Parks, Politics, and the People
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Chapter 11:
Congressional Relations: Official and Personal


There are hundreds of bills introduced in every session of Congress that if enacted would establish additional activities, effect changes in policies, or introduce new controls or regulations that might affect an agency either directly or indirectly. The legislative committee that handles National Park Service bills in the House is called the Public Lands Committee and in the Senate is called the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee. The committees hold hearings, and the agencies affected are required to submit reports and to provide witnesses to testify and answer questions from committee members. The public is usually invited, and individuals are given an opportunity to make statements or submit reports on behalf of themselves or as representatives of organizations. Presentations to legislative committees become difficult at times—even disastrous. Both the legislative and appropriations committees meet in executive session after hearings and make their decisions, commonly referred to as "marking up the bill," after which the staff prepares the reports. At times there are strong disagreements within the committee, and when that happens both majority and minority reports are prepared and find their way to the floor of the House or Senate.

When we started Mission 66 we had several pieces of legislation we wanted enacted that would have helped us or at least cleared up any doubts as to our legal rights. One of these would have let us spend some of our money to build facilities (campgrounds and maintenance facilities, for example) on federal lands outside the parks, provided the administering agency involved agreed, in order to avoid encroaching on scenic areas of the national parks. We prepared bills and they were introduced, but try as we might they were never called up for hearings. Consequently we did the best we could without them. In 1962 at one of the hearings before the Public Lands Committee of the House, we were asked what right we had to move certain government facilities out of a park even though they were put on federally owned land. The member asking the question stated that the legislation to authorize such action had not been acted upon by the committee. We told him that our legal adviser in the solicitor's office had indicated that if the federal agency that had jurisdiction over the site was agreeable and we had justified the appropriation adequately before the Appropriations Committee, the question of basic legislation was purely academic and we could proceed without it. Apparently the answer was satisfactory, because nothing further was said.

House Public Lands Committees

Chairman, Majority Leader Ranking Minority Leader

Nicholas J. Sinnott
Addison T. Smith
John M. Evans
71st1929-30Don B. ColtonUtah ""
72d1931-32John M. EvansMontana Don B. ColtonUtah
73d1933-34René L. DeRouenLouisiana Harry L. EnglebrightCalifornia
74th1935-36"" ""
75th1937-38"" ""
76th1939-40"" ""
77th1941-42J. W. RobinsonUtah ""
J. Hardin Peterson
James W. Mott
79th1945-46"" Karl M. LeCompteIowa
80th1947-48Richard J. WelchCalifornia Andrew L. SomersNew York
Andrew L. Somers
J. Hardin Peterson
New York
Richard J. Welch
Fred L. Crawford
82d1951-52jJohn R. MurdockArizona ""
83d1953-54A. L. MillerNebraska Clair EngleCalifornia
84th1955-56Clair EngleCalifornia A. L. MillerNebraska
85th1957-58"" ""
86th1959-60Wayne N. AspinallColorado John P. SaylorPennsylvania
87th1961-62"" ""
88th1963-64"" ""
89th1965-66"" ""
90th1967-68"" ""
91st1969-70"" ""
92d1971-72"" ""
93d1973James A. HaleyFlorida ""


When appearing before committes of Congress, especially the legislative committees, a few simple, reasonable things should be borne in mind: (1) Develop the attitude that if they give of their time to consider your legislation you, the bureau chief should be glad to testify. (2) Don't try to play party politics, especially if you are a career civil servant. Let the politicians do that. You want all of their votes regardless of party affiliation. (3) Don't overdo it, but show your appreciation for their consideration of your problems. (4) Learn as much as you can about all of your committee members. (5) Be factual and forthright in your presentations and in your answers to their questions. (6) Get to know the committee staff members and avoid running around their ends. (7) Last but very important, don't get long-winded, and know enough to stop when you think you have the necessary votes. You can usually get a reading on how things stand by observing the chairman or the sponsor of the bill.

