MORNING SESSION, SEPTEMBER 12.
The SECRETARY. I think it would perhaps be just as well to defer further discussion of the automobile question, except as it may come up in connection with the different parks. It appears from the discussion had last night that the question presents different aspects in different parks, and it would be better, I think, to take it up in that manner unless some one now has views to express on the subject in connection with Yellowstone. If not, we will go ahead with the list of concessioners in Yellowstone. I see that Mr. Klamer runs a general store, and he has been asked to present his views on that subject.
Mr. KLAMER. There are no particular questions which it would be useful to discuss at this time, no difficulties, and no particular requests to make.
The SECRETARY. Pryor & Pryor have a concession for the sale of curios. I understand Mr. Pryor is present, and if he has any questions to present in connection with his concession we will be glad to hear from him.
Mr. PRYOR. Mr. Secretary and gentlemen, our concession is merely a curio concession. We have a business extending over but three months in the year, and the only questions that have direct bearing upon us are those of taxation for the benefit of the park so far as maintenance, improvements, sprinkling, etc., are concerned and the one of a more liberal franchise.
When the tax question came up several years ago, the assessment as originally suggested was excessive, and we were permitted to submit to the department a financial statement of the business done by us to show why the tax as proposed was unwarranted, and in view of this statement the department was considerate enough to readjust the matter.
What we would like to emphasize is the peculiar limit which has been placed upon our concession at Mammoth Hot Springs, and as we understand the nature of this conference to be, in addition to other things, an opportunity for discussion of methods, ideas, and suggestions for the regulation, improvement, and maintenance of the national playgrounds, we are particularly interested in explaining certain features which affect us most keenly.
Our curio store is located very conveniently for the tourists brought to Mammoth Hotel by the transportation companies, and we have arranged to make it especially convenient for those making the camping tours to stop at our place by providing public necessary comforts and conveniences both in caring for the needs of the tourist as well as his team. This habit of stopping at our place was induced by special arrangement with the drivers and is a condition which did not exist before we acquired our lease.
As a natural result we have many inquiries for tourist supplies and necessities, things which we are prohibited from carrying according to the construction of our lease. What we would like, if possible, is to have our lease made more liberal and broadened to include those things for which there is a constant demand and can not be supplied the tourist without either unwarranted delay or necessary inconvenience by awaiting his arrival at the next place of supply. Now, just as an illustration, take kodak supplies. Often the tourist, and particularly those traveling the camping way, desires to photograph a local object of interest and, being unable to obtain the necessary supplies at this stopping place without unreasonable delay, he is obliged to continue his trip without the satisfaction of having secured a picture of a point of interest he desires. It is some of the revenue from this source to which we feel we are entitled. The question of having our concession made more liberal and equal to the others granted in the park is what we would like to present before the department.
Assistant Secretary THOMPSON. Do you have exclusive curio rights in the park?
Mr. PRYOR. No, sir.
Assistant Secretary THOMPSON. Do the general stores handle curios also?
Mr. PRYOR. Yes, sir.
Assistant Secretary THOMPSON. Of course they handle the necessities which you have mentioned?
Mr. PRYOR. Yes, sir.
Assistant Secretary THOMPSON. Is their curio line as extensive as yours?
Mr. PRYOR. I presume so.
The SECRETARY. Well, if they supply the trade, what justification is there for two concessions covering the same articles?
Mr. PRYOR. Perhaps there is not so far as curios are concerned at the same point of interest in the park, only I believe it for the best interests of the public.
The SECRETARY. The question is should these concessions as far as possible be regulated monopolies? That has been the policy heretofore. The question is whether this is a wise policy or whether we should have competition. This is a limited market with a limited season. The query is should we let the general store carry curios and exclude the other people or should we let the other people have that concession and exclude the general store. We seem to have a number of concessions covering the same thing in whole or in part.
Mr. PRYOR. Mr. Secretary, there is another consideration. We are handicapped during that season of the year when the park is closed to tourist travel, because we have no possibility for catering to the volume of business done in connection with the settlement at Mammoth Hot Springs (where Fort Yellowstone is also located), which is far greater than the department may possibly realize. This particular point of interest is not at all similar to others in the park on account of it being headquarters for the various departments of the Government and is open and accessible during the entire year. If we are entitled to consideration so far as getting revenues from the tourists and others is concerned, I think our concession should be more equal and cover that part of the trade that results directly from this source and the supplies heretofore mentioned are certainly an equal necessity to the little articles in the souvenir line. It is also reasonable to suggest that a tourist seeking a kodak film is a prospective curio purchaser and it would not seem entirely equitable to our concession that we lose this opportunity to create revenues for our business. It is the supplying of one want that leads to further suggestions.
The SECRETARY. These remarks in regard to this particular concession raise the broader question which I have indicated, and one that is of great importance. Shall we give one concern a general concession covering merchandise, including curios, and expect them to live up to a carefully drawn contract to meet the demands of the trade at fair prices and thus regulate these things in the hands of a single concessioner or shall we have competition? What do you gentlemen think as to the wisdom of the one course or the other?
Mr. PRYOR. I believe it is for the best interests of the purchaser, more advantageous to the tourist, if there is more than one place where he can get his supplies. Would not this condition tend to bring about a better standard of price and quality?
The SECRETARY. If any other concessioners or members of the conference have views on this question, we would like to hear from them.
Mr. W. G. STEEL. I will tell you, as briefly as I can, the experience of our company in Crater Lake Park. I have been trying to develop this proposition for 27 years. Aside from the United States Government itself, every penny that was ever spent in the creation of Crater Lake National Park came out of my pocket, and besides that, it required many years of hard labor that were freely given. I went there first in 1885, and was deeply impressed with its overwhelming majesty, and realized that unless the General Government took immediate possession of the region it would be lost to the people forever and fall into the hands of individual speculators. During the following winter 10 townships were withdrawn from the market, after which it required 17 years of constant labor and attendant expense to get a bill through Congress and signed by the President providing for the creation of the park. When that was accomplished I felt that my long labor was finished, and was so congratulated by my friends and the press. I was so green, so simple minded, that I thought the United States Government would go ahead and develop the proposition. In this I found I was mistaken, so had to go to work again.
All the money I have is in the park, and if I had more it would go there, too. This is my life's work, and I propose to see it through. I want a hotel as magnificent as this one; I want a road entirely around the lake that will cost $500,000, and I want other roads and trails that will cost as much more. We are now building a cut-stone hotel on the rim of the lake from the veranda of which you will be able to look down upon the waters 1,000 feet below. We have a 5-year lease and have come to the end of our string for money, if developments are to be made commensurate with the necessities of the proposition. We can not float bonds or otherwise borrow sufficient funds on a lease of that character. We want to do our part, and we want the Government to help us. All we ask is a 20-year lease. Give us that, and we can secure funds to carry on the work as it should be. Limit us on the lease and you limit the development. We must have a 20-year lease or we will not be ready to receive and properly care for the great number of tourists that will come to us in two or three or four years, with transcontinental railroads operating within 15 miles. If necessary for the good of the cause, I will come to Washington and stay there through the winter to aid in getting money from Congress to build our roads. We want to build another hotel on the easterly side of the lake to care for visitors who will come to us on the completion of the Southern Pacific and Oregon Trunk in two years, to say nothing of the San Francisco Fair in 1915, when we will simply be swamped with tourists.
We can do all these things better as a single corporation than they can be done by a lot of little ones. We want to provide every facility for the accommodation of the poor man and his family as well as the rich, and if you will give us an opportunity we will do it. We have made good in the past, and we will make good in the future. However, we must have a monopoly for the protection of the men who supply the money and for the protection of the public as well. We will meet the department more than halfway in providing rates, rules, and regulations acceptable to the public and will accept the slightest suggestion from it as an order and always hasten to obey it. If you are going to divide the concessions, that practically means that we must retire, for it will lead to unnecessary jealousies and jangling among concessioners that must of necessity interfere with perfect service. In these matters I believe I express the sentiments of every concessioner in every park in the United States.
The SECRETARY. Gentlemen, I think Mr. Steel has stated the proposition that is really before us. The question is whether these concessions can be developed so as to meet public demands in a proper way and at a fair price unless they partake largely of the nature of a regulated monopoly, free from competition. On the other hand, there is the suggestion of competition, that in that way we better protect the tourist, as made by Mr. Pryor. We would be glad to hear any more views on the question.
I see the name of Mr. Smith, representing Shaw & Powell, operating in this park. Have you any views to express on this point?
Mr. R. E. L. SMITH. I have a set place on the program; I would prefer, with your permission, to defer an expression of my views on this subject until I reach that place on the program.
The SECRETARY. I extend my request to those who have not covered the particular topic under discussion. If there are no further remarks on this question, we will proceed to Lyall & Henderson. They are the next on the list, running a general store here in the Yellowstone. Are they represented?
Mr. LYALL. Mr. Secretary, I do not know as I have anything to say of sufficient interest to this conference only with regard to the subject brought up by Mr. Pryor. His remarks might have led the people to think that the traveling public were unable to get the particular article that he mentioned. I beg to state that we have always carried a full line of these films and almost anything else that the public will ask for in a general store. I think these films can be had at various places around the park, at the different hotels, and at Mr. Klamer's place, and at the lake. I simply wanted to mention that fact.
