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NPS Expansion: 1930s







New Deal



NPS 1933-39




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

Chapter Six: The National Park Service, 1933-1939
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B. Reorganization--The Washington Office

In 1930, after he became director, Horace Albright instituted the first major reorganization of the National Park Service. [22] The new organizational structure reflected Albright's stated intention to depersonalize decision making at the director's level, and to provide for the delegation of authority in a way that Stephen Mather had never been able to do. [23]

In 1931 the new organization, which is shown below, consisted of the director's office and four major branches at the Washington level. Each branch was headed by an assistant director. Arthur E. Demaray's Branch of Operations was responsible for all fiscal and personnel functions. Demaray exercised supervision over the Chief Clerks Division and Auditors of Park Operator's Accounts Division. [24] Assistant Director George A. Moskey's Branch of Use, Law, and Regulation oversaw all matters relating to legislation, contracts, permits, development of the system, etc. [25] Conrad L. Wirth's Branch of Lands was charged with responsibility over all land matters, except those relating to the law. [26] Dr. Harold Bryant, as head of Research and Education, supervised and coordinated all educational (interpretation) and research matters in the Service. Isabelle F. Story, as chief of the Division of Public Relations and Ansel Hall, Chief of the Field Division of Education and Forestry, reported directly to Dr. Bryant. [27] Rounding out the organization were the field offices, all of which reported to the director: superintendents of the national parks, superintendents of national monuments, custodians of national monuments, Engineering Division, and Landscape Architectural Division. [28]

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Organization Chart - 1931

The additional responsibilities that came to the Service through the reorganization of 1933, involvement in recovery programs, new initiatives in history and recreation all resulted in changes in the structure of the organization. By 1939 the organization was considerably more complex, little resembling the one described above.

Transfer of the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the nation's capital under Executive Order 6166, for example, necessitated the creation of a Branch of Public Buildings, with a Division of Space Control. [29]

By December 1934, additionally, a new Branch of Forestry, which was actually pulled out of Ansel Hall's old field division of Education and Forestry, supervised emergency activities. [30] Conrad Wirth's Branch of Planning had been expanded to include a Division of Investigation of Proposed Parks and Monuments; Maps, Plans and Drafting Division; The State Park Division (ECW program); Submarginal Land Division; and The National Recreation Survey Division. [31]

Other indications of the expanded program of the Service were a Parkway Right-of-Way Division in Moskey's Branch of Lands and Use and Historical Naturalist and Wildlife Division in Dr. Bryant's Branch of Research and Education. [32] Finally, Branches of Engineering and Plans and Design each had an Eastern Division and Plans and Design had a Western Division as well. [33]

Passage of the Historic Sites Act in August 1935 led to the creation of a new Branch of Historic Sites and Buildings under the supervision of Acting Assistant Director Verne E. Chatelain. [34] The functions of the new branch, which had Eastern and Western divisions as well as a research division were

to coordinate the administrative matters and supervision of the educational and research programs pertaining to historic and archeologic sites; collection and preservation of historical and archeological records; and coordination of the preparation and collection of drawings and other data relating to prehistoric and historic American sites and buildings. [35]

At the same time, the Branch of Planning became the Branch of Planning and State Cooperation. The functions of this expanded branch were the supervision over the compilation of data covering advance planning for the National Park System, "coordination with the State Park and Recreational Authorities and State Planning Commissions and other agencies; supervision over Federal participation in State park and recreational activities; and the conducting of a continuing recreational survey in cooperation with the National Resources Committee." [36]

Organization Chart - 1935

Organization Chart - 1939

By the end of the decade, as reflected in the organization charts of the Washington office, the National Park Service was a much larger and a considerably more complex organization than it had been in 1933. [37] There were now ten branches instead of four: Operations (J. R. White, Acting); Recreation and Land Planning (Conrad L. Wirth); Office of Chief Counsel (G. A. Moskey); Historic Sites (Ronald F. Lee); Buildings Management (Charles A. Peters); Research and Information (Carl F. Russell); Plans and Design (Thomas C. Vint); Branch of Engineering (Oliver G. Taylor); Forestry (John D. Coffman); and Memorials (John L. Nagle). [38]

Not only were there more branches, but the functions had increased in scope and complexity. In 1933, for example, the function of the Branch of Operations was

to exercise complete supervision over all fiscal matters and personnel, including preparation of the annual budget and control of the expenditures of the appropriation there under; the chief also acts as contact officer with the Bureau of Public Roads on park and monument road program. [39]

In 1939, the board included five divisions--Budget and Accounts, Personnel and Records, Safety, Public Utility Division, and Park Operations. [40]

The functions of the enlarged branch were:

Supervision over all fiscal and personnel matters of the National Park Service. Preparation and presentation of the annual budget and justification and defense of estimates before Budget Bureau officials and appropriation committees of the Congress. General supervision over, and coordination of, administrative work in the field units and in the Washington Office. Supervision over allotment of appropriations; control of expenditures and receipt of revenues; accounting requirements and auditing of park operators' accounts; accident prevention and building fire hazard reduction programs; preparation of office orders, regulations, manuals, and administrative correspondence; general records; and receipt and dispatch of mail. Advises as to management and operation of public utility and park operators' facilities.

Chapter Six continues with...


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

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