By April 1970, the proposed Capitol Reef National Park legislative data had been compiled. Hearings in both the Senate and House were scheduled before the November elections, and the National Park Service was asked to respond to the various bills proffered by the Utah delegation. These hearings offered the National Park Service an opportunity specifically to address Congress on Capitol Reef legislation for the first time: all previous creation and expansion decisions regarding Capitol Reef had taken place solely through interior department investigations and presidential proclamations.
On April 23, 1970, Rep. Burton introduced his compromise to the Capitol Reef dilemma. His bill, H.R. 17152, would create a combined Capitol Reef National Park and Recreation Area of approximately 218,000 acres (Fig. 33). Burton's proposal was similar to both the park service and Moss plans, but it eliminated the heavily-grazed eastern half of Cathedral Valley and made the area south of the Burr Trail a multiple-use recreation area with grazing and mining.  By this time, Sen. Bennett was no longer actively promoting his bill (S.399) to return boundaries to their pre-proclamation size, instead throwing his support to Burton. This left the Republican Burton and Democrat Moss proposals the only ones working their way through committee during the second session of the 91st Congress. It should be noted that this Congress was still controlled by a Democratic majority that was in the midst of passing a significant amount of new environmental legislation largely encouraged by Richard Nixon, a Republican president.
An additional hearing on Moss' S. 531 bill was held on May 28, 1970. Since this hearing took place in Washington, it was poorly attended. In stark contrast to the Utah hearings, only Sen. Bennett issued a statement in opposition to the Moss bill. 
By this time, Moss' proposal had been refined from the one he had hastily offered the previous year. His park proposal would now include 230,837 acres--somewhat less than proposed the previous year. Moss' Amendment 17 would further clarify the private and multiple-use lands within the proposed park. Moss determined that all private lands within the new boundaries should be purchased. As for grazing rights, the senator proposed to:
The National Park Service responded to the bills sponsored by Moss, Bennett, and Burton by requesting amendments that would actually increase the 1969 expanded monument boundaries by another 23,500 acres. The reason for the increase, according to Interior Under Secretary Fred Russell, was to ensure that "the boundary encompass to the greatest extent possible the geological features of the area, and that the boundary follow natural lines of terrain." Russell added:
The National Park Service justified the new boundaries on the basis that Strike Valley, east of the Fold between Cedar Mesa and Halls Creek, is "an integral part of the geologic structure known as Waterpocket Fold, a monocline," and further argued:
The National Park Service boundaries would add 17,245 acres of former BLM lands, 1,278 acres in state-owned sections, and 4,347 acres of Fishlake National Forest in the vicinity of upper Deep Creek.
The most important changes affecting management concerned grazing. The National Park Service believed Moss' more politically expedient and flexible 25-year phase-out would not guarantee adequate resource protection. The agency, instead, requested a strict, 10-year phase-out. The Washington office was thus supporting Heyder's field investigation and management finding that cattle grazing and resource protection were incompatible. Under Secretary Russell said:
It was estimated that if the annual and term grazing permits issued before January 1969 were considered, termination dates under a 10-year phase-out plan would range from June 30, 1971 to June 30, 1978. This desire to phase out grazing as soon as possible became a cornerstone of Capitol Reef management philosophy from that point. The National Park Service-suggested amendments did include a proviso insuring the continued right to use stock driveways across park lands, so long as the Secretary of Interior could set guidelines for their use. 
As part of the legislative support data, the National Park Service also came up with staffing, budget, and development projections for the next five years. It was anticipated that personnel would grow from 11 FTE (full time equivalent persons per year) in 1970 to 23 FTE in 1975, of which 21 would be permanent. The key additions would include a GS-11 chief ranger, a GS-9 "maintenance superintendent," and additional clerical and seasonal help. 
Projected development outside the Fruita headquarters area called for a ranger station, primitive campground, picnic area, and road improvements in both and north and south districts. An additional three miles of road (from the top of the Burr Trail from Upper Muley Twist Canyon to Strike Valley Overlook) and 14 miles of trails were to be built in the southern part of the park. 
The entire package was estimated to increase Capitol Reef's budget from $450,000 in 1970 to $2.5 million in 1975. An additional $328,000 was earmarked to purchase the remaining inholdings, which now included the Sleeping Rainbow Guest Ranch, the Campbell section (encompassing the old Behunin Cabin), and the Capitol Reef Lodge property of Clair Bird. Needless to say, these projections were optimistic.
