THE OPEN PLATEAU (continued)
Following the demise of the first national monument proposal in 1910, the concept of a national park on the Pajarito Plateau remained dormant until 1914. Hewett's excavations continued at Puye and Frijoles, often as a part of the same type of archeological training project to which Douglass objected so vociferously in 1908. The Government agencies that renewed his multiple excavation permits every year did not challenge his archeological empire on the Pajarito Plateau. The status quo suited him. But the Federal Government revived its interest in the project, and in 1913, Department of the Interior Inspector Herbert W. Gleason made a cursory inspection of the region. Gleason advocated the idea of a park and wrote to New Mexico Senator Thomas Catron to urge that the senator work for the establishment of a national park. Catron responded that he planned to put a bill forward in the coming session of Congress. 
Attempts to establish a national park on the Pajarito Plateau again began in earnest. On February 14, 1914, Catron entered S. 4537, to establish the National Park of the Cliff Cities, which he soon replaced with S. 5176. On March 18, 1914, New Mexico Representative Harvey B. Fergusson authored and entered a companion measure, H. R. 14739. The new bills were ambitious proposals, consolidating ruins from the Santa Clara reservation, the Jemez National Forest, and the public domain into a 252,620-acre national park. This was nearly 100,000 acres larger than the original proposal and the temporary withdrawal of 1900. Instigated with the assistance of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, the new bills seemed likely to revive every conceivable objection the earlier bills created.
After his inspection of Puye in 1911, Douglass remained in Santa Fe and became the premier advocate of the Pajarito Plateau national park. He continued to make inspections for the Department of the Interior, but also began a number of projects of his own. The park headed his list. He joined the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce and awakened interest in the park there. If a park could be established while Americans were travelling to California for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915, Douglass believed it provided an opportunity to help the local economy grow. With Douglass in the lead, support for the project galvanized.
When Catron proposed the new bill, Douglass effectively countered much of the prior opposition. The bill included Puye, but did not restrict the rights of Indians living within the proposed park boundaries. The Commissioner of the Office of Indian Affairs, Cato Sells, did not object.  Douglass accommodated local grazing interests by including a clause in the bills that allowed the Department of the Interior to lease much of proposed park for grazing. He also tried to pacify USFS resistance with a provision that made the Forest Service responsible for the administration of grazing leases within the new park. The community of Santa Fe publicly favored the bill, and chances of passage seemed good.
Opposition arose in a new quarter. Clay Tallman, the Commissioner of the GLO, challenged the validity of the new proposal. He informed Undersecretary of the Interior A. A. Jones that he believed the proposed lands were too scattered for inclusion in a national park. The Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce only wanted a national park because Congress appropriated money for parks, Tallman insinuated, while it had not for monuments. "Doubtless if [the area] were incorporated into a forest reserve it would receive substantially the same protection and be of substantially the same use," Tallman continued. "There appears to be no good objection to permitting it to remain a National Forest." 
The Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce defended its position, responding quickly and vehemently to Tallman's assertions. In a scathing letter, G. H. Van Stone, the secretary of the organization, asserted that the lands it requested were contiguous and claimed that Tallman could not have looked at a map before he made his remarks. Van Stone also objected to the protection offered the area by Indian police and the Forest Service. "Under the present rules, any college that wishes a collection of pottery can get a permit to excavate. . . . [The] scientific value [of archeological parks and monuments] has been wholly or partly obliterated by the removal of unrecorded antiquities." Emotional and hyperbolic, Van Stone objected to uncontrolled excavation by men like Hewett. He asserted that the establishment of a national park would afford the "virgin" ruins of the Pajarito Plateau better protection than Indian police or the Forest Service could offer. 
Despite Van Stone's veiled attack on his professional integrity, Hewett put his public support behind the proposals.  An all-encompassing archeological national park would further the ends of the School of American Archeology and certainly lend its director greater prestige. It also meant protection for the ruins, and since by 1914, Hewett had ceased to excavate the region himself, it offered a suitable finale to his efforts on the Pajarito Plateau.
With Hewett's support, the project seemed even more likely to succeed. The Chamber of Commerce continued to barrage the Department of the Interior with testimonials to the advantages of the park. Letters from park advocates regularly covered A. A. Jones' desk, each announcing broad public support for the bill. On April 21, 1914, the Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution requesting the rapid establishment of the park, and its tenacity overwhelmed local opposition. 
But passage of the bill required more than the support of the local business community. The Forest Service strongly opposed the measure, as did Secretary of Agriculture David F. Houston. From his point of view, the bill lacked provisions to make a "real park," along the lines of Yosemite. Houston wrote that he did not object to a national park if the bill included clauses encouraging development, but he would not approve a national park that was essentially a national forest under the administration of the Department of the Interior.  The Forest Service had a clearly defined sphere, and Houston did not want the Department of the Interior to encroach upon it.
When he learned of the opposition, Douglass tried to satisfy the USFS. He met with Don P. Johnston, the Forest Service Supervisor in the Jemez District, to work out the problems. Senator Catron was also in Santa Fe, and he, Johnston, and Douglass met with the park committee of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce. The group worked out an acceptable agreement. On May 14, 1914, Fergusson reintroduced the changed bill as H. R. 16546.
