MORNING SESSION, OCTOBER 15.
The SECRETARY. Gentlemen, we will come to order, please. The first question that comes up in connection with national parks is, of course, how to get to them, and that always makes the transportation facilities a matter of prominent concern at the conferences and in the entire administration of the national parks. Last summer at the Yellowstone we had with us a large number of the representatives of the different railroads that are connected with the national parks, and I am very glad to see that many of them are with us again this year and that there are a number of new faces. Before we go into the discussion of the transportation facilities we should have after we have traveled over the railroad, perhaps we had better talk a little with the railroad people and see what has developed since last year; whether they have any new suggestions, and what they now report as to the results of our conference last year. Mr. Fee, this is to a certain extent your bailiwick; perhaps we had better hear from you first.
Mr. FEE. Mr. Secretary, ladies, and gentlemen, the matter of transportation of people to the Yosemite, as well as to the Yellowstone, is of special interest to what is known as the Harriman lines. In the matter of the Yellowstone, I think the arrangements at this time with regard to railroad transportation are reasonably satisfactory to the traveling public, as is evidenced by the fact that this travel is constantly increasing from year to year, and with very few exceptions the situation in the Yosemite is radically different, although the service has been very materially improved within the past four or five years. The season in the Yosemite is practically a 12-month season. The greater volume of travel, however, comes to the Yosemite between the months of May and October. During that season of comparatively heavy travel, the railroads operate between San Francisco and Los Angeles through sleeping-car service to and from El Portal, at the terminus of the Yosemite Valley Railroad, some eighty-odd miles from Merced, on the lines of the Southern Pacific & Santa Fe. I think the greatest drawback to-day to travel into the Yosemite is the lack of such hotel accommodations as we find, for example, in the Yellowstone. I think the people that managed and are to-day managing the hotels, especially at El Portal and in the valley here and at Wawona, are to be commended for the care they have exercised in taking care of the travel to this park, considering the facilities which they have. They certainly have been improved materially within the past four or five years, but as a matter of fact they are still very far from being what they should be, and the best evidence of that is that the travel to this park as compared with other parks in the United States of a similar character is really very small. I note from Col. Forsyth's report that the Yosemite had 13,000 tourists in 1911 and 11,000 in 1912, a decrease of 2,000 as compared with the previous year. Those figures, of course, may be accounted for by the difference in the volume of the transcontinental travel brought about, perhaps, by conventions or the lack of conventions at Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and northern cities, but when we consider the fact that the Yosemite National Park lies within a few hours ride of both San Francisco and Los Angeles, and that around San Francisco Bay there is at least a million of people, and around the city of Los Angeles, say, a half million people, I think it must be evident to the Secretary and to everyone who has made a study of the question, that the very small travel into this park is largely due to the fact of its not having A number 1 roadways and thoroughly commodious hotel accommodations.
I was very much pleased yesterday, as no doubt many others were, to hear the Secretary say that so far as the matter of leases in the Yosemite are concerned, it will be the policy and is the policy of the department at which he stands at the head to grant leases that will in every way facilitate the building and maintenance of good hotels in the Yosemite National Park, leases running for a full term of 10 years, with the assurance that an additional or an extension of 10 years will be favorably considered. That, certainly, is most encouraging, and I think I may say quite in contrast with the policy as those whom I see on the ground have understood it as far as concerned the Interior Department during the past four or five years. I am very much in hopes, therefore, that with the definite statement made by the Secretary yesterday, we may have hopes that capital, and those particularly interested will move promptly in the matter of supplying the Yosemite National Park with entirely suitable hotel accommodations. This is especially desirable from the fact that the exposition of 1915 at San Francisco is bound to bring to this coast from all quarters of the world a very large travel. I think a conservative estimate of the admissions to the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915 can be stated at 15,000,000. We are well aware that a very large percentage of this attendance will naturally come from within a radius of, say, 500 miles. The whole coast, however, from Vancouver to San Diego will contribute its share of this travel, but independent of the local coastwise business centering at San Francisco in 1915, there will be a very heavy travel, I am satisfied, not only from the Orient, but from the Eastern States, the Atlantic coast cities, and from Europe.