On June 24, 1970, Sen. Moss' bill, S. 531, was favorably reported out of committee and was passed smoothly by the whole Senate on July 2. Since this bill still called for the smaller additions and 25-year grazing phase-out, the National Park Service now focused on amending Burton's national park/national recreation area bill to create the 254,000-acre park with a 10- year phase-out. 
In September, the House Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation of the Committee of Interior and Insular Affairs held hearings on Burton's H.R.17152 and Moss', S.531 which had already passed in the Senate. The subcommittee was chaired by Rep. Roy Taylor of North Carolina. Again, the hearing was poorly attended, with only San Juan County Commissioner Calvin Black, an outspoken critic of national park expansion in Utah, testifying in favor of Burton's multiple-use recreation area concept. Black did not mind giving Capitol Reef national park status so long as recreational development, such as the paving of the highway from Boulder to Bullfrog by way of the Burr Trail, and utility and grazing rights-of-way were guaranteed. According to Black, Burton's bill offered the best option for southern Utah.  When asked by Chairman Taylor if the local residents agreed with him, Black answered:
The Washington hearings also enabled the conservation lobby to express its support for an expanded, single-use Capitol Reef National Park. George Anderson of the Friends of the Earth not only testified in favor of the 254,000-acre National Park Service proposal, but also suggested that the new name should be Waterpocket Fold National Park. Anderson believed that tourism would replace lost ranching income. He also expressed the common opinion of many national park expansion advocates that continued multiple-use of the park lands would "not only leave the Waterpocket Fold open to the kind of niggling deterioration and uncoordinated planning that [would] tear down a great resource, but it would also waste the opportunity to make this part of Utah famous." 
In a seeming contradiction, however, the Friends of the Earth legislative director also urged that compromises be pursued to ensure "ways of providing for grazing and other existing uses." Anderson argued that "none of these uses need interfere with establishing a great national park here." 
National Park Service Director George B. Hartzog, Jr., also testified at this hearing. He was joined at the witness table by Chief Ranger Bert Speed (even though Superintendent Wallace had now been at Capitol Reef for over a year) and Mike Lambe of the Washington office legislative division. Hartzog reiterated the National Park Service proposal outlined above. The director specifically recommended that the entire unit be administered as a national park, rather than splitting the southern end into a recreation area. This led to an interesting exchange between Hartzog and Rep. Wayne Aspinall. As full committee chairman, Aspinall carried considerable weight in determining the fate of this bill. Aspinall was particularly concerned about why Capitol Reef should be changed from a national monument to a national park:
This exchange made it clear that not only was national park designation more favorable in the eyes of Congress and the public, but that monument creation was no longer such a viable alternative in creating additional National Park Service lands. Capitol Reef would be one of the last areas south of Alaska to be expanded through presidential proclamation. If it could withstand the controversy surrounding that expansion, Capitol Reef's future as a national park was all but assured.
Shortly after the November national elections, Aspinall went on an extended honeymoon, leaving instructions that no legislation was to pass in his absence. Meanwhile, Burton lost his attempt to dislodge Moss from his Senate seat. With Bennett's quiet departure from the issue, only Moss was left to carry on the struggle for a Capitol Reef National Park into the next session. 
In early January 1971, Sen. Moss reintroduced his bills to create Capitol Reef and Arches National Parks. When introduced, S.29, "a bill to establish the Capitol Reef National Park in the State of Utah," was almost identical to the S.531 that had died in the previous Senate.  The only difference was a new shaping of the eastern boundary in the southern portion of the park to conform to the natural cliff line east of the Waterpocket Fold. This idea had been proposed by the National Park Service the year before. This boundary would add about 11,000 acres to Moss' previous bill, but would still be approximately 12,000 acres smaller than the expanded monument or the National Park Service proposal. 
Moss was not only concerned with Capitol Reef and Arches. During the same session he also sponsored bills to create a Canyon Country Parkway, give statutory authorization to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and to add 80,000 acres to Canyonlands National Park. All this congressional focus on southern Utah must have kept National Park Service officials very busy. Meanwhile, at Capitol Reef, additional resource data were gathered and management concerns were refined.
In an advisory Environmental Statement for Capitol Reef National Park first drafted in May 1971, Southern Utah Group Superintendent Karl Gilbert focused on resource descriptions, impacts, and alternative considerations. This document was apparently used in-house to draft the legislative support data for the 1971 congressional hearings, since many of the same ideas can be found in both. 
Issues affecting the new park included the following:
In summary, the Environmental Statement reported that ending short-term, multiple-use would gradually give way to long term benefits. The statement argued:
Thus, the National Park Service was beginning to realize the tremendous resources and complex management issues facing the proposed Capitol Reef National Park. Notably, however, there is very little said in any of the legislative support documents about possible adverse economic and political reactions to a 10-year phase-out of grazing. Without doubt, the absence of multiple-use practices was going to improve the natural environment of the park. Yet, the question of how to improve local relations, severely damaged over the last two years, was not even addressed. It was evidently assumed that an eventual tourist boom would ease the distress of local residents.