Assistant Secretary THOMPSON. Your general store concession permits you to sell curios, too?
Mr. LYALL. Yes, sir.
Assistant Secretary THOMPSON. Well, then, what is the use of having the curio concession at all? Why don't we give Mr. Pryor a general store concession and let him compete with you?
The SECRETARY. Or give one or the other of you the whole thing.
Assistant Secretary THOMPSON. Yes.
Mr. LYALL. That's a question for the department to decide.
Assistant Secretary THOMPSON. That's a question I would like to hear from you on.
Mr. LYALL. The question of giving concessions to otherspersonally, as far as I am concerned, it is satisfactory to me if Mr. Pryor would have further concessions.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Lyall, do you think there should be one concession in this park for curios and a general store or more than one. Which do you think is the better policy, one concession or two?
Mr. LYALL. I should think it would be better to have both.
The SECRETARY. You think, then, there is enough profit in this trade here to support two competitors in this place?
Mr. LYALL. I believe, by strict economy, two could exist, Mr. Secretary.
The SECRETARY. If we limited it to one concession, do you think the man who had the concession would sell at a lower price?
Mr. LYALL. I think not.
Mr. KLAMER. I handle a general store here in the parkeverything pertaining to suppliesmy shipping point at present is 30 miles from a railroad. On canned goods and stuff of that sort I make very little profit. I think if you confined a man here in the park to a grocery business alone, he would make but very little profit out of it.
The SECRETARY. You think, then, that the concession ought to cover the whole field?
Mr. KLAMER. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. You have a store, a single store?
Mr. KLAMER. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Have you any competition in the curio business?
Mr. KLAMER. Yes, sir; some. Mr. Haynes has souvenir spoons there and some other things.
The SECRETARY. I would be glad to hear the views of anyone else on this question of concessions. If there is no further comment we will hear from Mr. A. W. Miles, president and manager of the Wylie Permanent Camping Co.
The act of dedication of the Yellowstone National Park indicates, in general but concise terms, the purposes for which the reservation is set apart. These are:
(1) The preservation from injury or spoliation of the forests, minerals, and the natural curiosities.
(2) The withdrawal of the territory from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and its dedication, in the language of the act, "as a public park or pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people."
This act and subsequent statutes amending the same, bestow upon the Secretary of the Interior full power and authority to carry out the objects of the park, including the authority to grant franchises and regulate the rates of charges for every service rendered tourists on the reservation. Under this authority, three distinct methods of touring the park have been established by the Secretary of the Interior, namely:
(1) By means of stage lines connecting the seven hotels maintained by one company at or near certain principal objects of interest in the park, having the most modern and up-to-date accommodations, such as given in the best hotels at summer and winter resorts.
(2) By means of a stage line connecting permanent camps or tent stations, now eight in number, all operated under one company, whose lease requires an increase in the number of stations and other facilities as the demands of the public in the opinion of the Secretary of the Interior require. This system seeks to combine novelty and informality with a complete sight-seeing tour of the park.
(3) By means of movable camping outfitsin the main, personally conducted under a yearly licensed system; there having been issued by the Secretary of the Interior for this season 59 licenses, with authority to use in the aggregate 160 wagons and 218 horses.
This paper will be confined, as far as practicable, to the subject assigned me"Permanent camps, their care and sanitation in Yellowstone National Park."
The permanent camps, including the regular stage transportation connected therewith, are operated under a lease by the Wylie Permanent Camping Co., a corporation with a capital stock of $200,000 and a present investment of about $300,000.
Briefly stated, besides the hotel building at Gardiner and the various stables, storerooms, and other outbuildings throughout the park, this company now maintains about 654 tent rooms equipped as sleeping apartments, and has on hand for use in conveying tourists and their subsistence 140 vehicles and about 450 horses. If the age of a successful operation is an indication of merit, the Wylie camps can claim all the prestige which is due to a pioneer line.
As you are aware, the park was created in 1872. In the next 10 years, however, very little was accomplished toward making the park in truth a pleasuring place for the people.
Only an insignificant number of people understood the scenic and scientific value of the new reservation. There were no railroads near the park and the reservation itself was an uncharted wilderness, without roads, bridges, or other modern highway improvements. During this period, too, the limits of the park were crossed and recrossed by bands of hostile Indians and an excursion through Yellowstone was a hazardous undertaking.
Within the first 10 years of the park's existence the Department of the Interior granted no regular leases, a fact which emphasizes the unattractiveness of the place at that time to tourists or capital. In the early eighties the accessibility to Yellowstone Park was increased a hundred fold by the extension of the Northern Pacific Railway into the Territory of Montana. By 1883 a branch was built from Livingston 50 miles south to Cinnabar, a point 3 miles north of the present village of Gardiner. The advent of this steel highway marked a new epoch in the traffic to and enjoyment of the park. Its new accessibility lured not only tourists from every State in the Union, but also the highest officials of the United States and foreign countries. In this one year alone the park was visited by President Arthur and a member of his Cabinet, the Chief Justice and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, the General and Lieutenant General of the Army, six United States Senators, one Territorial governor, a prominent railroad president, the ministers from England and Germany, the president of the Admiralty Court of England, members of the British Parliament, and other high officials of this and foreign countries.
The founder of the Wylie Permanent Camping Co. had made three complete trips through the park and published an illustrated guide book on Yellowstone prior to this date.
In 1883 10-day camping trips were added, the parties outfitting at Bozeman, Mont., and driving overland 84 miles to Mammoth Hot Springs. At this date the Wylie camps were movable or portable; that is, camp was pitched anew at each roadside stopping place. The tourists rode on horseback or on mountain spring wagons and the camp equipment and provisions came along behind in four-horse freight wagons. This method of transportation and service was in vogue for about 10 years, and since each season witnessed an improvement in the park roads there was a steady annual increase in tourist travel. In fact it can be stated as a cardinal principle of park transportation service, that the volume of business then, now, and at any future time will depend in a large measure on the condition of the park road system.
The modern traveler comes to the northern or western gateway of the park in a superbly equipped Pullman sleeper, which glides along over heavy rails set on a well-ballasted, dustless roadbed. The high character of the railroad service to the park serves to emphasize any inconvenience encountered by the tourists using the park roads.
By 1894 the business of the Wylie Co. had increased to such an extent that fixed camps were established at the principal centers of interest and the practice of pitching tent nightly was abolished, since which time the permanent camping system has been in process of development to its present standard.
In the official report of Maj. J. B. Irwin, United States Army, superintendent of Yellowstone Park in 1898, to the Secretary of the Interior, the superintendent says:
The permanent camps seem to fill a demand on the part of a certain number of travelers in the park who wish to enjoy whatever benefits and pleasures may be received from camp life. I inspected frequently each of the camps and lunch stations and found them neat and clean, with all of the comforts one would expect to find in camp. It is not possible to make a comparison between the accommodations furnished by these camps and the hotels. Each comes fully up to the requirements of its special class, and the personal preference of each visitor to the park must and will determine the way of living while in the park
In 1899 the then superintendent Capt. Oscar J. Brown, in his annual report said:
That there is a demand for this kind of entertainment is fully indicated by the large number of tourists availing themselves of it during the present summer. Inspection of these camps showed them to be comfortable, clean, and well kept, with more conveniences about them than is usually found in camp life.
Nineteen hundred and five, the year of the Lewis and Clark Exposition at Portland, Oreg., was the first great season Yellowstone Park ever experienced. In the three years immediately preceding 1905 the total volume of tourist travel increased less than 400. Then, in a single season, the volume of traffic jumped from 13,727 in 1904 to 26,188 in 1905, an increase of 100 per cent. The Wylie Co. carried 3,668 tourists that year, and thus demonstrated its helpfulness to the department in assisting to care for an abnormal number of visitors to the park, since which time the company has been the established agency of the department for supplying the permanent camping service.
The investment of the company was such that the yearly license system as applied to it was abolished, and a lease was entered into dated March 31, 1906, under which the company was required to provide facilities necessary to accommodate all persons desiring permanent camp service in the park, and, as construed by the department, imposing the further obligation of establishing and maintaining such additional camps and transportation lines as from time to time might be demanded by the public in the opinion of the Secretary of the Interior.
The Wylie Co. in 1906 made heavy expenditures to improve its transportation and camp service. Two of the camps were moved to better scenic and more sanitary sites. The method of tent construction was improved. Administration tents were established at each camp, improvements were made in kitchen equipment, and in short a definite policy for amplifying the plant and systematizing its operation was instituted.
That season of 1906, however, proved a great disappointment. The total number of visitors fell from 26,188 in 1905 to 17,182 in 1906 and the Wylie traffic dropped to 1,745, a sheer decrease of over 100 per cent.
The two following years, 1907 and 1908, would have been no better had it not been for the extension of the Oregon Short Line toward the west boundary of the park. The advent of this road is largely responsible for the increases of those years since the records of the northern entrance show no increase during this period.
In 1909 the Alaska-Pacific-Yukon Exposition was held in Seattle. As was expected, it made that year an unusual season for Yellowstone and required a large increase in equipment for us to comply with the obligations of our lease to take care of all who desired permanent camping accommodations. This increase was due entirely to the influence of this international exposition, and travel the following seasons of 1910 and 1911 has been materially less.
