor a reasonable assurance that he will have his investment protected and that he will receive from it and from his labors in connection with it an adequate return, sufficient to justify the expenditure and make it a practical one in all respects, and if the term of 10 years was used, it was because that was the period which had been mentioned by the gentlemen whose remarks called forth my own. I want it understood at all times that any suggestions as to terms and provisions of these leases will be welcomed by me whether they relate to the protection of the investment and the encouragement of the development of these facilities so that the public will get the very best service, or whether they relate to the conditions upon the other side which must be relied upon to make sure that the public will get the best service and that it will get that service at reasonable rates.
Now, there are a good many other railroad men here. I don't know that it would be well for us to select them. I would a little rather they would volunteer, each in their own way. Perhaps, Mr. Byrne, we might ask you to speak now, because of the fact that the Santa Fe road is so directly interested, with the Southern Pacific, in this park.
Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Secretary, ladies, and gentlemen. About a month ago I was in the ticket office at Stockton and a gentleman came to the ticket-office window. He said to the ticket clerk, "Do you sell tickets to the Yosemite?" The clerk said, "Yes, sir." He said, "Very well; give me four tickets," and he went on. A little while later he came back to the office and entered into conversation with the ticket clerk, and he said that he had just returned from a long European trip, and one of the first things that almost all of the people he met asked him was about the Yosemite Valley. He had lived 24 years in Stockton as a merchant there and he had never been in the Yosemite Valley, so he swore by all that was holy he would go in the first opportunity he had, and this was shortly after his return from Europe. That illustrates two points. It illustrates, first, the comparative indifference of people to things and beauties that lie at their doors; it also illustrates the difficulty of getting people to come to some of the beautiful resorts of California.
I think that one of the great drawbacks that has held the Yosemite from attaining the prominence in the world of travel to which it is entitled is the difficulty of getting in and out. That has been improved in the last few years, of course, by the construction of the Yosemite Valley Railroad, but still they are 15 miles away from the objective point, and the transportation must be improved in some way, either by better roads, possibly by automobiles or by electric lines, or in some way getting people into the center of the valley. When that is done, there will be a great many more people come here. That in connection with the matters that Mr. Fee referred to—that is, the hotel accommodations—they have naturally and necessarily been limited. They do not compare very favorably with either the resorts in this country or the resorts of Europe, and that has been the condition that has existed, and that I trust, from the remarks of the Secretary, will be probably removed by the department. The rail transportation, so far as it goes, is about as good as is necessary. There are both day trains and night trains, making the valley accessible from the two large cities of California, so that it is a matter of internal transportation, a matter of hotel accommodations, and the comfort and ease of reaching the place. I do not know that I have anything beyond that to suggest, Mr. Secretary.
The SECRETARY. Does anything occur to you with regard to the possibility of more effective cooperation between the department and the railroads that would facilitate transportation into these parks. Can you help us or can we help you?
Mr. BYRNE. I think it is possible, as long as the park is under the Government, that the Government can help us more than we can help them, by the construction of proper roads into and through the valley. My thought of transportation is that a road should be constructed from El Portal on one side to Wawona on the other, so that people can get right through the valley and not have to double along the same road.
The SECRETARY. Now, the question of building roads depends primarily on funds. The people whom we are meeting here, with the exception of Congressman Raker, haven't anything to do with that. We can make recommendations and we do, as forcibly as we know how. Can you suggest any way that will enable us to get more liberal appropriations for these purposes?
Mr. BYRNE. I don't know, unless we can employ some loud voices. There are several gentlemen I heard last night—I think if we could get them engaged in the campaign we might make some progress.
The SECRETARY. Now, we hear, sometimes, in talking about railroad transportation, not only the facilities to which you have referred discussed, but also the rates. What do you think about that? It is pretty expensive in this country, on account of the long distance, to get a large number of people from other points to the Pacific coast, unless they are going incidentally from one part of the country to the other. Is there anything in your judgment in the rate question that could be modified to advantage?
Mr. BYRNE. Well, in my judgment the rates on the transcontinental roads during the season when the Yosemite is open in the summer, are so low now as to be almost laughable. They are like commutation rates in most cases. The average on a short line on some of the roads, they get 1-1/2 cents a mile, about, and the many railroads participating, I question if they get a cent a mile for their travel. Those rates are put in for the year and advocated by the railroads, really not in expectation of getting a direct profit out of the handling of the travel but largely as exploitation. The Pacific coast roads have followed the policy for years to get low rates that they may persuade people to come to the Pacific coast to see what we have here, not only in the line of natural beauties but the advantages of locating permanently.
In fact, I think it is due to that that California and Oregon and Washington, in perhaps a lesser way, have attained the very rapid growth they have in the past few years, California having increased by 60 per cent in the last census. That is the largest percentage of any of the older States. I believe that the rates are about as low as they can be hoped to be made as far as transcontinental travel is concerned. I have never heard of any complaint, have never observed, as far as the rail charges go, that the charge to the Yosemite has kept anybody out, but necessarily the charges on the stage lines when you reach the end of the rail lines are high; that is because of the expense of maintaining them, and the few people that can be hauled at a time makes it necessary to charge high rates, but I do not believe that is any great deterrent, even at those rates.
The SECRETARY. Last year one of the subjects discussed was cooperation on the question of advertising—how far the department might assist along publicity lines—and the department took a very active part within its limited means for that purpose, furnishing to the press articles, illustrations of a very considerable quantity and variety about national parks. Have you observed that work at all, and have you any suggestions in connection with it?
Mr. BYRNE. Yes, sir; I have observed it, and the work has been taken advantage of in publications the railway has gotten out following that. It is a very good work. It gives an authenticity to the statements made about the beauty of these scenes that can not be given by a purely transportation company's issue, and so it is of great help to us. It enables us to put before the public, stating that the Secretary of the Interior or whatever is the official title of the person issuing it, has said so and so. That is a great deal better than my advertising man's notices. It is very helpful in the way of making somebody get the wanderlust. Then, again, it attracts the attention of various nations. I suppose it would be a conservative guess to say that 33-1/3 per cent of the people who visit the Yosemite Valley and the Grand Canyon are from foreign countries, attracted here by the wider interest they seem to have in these world-famous places.
