Pictures cannot bring back the Valley of the Smokes. They have lost
the awesomeness that lies in the setting. You may build in memory, but
never reproduce the scenes which lie beyond the Katmai Pass. They seem
too big to be a part of the rest of the world. They do not connect up
with the little things which are built into our lives.
Donovan B. Church, 1917, in Robert F. Griggs,
The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, p. 217.
Katmai National Monument serves no use and should be
Thomas C. Riggs, Annual Report of
the Governor of Alaska, 1919, p. 45.
Katmai Monument is a principality in itself. It is
substantially unknown even to the federal service which theoretically
administers it, but every time an effort is made to do something
constructive, the reminder is given that we must keep on thinking of the
generations yet unborn and must give no thought to those now living. Of
course, any sensible person will agree that if Katmai possesses scenic
resources such as we are told it does (although no one knows very much
about them), then perhaps a good argument can be made for saving scenic
values unspoiled for those who are to come, but I submit this still can
be done without applying such a heavy brush in the withdrawal
Alaska Delegate E. L. Bartlett to
Secretary of the Interior Julius A. Krug,
May 21, 1947, in Bartlett collection
Katmai National Monument is first of all a wilderness
landscape, a place where the imprint of wildlife is greater than that of
people, where clear lakes and rivers abound, where nearly two hundred
miles of coastline bear little sign of man, and where steaming volcanoes
rise above the entire scene. It is a land of uncrowded spaciousness, a
place where people can experience wilderness on its own terms without
the distraction of hordes of other visitors. It is a place where time
and change are measured by the sun, the tides, and the seasons rather
than clocks and calendars. Katmai, in short, is an experience set in the
wild, and perhaps it is even a frame of mind.
Supt. Gilbert E. Blinn, in Dave Bohn,
Rambles Through an Alaskan Wild: Katmai
and the Valley of the Smokes, 1979, p. 19.