It seems hardly necessary to say that however enthusiastic we may be in the development of one method for caring for the public, there are many sources of discouragement and disappointments, due largely to the great fluctuations in the patronage secured. For instance, the large increase in the business in the season of 1909 caused us to increase our plant by one-third; yet the decrease of 80 per cent in the business for the following year made us realize as never before that a large part of our capital must be idle in lean years and that we can not expect to enjoy uninterrupted prosperity in the conduct of this business. A general railroad strike on any western railroad line, a lack of some important convention in a Pacific coast city, or reports of destructive forest fires are a few of the things any one of which during a given year would be a calamity to Yellowstone Park interests.
This, in outline, is a statement of the evolution of the Wylie camps from their origin, about 1883, to the present time. I use the word "evolution" because the Wylie system as it exists to-day is a development and not the product of a policy which followed the rules of well-known business enterprises. So far as I know there is nothing like this chain of eight permanent camps in this country. Without urging this statement, I can say with certainty that in bringing this outing system from its crude and unorganized simplicity of 25 years ago up to its present state of organization and efficiency we have had no guide other than our own experience in the light of the demands of a certain class of tourists and no rules save those prescribed by the Department of the Interior.
At the present time what we call a night station or permanent camp is, in fact, a village of canvas houses. The parcels of ground on which these tents are located vary in size from a half to 5 acres. Each camp consists of the following equipment: One office or administration tent, one lounging or pavilion tent, one dining-hall tent, one kitchen, one laundry, and from 20 to 100 single-room and compartment sleeping tents, a log supply and storage house with cement floors, a meat house for fresh meats and vegetables. The office tent, dining tent, and other general-utility tents are located in the center of the chain of sleeping tents, each numbered consecutively, extending outward in two or more directions, as suggested by the contour of the site and the location of trees. In every camp the sleeping tents, which of course make up most of the plant, are set in military alignment a uniform distance of from 4 to 6 feet apart, according to their several capacities. There are three standard sizessingle-room, two-room, and four-room tents. All tents are of 13-ounce Z blue duck, with navy-blue stripes. The pavilion tent is centrally located in each camp, varying in size from 20 by 30 to 40 by 70 feet. A very attractive feature is the camp fire in the center of each camp, surrounded by rustic benches, where an organ is played, songs are sung, and stories are told until 9 o'clock. At 10 o'clock the curfew bell is rung, and all is quiet in camp.
Each tent is erected on a raised platform with heavy wooden frame for the support of the walls and top, as well as the floor. All sleeping tents have a 10-inch baseboard extending around the floor on the interior of the tent. The canvas side wall extends below this baseboard, thereby preventing showers from beating in around the bottom of the compartment. The furnishings of the Wylie sleeping tents are limited strictly to the necessities, but no effort or money has been spared to make them comfortable. Each private compartment is fitted with a stove, table, chairs, bed, and washstand with needful appliances. In front of each bed is a rug; in the hall of each tent are several rugs. Years ago the company saw the prime importance of good beds. Each bed is double, with steel springs and a high-grade mattress, cotton sheets (laundered daily), woolen blankets, and comforts. Much importance and attention has been given to the dining halls, kitchens, and offices. A news stand containing drug-store supplies, confections, cigars, tobacco, and post cards is maintained at each camp. Writing tables are maintained in each office, with ample stationery. The dining halls of 1911 improvement are 30 feet wide and 45 feet long, floored and wainscoted around all sides to the height of 6 feet. Above the wainscoting is a screened frame 3 feet high, which is curtained to make the room dark when meals are not being served, thus excluding the fly, which has been heretofore a great pest. The top of the tent is black duck, overlapped at the eaves with a blue and white fly, which gives it coolness and comfort equal to that of a log or frame building. The kitchens are made of log, floored, and with modern improvements and equipment throughout. The tables are long and narrow, with benches, and meals are served family style by young women.
The operating officials of the Wylie Co. are a general manager, master of transportation, assistant manager of transportation, head matron, a traveling steward, an auditor, and assistant auditor.
Each night camp is managed and operated by the following staff: A camp manager, a matron, assistant matron, clerk, from 6 to 12 porters or camp boys, from 6 to 12 dining-room girls, women cooks, women caretakers for the sleeping tents, and laundry women.
If I were asked to name a single factor which has contributed more than any other to the success of our permanent camping system as operated on its present scale I would answer, the character of our employees. To a system like ours this question is vital. The Wylie camps make no pretense to elaborate service or elegant furnishings. We merely advertise them as permanent camps, and it is the novelty as well as the economy which attracts people to this service. It is our constant aim to give the camps an individuality rather than to make of them a cheap substitute for hotels.
We have established a recreation pavilion at all night camps. This and other features, including the camp fire songs, are designed to break down formality and fill our guests with the true spirit of camping life. It is apparent that the employees under such a system mingle with the guests not only in the capacity of servants, but also as entertainers and interpreters. In view of this fact we have always drawn our camp employees from the ranks of intelligent and well-bred people. College girls and school teachers make up three-fourths of our female help, and the others are from private homes. Teachers of domestic science, geologists, college and high school instructors can be found in the ranks. I recall that our guide at the Upper Geyser Basin two years ago was a son of the president of the University of Illinois. A recent writer, emphasizing this feature of our system, said in a spirit of fun that he discovered that the boys who built the fires in the tents each morning were college professors in disguise. Tourists commend the management for the character of the employees, and almost invariably refer to the fact in subsequent correspondence. The following extract from a letter written by Mr. Wesley E. King, of the National Copper Bank of Salt Lake City, one of the many prominent men who toured the park with us this year, is as follows:
What I like most about the Wylie way in addition to the accommodations of your camps and the convenience of your transportation facilities is the character of the employees or laborers which you have gathered about you. They are not menials, any of them, but intelligent, courteous, and well bred young men and women, and in taking care of us we have the constant feeling we were being looked after by loving brothers and sisters for whom we soon came to entertain a sincere regard.
It is no uncommon occurrence for a tourist to make application for employment for the current or next season. The attractiveness of this work is evidenced by the fact that we received over 2,000 applications from women during the spring of 1911, and out of these we select those best suited to the work. This gives us a very wide range from which to select the new recrults, as our employees are now from homes in 23 States.
The writer, having had 26 years' experience in supplying equipment and transportation in the Yellowstone Park, has been educated to the requirements in this regard. Having been interested in the local and permanent camping business during the above period indirectly, and directly and personally for the past six years, the writer speaks from personal experience that the constant aim of the company has been to perfectly satisfy all tourists wishing to tour the park by the permanent camping method.
The Wylie Permanent Camping Co., having about $300,000 invested in their plant, are in a position under the present system to care for an average of 150 to 250 tourists per day.
I can not refrain at this time from commending the Department of the Interior for its admirable policy of maintaining the park as far as practicable in its present natural state, whereby it has forbidden any desecrations in the way of unnecessary hotels and a needless duplication of permanent camp sites and equipment. This aim has restricted transportation solely to vehicles drawn by horses, thereby enabling not only the larger number of tourists who avail themselves of the licensed accommodations to enjoy the several days of scenic touring, but the people who live in adjoining States, constituting about one-sixth of all tourists, to avail themselves of the enjoyment and benefits of making the tour in their own transportation.
In cooperation with the acting superintendent and other local officials of the Government great progress has been made in solving the important problem of sanitation.
Under existing methods the greatest care is taken to keep each camp in a thoroughly sanitary condition and to avoid the spread of disease through the instrumentality of the house fly, which is the principal pest of this park. The dining rooms, kitchens, warehouses, and storerooms are floored and screened. Each closet receives due attention daily, and the drinking water, piped to kitchen and dining room at each camp, is pure and free from contamination.
We have endeavored to comply strictly with the requirements of the Secretary of the Interior and of the superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park, who inspects the camps constantly during the season.
We have been able thus far to care for all desiring this system and method, and feel confident that under a continuance of the policy as heretofore inaugurated by the department we can handle as many as may wish to come this way in the future.
In closing I take pleasure in extending to the convention, and especially those members interested in the permanent camping idea, a cordial invitation to visit any or all of our camps.
The SECRETARY. Is there any discussion concerning the points brought out in this paper. There is a point which, it seems to me, might be emphasized at this time, and that is that we are going to hold another exposition on the Pacific coast in the very near future and the question of making preparations for that exposition is one of the most important things to be considered. I would like to hear from Mr. Smith.
Mr. Secretary and gentlemen of the conference: I was very much interested last night in the discussion by the railroad men of the question of advertising. That is a subject which appeals to every one of us operating in this park. I think I can give you a homely illustration of the point made by Mr. Fee that personal representations are the strongest method of advertising by referring to some recent experience along that line. Mr. Fee stated that personal contact with the public was a more effective advertising medium than anything that could be printed and circulated. I had the pleasure of visiting the Yellowstone Parkit was my first visit hereabout four weeks ago. Of course, when I went home I carried with me the usual complement of pictures, post cards, and other curios. When I reached home, I was surprised to find that exhibiting these things, with such descriptive explanations of them as I could give, proved interesting to so many people; and that my vocation as a conversational lecturer was in danger of growing to embarrassing proportions. I remember that a lady whom I had never heard of before came all the way from Baltimore to learn something about the Yellowstone Park, which she had not been able to get otherwise. She was contemplating a trip out here and assured me she would carry her purpose into effect. Others spoke about making the park tour as a result of my rather enthusiastic description.