The SECRETARY. You were not present at the last conference. We discussed at that time very extensively the question of forming a bureau of national parks. Have you any views on that subject?
Mr. BYRNE. Well, I do not believe that I have. I was not present at the last conference, and have never given it any consideration, but it appeals to me as a step in the right direction of getting insistent and consecutive lines of management laid out for these various national parks. That is, in the charge of a bureau you would get consecutive work, which I believe is more important, rather than the spasmodic help that we now get from time to time.
The SECRETARY. I believe Mr. Drum, of the Yosemite Valley road, was called away. Mr. Lehmer—is Mr. Lehmer here?
Mr. LEHMER. I do not believe that I could add anything to what has been said by Mr. Fee and Mr. Byrne to be of interest. I am willing to answer any questions that might be asked.
The SECRETARY. That is a good suggestion. Every now and again there is a complaint floats up to the office of the Secretary about railroad facilities in connection with these various parks. Now is the time to ascertain if there are any complaints or any suggestions. If anybody here from the outside thinks there is anything to call to the attention of the railroad people, this is his opportunity.
Mr. LEHMER. I didn't know that I would be called upon to defend myself in regard to rates or I would—
The SECRETARY. I do not understand that you are called on to defend yourself at all. I am asking the questions to get information.
Mr. LEHMER. I would like to say right here that I think Col. Forsyth, as well as concessioners in the valley, will bear us out that there were times during the last five or six years when the accommodations in the valley were not adequate to take care of the people. I think the first thing we wish to consider is adequate facilities for taking care of the people. We are restricted in the number of people we bring to the Yosemite by the fear that we may get more people than can be taken care of. We should get adequate facilities for the people we do bring.
The SECRETARY. Now, Mr. Lehmer, on that point—this is one of those vicious circles we hear about sometimes. You can never reduce the rates unless the accommodations are improved, and the people planning to give the accommodations say they can not put the money in unless they know what the railroads are going to do. Don't you think it is about time for the people interested in the Yosemite to get together?
Mr. LEHMER. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. That makes me think about an old darky who always went to the Episcopal Church. He had gone there for years and years and years. Finally, one day, he became a very devout and earnest Methodist, which, as you know, is a considerable change. One of his friends soon after met him on the street and asked him what it was all about, saying, "I understand you have left the Episcopal Church; what is the matter?" The old darky answered, "The 'Piscalopian Church is no place for a poor nigger like me." His friend said, "What is the matter with it?" "Well," he said, "the trouble with the 'Piscalopian Church is there is too much reading of the minutes of the last meeting and too little new business."
Now, don't you think it is about time to get down to new business at the Yosemite?
Mr. LEHMER. I think so. I wish to make this statement, further, that until last year we have had excursions into the Yosemite Valley on very low rates, and we have had commutation rates, and a large percentage of people were handled on those cheaper rates until last year. In conference with Mr. Fee and Mr. Byrne, we came to the conclusion that under present conditions it was not advisable to bring people in on those cheap rates and congest matters in the Yosemite, and last year those rates were discontinued, and the loss of business, I believe now, to some extent is accountable for the withdrawing of those rates.
The SECRETARY. You mean the business fell off with the withdrawing of those rates?
Mr. LEHMER. Yes, sir; to some extent. But there were other conditions that contributed also. The report went out early in the year that we were not going to have any water in the Yosemite, and we all know that a bad report travels much more rapidly than a good report. I came in contact personally with a number of people who had intended to make the trip to the Yosemite who were advised not to do so on account of the lack of water, and I think there are several things that contributed toward the falling off of this last year.
I think the people who built the Yosemite Valley Railroad up that Merced Canyon without any prospect of business, except business that they might develop themselves, deserve a great deal of credit for making the Yosemite Valley accessible, and we have our struggles, we have our obstacles, and when conditions are better and we can consistently do it we are going to meet the condition of rates. I assure you of that. I think Col. Forsyth and the people of the valley will bear us out that until this last year there were times every year since we have been in business that the camps and hotels had all that they could handle in the Yosemite.
The SECRETARY. Is Mr. Burley here?
Mr. BURLEY. I don't think I have anything to add to what has been said.
The SECRETARY. Do you find any change in conditions since last year?
Mr. BURLEY. Not in our part of the country. I am not familiar with this. Our business is limited by the hotel capacity in the Yellowstone Park. We can handle a good many more passengers than we are already doing. I think that in 1913, 1914, and 1915 especially we will be unable to accommodate the crowd that will want to go to that section in the park on account of lack of hotel facilities.
The SECRETARY. You think the railroad, as far as transportation is concerned, will be able to handle it?
Mr. BURLEY. All we have to do is to put a few more cars on.
The SECRETARY. So that you think the question up there is hotel and other accommodations in the park?
Mr. BURLEY. Yes, sir; it is a very serious problem to-day.
The SECRETARY. I think, when I was up there last summer, there was talk of some additional hotel facilities. Are they going ahead?
Mr. BURLEY. I don't think there have been any new hotels built since you were up there last year, Mr. Secretary.
The SECRETARY. There were plans or discussions with regard to some additional facilities. How about that, Mr. Child?
Mr. CHILD. We have the plans.
The SECRETARY. What plans have you about using those plans?
Mr. CHILD. I can state that better after a conference with you.
The SECRETARY. Is it waiting on that?
Mr. CHILD. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Well, then, we will remove that obstacle very promptly. Is Mr. Fort here?
A VOICE. No.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Charlton?
Mr. CHARLTON. Mr. Secretary, ladies, and gentlemen, I am rather a nervous person. For that reason I have my impromptu remarks with me. This is my first attempt at a meeting of this kind and if I can hold this paper steady enough, I may be able to read it:
The Northern Pacific Railway, the road I am connected with, is greatly interested in tourist travel to the Yellowstone Park, and, in fact, to all national parks—Glacier, Rainier, Crater Lake, Yosemite, etc.
The great aim of the American lines is to keep the tourist at home and to attract the tourist from abroad.
In my position for the past 29 years I have been in personal touch with tourists en route to and from Yellowstone Park.