One of the first congressmen I got acquainted with was a person I had known slightly in New Orleans in 1927. His name was Rene L. DeRouen, and he was chairman of the House Public Lands Committee. We had met when we were both members of the New Orleans Young Men's Business Club. I will confess I never did like strong Louisiana coffee, but every time I called on Rene, I had to have a cup. I took my medicine like a man, and I really enjoyed being with him. He was chairman up through the third session of the Seventy-sixth Congress in 1940. He held that position when the Historic Sites and the Park, Parkway, and Recreational-Area Study acts went through Congress, and I must not forget the act of August 10, 1937, that enlarged Chalmette National Monument, in Louisiana, and gave it national historical park status.

DeRouen was followed by J. W. Robinson, who was quiet and soft spoken but determined and helpful. He was chairman for the two years—1943 and 1944—of the Seventy-eighth Congress. Chairman Robinson was followed by J. Hardin Peterson, of Florida, better known to us as Congressman Pete. Congressman Pete and I became very good friends, and he was a strong supporter of the national park system. We had absolutely no differences on that score, and most anything we needed he would work for.

In the twelve years from 1947 through 1958, there were six different chairmen as shown on the chart on page 323. Congressman Pete was back for one session in 1950. These gentlemen were all fine people, always very considerate and interested. It was during Clair Engle's chairmanship that we started Mission 66, although without any basic legislation. While Congress may not have been opposed to the legislation we sought, it did nothing about it, and even though we got along without the legislation, it would have helped if Congress had approved it.

Beginning with the Eighty-sixth Congress, in 1959, through the Ninety-second Congress, which ended in December, 1972, the chairman of the House Public Lands Committee was Wayne N. Aspinall, of Colorado, with John P. Saylor, of Pennsylvania, as ranking minority leader. The record of the committee during that period is outstanding from a Park Service point of view. I don't recall a park bill reported out of committee that ever failed to pass once it was called up in the House for consideration. There was occasional criticism of the length of time it took to get certain bills out of committee, but Wayne Aspinall wanted to be sure that a clear majority of the committee was supporting a bill by the time it got to the floor of the House, and he would keep his bills in hearings until he was sure of that advantage. Certainly he encountered serious opposition to some bills; he even had to accept some amendments from the floor. But be that as it may, they got through. The record was so overwhelming that I obtained the following list of the major bills related to park matters that were enacted during Aspinall's chairmanship. Many of these acts of Congress provided new units to the park system, and the rest concerned such things as boundary adjustments, and policy and administrative matters. By far the majority of these acts were the result of studies carried out during Mission 66 under the general supervision of the Branch of Lands headed by Ben Thompson and by Ted Swen after Ben's retirement. Long as this list is, I know that it is not complete.