Now, gentlemen, I represent and speak for the Shaw & Powell Co., who operate what is commonly called "movable camps" in this park. It is what is called officially "personally conducted" camps. Incidentally I speak for others in the same class, so far as my remarks apply. I assume that the most of you are familiar with the way in which these camps are operated, and hence I hardly feel it is necessary to take your time by telling in extended detail how it is done. The ideal and original method of "outing" was a camping party composed of congenial persons, moving as their inclination or pleasure suggested, stopping where they most pleased, and remaining as long in any particular place as fancy dictated. Those of us who were in the West in the early days can recall how families and friends went upon these pleasant excursions, camping at night where we found water, and remaining as long as we liked. If we found good fishing and cared to fish, we remained until our fancy prompted us to move; if the scenery attracted us, we stayed until our pleasure in it was satisfied. That is the ideal plan of outing, and that is also the ideal way to tour this beautiful park. I notice that there are thousands of persons who agree with me, for, by reference to the report of the superintendent, I see that something like 3,700 persons passed through this park in private conveyances this year, camping as I have indicated. And every year this method of enjoying this pleasure ground has, I am informed, been pursued by large numbers of persons. I assume that in the beginning this method was the only one in vogue, but as the reputation of the park grew and people began to come in from great distances some method had to be adopted by which they could be accommodated and given an opportunity to see the attractions of the park within a limited time. Out of this necessity evolved the movable camp system. That system operates, briefly, as follows:
Taking the Shaw & Powell Co. as a demonstration. A party of tourists arriving at Gardiner, coming in from all sections of the country, strangers to each other, with different tastes and inclinations and under different conditions and limitations as to time, desire to see the park. For convenience, we will say there are 20 to 25 persons thus assembled. They are loaded on coaches and, leaving Gardiner at noon, are conveyed to our first camping spot, on Willow Creek, where we have a camp which is permanent in its character. That camp has been allowed us by special authority of the Interior Department. There the first night is spent. Next morning begins the real tour of the park. It is necessary for us to take with us our tents, our bedding, and other equipment, including provision for tourists and employees and food for horses. When lunch time arrives the equipment necessary for the preparation of lunch is unloaded, and when lunch is concluded this equipment must be reloaded on the baggage wagon. When the place is reached where night is to be spent all of the stuff on the wagons is unloaded, tents are pitched and gotten into shape, beds are erected, and all things made as snug as possible. When morning comes the same process of loading is gone through with and the baggage wagons proceed as upon the previous day. You can readily appreciate what an immense amount of labor is involved in the transportation and handling of this impedimenta. I will read you a few lines from a memorandum to show what an outfit of this character contains. This is the usual equipment for such a party of tourists: Two baggage wagons drawn by four horses and one cook wagon drawn by four horses, all of which are heavily loaded; one saddle horse; five 2-horse teams for the accommodation of the tourists. To handle the wagons and teams requires three baggage teamsters and five tourist teamsters. In addition to these are required a cook and two waitresses and three camp men. Over all is a foreman, upon whom rests the responsibility of the trip. The money value of such an outfit is reasonably estimated at $7,500.
Passing further description of such a trip as we are contemplating, I beg to emphasize this point: No business can be successfully operated unless two cardinal principles are observed and adhered to. In the first place economy of operation must be supreme, and in the next place, and of not less importance, comfort and satisfaction of patrons must be attended to. In our movable-camp business as we must conduct it economy of operation has no placeit can not have. You can readily see that it is utterly impossible for us to operate under this system with real economy; you can readily see that the labor involved each day in the handling of camp equipment and supplies, to say nothing of the horse flesh which is cruelly tortured and worn out by the constant drag day after day, eliminates every feature of operative economy. To this point I desire to direct the attention of the conference; I might say the main purpose of my talk is to bring to your attention the absolute necessity which confronts us of so conducting our business as to apply the ordinary economical methods which suggest themselves, out of our experience, with overwhelming force. It is essential that we operate under an economical expenditure of money, labor, and time consistent with the comfort of tourists. Not only must we conserve our financial interests, by which I mean that we must be careful of our money expenditures, but we must also conserve the comfort and promote the pleasure of our patrons, and to do that we ought to be in position to adopt such new methods of operation as suggest themselves and discard those which are not consistent with progress. The idea of evolution constantly presents itselffrom the original touring plan which I adverted to in the beginning to the movable camp, from the movable camp to permanent camp. The permanent camp plan is of course the ideal plan. You can draw your own inferences as to how difficult it is to operate movable camps satisfactorily when weather conditions are bad. Strong men and women endure the discomfort and hardships of the primitive camp plan and find real pleasure in them; others who have been accustomed to out-of-door life can also find pleasure in the primitive methods of the movable camp. When I toured the park a few weeks ago there was either rain or snow daily during my visit. This weather condition in no wise interfered with my enjoyment of the trip, but I was able to bring to my assistance many years of rough out-of-door life; and it so happened that nearly all of those who were with me had had out-of-door experience. But eastern people who lack in this direction find the primitive camping life at times of disagreeable weather distasteful and to some extent hazardous to comfort and health. Now, let me say something about our method of securing patrons. Most of our patronage is secured through tourists who have been served by us and have gone away pleased. When they go home they talk with their friends of their experiences and thus advertise the park and its transportation accommodations. I should say here in passing that the Shaw & Powell Co. employ in the transportation of tourists, and in matters incident thereto, 83 men and women, 132 horses, and 39 wagons.
Now, Mr. Secretary, taking up the question which you have heretofore raised, whether transportation in this park should be according to monopoly or competitive systems. I believe, sir, that the Supreme Court of the United States has said that a reasonable monopoly is, with respect to certain statutes not objectionable, but this case is not, as the courts sometime say, like that one. You have inquired of the conferees as to the comparative merits of "controlled monopoly " and "competition." As against "controlled monopoly" I suggest the better plan of "controlled competition." I believe that a reasonable amount of competition in these public parks is something greatly to be desired, where not now in effect, and essential to be established if the public interest is to be best conserved. Reasonable competition is not destructive on the other hand, it is constructive; it builds up; it tends to improve the service as to quality, and what tends to improve the character of the service rendered to the public tends to increase the patronage of the public. Competition will, in effect, take from no company operating under like conditions a single tourist. By this I mean that the number of tourists conveyed by any company operating in the Yellowstone Park will not be reduced by reason of competition; on the other hand, I believe every company operating under competitive conditions and deserving patronage will find its patronage increased as a result of its competition. Do you suppose that the opening of Glacier Park will affect the attendance upon this park to reduce it? I assert it will rather increase it. People will go to the Glacier Park and then come here; people will come here and then go to the Glacier; and those who do not visit both parks, as well as those who do, will return to their homes and, extolling the attractions of one and the other or both, make more business in both directions. It is a rule of business that good accommodations and perfect satisfaction tend to increase business in arithmetical progression. My company desires to popularize this park.
I realize that the railroads are giving us as low rates as they can afford. I believe, however, that we can indirectly reduce the expense of touring this park. We probably can not reduce the money cost, but we can effect a reduction in the expense, using the word in a broad sense, by increasing the quality of the service we afford. We do not want to reduce this park to a day's automobile trip affair. It should be maintained as a place for a real summer outingwhere tourists can pleasurably spend a week, 10 days, or more; and in pursuance of that idea this company wants to adopt plans to reach the people of the Eastern and Middle West cities and neighborhoods. We are financially able to do this; we have actual capital invested of $100,000, and we have sufficient money behind us to develop as much further as the patronage will justify. We want to give our patrons the best accommodations that their money will purchase; we want to lodge them in dry, warm tents, and place them to sleep in dry bed clothing, free from the odor of moisture and from all those things which tend to detract from the fullest enjoyment of their visit. We estimate that 40 per cent of the labor and time of our employees is wasted and thrown away, compared with what would be the effect if we could eliminate from our daily trips the dragging of our heavy impedimenta; we estimate that 25 per cent of our horseflesh is worn out and wasted in the drawing of those heavy loads. I wish that you could see some of our wagons and their loads. The time and labor and money that is lost in this direction we want to invest in additional comfort for our patrons. We have carefully considered the cost of maintaining permanent camps and are prepared to offer to our patrons camps equipped after the permanent style, equal to the best, at no greater outlay of money by the tourists than is now required for the inferior but more expensive to operate method. Mr. Secretary, we want to establish permanent camps and reduce the cost of our operation, and we are now offering to establish such camps and afford service as good as any without increasing the expense to the tourist. When you come to determine the question whether you will consider favorably this application, I beg that you will bear in mind the old and familiar and never refuted doctrine that reasonable competition is the life of every business. I maintain that this truth applies with equal force whether it be imposed upon public or private affairs.
I do not believe that reasonable competition will hurt anybody. I believe it will help everybody, for it will force everybody who is in business here to furnish the best that can be given for the money. I wish you would think of that when you consider your policy and come to determine whether or not a policy of reasonable competition should not be instituted which will permit Shaw & Powell to take care of its thousand or more patrons a year in a proper way without the cost of an additional dollar to them. We expect that you will do so.
The SECRETARY. The remarks are on a subject of great importance with us. I wish to express one reflection that occurs to me; perhaps I can put it in the form of a question. Mr. Smith, would this service which you would render be as good as that rendered by the other permanent camps?
Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Then, doesn't that raise the question as to why the other permanent camps should be permitted to charge the extra $10?