Douglass gushed over the popularity of the measure in letters to Fergusson and Catron. "Nearly everybody is 'for it,' [and, if the bill passed,] an appreciative public will reward you in the future," Douglass wrote Fergusson.  From the perspective of the Chamber of Commerce, passage of the bill during the 1914 session was imperative. Its members were willing to meet any conditions the New Mexico congressional delegation thought would help.
Despite Johnston's cooperation, Secretary Houston was not convinced of the need for such restrictive protection of the Pajarito Plateau. In early 1914, he expressed his sympathy for the idea to New Mexico Governor William McDonald, but also asserted that he did not yet see the need for specific park legislation. Douglass immediately worked to alter the bill to fit Houston's objections, but before he could counter the objections completely, the Department of the Interior sent him to western New Mexico to make an inspection. By the time he returned, the Forest Service had solidified its position. 
There were still problems within the Department of the Interior. When he made his report on S. 5176 for the Senate Public Lands Committee that July, GLO Commissioner Clay Tallman gave the project a luke-warm endorsement. He suggested that 94,275 acres on the west and south should be excluded from the 252,620-acre proposal. Because the bill included the entire Santa Clara reservation, Tallman also recommended a report from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Despite his slight objections, Tallman thought that the park was a good idea because it would "give uniform jurisdiction" to the ruins on reservation land and protection to those on the unreserved public domain. 
Although the Chamber of Commerce worked long and hard to please every constituency, S. 5176 was far from assured of passage. From the perspective of the Department of the Interior, the bill became too much of a compromise. It contained provisions that allowed the commercial use of resources in the park if later exploration revealed that economic potential existed. The Department of the Interior had begun to rid the national parks of commercial exploitation, and this vague clause presented evident future problems. Another unusual procedure allowed the Forest Service to retain its right to grant grazing permits and at the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior, the Forest Service could manage areas of the park as if it was a national forest. Houston previously objected to this clause, arguing that if the area was to be a national park, it ought to be reserved as such. The Department of the Interior agreed. From its perspective, the proposal suffered from unacceptable ambiguity.
Douglass' effort to appease the Department of Agriculture backfired. Not only did Houston object, the Department of the Interior could not live with the compromise either. In October 1914, Assistant Secretary of the Interior Bo Sweeney recommended that the Senate committee turn the bill back. He agreed that passage of the proposal would create a park with divided jurisdiction and asserted that the Department of the Interior wanted to wait until a bureau of national parks was established to pursue the project any farther. Then "competent persons connected therewith" could determine the feasibility of the project. Sweeney sent a copy of the letter containing the unfavorable recommendation along with his request that the House Committee also table the bill to Rep. Scott Ferris, the chairman of the House Public Lands Committee. 
Without the support of the Department of the Interior, the attempt to establish a Pajarito Plateau national park was finished. The bills on the floor of Congress did not meet the existing standards of the department. Threatened by the aggressiveness of Douglass and Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce and aware of the inferior national parks created during the first decade of the twentieth century, departmental officials backed off. Few representatives would vote to establish a national park of which the administering department did not approve, and efforts in Congress stalled.
The end of the park effort resulted in increased interest on the part of the Department of Agriculture. Secretary Houston continued to oppose the entire park idea, and realized that the failure of the existing proposal gave him an opportunity to terminate park proposals once and for all. He ordered an inspection of the region with an eye towards the creation of a national monument. Because Frijoles Canyon was included in the Jemez National Forest, a national monument established there became the responsibility of USFS.
Houston's idea resulted in the establishment of Bandelier National Monument. In early 1915, Will C. Barnes, the chief of grazing for the agency, and Arthur Ringland, the District Forester in Albuquerque, made an inspection tour of the area. They saw an "extraordinary exhibition of ruins and cliff-dwellings" and discussed the merits of national park status for the region. Ringland thought that a park was not warranted and the men agreed that a comparatively small monument, encompassing the important ruins in Frijoles Canyon, was. Barnes suggested naming the area for Adolph F. A. Bandelier, a recently deceased anthropologist who explored the region during the 1880s and 1890s.  Secretary Houston thought that a monument would offer the ruins adequate protection, and would also protect Forest Service land from what that agency perceived as a 200,000+ acre land-grab. Houston expedited the proposal. On February, 11, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the 22,400 acre Bandelier National Monument.
The USFS created the Bandelier National Monument as a way to circumvent the attempts to establish a national park on the Pajarito Plateau. The opposition of the Department of the Interior to Douglass' bill in 1914 offered the USFS an opening, and the earlier proposals to establish a national monument at Puye paved the way for the preservation of specific features in the region. Quick action on the part of Secretary of Agriculture Houston allowed the establishment of a national monument while pro-national park forces tried to regroup.
The creation of the monument was a victory for the utilitarian conservationism embodied in Forest Service policy. It removed what USFS officials and many local residents regarded as the prime threat to the commercial development of the region. The 22,400-acre tract established by statute did not lock up large areas of the Pajarito Plateau. The vast majority of the region was still open to homesteaders, stockmen, and other developers.
The proclamation, however, did not end disputes over land on the Pajarito Plateau. Edgar L. Hewett and William B. Douglass would once again find themselves on opposing sides of the park question. The new National Park Service would also try to establish a national park in the region, and the Forest Service would oppose its efforts as well. Disputes over the comparative value of the Pajarito Plateau were only beginning to become complicated.
Last Updated: 28-Aug-2006