THE COMING OF THE PARK SERVICE (continued)
The elevation of New Mexico Senator Albert Fall to the position of Secretary of the Interior made it no less so. An advocate of anything which made his personal estate grow, Fall earlier proposed an "All-Year Round" national park, to be created from a horseshoe of land surrounding his ranch in southeastern New Mexico. Although Fall's project had neither the scenic nor archeological importance of the Pajarito proposals, Mather could only tactfully resist his superior's alternative. As a result, after the Pajarito and Cliff Cities bills of 1919 died at the end of the session, Mather focused the little time he had for a national park in New Mexico to quietly thwarting Fall. 
In the meantime, enthusiasm for the park began to ebb. Senator Jones became "disgusted" with the entire project. With Hewett's assistance, he proposed the "Pajarita National Park" bill on July 1, 1919. Although Hewett called his offering "a radical revision . . . which will now make it acceptable to almost everyone," the bill completely banned grazing in the park. It revived all of the old livestock industry opposition. Understandably, Jones felt duped, and his interest in the project waned considerably. Hewett's opponents in Santa Fe called it an attempt to "muddy the waters" and stymie any future attempts to create a park in the region.  By early 1920, there were no bills to establish the park on the floor of Congress. Even Douglass was out of ideas. At the end of 1921, the project looked hopeless.
But times were changing, and Hewett needed new allies. By the end of World War I, roads and automobiles began to crisscross the Southwest. Travel became an American preoccupation. The promotional efforts of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad brought many visitors to Santa Fe and the Southwest, and The Pajarito Plateau ceased to be remote. The archeological ruins on the Pajarito Plateau were still unreserved and more people visited them each year. The opportunities for depredation increased dramatically. Hewett realized this and began to look for new friends to aid his cause. Although he initially feared Park Service restrictions upon his work, Hewett soon came to admire the breadth of Mather's vision, and the agency became a likely candidate for his attention.
By early 1923, Hewett had created an alliance with the Park Service. The relationship began during 1921 and 1922, when Hewett and the agency developed a cooperative agreement for excavation and maintenance of the Gran Quivira (Salinas) National Monument. Gradually, Hewett realized that the Park Service could offer him better opportunities to excavate than did the Forest Service. He liked the Park Service people, particularly the self-trained superintendent of southwestern national monuments, Frank "Boss" Pinkley.
Short, thin, and stern, Pinkley was a straight-forward perfectionist and self-trained archeologist who respected Hewett's professional contributions and deferred to him in matters concerning archeology at Gran Quivira. Pinkley efficiently handled the administration of the project, making one less headache for the perennially over-extended Hewett. Pleased with the support, he came to respect Pinkley, seeing in the superintendent something of himself. The Gran Quivira excavation laid the basis for cooperation between Hewett and the NPS.
There was little animosity toward Hewett within the Park Service. Most of his opposition preceded Park Service efforts in the area, and the agency had no real evidence that Hewett opposed its interests in 1919. Douglass made Hewett into a villain in his correspondence with Park Service officials, but after a point, their interest in Douglass' personal feelings evaporated. Mather cultivated important people, and Hewett's powerbase was as broad as any in the Southwest. Soon, Hewett and Associate Director Arno B. Cammerer were involved in correspondence concerning the Pajarito Plateau. The Park Service was in the process of redefining its policy on the Pajarito Plateau and sought Hewett's perspective.  According to Cammerer, "neither the Department nor the Park Service has expressed itself on [the Pajarito] question;" the field was open.  Hewett quickly filled the void. By the middle of the summer, he worked up his own proposal, which he transmitted to Robert Sterling Yard, the Executive Secretary of the National Parks Association in Washington.
Hewett wanted the entire range of natural features and archeological ruins upon the plateau within the boundaries of his park. This included the Baca Location #1, now known as the Valles Caldera, west of the monument, the existing Bandelier National Monument, the Ramon Vigil Grant, and the Santa Clara reservation, including the Puye ruins. It was, Hewett insisted, "the greatest thing possible in the way of a national park project that is left in America . . . The southwest should not be handed a 'lame duck' among National Parks. What I have indicated is of National size." Hewett thought that acquiring the private lands, including the Baca and Ramon Vigil Grants, sections of the Canyon de San Diego grant, as well as the portion of the Santa Clara reservation which contained Puye, were the main obstacles. "You indicated, when we talked this over in Washington, that you would like a big job for the Association to tackle," Hewett reminded Yard. "Well, here it is." 
The astute Hewett asked that the Washington Office of the National Parks Association make the proposal. He wanted to avoid the outpouring of the animosity that his earlier maneuvering might generate in Santa Fe. Hewett offered his map, suggesting that Yard make a new tracing and send copies to newspapers throughout New Mexico. He assured Yard that all would enthusiastically support the proposition.
