Administrative History
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The citizens of New Mexico, however, continued to support the idea of a park. The New Mexico Federation of Women's Clubs offered its support in 1917, and the membership of the New Mexico National Park Association grew. The Department of the Interior took Douglass' advice and adversely reported upon S. 2542. The bill died at the end of the 64th session of Congress. But Douglass continued to make important inroads in support of the concept of a park.

The 65th session saw the introduction of three new bills proposing a Pajarito region national park. Both political parties wanted credit for the establishment of the park. Republican Catron introduced S. 8326 on March 1, while on April 16, 1917, Congressman William Walton followed with House Bill 3216. On Mat 11, Senator A. A. Jones, a Democrat and the former Assistant Secretary of the Interior, introduced his own measure, S. 2291.

Propositions for a national park in north central New Mexico inundated the fledgling National Park Service. Even the New Mexico State Legislature overwhelmingly supported the national park idea. With the support of both houses, Governor W. E. Lindsey drafted a memorial to the United States Congress that urged its creation. In early 1918, the typically enthusiastic Douglass took the memorial to Washington to agitate in favor of the project.

Douglass was an effective lobbyist, but there were many obstacles to success. On February 26, 1918, he met with Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane and gave him the memorial. He also sent the memorial and the copies of Jones' proposal to the United States Forester and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. On March 8, 1918, Douglass met with Mather's assistant, Horace M. Albright, and found him anxious to proceed. The project, however, became tangled in the Department of the Interior. Puye was a part of the proposal, and Charles Burke, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, requested that the Park Service hold up its report to Congress. He wanted his superintendent in Santa Fe to evaluate the impact of the proposal on the Santa Clara Indians. Albright and Mather reluctantly agreed. The superintendent of the Santa Fe Indian School, Frederick Snyder opposed the project. Burke informally communicated this to Albright, who asked Burke to hold Snyder's report until he could investigate further. Until early 1919, the Bureau of Indian Affairs abided by Albright's request. But when Joseph Cotter of the NPS, apparently unaware of Albright's maneuvering, called Burke, the commissioner explained the delay and told Cotter that the Bureau of Indian Affairs had to oppose the inclusion of the pueblo in the park. [6]

When informed of the developments, Mather telegraphed Albright to tell him of the opposition of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. "Proposition now up to us," Mather telegraphed, "don't feel we should delay matter further by promising investigation." [7] Albright responded in a telegram the following day: "regardless of Indian Office believe we should favor Cliff Cities project to extent of delaying final report to Congress pending investigation Cliff Cities region as wonderful as Mesa Verde in many ways[.]" [8] The Park Service supported the bill, but because of Snyder's opposition, the Department of the Interior did not take the bill to Congress.

New bills bloomed during the spring of 1919, kindling the enthusiasm of the Park Service. Senator Jones offered S. 666, "Creating the National Park of the Cliff Cities" once again on May 23, 1919, and on July 1, he revived a bill approximating the offering of 1916 to which Hewett had objected so vehemently. With the new interest, the Park Service began to maneuver. Mather commissioned a new inspection of the region and selected Herbert W. Gleason, a Department of the Interior inspector who was also an old friend of his, to visit the Pajarito Plateau as part of a tour of other proposed park areas in the Southwest during the summer of 1919.

Gleason reached the region in early June and made his tour. He visited the Bandelier National Monument, its detached sections, Otowi and Tsankawi, as well as Navawi, Tschirege, and other ruins. He also met with Douglass at his camp in Ojo Caliente, with Mary Austin, a noted author, in Espanola, and with Santiago Naranjo, the Governor of the Santa Clara Pueblo.