It was my fortune to discuss, only a few days ago, the matter of travel from the continent with a gentleman who had spent some four or five months there, who was in the business of transportation, and knew, I am satisfied, whereof he spoke. He stated that the interest throughout the continent and throughout Great Britain, so far as he traveled, was very wide and that it seemed to him to indicate a travel to this country, such, perhaps, as we have never seen in the United States. It is very necessary, therefore, that not only the roads leading to the park, that the railroads leading to the park should be up and doing and preparing for this travel of 1915, but that this park itself should be supplied with such hotel accommodations as will make the traveler who comes glad that he made the visit and willing to go away and recommend his friends to do likewise. I have in my possession, to-day, letters received only very recently from people who have made this trip, during the present summer, in which they spoke of the beauties of Yosemite National Park, of the desirability of every one seeing it, but at the same time they said they would hesitate to recommend their friends to come in now, for the simple reason that the hotel accommodations were not such as were to be found in the Yellowstone or to be found abroadin Switzerland, for example.
And that is what they expect and that is what the folks who travel to a park like this will have before we can expect to get a very large number of people. I want to emphasize the statement made by Col. Forsyth yesterday with regard to the building of a boulevard from El Portal to this valley. It seems to me that this is of the very first moment. We have nothing to say against the matter of automobiles in the Yosemite National Park. That is a matter that the Secretary will deal with in such manner as seems to him to be for the best interest of the people as a whole, but we do feel, as far as the transportation lines are concerned, that we want from El Portal, where the people leave the trains of the Yosemite Valley Railroad, a highway that they will be proud of and that it will be a comfort to travel.
I do not know, Mr. Secretary, that I have anything further to add, except that with these improved accommodations I think the Yosemite Valley and the park where we are to-day may look closer to such a tide of travel as was described to us yesterday by Mr. Myers as going toward the famous Arkansas Hot Springs, which he very aptly termed the "National bathhouse." And when he referred to the matter of the travel from the Pacific coast and the desirability of providing all of those people with bathing facilities when they reached Arkansas Hot Springs, I was especially moved by his statement to me, made a little bit later, that such was the Spartanlike fortitude of the people of Hot Springs that they willingly forego the opportunity to bathe in order that they might accommodate the visitors; in other words, like the shoemaker, their children were shoeless. I appreciated, therefore, the Secretary's remark that the administration of affairs at Arkansas Hot Springs was attended with many and very peculiar difficulties. Thank you.
The SECRETARY. I wouldn't like to have it said, Mr. Fee, that the terms of hotel leases at this or any other park are misunderstood on account of the fact that I did not refer to them, and therefore permitted that statement to go as though it were my own. I want it distinctly understood that the question of the length of term of lease is a matter which will be considered under the broadest general principles, such as I stated yesterday, and that I am no more wedded to a term of 10 years than I am to one of 20 or more or less. There was no intention in what I said to indicate a definite view with regard to the length of the term. What was intended to be said was this: That I believe that the leases for hotel sites and for other concessions involving the permanent investment of money should be of such a character as to afford an investor a reasonable assurance that he will have his investment protected and that he will receive from it and from his labors in connection with it an adequate return, sufficient to justify the expenditure and make it a practical one in all respects, and if the term of 10 years was used, it was because that was the period which had been mentioned by the gentlemen whose remarks called forth my own. I want it understood at all times that any suggestions as to terms and provisions of these leases will be welcomed by me whether they relate to the protection of the investment and the encouragement of the development of these facilities so that the public will get the very best service, or whether they relate to the conditions upon the other side which must be relied upon to make sure that the public will get the best service and that it will get that service at reasonable rates.
Now, there are a good many other railroad men here. I don't know that it would be well for us to select them. I would a little rather they would volunteer, each in their own way. Perhaps, Mr. Byrne, we might ask you to speak now, because of the fact that the Santa Fe road is so directly interested, with the Southern Pacific, in this park.
Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Secretary, ladies, and gentlemen. About a month ago I was in the ticket office at Stockton and a gentleman came to the ticket-office window. He said to the ticket clerk, "Do you sell tickets to the Yosemite?" The clerk said, "Yes, sir." He said, "Very well; give me four tickets," and he went on. A little while later he came back to the office and entered into conversation with the ticket clerk, and he said that he had just returned from a long European trip, and one of the first things that almost all of the people he met asked him was about the Yosemite Valley. He had lived 24 years in Stockton as a merchant there and he had never been in the Yosemite Valley, so he swore by all that was holy he would go in the first opportunity he had, and this was shortly after his return from Europe. That illustrates two points. It illustrates, first, the comparative indifference of people to things and beauties that lie at their doors; it also illustrates the difficulty of getting people to come to some of the beautiful resorts of California.
I think that one of the great drawbacks that has held the Yosemite from attaining the prominence in the world of travel to which it is entitled is the difficulty of getting in and out. That has been improved in the last few years, of course, by the construction of the Yosemite Valley Railroad, but still they are 15 miles away from the objective point, and the transportation must be improved in some way, either by better roads, possibly by automobiles or by electric lines, or in some way getting people into the center of the valley. When that is done, there will be a great many more people come here. That in connection with the matters that Mr. Fee referred tothat is, the hotel accommodationsthey have naturally and necessarily been limited. They do not compare very favorably with either the resorts in this country or the resorts of Europe, and that has been the condition that has existed, and that I trust, from the remarks of the Secretary, will be probably removed by the department. The rail transportation, so far as it goes, is about as good as is necessary. There are both day trains and night trains, making the valley accessible from the two large cities of California, so that it is a matter of internal transportation, a matter of hotel accommodations, and the comfort and ease of reaching the place. I do not know that I have anything beyond that to suggest, Mr. Secretary.
The SECRETARY. Does anything occur to you with regard to the possibility of more effective cooperation between the department and the railroads that would facilitate transportation into these parks. Can you help us or can we help you?
Mr. BYRNE. I think it is possible, as long as the park is under the Government, that the Government can help us more than we can help them, by the construction of proper roads into and through the valley. My thought of transportation is that a road should be constructed from El Portal on one side to Wawona on the other, so that people can get right through the valley and not have to double along the same road.
The SECRETARY. Now, the question of building roads depends primarily on funds. The people whom we are meeting here, with the exception of Congressman Raker, haven't anything to do with that. We can make recommendations and we do, as forcibly as we know how. Can you suggest any way that will enable us to get more liberal appropriations for these purposes?
Mr. BYRNE. I don't know, unless we can employ some loud voices. There are several gentlemen I heard last nightI think if we could get them engaged in the campaign we might make some progress.
The SECRETARY. Now, we hear, sometimes, in talking about railroad transportation, not only the facilities to which you have referred discussed, but also the rates. What do you think about that? It is pretty expensive in this country, on account of the long distance, to get a large number of people from other points to the Pacific coast, unless they are going incidentally from one part of the country to the other. Is there anything in your judgment in the rate question that could be modified to advantage?
Mr. BYRNE. Well, in my judgment the rates on the transcontinental roads during the season when the Yosemite is open in the summer, are so low now as to be almost laughable. They are like commutation rates in most cases. The average on a short line on some of the roads, they get 1-1/2 cents a mile, about, and the many railroads participating, I question if they get a cent a mile for their travel. Those rates are put in for the year and advocated by the railroads, really not in expectation of getting a direct profit out of the handling of the travel but largely as exploitation. The Pacific coast roads have followed the policy for years to get low rates that they may persuade people to come to the Pacific coast to see what we have here, not only in the line of natural beauties but the advantages of locating permanently.