Mr. SMITH. I think I should not be required to answer that question.
The SECRETARY. That is the question which confronts us. We must decide whether you can give the same kind of service; that is the whole question, not whether you should regulate their rates.
Mr. SMITH. We are here offering to do it; that is the only answer I can give.
The SECRETARY. If there is a representative of the Bryant portable camps present, we would be pleased to hear from him.
I had not expected to be asked to speak to-day, and did not expect to do so, for I had not supposed that this was the time for discussion of the wishes and rights of the concessioners in the parks, but a discussion of the general principles of park interests, and so I do not care to take your time to discuss my business, which is comparatively small. The first time I came into the park it was with friends camping out. When the Oregon Short Line was opened to the western entrance many people wanted to camp with me, and more as a matter of summer recreation than of business I brought people here and sought a concession and obtained a concession for portable camps. I have been amazed to find the number of people that enjoy going through Yellowstone Park in that way. I have this season handled between 800 and 900 people in the park in this same system of portable camps. I have really without realizing it been drawn into an investment of $30,000 or $40,000 in horses, coaches, etc. I realize that when the business grows to such proportions it is really rather too large to be handled in that way, but I shall not discuss that phase of the matter at this time. The question should come up before the board or bureau or be taken up directly with the department officials. If the board is established, it seems to me that these things would be discussed before that board. There is considerable to take into consideration with relation to taking care of people. The growth of the business will be tremendous, especially on the west side of the park from the transcontinental trains running between the East and California. Between now and 1915 provision must be made for the entertainment of thousands of persons who will visit the Panama Exposition in San Francisco, and the accommodations here must be increased.
I do not know that I have anything further to discuss at this time. If there are any questions which the gentlemen desire to ask me, I would be glad to attempt to answer them.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Bryant, I do not think that is the question. I quite agree with you that we do not want to spend our time in dealing with the concerns of any particular enterprise. The question is whether we should have competition in these matters which are of the same character. We start, as you have said, with different forms of service. We have hotels, permanent camps, portable camps, etc. We grant concessions for hotels; then a man applies for a concession for a permanent camp, and we grant it; then another wants one for a portable camp, and he gets it. Then those in charge of the portable camps report that that way of handling people is not economical and want to change to a permanent camp. Now, without discussing any particular enterprise or any particular concession, we should like to hear from you gentlemen as to whether we should have competition in the various forms of service in the parks. That is the question which I would like to hear discussed. I assume that the patrons are satisfied, or the business would not increase as it does. Mr. Bryant wants to change from a portable camp to permanent camps. That raises the question as to whether we shall follow the rule of competition or the rule of regulated monopoly. If anyone has anything to say on that question, we should be glad to hear from them.
Mr. BRYANT. I wish to say that I believe in the national parks and reservations there should be regulated monopolies. In this park that is the way it has been done. I think for the best service of the people it should be continued. But we can not make an ironclad rule under conditions as they exist here. It is a question as to how many people can be accommodated in any one concession. If the concession is taking care of as many people as it can accommodate, it might be wise to establish another store, another hotel, or another camp, as the case might be. That is a matter which must be taken up by the department. I believe in the principle of a regulated monopoly rather than general competition.
Assistant Secretary THOMPSON. You say the ironclad rule should be broken when one concessioner can not accommodate all the people. Is there any complaint that the present permanent camping system is not accommodating all the people who desire accommodations?
Mr. BRYANT. I do not think that is a fair question to ask me.
The SECRETARY. It might be considered as the opinion of a competitor.
Mr. BRYANT. I have not made a request for anything else, and there is no competition now, practically, in the particular line in which I am interested. The Shaw & Powell camps and I get our business from the west entrance of the park in this particular method of handling people. We do not compete with each other to any extent.
Mr. SMITH. Let me say something. I do not think that the ability of any one concern to handle all the people cuts any important figure. On the same theory we ought to say that there should be but one railroad between Baltimore and Washington, but one between Washington and Chicago, etc., because one road could increase its capacity sufficiently to handle all the traffic. There is a deeper and more important principle at the bottom of it. Competition is the very life of trade. That does not mean it gives it life
Assistant Secretary THOMPSON. I am not taking issue with you. The Secretary has submitted the proposition of a regulated monopoly, as to whether or not that is the best form of conducting business in the national parks. Mr. Bryant has stated that it is his opinion that a regulated monopoly is the proper form of administration in a reservation like this. I understand fully that you do not take that view of it.
The SECRETARY. Is there any other concessioner here who is interested in this movable camping system?
We have another form of concession in these parks. In Mount Rainier we have the Tacoma Carriage & Baggage Transfer Co., doing some business there. Is Mr. Ternes, the president, here? Have you any suggestions to make at this time, Mr. Ternes?
Mr. TERNES. I might say that we operate over 28 miles, 14 miles by automobile and 14 miles by horses. Travel handled by our company in Mount Rainier Park shows a 50 per cent increase during the last two years, and judging from the publicity which we are getting now I believe I will have to double my plant for the coming year.
The SECRETARY. Do you handle both passengers and baggage?
Mr. TERNES. Yes, sir. In order to do that I will have to increase my plant. That will take quite an outlay of capitalat least $15,000 or $20,000. It has been the custom to issue a permit for a period covering one year. Now, it seems to me that we should have a longer permit, should have a permit for 5 or 10 years, in order to put in a good plant.
The SECRETARY. What do you think the period of the lease should be?
Mr. TERNES. Five to ten years, say 10 years. The charges should be regulated every two or three years, at the discretion of the department. I think the transportation companies put in a good amount of money, and will have to have returns. When a concessioner gives good satisfaction the department is not going to disturb him. At the same time it is more satisfactory to him to know that he has an agreement with the department for a number of years; he feels better and gives the public better service, because he feels that the period which his lease has to run warrants him in installing better equipment. That is all.
The SECRETARY. There may be other concessioners or lessees who wish to be heard on this subject. Has anyone any ideas on this feature of the parks which he wishes to present now? I believe Mr. Sell, of Yosemite Park, is present, and we would like to hear from him.
Mr. SELL. I haven't anything to say regarding hotels or the valley, and I would rather listen to the discussion.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Sell, have you a hotel in Yosemite Park?
Mr. SELL. I am manager for Mrs. Cook, who leases a hotel from one year to the next.
The SECRETARY. From year to year?
Mr. SELL. Yes, sir; the equipment is owned by the Government.
The SECRETARY. Is that the only hotel in the park?
Mr. SELL. No, sir; there is a hotel at Glacier Point which is operated under the same lease.
The SECRETARY. Operated under a one-year lease?
Mr. SELL. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Sell, has your principal, Mrs. Cook, taken up the question of taking care of the great increase in travel which will result from the Panama Exposition?
Mr. SELL. There is an agitation in the valley for a new hotel, but on account of the lease it is hard to get capital for building. They think there should be a 20-year lease.
The SECRETARY. Is Mrs. Cook prepared to handle the hotel in the proper way if suitable arrangements can be made?
Mr. SELL. I think I may say that I can interest the necessary capital, and that Mrs. Cook will withdraw.
The SECRETARY. That question of taking care of the additional travel which is bound to result from the Panama Exposition is one in which I am deeply interested, and the sooner you present your definite proposition to the department the better you will please me.
Mr. STEEL. With a 20-year lease I can get the money I need for the improvements I have in mind.
The SECRETARY. You should consider what proposition you can make to the department.
Mr. STEEL. I suppose that will be presented to the department by correspondence after this conference. I have it all ready.
The SECRETARY. Yes; the details should be taken up after the close of the conference. With this exposition in view we are particularly interested in having the park concessioners get their propositions into our hands at the earliest practicable moment.
I have a letter here from my father, which he has requested me to read. It is as follows:
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK,
DEAR SIR: After being in this altitude three days I had to get out to-day. Please recognize my son, Foster Curry, as my representative in the conference. I would like to plead with you for 5 to 10 year leases instead of annual, and also for protection for our building, which became yours when built, which can not be insured by us, and we have no protection in case of fire loss.
DAVID A. CURRY.
Mr. CLEMENT S. UCKER.
Camp Curry, Yosemite, was established in the year 1899 as a hotel camp; run on the American plan, its location being on the floor of the Yosemite Valley, amid a grove of large pine and cedar trees under Glacier Point.
Its equipment was simple during its first few years of business, but improvements have been made from year to year, until now it furnishes its guests almost every convenience of a modern hotel. Water is piped throughout the camp; the tents are double roofed, different sizes, to accommodate from one to four people, as may be desired. The tents are furnished with iron beds, bureaus, washstands, and the board floors are carpeted with burlap or duck.
A rustic style kitchen and dining room have been built, the dining room having a seating capacity of 226 people.
The camp is equipped with sanitary toilets, eight tub baths, and one hot and cold shower bath. There is also a small steam laundry used in washing the camp linen.
A rustic style office with large open fireplace has been built, affording a comfortable rest and reading room.
In the year 1901 Camp Yosemite, now Camp Lost Arrow, was established by the Sentinel Hotel Co. on the bank of the Merced River, opposite the hotel.
This camp was later moved to its present site, near the foot of Yosemite Falls. The equipment of this camp consists of rustic style buildings and tents, similar to those in use at Camp Curry.