Ironically, had Hewett joined the initiative prior to 1919, there would most likely be a national park on the Pajarito Plateau today. With his support, the park project stood a much better chance of passage than without it. But by 1923, the terms of the conflict changed, and even his advocacy was not sufficient. In the 1910s, Hewett helped the USFS develop its response to the Park Service, and by 1923, the Forest Service regarded the NPS as a threat to its status as an agency. Foresters firmly opposed any project that took commercially valuable national forest land and reserved it within a "single- use" national park.  In northern New Mexico, Edgar L. Hewett was responsible for the perspective of the Forest Service. He drew the battle lines between the two agencies. One kind of opposition to the idea of a national park had disappeared. Another more potent kind emerged.
USFS opposition failed to prevent a reawakening of pro- park sentiment. Hewett was a powerful influence upon the press in New Mexico and as he predicted, the newspapers in the state endorsed his proposal. Preeminent in her support was Adela Holmquist of the Albuquerque Herald. Her article of July 15, 1923, supporting the creation of a Pajarito Plateau park, was reprinted in El Palacio on August 1, 1923. With her reprint enclosed, Holmquist wrote the President of the United States to further the cause. Secretary of the Interior Dr. Hubert Work responded, telling Holmquist that the department had no active legislation to put in front of Congress. Holmquist and the other advocates began to develop a bill. In April, 1924, New Mexico Congressman John Morrow went to Cammerer to discuss boundaries for the bill he planned to propose.
Public support was a welcome addition that led to concerted Park Service interest in the park project. Prior to 1923, the agency invested tremendous time and effort in park proposals on the Pajarito Plateau. With little to show for their efforts and other important projects afoot, agency officials were not inclined to send out another investigator to explore the ruins and report one more time. At the National Parks Association, Bob Yard enlisted the assistance of Dr. Willis T. Lee of the National Geographic Society. Yard wanted Lee to make a "reconnaissance" of the region. Lee had just finished work at the new Carlsbad Cave National Monument, the focus of another drive for transfer to national park status and was an advocate of the National Park System. Yard realized that he could provide the spark that the NPS needed. "A lot of good . . . could be done without in the least forcing Mr. Mather's hand," Yard wrote John Oliver La Gorce, the vice-president of the National Geographic Society.  Yard pointed out that there had been much resentment of the proposed "All-Year Round" National Park in northern New Mexico and that leaders in the northern half of the state supported the effort to topple Albert Fall two years earlier. Yard felt that the time had come to pay that debt by arranging for another examination of the area.
Although La Gorce specifically forbade involvement in the political side of the issue, he permitted Lee to go on a fact- finding tour of the Pajarito Plateau. Lee reported that the Hewett proposal was a good idea. Thus, while Morrow prepared his bill, Mather went to the Coordinating Committee on National Parks and Forests to propose the enlargement of a number of park areas and another national park for the Pajarito Plateau.
Again, the NPS pressured the Forest Service and the foresters resisted. Mather's proposal involved the transfer of 195,000 acres from the USFS to the NPS. Skeptical from the outset, the USFS reviewed Mather's proposal. On July 10, 1925, the Forest Service announced that in its view, the transfer was unjustified. The natural features were "admittedly . . . distinctive . . . but not of such grandeur or impressiveness as to meet the common construction of National Park standards." In the spirit of compromise, the Forest Service was willing to concede the existing Bandelier National Monument on the condition that the NPS place a full-time employee in Frijoles Canyon.
The Forest Service tried to protect its interests by becoming advocates of preservation of the area. The foresters took a dim view of Park Service development plans. They claimed to have the "requirements of the seriously-minded interested visitor in mind," and clearly stated that they would not encourage the building of an automobile road into Frijoles Canyon.  The Forest Service believed that Mather and Albright abandoned preservation during the 1920s in an effort to garner public support for the fledgling agency. It left a gap its officials hoped to fill.
With such a distinct difference of opinions in the two agencies, resolution in Washington, D. C., seemed unlikely, and the Coordinating Commission on National Parks and Forests planned an inspection tour for September 1925. Congressman Henry W. Temple of Pennsylvania, a known park advocate, headed the committee, which included Park and Forest Service representatives. Mather's schedule did not permit him to participate, and he chose as his substitute Jesse L. Nusbaum, formerly one of Hewett's assistants and the Superintendent of Mesa Verde National Park. Arthur Ringland, the district forester at the Grand Canyon National Monument during the Forest Service tenure there, was also a member of the committee.
The committee wanted to gauge local sentiment about the national park that Mather proposed for the Bandelier region. On September 17, Nusbaum found a sympathetic audience in Albuquerque, where all who came to the public meeting "desired a National Park or Monument area and were not hesitant about saying so." According to Nusbaum, the people of Albuquerque recognized the economic value of the proposed park, and their support kept the two Forest Service representatives from offering any substantive opposition to the proposal.