Eighty-Fifth Congress 1957-1958
Fort Clatsop National MemorialOregon
General Grant National MemorialNew York
Grand Portage National MonumentMinnesota
Independence National Historical ParkPennsylvania
Cowpens National Battlefield SiteSouth Carolina
Eighty-Sixth Congress 1959-1960
Arkansas Post National MemorialArkansas
Bent's Old Fort National Historic SiteColorado
Haleakala National ParkHawaii
Minute Man National Historical ParkMassachusetts
Wilson's Creek National BattlefieldMissouri
Eighty-Seventh Congress 1961-1962
Cape Cod National SeashoreMassachusetts
Point Reyes National SeashoreCalifornia
Padre Island National SeashoreTexas
Fort Davis National Historic SiteTexas
Fort Smith National Historic SiteArkansas and Oklahoma
The White HouseDistrict of Columbia
Piscataway ParkMaryland
Lincoln Boyhood National MemorialIndiana
Hamilton Grange National MemorialNew York
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace and Sagamore Hill National Historical SiteNew York
Frederick Douglas HomeDistrict of Columbia
Eighty-Eighth Congress 1963-1964
Ozark National Scenic RiverwaysMissouri
Fire Island National SeashoreNew York
Canyonlands National ParkUtah
Lake Mead National Recreation AreaArizona and Nevada
Fort Bowie National Historic SiteArizona
John Muir National Historic SiteCalifornia
Fort Larned National Historic SiteKansas
Saint Gaudens National Historic SiteNew Hampshire
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic SitePennsylvania
Johnstown Flood National MemorialPennsylvania
Roosevelt Campobello International ParkNew Brunswick, Canada
Ice Age National Scientific ReserveWisconsin
Eighty-Ninth Congress 1965-1966
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation AreaPennsylvania and New Jersey
Assateague Island National SeashoreMaryland and Virginia
Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation AreaCalifornia
Cape Lookout National SeashoreNorth Carolina
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation AreaMontana and Wyoming
Guadalupe Mountains National ParkTexas
Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreMichigan
Wolf Trap Farm for the Performing ArtsVirginia
Indiana Dunes National LakeshoreIndiana
Agate Fossil Beds National MonumentNebraska
Pecos National MonumentNew Mexico
Alibates Flint Quarries and Texas Panhandle Pueblo Culture National MonumentTexas
Nez Perce National Historical ParkIdaho
George Rogers Clark National Historical ParkIndiana
San Juan Island National Historic ParkWashington
Golden Spike National Historic SiteUtah
Herbert Hoover National Historic SiteIowa
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic SiteArizona
Roger Williams National MemorialRhode Island
Chamizal National MemorialTexas
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic SiteNorth Dakota and Montana
Ninetieth Congress 1967-1968
Redwood National ParkCalifornia
North Cascades National ParkWashington
Ross National Recreation AreaWashington
Lake Chelan National Recreation AreaWashington
Biscayne National MonumentFlorida
John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic SiteMassachusetts
Saugus Iron Works National Historic SiteMassachusetts
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic SiteNorth Carolina
Nintey-First Congress 1969-1970
Voyageurs National ParkMinnesota
Florissant Fossil Beds National MonumentColorado
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic ParkMaryland
Apostle Islands National LakeshoreWisconsin
Sleeping Bear Dunes National LakeshoreMichigan
Gulf Island National SeashoreMississippi and Florida
William Howard Taft National Historic SiteOhio
Eisenhower National Historic SitePennsylvania
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic SiteTexas
Fort Point National Historic SiteCalifornia
Andersonville National Historic SiteGeorgia
Ninety-Second Congress 1971-1972
Fossil Butte National MonumentWyoming
Hohokam Pima National MonumentArizona
Buffalo National RiverArkansas
Cumberland Island National SeashoreGeorgia
Golden Gate National Recreation AreaCalifornia
Gateway National Recreation AreaNew York and New Jersey
Glen Canyon National Recreation AreaUtah and Arizona
Lower Saint Croix National Scenic RiverWisconsin and Minnesota
Lincoln Home National Historic SiteIllinois
Puukohola Heiau National Historic SiteHawaii
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic SiteMontana
Longfellow National Historic SiteMassachusetts
Mar-A-Lago National Historic SiteFlorida
Thaddeus Kosciuszko Home National MemorialPennsylvania
Benjamin Franklin National MemorialPennsylvania
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial ParkwayWyoming

I know that Aspinall and committee Minority Leader John Saylor worked together on park legislation. They both thought highly of the National Park Service and tried to help it in every way they could because they felt that the preservation and interpretation of our natural and historic heritage for the use and enjoyment of the people was one thing the nation needed if it was to remain sound and prosper. True, they would not hesitate to let us know if they felt we were doing something they thought was not right. The nation and the service owe them and their committee a great debt of gratitude.