What we need is more help from the Government in caring for our parks. In the case of the Yellowstone Park we have been allowed to believe by the previous course of the Government that they would take good care of the park and in consequence large sums of money have been spent for hotels, transportation facilities, etc. The Government should therefore spend enough money for police protection and for the roads so that when people go to the park they will be comfortable, happy, and satisfied.
There is much to be gained by this. If the Government will so equip its national parks that people will go to see them instead of going to Europe a very large sum of money so spent will remain in the United States, which means much to the whole country. In addition to which we can better attract the tourist from abroad.
I wish to emphasize the importance and necessity of more help from the Government in caring for the parks. It has been urged by some Members of Congress that there is no more reason why the Government should appropriate money for Yellowstone Park and other western parks than they should for Central Park in New York, Forest Park in St. Louis, etc. This may be true, if the Government had never started on the present plan and if there was any other source of revenue for the country national park. The parks in the cities are supported by the municipalities and have a revenue that the country park does not have.
During the past 29 years large sums of money have been spent on the hotel facilities in the Yellowstone Park, and at the present date we have magnificent hotels at Grand Canyon, and Old Faithful Inn, an excellent hotel at the Lake, and I believe a new hotel under consideration at Mammoth Hot Springs.
We are spending thousands of dollars advertising the Yellowstone Park and other national parks. A great number of tourists who can afford to visit the national parks are of the class that insist on comfort and will not make the trip unless assured of this. We are all working to the one end, "to increase the travel." In order to do this increased appropriations from Congress are necessary to better the condition of the roads, oil and sprinkle them, and insure the comfort of the visitor.
The coaching feature through the Yellowstone Park is a very attractive one. If the Government will put the roads in general good order, which they can do for a comparatively insignificant sum, and if they will only spend enough money to oil and sprinkle them, the visiting tourist will be well taken care of.
With reference to the automobile, we see no objection to this, but we believe the first expenditure on the park should be to make the present roads safe and comfortable for coach vehicles, and after that is done, if it is thought best, automobile roads should be constructed. I believe it is out of the question to combine automobile and horse vehicles on one road; in fact, impossible. The coaching feature through the park is a very attractive one and I believe preferable to the automobile trip.
I believe we all realize the importance of having the Government that is supporting the San Francisco Exposition and that supported the Portland and Seattle expositions spend enough money in Yellowstone Park and other parks to keep them in first-class order for the use of the American people and the foreign tourist.
The SECRETARY. Now, personally, I am rather glad that Mr. Charlton was so nervous, because that paper is in such shape that if he gets over his nervousness he can forward a copy of it or hand it to Congressman Raker, and the Congressman will use it to the best purpose. It is not necessary to convert the Congressman, but it is necessary to furnish him all the ammunition of war for those in whose power it lies to build these roads and take care of them. If you will see that Congressman Raker gets a copy of that nervous paper of yours, Mr. Charlton, we will all be pleased.
Mr. CHARLTON. If I recover I will be glad to hand him a copy.
The SECRETARY. Is Mr. Schmidt here?
Mr. SCHMIDT. Mr. Secretary, the only national park reached by the roads I represent is the Hot Springs Park. Unfortunately I have never been there, but I do not understand that there is any fault found there with the hotel accommodations or the train service in that park. All of the Middle West roads are advertising the various national parks in their folders and other literature, bulletins, and so forth. I think we are all doing our share toward the advertising feature. We naturally want to create travel in all directions. Unfortunately, I understand the attendance, or the visitors to the parks, has fallen off in the last year or two. I thought of an old story yesterday of two boon companions who imbibed not wisely but too well. One fell in the gutter and said, "Help me up, Tim." Tim said, "I can't, but I'll lie down with you."
The SECRETARY. Mr. Schmidt, you represent what roads?
Mr. SCHMIDT. The Iron Mountain and the Missouri Pacific.
The SECRETARY. Now, there are a number of gentlemen here from Hot Springs. Have you any grouch on with those roads—anything about transportation facilities down there, or has anybody else any grouch against them? How about that, Mr. Myers?
Mr. MYERS. Mr. Secretary, we come from a land that don't permit grouches. If I had left home with a grouch, I would have gotten rid of it long since. We have no grouches against the railroad. The Iron Mountain spends about $20,000 in advertising. They give us all facilities. In the larger months they handle 12,000 or 15,000 people a month. It is a very splendid line, doing everything it can for Hot Springs, and its rates, Mr. Secretary, apply to Hot Springs the year around—excursion rates the year around.
The SECRETARY. That is a good thing. Is Mr. Thompson here, of the Rock Island road? I trust he is not so nervous that he has gone to the hotel for his manuscript. We have heard from the Yosemite Valley now. I think that embraces the list of the distinctive railroad representatives here, but it does not complete it, Mr. Harvey, until we hear from you, because the Santa Fe service would not be complete without you. You are interested in the whole question. Tell us what you think about it.
Mr. HARVEY. I came for instructions, rather than to give instructions. Besides, the Grand Canyon is not a national park; it is only a monument. I think, as a little monument, we had better learn a few things.
Mr. FEE. I want to add to my remarks that the lines in the Southern Pacific system, which I represent, to-day are heavily interested not only in the Yosemite National Park, but in the Yellowstone, as I intimated; also in the Rainier, the Crater Lake National Park, the Sequoia, and the General Grant. With reference to the two latter parks, we do send more or less people to those national parks each year, and at times we have thought we saw a substantial increase. I think this year in the Sequoia and General Grant, taken together, there was a very decided increase. I wanted to say with reference to the Crater Lake National Park that we are very anxious to see suitable hotel accommodations placed at the rim of the lake. The Southern Pacific Railway is building a new line from Klamath Falls, which will bring our trains within 20 miles of Crater Lake. I have understood that a good road is to be constructed from a point some 50 or 60 miles north of Klamath Falls. I hope that report is correct, and I hope that we shall hear very shortly that some of our friends with capital are ready to go, and will go, in and put up a suitable hotel there, because it certainly is one of the wonders of the world. We are anxious to contribute in any way possible, not only in other parks, but also to Crater Lake, which is a new and more recent member of the national park family.
The SECRETARY. Now, gentlemen, I think we have got to the terminal station of the railroad, but we are still outside the park.
Mr. FEE. I would like to suggest that Mr. Hughes here is of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul.