The region impressed Gleason, and protection of the Pajarito Plateau became an imperative in his mind. He labelled himself a "violent advocate" of the park proposal. Gleason found himself "righteously indignant in Otowi Canyon . . . to find that 'a woman from Philadelphia' had been at work there, upheaving the mounds, making no effort to preserve the walls [of the ruin]." Hewett had sponsored Mrs. L. L. W. Wilson, a teacher from Philadelphia, and between 1915 and 1917, she and a crew excavated Otowi under a School of American Archeology permit. She took the artifacts she collected to the Commercial Museum of Philadelphia. Gleason was appalled at what her crew left behind. They had been "heaping up rubbish in the effort to secure pottery relics," he indignantly informed Mather. [9] Douglass convinced Gleason that the establishment of the park would stop this kind of work. [10]

Gleason cited stockmen as the major source of opposition to the project. In his view, the livestock industry was a more significant obstacle than the Forest Service, a mistake that revealed his superficial understanding of the situation. When he found that the public overwhelmingly supported the idea of a park, Hewett worked to ensure that the Forest Service opposed all proposals. Douglass convinced Gleason that Hewett's "opposition [concealed] is based on the fact he will be shorn of his present authority and prestige if the park is created." Gleason, moreover, failed to see Hewett's behind-the-scenes maneuvering.

Hewett had good reason to be afraid of the latest round of park proposals. While visiting the Santa Clara Pueblo, Gleason made an agreement with Santiago Naranjo that would have curtailed Hewett's privileges. Naranjo complained that "alleged archeologists" indiscriminately dug on the Santa Clara reservation and wanted "to be able to say to these would-be diggers just where they may dig and [where] they shall not dig." Based on Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane's prior support of Indian rights, Gleason promised the governor that he and his successors would have the authority to prevent the excavation of ancient tribal burials and other sacred places. Despite close relations between Hewett and the Santa Claras, had the Park Service assumed responsible for the Puye ruins, Hewett's excavations could have been curbed at Naranjo's request.

The other apparent obstacle to creation of the park was the grazing issue. As always, Douglass contended that a stance of "no grazing" by the department meant no park. He made a "strong plea" for retaining the grazing clause in the proposed bill. Mary Austin told Gleason that she believed in "intelligent grazing," and Gleason remarked that he did not think grazing would be a problem as he "saw no cattle during all [his] journeys through the territory . . . [as] all the cattle grazing is done in the winter." Sheep grazing was even less of an obstacle. The only sheep in the region grazed the Ramon Vigil Grant. Will C. Barnes of the Forest Service further diminished the potential for grazing when he indicated that rangeland within the national forest could not support sheep. Gleason told Douglass to muster the park supporters and "frame a bill which would incorporate their ideas and then thrash out with Mr. Albright the question of grazing" on the Pajarito Plateau. [11] The following day, Douglass wrote Albright, imploring him to allow grazing permits within the new park. Douglass repeated his long-standing contention that the New Mexico Stockmen's Association controlled the political hierarchy in the state and without its support, the project was doomed. Albright believed Gleason's contention that grazing was not a threat to park values in the region. He told Douglass that the latest revision of the bill allowed livestock grazing. [12]

Albright's concurrence elated Douglass. He believed that only one source of opposition remained: Edgar L. Hewett. Hewett continued to resist the "Cliff Cities" name, preferring instead his own "Pajarito National Park." Douglass asserted that Hewett joined forces with the "Forest Service in its effort to defeat this legislation," and the Park Service had to find a way around such an important adversary. [13]

Again protecting his interests, Hewett was instrumental in creating the conflict between the Forest Service and the NPS that dominated the Pajarito Plateau throughout the 1920s. Almost from the day of the establishment of the National Park Service, the two agencies engaged in a spirited rivalry. The missions and constituencies of both were similar and the agencies often coveted the same parcels of land for their programs. Conflict was inevitable in situations like the one that existed on the Pajarito Plateau.

The Forest Service had also accommodated Hewett's requests for permission to excavate its lands. He had been the primary archeological client of the USFS since before the establishment of the Bandelier National Monument. Forest Service officials such as Will Barnes were his personal friends, and the district foresters and the supervisor of the Santa Fe National Forest, Don Johnston, had great respect for Hewett. He served as their unofficial advisor on archeological issues. By the early 1920s, his word on land matters carried great weight among foresters in the Southwest.