Camp Ahwahnee was established in the year 1908 at the foot of the Glacier Point Trail, about three-fourths of a mile from the hotel, and has a capacity of 200 guests. This camp is built and equipped in the same manner as Camp Curry and Camp Lost Arrow.
The camp grounds and camp buildings of all the camps on the floor of the valley are electric lighted, deriving their power from the Government electric plant. Besides these, there is a camp on Glacier Point that is run in connection with the Glacier Point Hotel.
During the first year of Camp Curry's business the camp entertained 280 guests, 400 guests the second year, and 3,600 guests the past season.
During the last three years more than three-fourths of the people who have visited Yosemite have chosen the camping route, proving the popularity and success of the camping business in Yosemite.
The best way to get people to go to the parks is to be liberal with the concessioners. In regard to leases, I would like to indorse what the gentleman over here (Mr. Temes) said, that with longer leases we would feel like spending more money, say, if we had a lease for from 5 to 10 years. We feel that we should have that much time in which to know that we are going to be there. We advertise and draw business to Yosemite Park through the conveniences of our camps, and if we did not feel that we would be there for a considerable period it would be like wasting money to advertise. I may say also that a limit has been placed on our accommodations of 400 people. The camps here handle all the people who enter. We are willing to make improvements and enlarge the accommodations so as to handle a larger number of people than at present. We hope that this matter will be acted upon favorably by the department.
The SECRETARY. May I ask what is the term of the lease of the Wylie people?
Mr. LAMAR. They are operating under a 10-year lease. The present lease is dated March 31, 1906, and runs for 10 years. It is an extension of an older lease.
The SECRETARY. That, I think, illustrates the inconsistencies which prevail in the administration of the parks. We find that where a man has a 10-year lease for Yellowstone, for the same kind of a concession in Yosemite be can secure but a 1-year lease, and there they have far less adequate accommodations from the hotels. It seems to me that this is a subject to which the department can very properly give attention.
We have had a series of talks from men of wide experience in transportation and other matters, and should now like to hear from Mr. Uhler, of the Steamboat-Inspection Service, on the question of inspection of power vessels in the national parks.
Mr. Secretary and gentlemen: First I want to express to you my grateful appreciation of the compliment implied in the invitation to address this conference, because I feel rather out of place in a convention with gentlemen who are discussing questions that are entirely separate and apart from the service which I represent. The question of protection of life, and more particularly as applied to marine transportation, has been the humane policy of the Government since 1838, and it has lived and grown through 73 years of successful operation. It is a matter in which I have been deeply interested, and I think you will readily understand why when I say that for more than 40 years I have done nothing but work in connection with marine transportation. In the early operation of steamboats the importance of protecting life upon steam vessels was recognized by Congress. In 1838 legislation was enacted providing for the inspection of hulls and boilers of steamboats carrying passengers for hire. It seemed at that time to be the only concern of the people, under the act of Congress, to protect the passengers. In fact, the enacting clause provided for the better security of the lives of the passengers. The method of inspection of steamboats was this: Upon application of the master or owner of a steamboat to the judge of the district court in which the steamer was located or operated, the judge selected a man to inspect the boilers and one to inspect the hulls, each of whom received $5 for his services from the owner of the vessel. The results were such that in a few years the question was agitated whether there should not be a general law which would provide for the inspection of steamboats generally, and in 1852, on August 30, a bill was signed by the President providing for the general inspection of steamboat hulls, boilers, and engines and for the licensing of pilots and engineers. There was also provided in the legislation an exemption for certain classes of vessels from its requirements. The bill also provided for the establishment of boards of local inspectors in different parts of the country and also for supervising inspectors in charge of the districts. The result of the legislation was so far beyond the expectation of the people and Congress that in 1864 the clause exempting certain classes of steamboats was made a provision of the law, transforming it from an exemption to a requirement. In 1871 the whole system of steamboat inspection was revised and we got what is now generally known as "The steamboat law." I shall not undertake to go into the statistics of the service, but from my researches of the earlier records I find results which are not only interesting, but also a source of surprise to me, because I had not fully realized the importance of the service in its earlier organization which gave strength to the humane policy of the Government to protect life and minimize disastera policy that has lessened to a wonderful degree the perils incident to steam navigation and has put to flight those common vices of thoughtlessness and recklessness which formerly prevailed in navigation as in other methods of transportation in contempt of consequences so alarmingly prevalent.
The licensing of pilots and engineers was a question which for many years agitated the service as to whether or not the requirements were too drastic. Whether or not a man who has shown his fitness was able without any further examination to secure a license. We said no. He had to qualify by examination, show his familiarity with certain waters, depth of the waters, his familiarity with the course and trend of the channel, and to establish beyond peradventure his reliability in cases of accident, and his reliability to safely navigate the vessel over which he was given charge. The same method prevailed with the engineers. They were required to pass a rigid examination and made to demonstrate by an examination what would be their action under certain conditions, particular attention being given at all times to the matter of emergency cases, and what their action would be under such circumstances. As the service grew it took into consideration other matters, such as life-saving equipment, etc. We required that steamboats of certain tonnage and certain capacities should be equipped with hand pumps in addition to steam pumps. We found that while steamboat owners and agents as a general rule were willing and anxious to equip their vessels with reliable life-saving equipment, still others bought cheaper kinds of equipment. So in later years the service took over the matter of making specifications in detail as to the character of lifeboats, life preservers, etc. Further, it drew into the specifications for the construction of lifeboats certain features of material, etc. Every lifeboat and every life preserver used to-day on a steamer under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government is made under specifications prepared by the board of supervising inspectors, and every length of hose is required to stand a pressure of 100 pounds to the square inch, so that it has been the purpose of the Government, through this service, to give the public adequate protection and at the same time to always maintain a high standard.
Last year in transporting nearly 400,000,000 passengers we lost 392 lives. A little over 800,000 people carried to 1 life lost. So that, Mr. Secretary, every life that is lost from a steamer or from any vessel under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government is charged to the responsibility of the service and is covered by the statistics in the report. For instance, the year before last we had from suicides and other causes 44 deaths which no human precaution could have prevented, as in the case of a man seated on the rail who falls overboard. Provision can not be made against accidents like that. Then came the time when the gasoline boat made its appearance, and while the law has made no provision for anything other than a vessel propelled by steam, it had to take into account this growing factor in the commerce of the country, so that in 1892 legislation was enacted providing that all vessels propelled by naphtha, gasoline, etc., above 15 tons and carrying freight or passengers for hire would have to be inspected. The result of that legislation was that particular care and attention was given by owners to the fact that in the construction of a vessel she must be brought just a little bit within 15 tons so that she might escape the requirements of the law. From time to time the law was made a little more drastic, until nearly all vessels carrying passengers are under some provision of the law. The act of Congress approved June 7, 1897, provided that every vessel propelled by machinery should be considered a steam vessel within the contemplation of the law, so that every vessel propelled by machinery, no matter in what service she was engaged, whether or not she was for pleasure, she had to be provided with lights, fog signals, and had to observe the rules of the road. Later on the motor boat made its appearance as a pleasure craft, and you can very readily understand how the owner of the motor boat, who used her for his own purposes only, took to the law requiring him to meet certain regulations. Notwithstanding that there was some opposition to this, Congress has seen fit to throw this same mantle of protection over the pleasure boat as well as the commercial boat.
Mr. Secretary, I want to say that while all of these means of protection have been thrown around the passenger on the steamboat and the railroads, which the railroad representatives have good cause to realize; while everything has been done that can possibly be done to insure the safety and comfort of the passenger, the human element still enters into the safety of any person who intrusts himself to the care of a common carrier. We have cases of where a sleeping engineer on a steamboat has allowed his water to get low and resulted in an explosion. A very sad case was brought particularly to my attention in the death of Mr. Spencer, president of the Southern Roada road that has equipped its system with all possible precautions against accidents, the block system, signal stations, etc.where the engineer had gotten his orders and had signed for them, read them and put them in his pocket, where, say, his orders read, "No. 10 to pass No. 27 at a certain place." He went past his meeting place and met disaster. In that case the railroad company absolutely could not prevent that accident; there the human element was the factor that determined; the man had forgotten. I have not been able to understand, Mr. Secretary, why all of these restrictions have been thrown over steamboat companies and over railroads and yet find transportation companies, who have just as much responsibility, to be exempt from the slightest condition of inspection. Now, in my traveling around the country in the Steamboat-Inspection Service, extending over all parts of the country, I have had a chance to observe quite considerably the results of what we might term "noninspection. " My suggestions, in some cases, I am glad to say, have been kindly received and adopted. It is a fact that since the adoption of these precautions no accidents have occurred, without taking any credit to myself. A peculiar condition, Mr. Secretary, in connection with the Steamboat-Inspection Service is that it applies only to the navigable waters of the United States. Navigable waters of the United States have been defined by the Supreme Court of the United States as those waters which by their natural course or by any method of improvement make a continuous highway over which general or competitive business may be carried on or between the two States that border on the water, so that a vessel located on an inland lake is exempt. Some States have laws which take up that questionthe State of New Jersey, for instance. They have what are termed marine inspection laws. My mind now comes to conditions on Yellowstone Lake. Yellowstone Lake, aside from being within the confines of one State, was on a Federal reservation, consequently exempt from the application of the law regarding the inspection of steamboats; but right there I am glad to say the Department of the Interior recognized the importance of this inspection to such an extent that they required that these boats should be inspected by the Steamboat-Inspection Service before they would be permitted to navigate on the lake. I have not seen the motor boats now on the lake, although my men have been there and inspected them.