Mr. HUGHES. Mr. Secretary, the Milwaukee Railroad is deeply interested in the development and exploitation of national parks, but I should say more particularly in the development of the Rainier National Park. However, I think that the railroads are developing a broader aim, a broader spirit, in regard to this national park situation. Most of the people who travel from the East to the West travel one way on one line and in returning travel on the other lines. We have a deep interest in the development of Rainier. It is not purely a selfish interest, nor is it strictly unselfish. We expect that our fellow citizens will profit by developing our traffic. Of course, we incidentally expect to profit slightly ourselves. A short time ago, in Seattle, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner on the occasion of the convention of the National Association of General Passenger and Ticket Agents, and at this dinner the chairman of the evening, talking over traffic matters, called to the attention of the assembled representatives of the various railroads and steamships that there was being taken from the United States of America and expended in Europe each year the enormous sum of about 400,000,000. I accepted the gentleman's statement, inasmuch as he is a traffic man at the head of the largest traffic organization in this country and should be in a position to know whereof he speaks. I am satisfied, with proper cooperation on the part of the concessionaires and on the part of the railroads, that a goodly portion of that four hundred millions can be kept right here at home, and I want to say that the Milwaukee Railroad wants to help keep it here.
It was with much regret that I heard yesterday that there was a decrease in the number of visitors to the Yellowstone and to the Yosemite. There was also a decrease in the number of visitors to Rainier National Park. Of course, we have had a bad season up there. Sometimes it rains in our country, and this summer it rained all the time. But when you stop to consider that the decrease affected practically the three largest parks in this country, the Yellowstone, the Yosemite, and the Rainier, there is something radically wrong with the method and manner in which the parks are being exploited amongst our people. We were inclined to believe that the lack of attendance at our park was attributable solely to the terrible conditions of our roads and to the weather we had. My information is that they had bad weather at Yellowstone, but there must be something more than a coincidence when the three largest parks suffer in the same way, and I am inclined to believe that your suggestion, which I understand you made last year, to the extent that there should be cooperation amongst the railroads and amongst the concessionaires, who would act jointly with the Department of the Interior in an endeavor to advertise the national parks throughout the country, without specifying any particular national park; that is one of the benefits that would accrue, I believe, through the creation of a bureau of national parks. I am of the firm opinion that nothing will be achieved, or practically nothing worth while, until we have such a bureau—until we have men in this bureau whose whole time is taken up with matters pertaining to transportation, to hotels, and to the advancement of the national parks as a whole—who will devote all their time to it.
I am heartily in favor of the creation of such a bureau and would suggest that the concessionaires get together and make a united concerted effort with the representatives from their various States in Congress, and demand their assistance in the establishment of such a bureau. My position in the Chicago, Milwaukee & Puget Sound Railway is that of assistant superintendent of dining and sleeping cars, and under that department comes hotels. It places me in the rather fortunate position of being able to view this national park hotel and transportation proposition from two standpoints. I had to operate the National Park Inn for two years, and I also had the handling of the dining, sleeping, and parlor cars that carried the people to and from the park. I want to make one recommendation to cover the ground that was discussed yesterday and to-day; that is the matter of hotel leases. I think you will agree with me, Mr. Secretary, that the largest investment in any of our national parks is represented by the hotels, and there is a tendency on the part of other concessionaires to criticize hotel accommodations and hotel people. That is brought about purely by their ignorance of the conditions surrounding the operation of hotels in national parks.
In the first place, the average hotel opens once in its lifetime and never closes until sometimes the sheriff closes it. A hotel in a national park opens once each year. The cost of operation of hotels in national parks is very excessive on account of the necessity of opening the hotel practically new each year and engaging employees who are not conversant with the conditions surrounding the hotel itself—not acquainted with each other, and it is necessary to mold them into a cohesive whole to get the necessary amount of work and that degree of service which the other concessionaires and the traveling public would call good. It also represents a tremendous amount of money. Unquestionably there is more money invested in hotels in national parks than there are in anything else, transportation included. By that I mean to say that I think we ought to endeavor to find some way to improve the conditions under which the hotel men operate, give them that stability which the amount of capital they have invested warrants, and that can only be done by giving them leases of such duration that they would become willing to invest the money in large amounts to improve their property.
I think I would suggest that any hotel in any national park in this country that represents an investment of $50,000 should be granted a lease of not less than 25 years. The short-term leases, even those that are accompanied by a guaranty or a practical guaranty that the lease will be extended, does not give that necessary amount of protection in the mind of the investor to warrant him in putting more money in the property, even though he knows it is needed. He is under the impression that he has got so much tied up here, and the vicissitudes of political life may change the situation. By that time there may be some one else in power. They may not take the same view of it that our good Secretary Fisher does, and are afraid to put up this money, and for that reason I suggest and appeal to your assistance in having longer leases granted to hotel concessionaires in the park. The railroads, in my estimation, furnish adequate transportation facilities to the parks, and in fact I think they give a better and more efficient service than the business at the present time would warrant from a business standpoint. They are animated, however, by a desire to develop this park travel. For that reason they give possibly better than they would give under the circumstances, and better than the remuneration would warrant. On the Tacoma Eastern Railway, which is the practical gateway to the Rainier National Park, we are operating two trains each day each way in the summer time, and we furnish additional cars if it is required. We have been confronted by a terrible road condition, or I am inclined to believe that we would have as many people this year as our brothers of the Yellowstone. We confidently expected 17,000. As it was, we only had 9,000, which was a decrease that, however, is not attributable to anything but our moisture.
The SECRETARY. It seems that this train was running special and we did not have it on the schedule. If there is any other train running wild on the tracks, we would like to have it blow the whistle now. Are there any other railroad men here who have failed to let us know of their attendance—representatives of any other road? I suppose we may assume that we have at last gotten to the terminal station and it is time to take up the automobile question.
Mr. PARSONS. May I make a suggestion that seems to come in here? It has been stated that the Government publication carries with it authority that theirs does not possess. It has also been stated that they are spending large sums of money. They have confessed that their part of that does not have the effect they wish. It seems to me that here is a case for the Government to issue proper publications and sell them to the railroads in quantities. There is no question that the Government publications in foreign countries do carry weight that our railroad publications do not carry.