As a peripheral character in the drama, Gleason was not always aware of the conflicts that existed before his arrival in New Mexico. His assessments were too often based on surface analysis and the opinion of the last participant with whom he spoke. After speaking with Naranjo, he assumed that the Santa Clara Indians had no objection to the inclusion of their reservation in the national park. In fact, this issue would split the Pueblo badly. His focus upon the stockmen as the primary source of opposition was also off the mark. He did, however, correctly assess the issue in question. Commercial use of natural resources became the center of the dispute, but the adversaries of the Park Service were not the local stockmen. Instead, the NPS and the Forest Service battled over incommensurable land values. The Park Service contrasted its emphasis on archeological preservation and inspirational scenery with the timber and grazing policies of the USFS.

Gleason's indiscretion contributed to the decline in relations between the two agencies. While in New Mexico, he gave interviews about the proposal that "very much disturbed" United States Forester Henry Graves. "It is best to be careful and not commit yourself on propositions like this," were Mather's words of caution to his old friend. [14] But the damage was done. When Gleason, Douglass, and Mather met in Washington in October 1919, Forest Service officials in Washington were strenuously objecting to the project. They argued that the value of the commercial resources of the region outweighed the scientific value of preserving the ruins.

The Park Service tried a novel approach, compromising on the content of the park in order to avoid conflict with the USFS. Mather asked Douglass if he could create a park without taking in any national forest land. Douglass thought that it was possible but such a park would contain few important features. The group agreed that it would be best to get a national park no matter what the limitations and worry about extending it at a later date. Anxious for some kind of successful action, Douglass agreed to this new proposition and drew up a map and bill to present to Congress.

Such a rapid ad-hoc move created a completely new set of problems. The new proposal failed to address the preservation value of the plateau. Instead, the division of land among Federal agencies determined the boundaries of the park proposition. Someone had a claim on nearly everything on the plateau. Between national forest land, private grants, and Indian reservations, there was little left from which to create a national park. As a result, Douglass' new proposal was "confined almost wholly to the Santa Clara Indian reservation." [15] It was small, insignificant, and inferior to every other national park established during Mather's tenure.

The new proposal was unworthy of the national park designation. It had few supporters. Even Gleason thought it was specious. Mather had worked to exclude such atrocities from the system. Yet this latest proposal, drawn up at his request, did not even include the existing Bandelier National Monument, Otowi, Tsankawi, Navawi, or Tschirege. It contained few ruins, less scenery, and was minuscule in comparison to the other western national parks.

Instead, Gleason suggested a tactic that the NPS would come to favor: ask for a great deal more than could possibly be acquired and settle for more than was initially thought possible. From his perspective, Puye was the primary archeological attraction in the region, and the Park Service needed to begin there. It was more accessible than the road less Frijoles Canyon and received almost three times the annual visitation. As a result, Gleason believed that any national park established in the region must include the Puye ruins. A park with Puye as a central feature could become a foundation for the gradual acquisition of a significant park. Already reserved as a national monument, El Rito de Los Frijoles could become a later addition.

Even with Gleason's far-sighted suggestion, such a truncated proposition was of little interest to the Park Service. The Grand Canyon, Lafayette [Acadia], and Zion National Parks were the latest additions to the system, and Douglass' proposal was clearly inferior to the standards Mather and Albright insisted upon. Encompassing only 60,800 acres, instead of the 195,000 that Gleason suggested, the bill "practically eliminated all the features and ruins for which the national park was originally proposed to preserve." [16] It was barely worth the effort to research the status of the lands involved.

The latest proposal was an example of taking the pragmatic approach of the Park Service too far. Peripherally acquainted with the issue, Mather made his suggestion in order to expedite the process. Exasperated after years of failure, Douglass was willing to try almost anything. Only Gleason was able to keep perspective under the circumstances. Although he also would have acquiesced, he pointed out the larger picture. The Park Service upheld its commitment to quality park areas, and Mather's "park game" remained complicated.

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Last Updated: 28-Aug-2006