I'm placing special emphasis on these two men, especially the chairman, for several reasons. As will be noted, I have included in the list of bills not their numbers but the areas or subject matter involved and the location by state if applicable. On that list is a bill that radically changed the procedure in developing the national park system. This bill, which became the act of the Eighty-seventh Congress, established Cape Cod National Seashore and authorized sixteen million dollars for purchase of the lands, thus creating the new policy of acquiring park lands by government purchase. Under the chairmanship of Wayne Aspinall the Land and Water Bill also became law. That act provides funds for land acquisition for the national park system as well as for conservation measures administered by other federal agencies. It also—and this is very important—provides funds to aid the planning, purchase, and development of parks and recreation areas for state and metropolitan park systems. The funds available for these purposes now amount to hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The act establishing the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation to administer these funds and to see that comprehensive planning is undertaken before the funds are allocated also came out of Wayne's committee. It should be noted that both Wayne Aspinall and John Saylor were members of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Committee that Laurance Rockefeller chaired and that recommended the establishment of the BOR. Also not mentioned in the list is passage of the Wilderness Act, a most important piece of legislation affecting all landholding agencies of the government, including the National Park Service.

Wayne Aspinall had served as an assistant to Representative Edward T. Taylor, of Colorado, and he later represented Taylor's old district in Congress. Toward the end of Aspinall's service in Congress the district was extended to include some heavily populated areas in northeastern Colorado, and Wayne was defeated in the primaries by an individual from the urban areas who in turn was defeated in the final election in 1974. I know that some special interest groups outside Wayne's congressional district exerted considerable pressure to defeat him, and I'm sorry to say that one of those special interest groups is called conservationist. Certainly there were some things that Wayne Aspinall and his committee did that I objected to, but in my opinion and in the opinion of many others Aspinall, John Saylor, and their committee deserve a place of high honor for their accomplishments in providing for the conservation of our heritage, both natural and historic, and in extending to all levels of government financial and other authorization to develop adequate park and recreation facilities for all people. I am convinced that those who believe in sound, practical conservation and yet voted against Wayne or urged others to vote against him never examined the record.

From a legislative standpoint many people believe that the Wilderness Act, the Cape Cod Act, the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation Act, and the Land and Water Act stand shoulder to shoulder with the Yellowstone National Park Act, the Antiquities Act, the National Park Service Act, the Historic Sites Act, and the Park, Parkway, and Recreational-Area Study Act. They are equally important to the development of a cooperative national system of parks, historic sites, and recreation areas at all levels of government for the people to enjoy and pass on to those who follow.


From the Seventieth through the Seventy-ninth congresses (1927-46), the Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee was called the Public Lands and Surveys Committee. One of our strong supporters in the Senate, Gerald P. Nye from North Dakota, was chairman of that committee through the Seventy-second Congress of 1931-32. Like Louis Cramton on the House Appropriations Committee, Nye was a social friend as well as a sound adviser to the Park Service on legislative matters.

With the advent of the New Deal on March 4, 1933, the Republicans became the minority party and the Democrats took over the chairmanship of the various committees of the Senate. Senator John B. Kendrick, from Wyoming, became chairman of the Public Lands and Surveys Committee at the beginning of the first session of the Seventy-third Congress on March 9. (This session is covered fully in Chapter 4.) The second session began on January 3, 1934, and at that time Key Pittman, of Nevada, became chairman of the committee and was followed on May 4, 1934, by Robert F. Wagner, of New York. The record shows that Wagner was the only man, either Republican or Democrat, on the committee from east of the Mississippi River. His chairmanship therefore presented a somewhat odd situation, because the Public Lands and Surveys Committee at that time was primarily concerned with the great masses of western lands belonging to the federal government. During the period beginning with the Seventy-third Congress in 1933 and ending with the Seventy-fourth Congress in 1936, Senator Peter Norbeck, of South Dakota, was the minority leader on the committee. He was a strong supporter of state and national parks. The Historic Sites Act of 1935 and the Park, Parkway, and Recreational-Area Study Act of 1936 were products of this period.

Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee

Chairman, Majority Leader Ranking Minority Leader

70th1927-1928Gerald P. NyeNorth Dakota Key PittmanNevada
71st1929-30"" ""
72d1931-32"" ""

John B. Kendrick
Key Pittman
Robert F. Wagner
New York
Peter Norbeck
South Dakota
74th1935-36"" ""
75th1937-38Alva B. AdamsColorado Gerald P. NyeNorth Dakota
76th1939-40"" ""
Carl A. Hatch
New Mexico
78th1943-1944"" ""
79th1945-46"" Chan GurneySouth Dakota
80th1947-48Hugh ButlerNebraska Carl A. HatchSouth Dakota
81st1949-1950Joseph C. O'MahoneyWyoming Hugh ButlerNebraska
82d1951-52"" ""
83d1953-54Hugh ButlerNebraska James E. MurrayMontana
84th1955-56James E. MurrayMontana Eugene D. MilikanColorado
85th1957-58"" George W. MaloneNevada
86th1959-60"" Henry C. DworshakIdaho
87th1961-62Clinton P. AndersonNew Mexico ""
88th1963-64Henry M. JacksonWashington Thomas H. KuchelColorado
89th1965-66"" ""
90th1967-68"" ""
91st1969-70"" Gordon AllottColorado
92d1971-72"" ""
93d1973"" Paul J. FanninArizona

Senator Alva Adams, of Colorado, was chairman during the Seventy-fifth and Seventy-sixth congresses and in the first session of the Seventy-seventh. In the second session of the Seventy-seventh Carl A. Hatch, of New Mexico, took over and carried on through the Seventy-eighth and Seventy-ninth congresses. And that takes us through 1946. There is little I can say about the Senate committee during this period as my duties were directed to other matters. In the first session of the Eightieth Congress, in 1947, the committee's name was changed to Public Lands Committee; but in the second session, in 1948, it was given its present name, the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.

Starting with the Eighty-first Congress in January, 1949, Joe O'Mahoney, of Wyoming, became chairman of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee and continued in that position until the end of the Eighty-second Congress in 1952. During Joe's chairmanship, and Representative J. Hardin Peterson's chairmanship in the House, one of the real gems of the national park system, Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming, was extended and established as it now exists. Its completion climaxed an effort that was started before the turn of the century but that really began to take shape in 1929. It involved two acts of Congress, a presidential proclamation, a lawsuit, and more hearings than I care to try to count.

Ronald F. Lee summarized the Grand Teton story in his booklet Family Tree of the National Park System:

Jackson Hole had been talked of as a possible addition to Yellowstone as early as 1892, and from 1916 onward the Service and Department actively sought its preservation in the National Park System. . . . It was John D. Rockefeller, Jr., however, who rescued Jackson Hole for the nation after a visit in 1926 left him distressed at cheap commercial developments on private lands in the midst of superlative natural beauty—dance halls, hot dog stands, filling stations, rodeo grand stands, and billboards in the foreground of the incomparable view of the Teton Range.

Rockefeller began a land acquisition program, which he offered as a gift to the United States. Meanwhile, however, bitter opposition developed among cattlemen, dude ranchers, packers, hunters, timber interests, and local Forest Service officials who preferred livestock ranches or forest crops to a National Park, county officials who feared loss of taxes, and members of the Wyoming State administration who were politically concerned. When no park legislation had been enacted by 1943, Rockefeller indicated he might not be justified in holding his property, on which he paid annual taxes, much longer. President Roosevelt decided to act and on March 15, 1943, proclaimed the Jackson Hole National Monument, consolidating 33,000 acres donated by Rockefeller and 179,000 acres withdrawn from Teton National Forest into a single area adjoining Grand Teton National Park.

Roosevelt's proclamation unleashed a storm of criticism which had been brewing for years among western members of Congress. Rep. Frank A. Barrett of Wyoming and others introduced bills to abolish the monument and to repeal Section 2 of the Antiquities Act containing the President's authority to proclaim National Monuments. A bill to abolish the monument passed Congress in 1944 but was vetoed by President Roosevelt who pointed out in an eloquent message that Presidents of both political parties, beginning with Theodore Roosevelt, had established ample precedents by proclaiming 82 National Monuments, seven of which were larger than Jackson Hole. The proclamation was nevertheless also contested in court, where it was strongly defended by the Departments of Justice and Interior and upheld. Finally, a compromise was worked out and embodied in legislation approved by President Harry S. Truman on September 14, 1950. It combined Jackson Hole National Monument and the old Grand Teton National Park in a "new Grand Teton National Park" containing some 298,000 acres, with special provisions regarding taxes and hunting. It also prohibited establishing or enlarging National Parks in Wyoming in the future except by express authorization of Congress.