By mid-1971, opposition to an expanded Capitol Reef was no longer read in newspapers or heard on the floor of Congress. Residents may have continued to complain among themselves, but for the most part had resigned themselves to the inevitable expansion. The one benefit seen by neighboring communities was that it also appeared Capitol Reef would finally become a national park, a goal sought by local boosters since the 1920s.
The Senate hearings in 1971 drew little opposition; most of the time was spent refining the bill.  On June 22, in less than a minute each, the Senate passed all four of the Moss bills concerning southern Utah. 
At the same time, newly elected Democratic Rep. Gunn Mackay, who replaced Burton, introduced similar legislation (H.9053) in the House. The hearings in the lower chamber were equally quiet. Calvin Black was back to testify against the bill, but even he realized that he was just "one voice crying in the wilderness."  In early October, the House passed its version of the bill, with even Aspinall speaking in favor. 
In November, a conference committee convened to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions. The final wording and disagreements were easily worked out and a favorable report sent back to both chambers. The compromises worked out in the conference committee both concurred and dissented with National Park Service recommendations. Because of the importance of the final wording of the bill, it is necessary to examine the difference between the House and Senate versions and the reasons for the bill's final language. 
In summary, the conference committee favored the House version of the Capitol Reef National Park bill because it was more specific and more in line with the requirements of other southern Utah parks.
The House of Representatives passed S.29 with the conference committee changes on December 7, and the Senate passed the bill on December 9. It was now up to President Richard Nixon to sign the enabling legislation for Capitol Reef National Park into law.
The Department of the Interior recommended the bill be signed. In correspondence with George Shultz, then director of the Office of Management and Budget, Assistant Interior Secretary Nathaniel Reed pointed out that there were some significant differences between S.29, as passed by the Senate and House, and the National Park Service proposal. The agency, however, would have little trouble living with the changes. The money approved was consistent with park service figures and the road and wilderness studies would, most likely, not cause financial hardship. The decrease of approximately 12,000 acres from the National Park Service plan was not seen as a major problem. 
The only major concerns were with grazing and rights-of-way. According to Assistant Secretary Reed, stipulations permitting rights-of-way that did not inflict "significant adverse effects on the administration of the park" were not enough of a safeguard. The "adverse effects" qualifier would be interpreted as broadly as possible to protect the park's resources.
Insofar as grazing was concerned, the National Park Service had argued for a 10-year phase-out plan throughout legislative battle. While the one-time renewal was not what the agency requested, it had to be more pleased with this alternative than with the 25-year or greater period proposed under the Senate bill.
In short, the bill did not concur entirely with the National Park Service plans for Capitol Reef, but it was close enough to recommend passage. After all, a new, 242,000-acre national park had to be a more pleasant alternative than a return to 39,000 acres or a split national park and recreation area. With the able assistance of Sen. Moss and newly elected Rep. Mackay, the National Park Service and Capitol Reef supporters had finally succeeded in creating an expanded Capitol Reef National Park, just as Stewart Udall had envisioned back in December 1968.
President Nixon signed the Capitol Reef National Park bill into law on December 18, 1971.  The park supporters had prevailed over the multiple-use advocates--for the time being. Now the question was, could Capitol Reef management develop and protect its newly-gained resources in the manner befitting a true "crown jewel" like Yellowstone, Yosemite, or Zion National Parks?
Capitol Reef National Park protects one of the most spectacular physical barriers in the world. Its first human explorers, whether of American Indian or European descent, must have been in awe of the beautiful, twisted landscape. Later, Mormon farmers and ranchers would become economically dependent on the isolated, mostly unregulated public lands that surrounded their small communities.
When early boosters sought national park status for Wayne Wonderland, their goal was not so much resource protection as further economic development through roads and tourism. At the same time, the National Park Service was looking at expanding its influence and services into the scenic Southwest. The movement to establish Capitol Reef National Monument thus served the interests of both local businessmen and the fledgling environmental movement, but for different reasons.
After its establishment in 1937, continued isolation and the outbreak of war meant that Capitol Reef was virtually ignored for the next 20 years. The wealthy tourists and writers who visited the more accessible national parks did not come to Capitol Reef. Instead, the vast majority of visitors to Capitol Reef National Monument were Utah residents who, while still enjoying the scenery, usually viewed the monument from the perspective of traditional, multiple- resource use. This point of view was, and still is, in sharp contrast to the National Park Service mission to provide for aesthetic enjoyment and resource preservation.