The SECRETARY. We will commend that to the careful and prayerful consideration of the railroad men.
Once more, are we ready for the automobile question? If we are, perhaps before starting it it might be well to make a brief reference to a little discussion we had last night, which, of course, is known to the selected representatives of the automobile people who are here present, but should be fully known to all the others. It may be desirable to clear away the fog on this question as far as we can. There is said to be a tendency toward fog on certain portions of the Pacific coast, and I want to make sure none has gotten into the automobile issue. It will not be necessary to argue with the present Secretary of the Interior that the automobile is an improved means of transportation which has come to stay; it will not be necessary to argue with him that if it can be introduced into the Yellowstone Park or to the Yosemite Park or any other park, under conditions which are otherwise proper, it ought to be done. The interesting and important question is whether the conditions are proper, and upon that what I wish is constructive suggestion. It will not be necessary for any representative of any automobile concern or of any automobile organization to argue with me upon the proposition that the machines should be admitted if we can find a proper way; but they should not pass up to me the question of what that proper way is. If I knew a proper way to admit the automobiles into the Yosemite Park it would not be necessary to discuss that question at all to-day or at any other time. The difficulty is that with all the consideration and attention we have given the subject, including the examination and report of engineers, we do not know of such a way, and we want to hear the question discussed from that point of view.
Now, there are several classes of automobiles, as you know, and a greater variety of automobilists. If all the automobiles were of certain types and if automobilists operated that type of machine in the way that some operate their automobiles, it would be a tame animal and we could introduce it into the parks with impunity. Unfortunately, in the process of evolution we have not got that far. It is not necessary to argue with the automobilists, if we are going to be frank with each other and talk man fashion, that there are still a great many gentlemen who buy automobiles who have not yet ceased to be peripatetic nuisances. We do know that some automobiles make a great deal of noise; that they emit very obnoxious odors; that they drop their oil and gasoline all over the face of the earth wherever they go; that those automobiles are sold by people who regard it as a hardship to be excluded from any particular road. We know much more clearly that even machines which, as machines, have reached a high degree of perfection, are operated by gentlemen who don't know how to operate them, and are operated by other gentlemen who may know how, but don't take the necessary pains to operate them properly, and by still a third class of gentlemen who are perfectly fearless themselves and, liking the adventure, operate them in such a way as to create the impression on passers-by on foot or in a horse-drawn vehicle that it is very dangerous to be on the road at the same time.
The daily papers are full of reports of the results of these things, and it does very little good to demonstrate even if it could be demonstrated to the satisfaction of a court, that after all, if the driver of a horse-drawn vehicle had handled his team with proper circumspection the accident would not have occurred. It has occurred. It does occur every day and therefore it is very important that we do not bring about a situation where it is more likely to occur, under conditions where the Government is inviting people into a national park on the theory that it is a playground and that they can largely relax the habits they may have in crowded centers of civilization of being everlastingly on the watch unless they be run into. There are several phases of the situation as it relates to the Yosemite.
There are a number of suggestions that have reached me, and I am going to try to get rid of a few of the questions right at the start. I am in receipt, as I said yesterday, of a considerable number of telegrams brought about by the very laudable and active influence of the automobile organizations and, I should judge, of the automobile manufacturers and agents, who want to see that the machines are admitted into this park; and in this connection permit me to say that I have not the slightest objection to the automobile business as a business. It is a very excellent business, and I would like to see it succeed, and I am willing to assume that a man in that business will be very earnest in trying to extend it. I have no objection to that. I think it is his right as an American citizen to do that and he is entitled to careful consideration. Now these telegrams have reached me; but among them there is apparently not an entire unanimity. Some of the telegrams object most strenuously to the introduction of automobiles in the parks, apparently on any basis, even to the rim of the park, so there is that difference to start with among automobile people. I have received other letters and communications with regard to the admission of automobiles on the floor of the valley, from men who have said they would be in favor of the admission of machines to the rim if it could be worked out, but would be radically opposed to the introduction of those machines on the floor of the valley, and I may say, without violating any confidences, you have among you here in attendance, gentlemen who most heartily concur in that view.
There are men who say that the machines should not be admitted to the floor of the valley. Some think they should be admitted to the rim, and they disagree among themselves as to whether that should be upon a road which is also used by horse-drawn vehicles or whether it should be on a separate road, and some of them have suggestions with regard to a separate road and others have suggestions with regard to the use of a road jointly with horse-drawn vehicles, but at different hours and under regulations that would protect the two kinds of traffic, as they think. Those are the things about which I would like to hear from you, and if the representatives will address themselves to those questions right at the outset, I think we will make more progress than in any other way. Senator Flint.
Senator FLINT. Mr. Secretary, ladies and gentlemen, I want to conform to the views of the Secretary in this matter, but I also want to take the advantage of having associated with Mr. Burns to do a little advertising for Los Angeles and the State of California. Carrying out the views of the Secretary, and in that respect I would like to have placed in the record the fact that the Automobile Club of Southern California is the largest automobile club in the world or in the United States, and that in the State of California we have some 84,000 automobiles—84,700—and there is only one State in the Union that has more, and that is the State of New York. We have more automobiles to the population than any other State in the Union, and that 65 per cent of the automobile licenses are issued from southern California; that the Automobile Club of Southern California has 4,500 members, 300 of them are foreigners and coming from various States in foreign countries; that the estimated number of foreign cars that visited California last year was 55,000. The estimated number of foreign cars that will visit the State of California this year, 100,000.
And following out and just commenting for a moment on the very able and instructive paper of Mr. Charlton, I desire to say that southern California has done as much as any part of the Union to keep that $400,000,000 that has been spoken of in the United States, and it offers a crop that is very valuable to us and we have appreciated it, and we trust that the balance of the country will also adopt the plans of encouraging people of the United States to remain at home and see wonders that we have here that are just as grand and beautiful as in any other part of the world, and I wouldn't want to close my opening observations without saying a word in this respect for two men who have done great work in bringing to us in this country our American tourists, keeping them at home. One is Mr. Child, with the magnificent service that he has given to the people in the Yellowstone Park—the hotel service and the transportation service there—and the other would be Mr. Harvey, who has made an international reputation by the splendid service he has given, and especially the service that we have at the Grand Canyon.