During the summer of 1950 while hearings were being held on the park act, Congressman Pete and Senator Joe O'Mahoney decided to conduct a joint meeting of the House and Senate committees in the area to examine the whole matter and listen very carefully to the pros and cons. As the Park Service's assistant director in charge of lands, I was asked by the two chairmen to arrange for them to meet in Yellowstone and then go to the Grand Tetons by automobile. They wanted seating arranged so that there would be one person for the park and one against the park in each car with a member of the committee. Congressman Pete suggested I get in touch with Representative Frank A. Barrett, from Wyoming, who was on the Public Lands Committee and against the park, and get from him a list of people who should represent the opposition.

When a date for the field meeting was set by the two chairmen, I called Frank Barrett. I told him I was going out there at least a day in advance to work out the itinerary. I hadn't quite finished my statement when Barrett proceeded to take me over the coals, informing me in no uncertain terms that I shouldn't go, that people were so angry out there that somebody was liable to be crazy enough to shoot me. I replied that I didn't think I'd get shot, and anyway I'd been asked to go by the chairmen of the House and Senate committees. He bluntly told me he wasn't going to take part in it. The next day, however, he called back. He had cooled off and gave me the names of four people who would represent the opponents.

The controversy over the park was a real hornet's nest, and the expedition of the congressional committees to the site was not without incident. As we came out of Old Faithful Inn to set out for the Grand Tetons, a car drove up, jammed to a halt, and out came Frank Barrett and another opponent, Felix Buchenroth. Barrett rushed up to me and shook his fist in my face, accusing me of trying to run the state of Wyoming. The discussion got a little loud and almost to a pushing stage. The boisterous argument attracted some of the park visitors, and a crowd started forming. Congressman Pete helped break it up and ushered us to our assigned cars.

One of our scheduled stops was an excellent vantage point on Antelope Flat, where we viewed the whole Grand Teton Mountain range to the west, with the Snake River winding its way through Jackson Hole in the foreground after coming around Signal Peak in the north and disappearing some eight miles south near the settlement of Moran. It was a beautiful day and a strikingly beautiful view. We had a geologist from the University of Wyoming with us to tell about the geology of the country. The geologist gave a very fine talk, lasting perhaps ten minutes, in which he spoke of the geological faults and hence the uplift of the Teton Mountains and the sinking of Jackson Hole. But he happened to oppose the park and concluded by saying, "So you see, gentlemen, the land we're standing on really has no scenic value. The only scenery is the mountains, and if you take them away you don't have anything." With that Congressman Pete piped up and said, "If you're going to get rid of those mountains send them down to Florida where we can use them." Everybody laughed as we moved on to the next point of observation.

We ended the day at the theater in Jackson, where a public hearing had been arranged. The theater was full of people, and there was a lot of hooting and hollering. The opposition had a large turnout and was making the noise. But all the hearings on Jackson Hole National Monument were difficult. It seemed that most of the local people wanted the monument abolished. It had been cattle country for years, elk-hunting country always, and they wanted to keep it that way, the opponents contended. On the other side, the scenery in the Teton—Jackson Hole country is tremendous and it belongs to all the people, the proponents countered. I think it was one of the most clear-cut divisions of opinion I have witnessed in any of the proposed national park hearings I've been through.

Several interesting things happened while Grand Teton National Monument was in existence between March 15, 1943, and September 14, 1950, when the national park was extended to include the monument. In order to ridicule the monument's historic values, which constituted some of the justification for the presidential proclamation that established the monument, someone got an old outhouse and put a sign on it that read, "Horace Albright was here." They then took pictures of it and printed post cards and gave them fairly wide distribution. Opponents to the monument also got the famous old movie star Wallace Beery to ride a horse across the monument with a rifle in his arms, supposedly in defiance of the Park Service rangers. This stunt made the pages of Time magazine. Of course, there were no rangers on duty because Congress refused to appropriate any funds for the monument, and the service could not spend any funds or assign any personnel there until the monument was abolished and the land made a part of Grand Teton National Park. In one of my later conversations with Felix Buchenroth I told him I understood Wallace Beery had to use a stepladder to get on the horse, and I thought it would be a good idea for them to donate the ladder to the Park Service so we could put it on display in our visitor center. I laughed, and he looked at me with a scowl on his face and then broke into a grin.

