« PreviousContinue »
resources. It is hoped that the historic sites survey, now a little more than half finished, can be completed in the early postwar period.
The first meeting of the entire Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings and Monuments since May 1942, was held in Chicago on December 7-9, 1944. On March 8–9, 1945, a meeting of the interim committee of the Board was held in Washington, D. C. Tom Wallace of the Louisville Times was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Board created by the death of Richard Lieber. On June 14, 1945, the Board suffered the loss by death of its chairman, Edmund H. Abrahams, who had served on the Board since its inception and whose wide knowledge of national park problems had been a great aid to the Service. To aid in the investigation, selection, treatment, and interpretation of historical and archeological areas, the American Council of Learned Societies defrayed the expenses of a conference in Morristown, N. J., June 7-8, 1945.
Successful prosecution of the war was reflected by increased public interest in certain types of historical reservations, particularly memorials, associated in the public mind with the ideals of liberty and democracy for which this Nation stands. The Statue of Liberty National Monument, which participated with its lights in the VE-day observance, was the scene of a great Fifth War Loan drive rally on June 2, 1945. An illustration of the colossal stone portraits of former presidents constituting the Mount Rushmore National Memorial was widely distributed as a Seventh War Loan drive poster.
The huge cyclorama, a painting 400 feet long by 50 feet high, portraying Pickett's charge in the Battle of Gettysburg and located in Gettysburg, Pa., was designated a national historic object by the Secretary on October 5, 1944. Painted by Paul Philippoteaux in 1882 at a cost of $100,000, it is considered an accurate portrayal of Pickett's action. Among other important historical acquisitions during the year was the Historic Boundary Oak, perhaps the only living object on Abraham Lincoln National Historical Park dating back to the time of Lincoln's birth.
VARIETY OF LAND PROBLEMS FACE SERVICE
Non-Federal Lands in Service Areas During 1945, as in the past, many problems of development planning, protection, and administration defied solution because of lack of land control. Within the boundaries of units of the National Park System there are more than 600,000 acres of non-Federal land. During the year considerable progress was made in obtaining detailed information as to the location, importance, and physical characteristics of these lands. One of the greatest needs of the National Park System is an
orderly program of land acquisition, based on reasonable recurring appropriations, and directed toward the ultimate elimination of nonFederal land ownership within authorized boundaries of all park areas. Until such a program can be established, scenic values will continue to be lost, undesirable developments and uses will persist, and difficulties in planning and providing for needed developments will continue to plague the Service.
The serious situation existing in Joshua Tree National Monument, where thousands of acres of railroad lands checkerboard a large part of the area, well illustrates this problem. The possibility of a promotional land-selling project threatens the future of this monument.
In Glacier National Park, the Izaak Walton League of America, Inc., made an emergency purchase of 10 lots near Lake McDonald to be held until such time as the Service is able to buy them from the league. The league set up a land purchase revolving fund to be used in similar emergencies to buy non-Federal lands.
As a basis for rounding out ownership or eliminating lands whose retention is not justified, the Service has made a small beginning on the review of boundaries of each area under its administration. Studies were made of boundary problems at Zion National Park and Monument, Grand Canyon National Park and Monument, and Wupatki National Monument. Similar studies were made for the Bureau of Reclamation at Boulder Dam National Recreational Area.
New Areas and Additions to Existing Areas Actual land changes in the National Park system were few. Investigations of proposed new areas ceased during the war, and acquisitions were confined to acceptance of donations under authority of Congress or to minor boundary rectifications. At the close of the fiscal year, the system contained 168 units, one new unit having been established and two eliminated since June 30, 1944.
After some 8 years of endeavor, the Richmond National Battlefield Park, Va., notable as the scene of several bitter battles during the Union drives or the Confederate Capitol, was established on July 14, 1944, when the Department accepted title to 688.44 acres from the Virginia Conservation Commission. Added to Shiloh National Military Park, Tenn., was a small but important tract of 0.93 acre donated by Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Shaw, and accepted by the Secretary on March 12, 1945. All titles having been cleared, the 80-acre Adams estate was added to Lava Beds National Monument, Calif., through acceptance of deeds by the Secretary in November 1944. On July 28, 1944, the Secretary accepted approximately 32 acres of land in Hot Springs National Park, on which the United States Public Health Service operates a Medical Center. Thurston Lava Tube lands totaling 20.6 acres in Hawaii National Park were accepted by the Department on April 11, 1945. At Mount Rainier National Park, a contract to purchase 304.84 acres of Northern Pacific Railway timberlands, adjacent to the Nisqually entrance road, which the Service has been attempting to obtain for 19 years, was approved.
Reductions Custody of the Chattanooga National Cemetery, Tenn., was transferred back to the War Department on March 1, 1945. Camp Blount Tablets National Memorial, Tenn., although listed under the 1933 Presidential Reorganization Order, was found to have no legal status as Federal property.
Projects and Prospects Because of oil exploration activity on the North Carolina “Banks," North Carolina State authorities have had to delay the acquisition of lands essential to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area project, authorized by act of Congress August 17, 1937. Progress op the 10,000-acre Cumberland Gap National Historical Park project, with lands in Kertucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, has been encouraging. Four thousand acres of the 5,100 in Kentucky have been acquired by the State, and Tennessee has completed surveys on approximately 2,600 acres for proposed acquisition.
