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NPS Expansion: 1930s







New Deal



NPS 1933-39




Expansion of the National Park Service in the 1930s:
Administrative History

Chapter One: "They have grown up like Topsy"
Administration of American Parks Before 1933
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C. Department of Agriculture Monuments, 1906-1933

As indicated previously, the Antiquities Act of 1906 left administration of federal parks and monuments fragmented between the departments. Between 1906 and 1933, six presidents set aside twenty-one national monuments on land administered by the Agriculture Department.

All twenty-one, which were the responsibility of the Forest Service, were in the western states. Sixteen were judged significant because of their scientific value: Lassen Peak and Cinder Cone (May 16, 1908); Grand Canyon (January 11, 1908); Pinnacles (January 16, 1908); Jewel Cave (February 7, 1908); Wheeler (December 7, 1908); Mount Olympus (March 2, 1909); Oregon Caves (July 12, 1909); Devil's Postpile (July 6, 1911); Lehman Caves (January 24, 1922); Timpanogos Cave (October 14, 1922); Bryce Canyon (June 8, 1923); Chiricahua (April 18, 1924); Lava Beds (November 21, 1925); Holy Cross (May 11, 1929); Sunset Crater (May 26, 1930); and Saguaro (March 1, 1933). [91]

Five more were of historical importance: four of these--Gila Cliff Dwellings (November 16, 1907), Tonto (December 19, 1907), Walnut Canyon (November 30, 1915), and Bandelier (February 11, 1916)--were significant archeological remains in the Southwest. The fifth, Old Kasaan (October 15, 1910), was the ruins of a former Haida Indian village in Alaska. [92]

Five of the areas were transferred to the National Park Service before 1933. Grand Canyon, Lassen Peak and Cinder Cone, and Bryce formed the nuclei of national parks. Pinnacles and Bandelier were transferred for administrative purposes in 1910 and 1932, respectively. [93]

Before 1933 the Forest Service was able to turn aside all efforts to transfer administrative responsibility of the national monuments under its jurisdiction to the National Park Service, and they were a continuing irritant in relations between the two agencies throughout the period. [94] Yet a review of the records indicate that Forest Service officials paid scant attention to the national monuments they administered. In 1916 the minutes of the Service Committee (Washington office staff) included this reference to a report compiled by a Forest Service employee:

We were not giving some of the smaller national monuments, such as the Cliff Dwellers of the Gila Forest, the proper care and supervision to which they were entitled. It was his feeling that we should at least make reasonable efforts to improve the facilities for reaching such places and also to furnish proper shelter and camping facilities for visitors. This, Mr. Potter believes, need not involve a great expenditure of funds, but he felt that trails to these places should be built as soon as possible and such plans made for the comfort of visitors as could be with the funds at our disposal. In this connection, Mr. Potter thought that it would be advisable to have a plan of improvement worked out for each national monument in the Forests with a view to developing them on a systematic basis and thereby increase their value to the recreation side of the National Forest plans. [95]

The Service did not take the advice, however, and did not, apparently develop any standards or regulations governing the monuments beyond those developed jointly by the Secretaries of Agriculture, War, and Interior in 1906. [96] Other than a simple listing, neither the annual reports of the Secretary of Agriculture nor the Forester during the period contain any references to the monuments.

No single office in Washington, D.C., was charged with the responsibility of administering the national monuments. Rather, each monument was administered separately on the local level as part of the larger forest unit in which it was located. [97] No separate appropriations were made for the monuments, and they received only minor part-time supervision. [98] That supervision of the national monuments was not more than a minor undertaking by the Forest Service was indicated in statements regarding Executive Order 6166 in 1933. Transfer of the monuments would not be economical, said R.Y. Stuart, because

with, perhaps the exception of a single employee, transfer of jurisdiction over monuments would not permit any reduction in the administrative requirements or costs of National Forest management. [99]

Chapter One continues with...
Military Park System to 1933


Last Modified: Tues, Mar 14 2000 07:08:48 am PDT

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