Senator Cliff Hansen was one of the opposition's most articulate leaders. A cattle rancher during the park extension controversy between 1943 and 1950, he became governor of Wyoming for four years before he went to Washington as senator in January, 1967. When he was governor he was given a luncheon in New York by officials of several large oil companies, to which Laurance Rockefeller, Kenneth Chorley, a close associate both of Laurance and of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and I were invited at his request. On that occasion he said: "I fought against the establishment of the Grand Teton National Park as hard as I could and I lost and I want you all to know that I'm glad I lost, because I now know I was wrong. Grand Teton National Park is one of the greatest natural heritages of Wyoming and the nation and one of our great assets." He then thanked us for what we had done, especially Laurance and his father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Looking back at the long struggle that beset the establishment of Grand Teton National Park, I can appreciate how the local people felt. They had settled in that country and developed a cattle business, holding on to a little of the Old West for the benefit of visitors. A change was taking place—a big change—and all they could envision was harm to their livelihood. I think we all learned something from the Jackson Hole experience. I'm glad to say the Park Service's relationship with the people in Teton County is very good. The adjustment made in the legislation seems to have satisfied all points of view to a reasonable degree.

The Republicans became the majority party in the Senate at the start of the Eighty-third Congress in 1953 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower took office. Senator Hugh Butler, of Nebraska, became chairman of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee. I was director at that time, and we were still under the pressures of the cold war. Our efforts were directed largely toward increased appropriations to build up our maintenance organization in the parks, for they were seriously understaffed. By the Eighty-fourth Congress, in 1955, the Democrats again became the majority party in the Senate. James E. Murray, of Montana, became chairman and served through to the end of the Eighty-sixth Congress, in 1960. The Eighty-sixth was the same Congress in which Wayne Aspinall, from Colorado, took over the chairmanship of the House Public Lands Committee. At that time Mission 66 had completed many of its field studies of proposed new units, the bills were formulated and submitted to Congress, and five new units were added to the national park system. In the Eighty-seventh Congress another twelve were added, and then the number began to increase rapidly. At the beginning of the Eighty-seventh, Senator Clinton P. Anderson, of New Mexico, became chairman for two sessions of that Congress. In 1963, in the Eighty-eighth Congress, the chairmanship went to Henry M. Jackson, better known to many of us as "Scoop" Jackson, for the state of Washington. Senators Murray, Anderson, and Jackson were always very considerate of our needs and worked very closely with Chairman Aspinall on park matters. Senator Murray was not in very good health, however, and retired after the Eighty-sixth Congress.

The Interior and Insular Affairs Committee had several subcommittees, one of which handled national park matters, and we dealt primarily with the chairmen of the subcommittees. Among them were Henry (Scoop) Jackson, Alan Bible, of Nevada, and Frank (Ted) Moss, of Utah. They were all very much interested in the parks and helped greatly. Although I retired on January 7, 1964, the big influx of proposed legislation to add new parks to the system resulting from studies made during Mission 66 lasted some six or seven years beyond the end of Mission 66. I'm glad to say that after Mission 66 the Park Service continued with further studies in an effort to assure that the great heritage of natural and historic areas of this nation will be accorded the stature and given the protection they deserve.


Parks, Politics, and the People
©1980, University of Oklahama Press
wirth2/chap11a.htm — 21-Sep-2004

Copyright © 1980 University of Oklahoma Press, returned to the author in 1984. Offset rights University of Oklahoma Press. Material from this edition may not be reproduced in any manner without the written consent of the heir(s) of the Conrad L. Wirth estate and the University of Oklahoma Press.