« PreviousContinue »
Blair Ross was advanced from superintendent, Shiloh National Military Park, to fill the position of superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park vacated by the retirement of Ross Eakin because of illness and disability. James W. Holland, custodian of Andrew Johnson National Monument, was placed in charge at Shiloh. Chief Ranger Wallace Stephens of Shenandoah National Park was advanced to the custodianship of Andrew Johnson National Monument. Dr. A. R. Kelly, custodian at Salem Maritime National Historic Site, and William W. Luckett, custodian at Ocmulgee National Monument, exchanged positions.
Col. David C. Cbapman, former chairman, Tennessee Great Smoky Mountains National Park Commission, who took an important part in the establishment of the park, died on July 26, 1944.
LEGISLATION AFFECTING ANTIQUITIES ACT Five bills designed to modify or abolish the Antiquities Act of June 8, 1906, are pending in the Seventy-ninth Congress. House bill 409, introduced by Representative Fernandez, would amend section 2 of the act to require congressional concurrence in the establishment of national monuments of more than 10,000 acres; House bill 1507 was introduced by Representative Chenoweth and House bill 2110 by Representative Barrett to repeal section 2 of the act and thus take away the President's authority to proclaim national monuments on Federal lands; Senator Robertson's Senate bill 664 would require approval by the governors and a majority of the congressional delegations of the States effected before the issuance of national monument proclamations pursuant to the act; House bill 1112 was introduced by the late Representative O'Connor to repeal the Antiquities Act. Reports were prepared on all of these bills, but congressional action has not been taken on any of them.
JACKSON HOLE NATIONAL MONUMENT The past year was marked by two important events in the controversy over the establishment of Jackson Hole National Monument on March 15, 1943. Last February, the validity of the monument's establishment was upheld in Federal District Court in the suit, State of Wyoming v. Paul R. Franke. A bill to abolish the monument (H. R. 2241), introduced by Mr. Barrett of Wyoming, was passed by both houses of Congress, but was vetoed by President Roosevelt who, on December 29, 1944, issued a memorandum outlining the reasons for his conviction that status as a national monument provides for use of this land in a manner best serving the national interest.
In the Seventy-ninth Congress, Representative Barrett has introduced House bill 2109 to abolish Jackson Hole National Monument and House bill 2691 to transfer the public lands in the monument to the United States Forest Service for administration as national forest lands. Senate bill 664, by Senator Robertson of Wyoming, amending the Antiquities Act, is so framed that, if it became a law, the monument would be abolished. Representative Peterson of Florida has introduced House bill 1292, which provides for payments in lieu of taxes to the county where the monument is located, and for the continuance of grazing and other permits within the monument, in accordance with assurances already given by the Secretary of the Interior.
No funds were provided by the Congress for administration of the Jackson Hole area as a monument, but limited protection activities were authorized. Permits for grazing on public lands within the area, based on use during 1942, were authorized as a departmental measure. During the controversy, considerable space was devoted by the press to its discussion, much of it based on misunderstanding or misinformation. During the past year, however, and particularly after President Roosevelt issued his veto message, there has been increasing editorial comment strongly supporting his action. As an example, the editor of the Blackfoot, Idaho, Bulletin suggested that other editors and officials of interested organizations reexamine the evidence which, in the light of careful study, has caused him to withdraw his opposition and favor establishment and development of the monument. During the controversy, the national monument has received strong support from numerous conservation organizations.
INFORMATIONAL AND INTERPRETIVE SERVICES
Guide and Lecture Service Naturalist and historian staffs remained at an absolute wartime minimum throughout the year; in fact the demand for interpretive services by visiting personnel of the armed forces together with the requirements of protecting collections and perishable park features, serving as consultants on technical problems, and maintaining libraries, exhibits, and other interpretive facilities kept the greatly depleted interpretive staffs and many of the custodians of smaller areas under excessive pressure. However, special efforts were made to afford guide and lecture service to members of the armed forces in the several areas where military visitors were especially numerous.
At Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the interpretive program was expanded by the development of a self-guiding nature trail and the establishment of a naturalist-conducted caverns trip. In addition, the procedure of handling visitors on trips through the caverns was radically revised, providing for the conduct of smaller groups and reducing the long waits which many visitors previously had to undergo.
Museums While all museums in the system remained open insofar as reduced visitation and operating staffs permitted, no expansion of exhibits or other interpretive devices and activities was undertaken. Some planning was undertaken in the listing of urgently needed museum developments and the setting up of priorities for these developments on the project construction program.
Investigations Accurate interpretation, adequate protection of natural values, and wise administrative practices require a considerable volume of research and investigation. Although many research projects with definite objectives can be and have been accomplished through the cooperation of other specialized Federal agencies, universities, scientific institutions, and research organizations, there remain projects necessitating continued observations over long periods of time or having other special requirements which only members of the resident park interpretive staff are in a position to accomplish. Recognition of this fact and the need for this type of research justifies postwar expansion of qualified interpretive staffs with adequate laboratory space and equipment.