By congressional act approved December 6, 1944, provision was made for acceptance by the Federal Government of lands and waters within the Everglades National Park project, Florida, for wildlife protection only, pending establishment of the authorized national park. Title papers relating to the first conveyance by the State of Florida of more than one million acres of the project are in the bonds of the Fish and Wildlife Service, which will protect the extraordinary bird life and oher biological features of the area.
The Fort Frederica National Monument Association, Georgia, had acquired nearly all of the land involved in this project by the end of June. The entire area has since been accepted and the monument established.
The Grandfather Mountain Association, a non-Federal body in North Carolina established for the purpose of acquiring lands for this proposed addition to the Blue Ridge Parkway, has obtained price quotations and tentative agreements from the landowners. Congress having authorized the establishment of a national monument of not more than 1,500 acres at Harpers Ferry, W. Va., the prospective area was carefully studied and recommendations as to the lands to be included were presenied to the Secretary.
The State of Iowa has acquired approximately 1,000 acres pecessary for the Iowa Indian Effigy National Monument project. Conveyance of the land to the Federal Government and establishment of the na
tional monument is anticipated in the near future. Efforts continued to complete the land and development programs of the Manuelito National Monument project in Arizona and New Mexico. The Queets Corridor and Ocean Strip, Olympic National Park, a Public Works project embracing the scenic and picturesque coastal area of northwestern Washington, remained in the acquisition stage. By his first action in direct connection with a project of the National Park System, President Truman approved the Touro Synagogue National Historic Site project, Rhode Island, on April 19, 1945. To be administered by the Service as a national historic site, the Adams Mansion project, Quincy, Mass., was near fulfillment at the year's end. This house, the home of generations of this famous family, possesses exceptional historic value. Legislation authorizing the establishment of Patrick Henry National Monument at Red Hill in Virginia was repealed by act of December 21, 1944. The State of Virginia has undertaken a similar project.
Water Rights in the Western States
The Service has completed 10 years of concentrated effort to establish rights to use water in its various areas, started in February 1935 with Civilian Conservation Corps funds, and is now in an excellent position to keep the work abreast of new construction and water use when the public resumes peacetime recreation al travel.
Recreational Demonstration Area Transfers
Fall Creek Falls and Shelby Forest recreational demonstration areas, totaling 28,035 acres, were transferred to Tennessee for State park purposes, in accordance with the terms of the act of June 6, 1942, and 1,072 acres of the Otter Creek area in Kentucky went to the War Department as an addition to Fort Knox. The transfer of the 66,376acre Roosevelt area in North Dakota to the Fish and Wildlife Service for establishment as an upland game refuge has been approved by the President but had not been completed at the year's end. Fourteen additional areas, totaling 81,251 acres, in California, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are available for transfer to the States.
EMPLOYMENT CRISIS ENDED
Some handicaps continued in the basic fields of administration, protection, and maintenance as a result of the wartime curtailment of staff and the necessity of leaving positions vacant or filling them with inexperienced personnel. That the major duties of the Service were discharged creditably is a tribute to the loyalty, determination, and hard work of employees, new and old.
The rate of losses to the armed services diminished during the year, mainly because few physically fit men of military age remained. However, in accordance with the announced policy of the Selective Service System not to induct med beyond an age desirable for military service who are engaged in essential occupations, a few deferments were requested and approved.
While vacancies during the year averaged approximately 10 percent of permanent positions, the crisis in employment has passed. By June 30, 1945, 33 veterans had returned to their former positions in the organization. This number is small compared to the total number of employees on military furlough, but it is indicative of the trend. More and more veterans are becoming available for original appointment.
Many men now in the armed forces have expressed interest in the National Park Service as a postwar career. Some of this interest has been aroused as the result of visits to units of the system as part of a military training program, en route between assignments, or attendance at a rest camp. Names of these inquirers have been recorded so that they may receive announcements of suitable examinations, and they have all been encouraged to renew their applications immediately upon discharge.
Service requirements offer a great variety of opportunities for the employment of special talents and interests in the field of conservation. The maintenance of high standards of performance rests upon placing cach employee in the position for which his interests and ability best qualify him. To determine and record these interests and qualifications and at the same time to train new employees in the details and requirements of the positions which they will fill on entering the Service necessitates the establishment of a program of in-service training. For many years the Branch of Forestry has maintained such a project in training new and old employees in the latest firefighting practices and use of equipment. Several colleges and universities have expressed interest in establishing courses leading toward preparation of students for careers in national park administration, an interest which the Service hos encouraged through suggestions for use in setting up a curriculum.
Important Personnel Actions Charles L. Gable, Supervisor of Concessions, retired because of disability, and Oliver G. Taylor, formerly Chief of Engineering, was placed in this position. Arthur W. Burney, Assistant Chief of Engineering, was advanced to Chief of Engineering.
The vacancy in the position of Superintendent of Acadia National Park, Maine, resulting from the death of George B. Dorr, was filled by the advancement of Assistant Superintendent Benjamin L. Hadley.