DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
WASHINGTON 25, D. C.
January 28, 1963
Dear Mr. President:
We are pleased to advise you that the Department of
Agriculture and the Department of the Interior have developed a new
conservation policy to help implement the outdoor recreation program of
We have reached agreement on a broad range of issues
which should enable our Departments to enter into "a new era of
cooperation" in the management of Federal lands for outdoor recreation.
This agreement settles issues which have long been involved in public
controversy, we have closed the book on these disputes and are now ready
to harmoniously implement the agreed-upon solutions.
The decisions reached will do much to further
development of Federal recreation resources, eliminate costly
competition, promote cooperation, and recognize the major role that the
Departments of Agriculture and the Interior both have in administering
Federal lands under their jurisdiction for recreation purposes. We have
agreed upon the following principles of cooperation.
1. Mutual recognition is accorded the distinctive
administrative functions and land management plans used by the Forest
Service and the National Park Service in administering lands under their
2. Except for existing Administration proposals,
those covered in our agreement, or routine boundary adjustments,
jurisdictional responsibility will not be disturbed among the agencies
of our two Departments which are managing and developing lands for
3. Neither Department will initiate unilaterally new
proposals to change the status of lands under jurisdiction of the other
Department. Independent studies by one Department of lands administered
by the other will not be carried on. Joint studies will be the rule.
4. Likewise, each Department, with the support and
cooperation of the other, will endeavor to fully develop and effectively
manage the recreation lands now under its administration.
In furtherance of the above principles of
cooperation, and in recognition of the growing demand for outdoor
recreation, we plan to recommend to you the establishment of two new
Federally administered National Recreation Areas. These areas are
planned to help meet existing and foreseeable outdoor recreation
The Recreation Advisory Council, established by
Executive Order 11017, has been considering the need for National
Recreation Areas and criteria for their selection and establishment. We
expect that the Recreation Advisory Council will soon recommend to you
the creation of a limited system of National Recreation Areas along with
criteria to guide their selection and establishment. The proposals for
National Recreation Areas contained in this letter have been reviewed
and are concurred in by the other members of the Recreation Advisory
National Recreation Areas would be established only
by Act of Congress and would be administered by the Department of the
Interior, the Department of Agriculture, or other Federal agencies or
departments having responsibility in outdoor recreation as may be
recommended by the Executive Branch and determined by the Congress.
National Recreation Areas would be administered primarily for recreation
but with utilization of other resources permitted, provided such use is
not incompatible with and does not unduly interfere with the basic
recreation purpose. Advice of the Recreation Advisory Council
will be sought with regard to qualification of particular areas,
priority for establishment, and jurisdictional responsibility.
National Recreation Areas will be in addition to
national parks, national monuments, or other special categories of land
administered by the National Park Service, and to the wilderness system
or other special categories of land having recreation significance now
administered by the Forest Service. In our judgment as well as in the
judgment of the other members of the Recreation Advisory Council, these
two areas will conform fully with the National Recreation Area criteria,
now in the final stages of formulation.
Subsequent to the adoption of these criteria, we
shall recommend to you that the Administration submit legislation to
1. Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation
Area of about 280,000 acres in north central California. This area will
consist of three-non-contiguous units, surrounding reclamation
reservoirs. The areas around Shasta Lake and the Trinity-Lewiston
Reservoirs are within the exterior boundaries of the Shasta-Trinity
National Forests. These will be recommended for administration by the
Forest Service. The 50,000 acre Whiskeytown unit lying outside the
National Forest will be recommended for National Park Service
2. The Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area in
Wyoming and Utah. This is an area of about 160,000 acres lying upstream
on the Green River from the Bureau of Reclamation dam under construction
at Flaming Gorge within the Ashley National Forest in northeastern Utah.
The two Departments have agreed that the 40,000 acre area within the
National Forest boundary will be administered by the Forest Service, and
the larger area of about 120,000 acres lying primarily in Wyoming and
outside the National Forest boundary will be administered by the
National Park Service.
We have agreed further that:
An Oregon Dunes National Seashore should be
recommended consisting of about 35,000 acres primarily of sand dunes
along the central Oregon coast. This land for the most part has been
under the protection and management of the Forest Service.
Administration would be by the National Park Service under the same
criteria as for National Recreation Areas.
2. A joint study should be made of Federal lands in
the North Cascade Mountains of Washington to determine the management
and administration of those lands that will best serve the public
interest. These lands for the most part have been under the
administration of the Forest Service as national forests for many years.
A study team should explore in an objective manner all the resource
potentials of the area and the management and administration that
appears to be in the public interest. The study team will consist of
representatives of the two Departments and will be chaired by an
individual jointly selected by us.
Recommendations of the study group will be submitted
to us and we in turn will make our recommendations to you.
We believe these agreements represent a major
improvement in National Conservation policy. We earnestly hope you will
Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary of the Interior