I spoke awhile ago, Mr. Secretary, of the absence of regulations in certain forms of passenger transportation. I could never quite understand why the regulations should be so severe upon railroads and so restrictive and so severe upon steamboats, and yet the very minute that we get to the entrance of this park that supervision stops. I observed the dangerous conditions on the road coming here from the Mammoth Hotel to the canyon yesterday; perhaps it is because I am not used to that kind of travel. I would be perfectly at home in a small boat in deep water, but I think that every transportation company doing business should do so under some kind of regulations that will insure the safety of the passengers. I do not think it is right that the mantle of protection should be thrown over a certain few of the traveling public and denied to those who are making some of the most perilous voyages that can be possibly thought of. The steamboat question in the Federal reservations is pretty thoroughly disposed of, but if you will allow me to suggest, Mr. Secretary, and I speak more earnestly upon the question because of my deep interest.my life's work practically has been the administration of the law looking to the safety of passengersI think that not only the coaches, their running gear, harness, etc., should be inspected, but I believe that these mountain roads should have their trackwalker just the same as a railroad. We came to a point yesterday on my trip here where if anything unusual had occurred, it made no difference how well the horses might have been inured to mountain roads and how absolutely under the control of the driver they might have been under ordinary conditions, there would have been nothing on the face of God's earth to have prevented them from starting down the side of that mountain. I want to say, Mr. Secretary, that's the way it appeals to me. I think that some one of the officers under the command of the superintendent of the park, or some of his men, might be detailed to make such an inspection of the coaches, harness, etc.1
I want to suggest, in closing, Mr. Secretary, that there is no reason why the regulations of the department should not fully cover all inspection in the national parks. Our inspectors go all over, even to inspect boats used by the Alaskan Indians away up in the Arctic regions, showing that the policy of the Government, no matter what the expense or inconvenience, is to not only extend the mantle of protection over passengers, but the poor devil who is down in the forecastle. The humblest emigrant is protected by the Federal Government; he must have so much air space, and so on. The idea was at one time that the man who went aboard these carriers could take care of himselfthat is erroneous. I have found out that the average passenger can not take care of himself, and we have to take care of him; and I think the law should be extended to reach every phase of transportation and where we are bound, in a general sense, to take care of the man who offers himself for passage upon any vehicle controlled or operated by a common carrier.
The SECRETARY. I am unable to find anyone on the list before me representing steamboat or launch owners operating in the national parks. If there is anyone here who has such a concession, we would be glad to hear from him. Is there anyone here representing the railroads who would like to say something on this matter? If not, we will take up the next subject, which is one of very considerable interest. In all of these national parks there is a very considerable body of timber. For instance, in the Glacier Park there is a large body of timber, and it has been suggested that some of this timber when matured could be cut, providing that it in no way marred or injured the scenic beauty of the park, keeping always in mind the paramount purpose of the creation of the park. We would like to have the representative of the Forest Service, Mr. Bruce, whose services we were permitted to have in the Glacier Park through the courtesy of the Forester for the purpose of making an investigation in that park and as a precedent to be followed perhaps in other parks.
Mr. Secretary, my chief, Mr. Graves, is present, and it might be better if I were called upon after him.
The SECRETARY. I had arranged to have Mr. Graves address us at a later period of the program on the general subject of forestry, and unless he has some objections to offer we would like to hear from you now regarding the utilization of timber in the national parks.
Mr. GRAVES. Go ahead, Mr. Bruce.
Mr. BRUCE. Mr. Secretary and gentlemen: In regard to the utilization of the mature timber in the national parks my personal opinion is that such timber should be utilized wherever it can be done without injury to the scenic beauties of the park, which I believe should always be considered of the first importance. The mature, dead standing, and wind-thrown timber in the national parks should be sold and utilized wherever possible up to the point where such cutting and removal is liable to affect the scenic beauties of the park. Beyond that point I do not think it should be carried.
In some of the national parks a large amount of the mature timber can well be utilized at the present time, while in others very little of it can be utilized on account of the timber being located in such places that it is so inaccessible that it can not be removed at a financial profit. There are certain localities in Glacier National Park where a portion of the timber can well be removed without injury to the scenic beauties of the park, and such utilization of the natural resources of timber would furnish a considerable source of revenue to aid in constructing needed trails and in protecting the park. The mature timber should be disposed of wherever it is possible to do so without injury to the scenic beauties of the different parks and thus avoid allowing the timber to die, fall down and rot upon the ground, or become a dangerous fire menace. I believe that the sentiment of a majority of the thinking people who have been instrumental in bringing about the reservation of national parks would be to the effect that wherever the mature and dead and down timber could be cut and removed at a profit and where such removal would benefit the commercial interests of the country without materially affecting the scenic beauties of the national parks involved that it should be done in every instance.
The SECRETARY. I wish, Mr. Bruce, you would describe the general conditions as you found them in Glacier Park. I do not mean the details as they are in the records of the department, but the general situation as you found it.
Mr. BRUCE. Mr. Secretary, unless one is somewhat familiar with the general outline of Glacier National Park my remarks will not be very intelligible. The Great Northern Railway runs along the southern boundary of the park, and there is considerable fire-killed timber along the southern boundary which should be sold. In many of the ravines and stream beds running back into the mountains from the Flathead River and the Middle Fork of the Flathead River there is considerable mature timber not fire-killed which could well be sold in connection with the dead timber, which was principally killed by the forest fires of 1910. The mature live timber should, however, always be left standing where necessary, and especially where it affects the scenic beauties of the park by reason of being brought prominently into view of the traveling public, who visit this park chiefly on account of its scenic beauties.
On the higher slopes nothing whatever should be cut in those localities where the wind would be liable to blow down the timber left standing on account of its being deprived of a portion of its support as a result of the timber being removed.
In that portion of the park along the east side of the Flathead River there is considerable fire-killed timber which should be sold at once if satisfactory purchasers and a satisfactory price can be secured. The possibility of a sale of timber always depends largely upon the commercial desirability, the quality and location of the timber, the regulations under which it is to be removed, and the time allowed for the cutting and removal of the timber. The same general regulations which apply to the cutting and removal of timber from the national forests will usually apply to the cutting and removal of timber from the national parks, with perhaps some few additional regulations to cover different conditions sufficient to adequately protect the natural scenic beauties of the national parks. There is some live mature timber that can well be cut and removed in the vicinity of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, and there is also in this vicinity a considerable beetle-killed, infested, and blown-down timber which should be cut and manufactured into lumber, In my report to you, Mr. Secretary, I have recommended that in this particular locality this class of timber be cut and manufactured into lumber by the Government under the direction of the superintendent of the Glacier National Park to be used in the construction of the necessary administrative buildings for this park. There is no one large area or body of timber in this locality that should be sold in an amount sufficient to interest a prospective purchaser. The work of cutting and removal should be very carefully done under close supervision and there should be wide reserve strips left along the shores of the lake and along the main traveled roads and trails in which nothing whatever should be cut or removed except the dead standing and down timber, nor should any timber be cut where it would open up or mar the scenic beauties of the tops of hills or mountains visible from Lake McDonald. The same general principles of utilization of mature or dead timber where it can be done without injury to the scenic beauties of a park which are applicable in the Glacier National Park will, in my judgment, apply in a greater or lesser degree to the other national parks, and I believe that a general policy of utilizing the merchantable mature, dead standing, and blown-down timber wherever it can safely be done without affecting those features of interest or scenic beauty which the parks were primarily created to perpetuate should be applied to all national parks wherever possible.
The SECRETARY. The broader question of handling the forests in the parks is one of very great importance and one which, because of the unfortunate organization of the governmental service, it has been impossible to handle in the most efficient manner. Perhaps you do not know that the Forest Service, contrary to the general understanding, is not a part of the Department of the Interior, but a part of the Department of Agriculture. The result of this is not always happy, although during my administration both the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service have shown every possible disposition to cooperate whenever the necessity for such cooperation was realized.
We have with us the Chief Forester of the country, Mr. Graves, and I am sure that at this time, especially as the railroad men will have to leave us shortly, we would all like to hear from Mr. Graves on the general question of forestry in the national parks.
Gentlemen, I have come to this conference primarily because the problems of administration of the national parks have a very intimate relation to those of the national forests, which are under my direction. Most of the parks themselves are great forests. Many of them are entirely surrounded by national forests or are adjacent to national forests with very similar physical conditions. It is absolutely necessary that those in charge of the parks and the forests work in close, practical partnership. While the purpose of the national forests differs from that of the national parks, there are many questions of administration which are very similar, if not alike.
The forests and the parks are for the most part great undeveloped forests in which there are not as yet adequate means of communication and in some cases none at all over very large areas. In the past these areas of forest have been without protection and have suffered incalculable injury from fire and insects. To-day they produce far less in the way of timber than their real capacity, and the old slashings resulting from previous burns and from insect depredation are a tremendous menace from further fires, as well as being very unsightly.
The problems of organization of these great areas are essentially the same. These problems concern the efficient organization of the parks and forests for their protection, for their administration and the conduct of regular business, and for their development to carry out the purposes for which each was specifically established. The largest problem is that of protection from fire and insects, and that problem is the same in the forests and parks. For its successful solution the work on contiguous parks and forests must be so closely coordinated that the whole protection system is practically one.