So far as we, here in California, are concerned with the Government, we are in the unfortunate position of having two places that affect the automobilists. Thus, as far as Los Angeles and vicinity is concerned we have the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, and while we have spent in Los Angeles, under bond issue, the sum of $3,500,000 for macadam roads, when we reached that part of the soil under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Government of the United States we found the road impassable and impossible to go over without destroying our machine. That is the condition we find so far as the National Government is concerned. So far as the State as a whole is concerned, we have taken and appropriated by bond issue the sum of $18,000,000 to make great highways for the automobiles from one end of the State to the other, and when we reach other places where the automobilists desire to visit, which are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, we find it so that we are met with a barrier and we can not go in. Now, having made that statement I desire to say that owing to the plans for 1915 the Automobile Club of Southern California is desirous of having more automobilists here than have ever assembled in any other part of the world at one time and have a Glidden tour, and they naturally will want to visit the national park.
Now, we of southern California, in this automobile association, and I desire to say right now that I represent no automobile manufacturer or no implement connected with an automobile—I am simply a member of the Automobile Club of Southern California—I appear here as an owner of a machine and a member of that club, and, much to my regret, without compensation. Now, having made that statement I desire to say that the Automobile Club of Southern California has taken every step possible to bring together the data to convince the Secretary of the Interior that the automobile should be admitted to the park. We have selected an engineer of great ability who has visited the park and the roads on six different occasions, and has made surveys and has made a report and it is only in the rough, Mr. Secretary, at this time, but it is a part of my remarks, and I would like to have it typed and placed in the record. Now, this examination that he has made takes two roads and makes favorable report thereon. One is by way of Wawona and coming in by Madera. From Madera to Wawona, now, the road is in use by automobiles constantly for 63 miles, or about that. Then we reach a point on the park line, and there the automobiles are barred. There is a road from 10 to 12 feet wide running from Wawona to Chinquepin, which is a distance of 20 miles, and from Chinquepin to Inspiration Point, a distance of about 13 miles.
The SECRETARY. That is the Inspiration Point near Glacier?
Senator FLINT. Yes, sir. And also, Mr. Secretary, from Chinquepin to Glacier Point, a distance of 15 miles. In this report he states that with the expenditure of $1,000 the road can be placed in shape from Chinquepin to Glacier; for the expenditure of $5,000 the road can be placed in proper condition for automobiles from Chinquepin to Inspiration Point. He also has made a survey of the road from Inspiration Point to the floor of the valley, in which he estimates that a new road on a 7 per cent grade can be constructed for $35,000, and that that road could be constructed at the time that the present road is in use by the public, which has a grade of 14 per cent.
Now that brings us up to the question that you brought up and asked us to discuss as to the point in the park to which automobiles should be permitted, and whether the road from Wawona to Glacier Point and Inspiration Point should be used exclusively for automobiles or jointly with automobiles and horse-drawn vehicles, and if so, under what regulations. I should say that as to the proposition of the road from Wawona to Inspiration Point and Glacier Point, that the road could be used at all times jointly with horse-drawn vehicles and automobiles with safety.
The SECRETARY. You say from Wawona both to Glacier Point and to Inspiration Point?
Senator FLINT. From Wawona and Chinquepin and branching off both ways, I say; but that if it is desired to take an extra precaution, one that we do not think is necessary, because we travel constantly on a road as narrow with as great a grade and with more chances of danger than this one daily in our southern country. If the Secretary after investigation reaches the conclusion that he wants to take extraordinary precaution, then there could be hours set apart upon which the coaches and horse drawn vehicles could go and the automobiles go; that would bring us up to the point at the rim of the valley. Now, there are two propositions from Inspiration Point to the floor of the valley. One is the proposition of permitting, say, for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, automobiles to take the road from Inspiration Point to the floor of the valley, say, from 9 to 10 in the morning and from 2 to 3, to illustrate, in the afternoon; that the automobiles could be used during those hours on that point and that the road for a comparatively small sum could be put in condition for them.
The SECRETARY. Just a moment. Are you now discussing the 14 per cent road or the 7?
Senator FLINT. The 14 per cent road. With a small expenditure, that can be put in shape to be used.
The SECRETARY. Has your engineer made any estimate on that expenditure?
Senator FLINT. He has not made an estimate of that cost. Now, the next road that he has reported on is the road known as the Big Oak Flat Road. That road, he estimates, could be put in condition for the use of the public into the floor of the valley for the sum of $25,000. Now, in both of these roads
The SECRETARY. You say from where to where?
Senator FLINT. Taking the Big Oak Flat Road as a whole.
The SECRETARY. From the floor of the valley up?
Senator FLINT. Yes, sir; within the limits of the park.
The SECRETARY. What is the condition outside the park?
Senator FLINT. As the report makes it, I might state in a few words, the expenditure of $25,000 would make a safe, completed road of it between 10 and 12 feet wide for the whole length of the road. Now, in reference to the road by Wawona I may say this: That in the county in which the road is situated that comes outside of the park they expect to make improvements on that road, as they do on the Big Oak Flat Road, so that if we carry out this plan we will have completed roads so that automobiles can use them from one end to the other to connect with the State highways, in good condition.
Now, that brings us up to the proposition as to what advantage would there be if we were limited to the rim of the valley as far as the Madera-Wawona Road is concerned. I want to call your attention to this, Mr. Secretary, that having visited the valley a great many times myself, and my judgment, I think, has been reached by many others who have visited the valley, that the great points of interest can be best seen by coming in by the road on the rim so that you can visit the Big Trees, then the Glacier Point, and the fine forest and mountain view beyond, and, on the other hand, Inspiration and Artists Points and the valley. Now, it is practical to have a garage at Inspiration Point so that the automobiles could remain there if you decide not to admit them into the valley, and for a comparatively small sum of money have a stage connect between the floor of the valley and Inspiration Point. Personally I think that automobiles can with safety be permitted to come at one hour in the morning and at one hour in the afternoon into the floor of the valley, but as you stated, there is no use, after the very frank talk that you gave us last night, of attempting to deceive ourselves or you by any statements that there is such a matter for decision to come down from the point on the rim into the floor of the valley, and for that reason I am presenting the statement along the lines that if you do decide to stop at the rim, there is a practical way of getting down here into the valley and seeing it and going back to their automobiles and returning and having a beautiful automobile trip all the way.