Beginning with grazing and mining conflicts, and continuing through the road construction and other monument developments funded by Mission 66 appropriations, these different land-use philosophies became glaringly apparent. During and after each conflict, the barriers of culture and attitude would continue to hinder constructive dialogue and understanding. It was as if the two sides were traveling different roads and, coming to a crossroads, collided--instead of looking to see where the other side was coming from.
The controversy over the 1969 monument expansion and eventual creation of Capitol Reef National Park in December 1971 was the biggest, loudest collision of all. The barriers that had prevented understanding and fueled prior conflicts were exposed for all the rest of the country to see. Again, compromises were made that quieted local opposition to National Park Service management policy, but only for a limited time.
Future conflict is inevitable when land is claimed by both environmentalists and multiple-use advocates. If the next confrontation concerning Capitol Reef National Park is to be handled constructively, National Park Service managers must be willing to understand not only the history of the area, but the perspectives of those who made that history. It is crucial that managers, local residents, and preservationists anticipate and welcome a crossroads where all parties can sit down, listen, and see where the other sides are coming from.
12 Bennett to Udall, 9 December 1968, Series 1E, Carton 3, Folder 2, Wallace F. Bennett Collection, MSS 20, Special Collections, Brigham Young University Library (hereafter referred to as Bennett Collection MSS 20).
27 Meeting on Enlargement of Arches and Capitol Reef National Monuments Held in Office of Senator Frank Moss, Salt Lake City, 19 February, Folder 33, Administration Collection, Arches National Park Archives.
33 Heyder to Regional Director, 14 October 1968, File 6435a, Accession 79-76A-1229, Container #790695, Records of the National Park Service, Record Group 79 (RG 79), National Archives - Rocky Mountain Region, Denver (hereafter referred to as NA-Denver).
36 Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Subcommittee on Parks and Recreation, "Hearing on S. 531 and S. 532." 91st Congress, 1st session, 15 May 1969, Statement #3, Box 2, Folder 6, Capitol Reef National Park Archives (published hearing report not included). The hearings dealt with both Arches and Capitol Reef, but the focus of this discussion is on the latter.
45 House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, "Withdrawal of Public Lands by Presidential Proclamation for the Expansion of Capitol Reef National Monument," and HR 17152 and S. 531, "Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Public Lands," 91st Congress, 1970, 1.
55 Thow, "Capitol Reef: The Forgotten National Park," (M.A. Thesis, Utah State University, 1986) 132; Capitol Reef Map 258-91,000, March 1979, Drawer 11, Folder 1, Capitol Reef National Park Archives (also in TIC).
62 William L. Bowen, Director, Western Service Center, to National Park Service Director, Attn.: Assistant Director, Legislation, 24 April 1970, File D18, 79-73A-136, Box 3, Container #790697, RG 79, NA-Denver.
72 Different acreage figures are found in a variety of sources. Moss estimated that his January 1971 proposal would be 242,472 acres, as specified on Map #158-91,002, January 1971, TIC. This, incidentally, is the map that is referred to in the final act, Public Law 92-207, which created the present Capitol Reef National Park. The National Park Service estimated this same area to be 241,671 acres--a figure used in several 1970s-era planning documents. In the "1989 Statement for Management," the acreage had been revised to 241,904.26 acres (Superintendent's Files, Capitol Reef National Park). Presumably, this figure is correct and was adjusted during a 1980s boundary survey, as there have been no additions or deletions since 1971.
73 "Environmental Statement for Capitol Reef National Monument," draft dated 25 May 1971, Superintendent's Files, H1415. The final draft, undated, is in Box 2, Folder 2, Capitol Reef National Park Archives.
77 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Hearings on H.R. 9053 to Establish the Arches National Park and Capitol Reef National Park, to Revise the Boundaries of the Canyonlands National Park, and for Future Purposes, 92nd Congress, 1st session, 14-15 June 1971, 56; Thow, 138-139.
79 House, Joint Statement of the Committee of Conference, 92nd Congress, 1st session, Report 92-685, 30 November 1971, 1-4; Congressional Record, 92nd Congress, 1st session, 1971, 117, Pt. 33:43360-61. The conference committee report is also in Box 2, Folder 1, Capitol Reef National Park Archives.
80 The conference committee report is the basis for all information; the quote is from Capitol Reef National Park's enabling legislation, Public Law 92-207, 92nd Congress, 1st session, 18 December 1971.
Last Updated: 10-Dec-2002