I shall not go into details in the various questions of forestry involved in park management, but shall touch only certain principles which we are following on the national forests in connection with our protective work and which apply to the parks as well as to the forests. I have already spoken of the undeveloped character of our forests. We have the problem of organizing these areas so as to make protection from fire possible. The first necessity is to build trails into the forests in order to make the different portions accessible. This is required in order to enable an adequate control; it is necessary also to enable the movement of men and supplies in attacking fires. A second necessity is a complete system of telephone lines through the forests to afford quick communication in case of fire and a proper coordination of the various members of the patrol organization. The forests must be further equipped with well-located signal stations connected with headquarters by telephone. During the present season scores of fires have been quickly located and extinguished through our system of signal stations. It is essential also that ranger cabins be constructed in various parts of the forests so that during the season where there is danger of fire the forest officers may be near at hand. These cabins serve further as bases of supplies in case it is necessary to establish camps for the men engaged in fire fighting. The forests must be thoroughly well equipped with tools and appliances for fighting fires. It has been our experience during the year 1910 that we were often unable to fight the fires properly because we did not have adequate tools and other equipment. It was a great lesson, and as a result we have greatly improved the protective equipment of the national forests and are much better prepared for emergencies than formerly. Still again the forests must be equipped with facilities for transporting the tools and supplies into the forests and in some of the less accessible forests we have pack trains which we use regularly in connection with improvement work. In case of fire they are available to transport supplies and tools to the crews.
Our forests are full of litter, down timber, and dead snags, all of which constitute a menace from fire. Every practical man knows that we can not clean up any considerable part of this debris without prohibitive expense. We do, however, prevent further accumulation of debris in connection with timber sales by disposing of the tops at the time of cutting. Gradually the old slashings can be reduced at dangerous points to guard against fire.
Another problem concerns the organization of the protective force. At the beginning of the administration of our national forests there was no systematic coordination of the different parts of the protective force. Usually each ranger worked by himself without regard to the others, and the force of one forest worked independently of the other forests. The organization of the protective force is one of the greatest and most important problems we have. I do not care how many men you have on the rolls, unless the force is well organized efficient work can not be accomplished. In the forests as now handled each man is in close touch with the other members of the protective force. The rangers are in systematic communication with each other. They notify each other of danger and help each other in case of need.
In addition to the regular staff there is an organized reserve force which we can throw into action for a few days or a few weeks in case of great danger. This reserve force is recruited from the people who live on the forest or do business there. We are organizing so far as possible every person who lives on the forest or near enough to be accessible as a constituent part of our protective system. Preparation is made, also, in case of emergency, to secure large bodies of fire fighters from outside. Thus we are organizing a protective system which utilizes every person within or near the forests.
The work of constructive development of the forests is conducted according to systematic working plans which outline the policy of administration, improvement, protection, timber sales, range management, and reforestation. General preliminary working plans have been prepared for all forests. More detailed plans have been already made for the forests having the most business. These plans look not only to proper present management, but provide for a development of the forests in the future according to a consistent policy. The national parks will be developed along somewhat different lines than the forests; but there is essentially the same kind of a problem of constructive development, which, as on the national forests, requires technical administration and far-reaching working plans. In some cases we have a slight advantage in the national forests in that we are cutting more timber and hence can often push our work of improvement more rapidly than would be the case if the resources were not utilized as on the parks.
I may say that on the national forests we do not overlook the question of the preservation of the scenic beauty. It is not, however, our prime principle of administration. Our first work is the properly regulated use of our resources, the use of the ripe timber and its replacement by new growth. But in making cuttings we do not overlook the question of the appearance of the forests. On the other hand, in the parks the question of scenic beauty is first, and development and use of the natural resources is secondary. This work is so closely related to the work in the national forests that the two can be harmonized and the two administrative bureaus and departments work in the closest partnership.
Personally, I believe there should be a bureau of national parks organized to carry out the purposes for which the parks were created, and with that organization and our own working in closest cooperation in all the different lines where our work touches we can meet the important problems successfully.
The SECRETARY. In connection with what Mr. Graves has said I think perhaps it would not be inappropriate for me to express some conclusions which I have arrived at in regard to this question of the relation of the Forest Service to the national parks and the Department of the Interior. I will start by assuring you, gentlemen, that I believe I will have the enthusiastic indorsement of all the people representing the Department of the Interior when I say that the Interior Department has no desire to add to the amount of the work which it now has. The Department of the Interior should lose some of the activities with which it is now charged by law. The Patent Office, for example, in my opinion is a branch of the department which should be transferred to the Department of Commerce and Labor, because it is primarily concerned in a matter of commerce. This will serve as an illustration of some of the things which should be taken away from us. On the other hand, I am thoroughly convinced that the separation of the Forest Service from the Department of the Interior is fundamentally a mistake. As a business proposition it is absolutely uneconomic. We have in the Interior Department to-day many questions of forestry in one form or another in three or four bureaus. The Indian Office is administering large tracts of land for the benefit of the Indians and meets with many questions in regard to the forests thereon. We have to organize a force to supplement the administrative officials of the bureau on forestry questions. When there is already organized in the Forest Service a corps of experts, it is perfectly clear that we are duplicating and must duplicate their work, and it is likewise clear that we can not expect to get the same grade of talent where the service is merely supplemental to the work of the Indian Service, while in the Forest Service the work is the primary object of the bureau.
Now, there are not only these timbered lands administered by the Indian Service. There are in the public domain enormous areas of forested land, and here arises again the same difficulty. When we come to the national parks we again meet with the same difficulty. In the matter of the location of the roads and trails through the national parks, if the Forest Service were a branch of the Interior Department we could develop the parks in such manner as to promote better protection against forest fires. I do not mean that the same roads and trails would always serve the ends of fire protection and development of the parks, but I have no doubt that in many instances this would be the case, and I believe there are now in existence many trails which are located just far enough away to be useless for fire protection, while, with the proper forest supervision in the beginning they might just as well afford excellent protection against forest fires.
If Mr. Graves is right, and it seems to me that he is right, we should have a bureau of national parks to take care of the administration of the parks; but there should also be a bureau in the Interior Department to have supervision over all forestry questions whether in the Indian Service, the Land Office, or in the national parks. Then we would have one service worthy of the name. We would have proper administration, we would prevent the needless duplication of work, and we would get the best results. The difficulty in perfecting this work now, as was said by Mr. Graves, is because we have two heads for the service. The bureaus are in two departments, and while there is the sincere desire and earnest effort to secure practical cooperation, divided authority means unavoidable inefficiency and sometimes serious mistakes. We might attempt to consolidate authority and responsibility in the Department of Agriculture were it not for the fact that the final disposition of all these landsIndian lands, the public domain, and the forest reserves themselvesrests and apparently must rest with the Department of the Interior. It controls the titles, and as to the Indian lands and the public domain generally it must control the administration. Under these conditions it seems that consolidation of all the forestry questions in an enlarged and more efficient Forest Service must place that service in the Interior Department, although if any of you can suggest some other solution which will not add to the labors of the present Secretary, I shall be particularly glad to hear from him.
Mr. LOUIS W. HILL. In discussing this idea of the Interior Department taking charge of the forestry matters, I think most of the people of the West would be gratified. These things are vital to the western people. This is the first time that the department has taken the matter up in this way, and if these questions are followed up, it will naturally be of great importance and facilitate matters very much. Now, we have had from time to time many matters up with the Forest Service. We are passing through Glacier Park now, and it brings up the question of fire protection. I think where a railroad passes through a reserve the timber clearing should be widened. I think where trails are built and wagon roads constructed the question of forest protection should be considered. Where timber is cut, it should be hauled to the center and burned. Speaking with some of the parties who were at the fires last year, they said it was difficult to stop the fires as there were no places to control them. It is of the greatest advantage to have firebreaks. As you noticed, on the road that we came over yesterday, the trees were cut and then thrown back into the edge of the timber, thus making a veritable fire trap. While the railroads may be careless we do not wish to leave the timber that way. It certainly will facilitate matters if this taking over of the Forest Service is brought about. We heartily approve of the suggestion you have outlined.
Mr. COOPER. I rise to indorse very heartily the plan, which you have suggested, of transferring the Forest Service from the Agricultural to the Interior Department. I have considerable business to transact with the Forest Service and with the various branches of the Interior Department, and it seems to me the logical place for the Forest Service, by reason of the very nature of its business, is in the Interior Department.
I want to thank you, Mr. Secretary, for the opportunity given us to participate in this conference, and again to say to you that anything we can do to promote the work of this meeting and to induce more travel to the park we will be very glad to do.
The SECRETARY. Are there any others who wish to say something on this subject?
Mr. J. HORACE MCFARLAND. I want to most heartily second all that you have said, Mr. Secretary, as well as what Mr. Graves has said on this subject. Unquestionably the best results will come from such a combination as you have outlined, and I see no difficulty with the harmony that is brooding over the situation here to-day in such handling as will conserve in the highest degree the best interests. The people who love scenery, if they are sane, do not worship a treethey realize that it must be used. If all these matters were handled in one department it would promote the highest use of all the lands. I believe by this means the forest conditions would be improved and the park conditions improved.
Last Updated: 03-Mar-2009