Publications Two publications issued by the National Park Service were particularly timely because of the greatly increased public interest aroused by the war in historical matters dealing with the establishment of this Nation as a land of universal liberty and justice. These publications are entitled, “The Oldest Legislative Assembly in America and Its First State House,” and “James Towne' in the Words of Contemporaries.” “The Wolves of Mount McKinley,” by Adolph Murie, of the Fish and Wildlife Service, recorded a noteworthy study of animal relationships.
Informational Services With the approach of the climax in the prosecution of the war, increasing interest in the National Park system was indicated by a growing volume of inquiries regarding the areas under our jurisdiction and the purposes, policies, and administrative practices of the Service. School children sought information on historical areas because the issues involved in the war stimulated their interest in and appreciation of the accomplishments of the men who founded our Nation. A growing restlessness and desire to throw off the fetters of wartime travel restrictions made itself felt through a flood of inquiries from persons planning postwar vacations. Many such requests for information on units of the system came from men in the armed forces
whose realization of what these areas hold had been developed by visits to some of the units while in training or while transferring from one assignment to another. Editors, writers, and publishers, anticipating the timeliness of travel articles and books, requested detailed data, photographs, including color transparencies, and checking services in the preparation of numerous manuscripts. Automobile clubs and travel promotion organizations desired quantities of informational literature, not only as a source of information for their files but to distribute in response to the anticipated heavy demand. Departments of foreign governments embarking upon park and conservation ventures and made aware of the National Park System of the United States through contacts established in wartime enterprises, asked for assistance, counsel and details relative to selection and administration of units of the system. Although greatly handicapped by a reduced staff, the Service was able to furnish much of the information desired.
Informational Literature As a means of aiding the small staff in answering requests for information quickly and inexpensively, a series of location maps, each one showing and describing briefly all units of the system in the area covered, was issued. A few of the informational circulars carrying condensed information essential to intelligent use of the areas were revised, and a limited number of new circulars prepared for unsupplied areas having wartime visitation.
There is need of much more extensive distribution of informational material to public libraries, schools, and newspapers and other publications, so that those who want facts or who wish to present facts can obtain them readily.
THE SERVICE LOOKS TOWARD THE FUTURE
To the question, "What does the National Park Service intend to do now that the war is over?”, the answer must be, “We hope to do what we were doing before the war, but to do it better.” This presupposes greater capacity, attained partly through wartime experience but principally through augmented funds and personnel. It presupposes also continued, if not increased, public recognition of the importance of the work.
The first problem to be met is that of getting the machinery of full operation into running order, involving a comprehensive program of rehabilitation for the roads, structures, and facilities which have suffered from lack of adequate maintenance during a crisis in which the prosecution of the war took precedence over all other activities. The barest minimum was asked for by the Service to continue essential activities. The field and central office staffs need to be restored
to peacetime size as rapidly as possible. Unless enlarged appropriations for the present fiscal year are obtained and rapid rehabilitation is effected, the coming heavy increase in travel will introduce or accentuate serious problems of providing service to visitors and protection to the parks.
It is estimated that an expenditure of approximately $1,200,000 during the next 3 years will be needed to put the park areas into condition for postwar use. A program of such work has been formulated with great care and can be launched at full scale as soon as funds are made available.
Augmented field employment is required to perform the normal services which the public has a right to expect when it visits areas administered by the Service. Protective and administrative forces must be strengthened. Since the visitors desire both to see and to be informed about what they see, it is especially necessary that adequate staffs of naturalists or historians be placed on duty before the upsurge of 1946 vacation travel, so that there may be sufficient preparation for the conduct of their work.
Development Solutions to certain present and anticipated problems depend not only upon sufficient personnel and funds, but upon adequate physical developments, upon which progress bas been at a standstill for nearly 5 years. Over-all development, provided for in master plans which were prepared before the war, and which have been kept reasonably up to date during the intervening years, calls for a great variety of undertakings. It must include certain roads and trails, limited, in accordance with Service and departmental policy, in number and extent to those required to meet legitimate public and administrative needs. It involves public service facilities affording transportation, food, and lodging; essential administrative, protective, and maintenance structures such as offices, shops, museums, storage structures, fire detection towers, employee residences and fences, all carefully designed, located, and landscaped for effective use with a minimum of intrusion into either natural or historic scenes. Good planning for these types of development takes time and thought and it must precede development if irreparable mistakes are to be averted. It cannot be done in a hurry. It is also contingent upon control of land—which points to the necessity of an orderly program for acquisition of private and other non-Federal lands now situated inside the boundaries of Service-administered areas.
Implications of Enlarged Responsibilities The responsibilities of the National Park Service are increasing both in volume and in diversity. The transfer of national military