In fact, I think it is due to that that California and Oregon and Washington, in perhaps a lesser way, have attained the very rapid growth they have in the past few years, California having increased by 60 per cent in the last census. That is the largest percentage of any of the older States. I believe that the rates are about as low as they can be hoped to be made as far as transcontinental travel is concerned. I have never heard of any complaint, have never observed, as far as the rail charges go, that the charge to the Yosemite has kept anybody out, but necessarily the charges on the stage lines when you reach the end of the rail lines are high; that is because of the expense of maintaining them, and the few people that can be hauled at a time makes it necessary to charge high rates, but I do not believe that is any great deterrent, even at those rates.
The SECRETARY. Last year one of the subjects discussed was cooperation on the question of advertisinghow far the department might assist along publicity linesand the department took a very active part within its limited means for that purpose, furnishing to the press articles, illustrations of a very considerable quantity and variety about national parks. Have you observed that work at all, and have you any suggestions in connection with it?
Mr. BYRNE. Yes, sir; I have observed it, and the work has been taken advantage of in publications the railway has gotten out following that. It is a very good work. It gives an authenticity to the statements made about the beauty of these scenes that can not be given by a purely transportation company's issue, and so it is of great help to us. It enables us to put before the public, stating that the Secretary of the Interior or whatever is the official title of the person issuing it, has said so and so. That is a great deal better than my advertising man's notices. It is very helpful in the way of making somebody get the wanderlust. Then, again, it attracts the attention of various nations. I suppose it would be a conservative guess to say that 33-1/3 per cent of the people who visit the Yosemite Valley and the Grand Canyon are from foreign countries, attracted here by the wider interest they seem to have in these world-famous places.
The SECRETARY. You were not present at the last conference. We discussed at that time very extensively the question of forming a bureau of national parks. Have you any views on that subject?
Mr. BYRNE. Well, I do not believe that I have. I was not present at the last conference, and have never given it any consideration, but it appeals to me as a step in the right direction of getting insistent and consecutive lines of management laid out for these various national parks. That is, in the charge of a bureau you would get consecutive work, which I believe is more important, rather than the spasmodic help that we now get from time to time.
The SECRETARY. I believe Mr. Drum, of the Yosemite Valley road, was called away. Mr. Lehmeris Mr. Lehmer here?
Mr. LEHMER. I do not believe that I could add anything to what has been said by Mr. Fee and Mr. Byrne to be of interest. I am willing to answer any questions that might be asked.
The SECRETARY. That is a good suggestion. Every now and again there is a complaint floats up to the office of the Secretary about railroad facilities in connection with these various parks. Now is the time to ascertain if there are any complaints or any suggestions. If anybody here from the outside thinks there is anything to call to the attention of the railroad people, this is his opportunity.
Mr. LEHMER. I didn't know that I would be called upon to defend myself in regard to rates or I would
The SECRETARY. I do not understand that you are called on to defend yourself at all. I am asking the questions to get information.
Mr. LEHMER. I would like to say right here that I think Col. Forsyth, as well as concessioners in the valley, will bear us out that there were times during the last five or six years when the accommodations in the valley were not adequate to take care of the people. I think the first thing we wish to consider is adequate facilities for taking care of the people. We are restricted in the number of people we bring to the Yosemite by the fear that we may get more people than can be taken care of. We should get adequate facilities for the people we do bring.
The SECRETARY. Now, Mr. Lehmer, on that pointthis is one of those vicious circles we hear about sometimes. You can never reduce the rates unless the accommodations are improved, and the people planning to give the accommodations say they can not put the money in unless they know what the railroads are going to do. Don't you think it is about time for the people interested in the Yosemite to get together?
Mr. LEHMER. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. That makes me think about an old darky who always went to the Episcopal Church. He had gone there for years and years and years. Finally, one day, he became a very devout and earnest Methodist, which, as you know, is a considerable change. One of his friends soon after met him on the street and asked him what it was all about, saying, "I understand you have left the Episcopal Church; what is the matter?" The old darky answered, "The 'Piscalopian Church is no place for a poor nigger like me." His friend said, "What is the matter with it?" "Well," he said, "the trouble with the 'Piscalopian Church is there is too much reading of the minutes of the last meeting and too little new business."