The hearing the following night in Santa Fe began similarly. Edgar L. Hewett chaired another public meeting that looked to express more pro-park sentiment. Hewett traced the history of prior efforts to create a park in the region and pointed out the shortcomings of each. Congressman Temple stood up to explain the purpose of his committee and make clear that he wanted to get a reading of local sentiment on the question. As Temple sat, the Forest Service representatives took their cue, and the efforts to stymie the establishment of a national park in north central New Mexico began in earnest.
In the months preceding the visit of the committee, A. J. Connell, a former Forest Service employee who ran the Los Alamos Ranch School, about twelve miles from Frijoles Canyon, "started a campaign of defamation of the Park Service and the National Park idea." According to Nusbaum, Connell threatened to close his school if a national park was created and "in the course of his talk [at a local gathering] and in subsequent talks, made public personal statements which any person knowing anything of the Park Service would know as absolute falsehoods." Among other mistruths, Connell convinced some area landholders that the Park Service would seize their land, ban private cars in the park, forbid local residents to collect even dead timber, and force visitors to pay "to ride in the shrieking yellow busses of the transportation monopolies." 
Nusbaum felt that Connell maliciously misstated the objectives and policies of the National Park Service in an attempt to thwart the creation of the park. In fact, the agency followed a policy that allowed any reasonable compromise furthering the procurement of land in a region under consideration for national park status. In 1917, the Department of the Interior briefly allowed grazing in Yosemite, and the precedent for allowing the collection of dead timber for private use was established at Mukuntuweap National Monument [later Zion] in 1914.  But Connell mustered strong and vocal resistance to the idea of a national park on the Pajarito Plateau.
Nusbaum found himself in a difficult situation. "The Forest Service had all the objectors to the plan lined up for the meeting," and because he chaired the meeting, Hewett felt compelled to remain neutral. Ambushed, the park advocates were leaderless and unorganized, and Nusbaum got little support. Barrington Moore, a former Forest Service employee and the editor of Ecology Magazine, and Assistant Forester Leon F. Kneipp mercilessly pounded Nusbaum with questions, while Ringland, who was responsible for the monument proclamation in 1916, was "apparently . . . bored to death [by talk of the region], and every remark he made belittled the area as a national park." 
The entire meeting proved uncomfortable for Nusbaum and the park constituency. Even with the support of Temple and New Mexico Congressman John Morrow, Nusbaum felt that the evening was a failure. He was ambushed because of his unpreparedness. As a result, the hearing weighed the question of a national park on the basis of innuendo and propaganda, not on its merits as an important piece of the archeological past of North America.
The Forest Service opposed the park because it did not believe that the preservation of archeological ruins required the reservation of large areas of timber and pasture land upon the plateau. Local residents, not tourists from afar, were its constituency, and its position dictated that the economic value of forest land was at least equal to the cultural value of archeological sites. From the local perspective, foresters contended, the timber and pasture lands were critical to the development of the region. If archeological ruins could be administered in conjunction with the commercial use of forest land, then a compromise was possible. A large national park, restricting the use of resources in the Santa Fe National Forest, was out of the question.
Although it was a despondent Nusbaum who continued with the committee to visit the ruins the following day, the damage to his cause was minimal. Despite the public battering he took, prospects for a national park in the northern half of New Mexico seemed excellent. Although the resistance of the Forest Service surprised Morrow, he and Temple remained strong proponents of the national park.  The Forest Service representatives knew that Temple's support of the proposal put them at a disadvantage. As the only congress person on the committee and the only member without a vested interest in the outcome, his opinion outweighed all the others.
Kneipp, Moore, and Ringland sought opportunities to make their case without NPS interference. Nusbaum complained that the foresters kept him away from Temple during the visit to the Pajarito Plateau. Taking Temple to lunch at Connell's Los Alamos Ranch School, the Forest Service men "wasted much valuable time" during the meal in what Nusbaum interpreted as an attempt to steer Temple away from the El Rito de Los Frijoles ruins. By the time the party arrived, it was nearly dark, and the Forest Service custodian showed the visitors the ruins in what Nusbaum called "a very superficial way."
Finally, the group ended up at the cottage where Temple stayed. In a long impassioned speech, Kneipp claimed that the Forest Service could do everything the Park Service could and more for less money. He questioned the need to sacrifice large areas of forest land to allow a national park big enough to fit the arbitrary standards that Mather and Albright established in other cases earlier in the 1920s. Nusbaum then reiterated the Park Service position, that the agency needed the large area to protect the ruins and physical features of the region. The time to deal with the question head on arrived. "Maps were laid down," and the process of orchestrating an acceptable agreement began.
Last Updated: 28-Aug-2006