The SECRETARY. Now this is a man-to-man discussion. We know that the automobile is still in the evolutionary stage and that an accident happening on one of those roads on which a carriage for any cause might go over the cliff, might seriously affect the whole attendance at this park during the exposition at San Francisco. A very strong sentiment exists in many quarters against having automobiles admitted to the Yosemite Valley. What do you say, man to man? What do you think the Secretary of the Interior ought to do in regard to admitting automobiles on the floor of the valley?
Senator FLINT. I can see no danger from my viewpoint.
The SECRETARY. I am talking about policy.
Senator FLINT. I will reach that point. I would not permit the 14 per cent grade from the floor of the valley to Inspiration Point if I were Secretary of the Interior, and I wouldn't advocate permitting the joint use of that road by horse-drawn vehicles and automobiles, but I do say that from the floor of the valley to Inspiration Point—I say there ought to be an hour a day for the exclusive use of automobiles in the morning and an hour in the afternoon and horse-drawn vehicles kept off. On the floor of the valley there is no point where there is any danger of accident.
The SECRETARY. How long does it take to go from the floor of the valley on up to the rim upon that road in a horse-drawn vehicle?
Senator FLINT. I ought to know but I don't.
The SECRETARY. How long, Colonel?
Col. FORSYTH. Two hours going up.
The SECRETARY. Then your automobiles would be compelled to start at such hour as to leave adequate time for the horse drawn vehicles to go up and they couldn't all start at one time—that is, we could not say the horse-drawn vehicles had to start at 10 o'clock and get up there at noon, very well. There would have to be some leeway for a number of such vehicles.
Senator FLINT. I can answer that, Mr. Secretary by saying I would give the horse-drawn vehicles up to 11 o'clock the use of that road.
The SECRETARY. In other words you would let the automobiles come in after 11 o'clock?
Senator FLINT. Yes, sir; and give a similar time in the afternoon, before it got to be dark.
The SECRETARY. Now, taking that suggestion, would you permit an automobile to come down that road to go through to the hotel and would you let it go around on the floor of the valley?
Senator FLINT. I wouldn't permit it to go around on the floor of the valley if I had my say.
The SECRETARY. That is what I want to know. In other words, your idea is that we ought to let the automobile come down to the hotel so as to unload there?
Senator FLINT. I wouldn't permit it to go through the valley. I think from my standpoint, being here all my life, I think one of the beauties is to have the burro to take the trip around in the valley here.
The SECRETARY. You know there are automobilists who apparently would resent the fact that they were not allowed to run their automobiles into St. Peters up under the central dome, because it could be done, and if they occasionally knocked over an Italian who was engaged in prayer it would be to them a matter of small consequence. Do you think all the automobilists would be satisfied if they were allowed to go to the hotel and get out there and be allowed to pass through?
Senator FLINT. Not all. But I think the automobilists who would not be satisfied are the ones who do more to stop the automobiles from getting into parks and such places than those who ask for reasonable regulations. So far as we are concerned we do not believe in dashing through the streets, in running down people; we believe in prosecuting those who do, and the speed maniac with his automobile is a man who wants to come dashing around in this valley amongst the trees—we do not want them—we are not asking for them. We want the man who has come across the continent or from some other part of this State to be given the privilege of coming into this valley with his automobile under proper regulations.
The SECRETARY. You say it would be desirable when we look into it carefully to stop at the rim and come down by a line of coaches and other vehicles that will be provided, taking care of machines at the top of the rim?
Senator FLINT. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Who are the owners of the roads you have been describing to me as available for that purpose? Are they in private hands?
Senator FLINT. I understand so; yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. What arrangements, if any, can be made with those owners on this subject?
Senator FLINT. I only know from reading this report of our engineer and a conversation I had with Mr. Washburn this morning that he states that so far as that is concerned that they will cooperate.
The SECRETARY. Does that mean that they will operate as a toll road or upon what terms and conditions?
Senator FLINT. That I am not prepared to say. The president of the company is here.
Mr. WATSON. That would be operated as a toll road.
The SECRETARY. And under what tolls?
Mr. WATSON. The tolls are fixed by the board of supervisors of Mariposa County; have been for many years.
The SECRETARY. Does that include the tolls on a portion of the road that is within the confines of the park?
Mr. WATSON. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. They exercise jurisdiction over that part of the road, do they, for the purpose of regulating your tolls?
Mr. WATSON. Yes; have been for many years, and they are fixed, and there is now existing an automobile toll from Wawona to the valley and to Glacier Point.
The SECRETARY. What is your toll?
Mr. WATSON. $2.50 in and $2.50 out.
The SECRETARY. $5 for the round trip?
Mr. WATSON. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. What is the charge for the horse-drawn vehicle?
Mr. WATSON. Well, that I would not know; I would have to ask the secretary.
The SECRETARY, And what, Senator, did you say was the investment necessary to make it possible for the company to collect those tolls?
Senator FLINT. $60,000.
The SECRETARY. What do you think of the proposition of those tolls? Have you looked into the question as to whether the supervisors have adequate authority to regulate those tolls?
Senator FLINT. I have not.
The SECRETARY. Would you do that and advise me?
Senator FLINT. I would. I would like to have some information as to the supervision of these tolls as to adjusting the rates by the secretary. The mileage, as I have it here, is only 46 miles, and that would be a $5 toll for a 46-mile road.
The SECRETARY. Well, of course, I can readily see that if they charge that amount for every automobile coming in, if there was any considerable traffic, as you gentlemen think, it would be a very desirable investment.
Senator FLINT. Very, and as I say, I assume there ought to be some regulation of that—
The SECRETARY. Mr. Watson, I don't know the regulations by the supervisors—I don't know anything about it one way or the other—but to relieve all questions of doubt on that subject would you be willing that the rates charged should be subject to regulation by the department?
Mr. WATSON. I understand that is in the hands of the supervisors.
The SECRETARY. That is not the question. Would you be willing we should regulate them?
Mr. WATSON. I am only one of the officers of the company. I will take it up with the directors and let you know.
The SECRETARY. And at the same time take up the question as to whether you would be willing for us to regulate the character of the use as between the automobiles and horse-drawn vehicles. I suppose you would want us to be able to make only reasonable regulations? Having the right to carry it into the courts if we were unreasonable?
Mr. WATSON. We have gone into that with Mr. Walker in particular as to hours, and I am satisfied we can agree on hours.
The SECRETARY. But Mr. Walker represents the automobile, doesn't he?
Mr. WATSON. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Well, I am interested in the horse question. I am assuming that you might come to an understanding with Mr. Walker which he, as an automobilist, would feel was perfectly right. Suppose the horseman did not agree with him; are you willing we should regulate that question?
Mr. WATSON. Well, so long as you didn't eliminate our stage line entirely; we have quite a heavy investment here. This may look like a large deal.
The SECRETARY. I don't want to discuss the facts. You may be right. I want to know if you are willing that the Department of the Interior should make reasonable regulations as to the conditions under which that road could be used and the rates you charge for it, you having a right to carry into the courts the question of unreasonableness if you do not think we are reasonable. Will you ask your board of directors and let me know?
Mr. WATSON. I will let you know.
The SECRETARY. Senator, have you any suggestions to make?
Senator FLINT. I am in entire accord with that.
The SECRETARY. You think there ought to be such conditions of the use of that road?
Senator FLINT. Yes, sir; just one word in conclusion. I want to say this: So far as we are concerned and the organizations I represent are concerned, we are not committed to any road. The Big Oak Flat Road is also a toll road. I presume the same conditions exist there.
The SECRETARY. Any negotiations been made with the owners of the road?
Mr. CURTIN. I speak for those, Mr. Secretary.
Senator FLINT. I simply want to say we are not committed to any road—based simply upon the report of our engineer of whose investigation of the roads in the vicinity of this valley he had made a report to our organization of what he thinks is the best plan for road surveys. First, the adoption of the road from Madera via Wawona into the valley, and second, from the floor of the valley by the Big Oak Flat Road out there on the north. Now, that would make a complete circuit from the north to the south and as far as the rim of the valley is concerned it would give immediately or within a comparatively few months, if the Secretary would consent to it, the automobilists the privilege of coming into the National Park, which is the important matter with, first, safety, and second, time, and third, a complete circuit from the south through the valley to the north. I thank you.
The SECRETARY. Now, Mr. Parker, I would like to ask you a question.
Mr. PARKER. Certainly.
The SECRETARY. Have you made such a report, in sufficient detail, as to enable the park superintendent, Col. Forsyth, and his engineers, to check it, in order to see what they think of your estimate and your suggestions?
Mr. PARKER. Yes, sir. That is, it is in sufficient detail as to specifications.
The SECRETARY. Has it included the expense of protecting walls at such points as in your judgment were dangerous?
Mr. PARKER. Yes; and as to the location of those walls.
The SECRETARY. So they can check it up?
Mr. PARKER. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. How soon?
Mr. PARKER. As soon as it can be typewritten.
The SECRETARY. How soon will that be?
Mr. PARKER. A few hours.
The SECRETARY. I assume you agree with me that it would be well to have it carefully checked by our engineers?
Senator FLINT. I certainly do.
The SECRETARY. Now, Mr. Curtin.
Mr. CURTIN. This is a somewhat embarrassing condition to occupy on this subject. The object, as I understood, of the meeting was to obtain permission to enter the Yosemite Valley—that is, the park—right on the floor of the valley, and of course that permission has been repeatedly denied. We have assumed that if we got that permission at any time it would be upon such conditions as would be imposed by the Secretary of the Interior, and if those conditions were first outlined and we could comply with them, certainly permission would be granted. Now, from the conversation of yourself last evening, as well as the remarks this morning, the conditions leave us in such a condition that it is hard to meet the conditions now presented because of the apparent change of the situation. I am one of those people who believe in modern progress and that each condition which arises will take care of itself, and the only thing we can do is to endeavor to minimize danger in all walks of life, but that accidents are going to happen no matter what you may do. Now, the question arises whether we should enter the floor of the valley. This is my position exactly, and when I speak of that, Mr. Secretary, let me say that I do not represent any automobile association or any road in particular. I came in here with the owners of the Big Oak Flat Road. We believe, in behalf of the people of the State of California, that this valley ought to be open for the automobilist for the reason that it is one of the Nation's assets. It is one in which people are interested, and if their voice goes out for that permission I am one of those who believe there ought to be a solution of the question, and I concur very heartily in the story told by yourself a few moments ago—that we get through with the reading of last year's reports and take our new business up.
The SECRETARY. Well, let us take up the new business.
Mr. CURTIN. Then go into the valley with the automobile and don't let the horse keep it out. The automobile is the new business and the horse is the old one—that is the point I want to make.
The SECRETARY. Now, just a minute. Let us assume that the horse is an aging animal. Do you believe we ought to crowd the mourners?
Mr. CURTIN. I will answer that, Mr. Secretary, by the story of the old darkey who lived in the city of Atlanta. He said, "Those Yankees are a wonderful people; they came down to fight the South and only set the little nigger free."
My friend spoke of Christ riding a jackass through Jerusalem. I do not believe he would have done it if he had had an automobile. I want to say further, Mr. Secretary, on this proposition that I am one of those people who believe in modern progress; I am going to repeat that the State of California has done a good deal in this respect. I want to preface my remarks by assuring you the State of California has gone all around it and appropriated a large amount of money for the construction of roads. We have built a road to Lake Tahoe. We have connected it over here and we have gone in south of the Kings River Canyon. We are going to make that grand connecting link in there so we can come into the valley. The State has done its portion and we think we ought to be able to come into this valley because if a rule or condition may be made by which danger may be minimized we will endeavor to comply with that condition. Now they said, "What are you going to do about danger?" Danger occurs everywhere. My long years of experience in riding over these mountains is that accidents don't happen on narrow roads as they do on good level roads.
The SECRETARY. I don't want to interrupt you, but I feel that it is necessary to do so. All of those things I perfectly agree with, as I told you last night. Tell me where you think it can be done or how it can be done. If you have a plan.