Now, don't you think it is about time to get down to new business at the Yosemite?
Mr. LEHMER. I think so. I wish to make this statement, further, that until last year we have had excursions into the Yosemite Valley on very low rates, and we have had commutation rates, and a large percentage of people were handled on those cheaper rates until last year. In conference with Mr. Fee and Mr. Byrne, we came to the conclusion that under present conditions it was not advisable to bring people in on those cheap rates and congest matters in the Yosemite, and last year those rates were discontinued, and the loss of business, I believe now, to some extent is accountable for the withdrawing of those rates.
The SECRETARY. You mean the business fell off with the withdrawing of those rates?
Mr. LEHMER. Yes, sir; to some extent. But there were other conditions that contributed also. The report went out early in the year that we were not going to have any water in the Yosemite, and we all know that a bad report travels much more rapidly than a good report. I came in contact personally with a number of people who had intended to make the trip to the Yosemite who were advised not to do so on account of the lack of water, and I think there are several things that contributed toward the falling off of this last year.
I think the people who built the Yosemite Valley Railroad up that Merced Canyon without any prospect of business, except business that they might develop themselves, deserve a great deal of credit for making the Yosemite Valley accessible, and we have our struggles, we have our obstacles, and when conditions are better and we can consistently do it we are going to meet the condition of rates. I assure you of that. I think Col. Forsyth and the people of the valley will bear us out that until this last year there were times every year since we have been in business that the camps and hotels had all that they could handle in the Yosemite.
The SECRETARY. Is Mr. Burley here?
Mr. BURLEY. I don't think I have anything to add to what has been said.
The SECRETARY. Do you find any change in conditions since last year?
Mr. BURLEY. Not in our part of the country. I am not familiar with this. Our business is limited by the hotel capacity in the Yellowstone Park. We can handle a good many more passengers than we are already doing. I think that in 1913, 1914, and 1915 especially we will be unable to accommodate the crowd that will want to go to that section in the park on account of lack of hotel facilities.
The SECRETARY. You think the railroad, as far as transportation is concerned, will be able to handle it?
Mr. BURLEY. All we have to do is to put a few more cars on.
The SECRETARY. So that you think the question up there is hotel and other accommodations in the park?
Mr. BURLEY. Yes, sir; it is a very serious problem to-day.
The SECRETARY. I think, when I was up there last summer, there was talk of some additional hotel facilities. Are they going ahead?
Mr. BURLEY. I don't think there have been any new hotels built since you were up there last year, Mr. Secretary.
The SECRETARY. There were plans or discussions with regard to some additional facilities. How about that, Mr. Child?
Mr. CHILD. We have the plans.
The SECRETARY. What plans have you about using those plans?
Mr. CHILD. I can state that better after a conference with you.
The SECRETARY. Is it waiting on that?
Mr. CHILD. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Well, then, we will remove that obstacle very promptly. Is Mr. Fort here?
A VOICE. No.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Charlton?
Mr. CHARLTON. Mr. Secretary, ladies, and gentlemen, I am rather a nervous person. For that reason I have my impromptu remarks with me. This is my first attempt at a meeting of this kind and if I can hold this paper steady enough, I may be able to read it:
The Northern Pacific Railway, the road I am connected with, is greatly interested in tourist travel to the Yellowstone Park, and, in fact, to all national parksGlacier, Rainier, Crater Lake, Yosemite, etc.
The great aim of the American lines is to keep the tourist at home and to attract the tourist from abroad.
In my position for the past 29 years I have been in personal touch with tourists en route to and from Yellowstone Park.
What we need is more help from the Government in caring for our parks. In the case of the Yellowstone Park we have been allowed to believe by the previous course of the Government that they would take good care of the park and in consequence large sums of money have been spent for hotels, transportation facilities, etc. The Government should therefore spend enough money for police protection and for the roads so that when people go to the park they will be comfortable, happy, and satisfied.
There is much to be gained by this. If the Government will so equip its national parks that people will go to see them instead of going to Europe a very large sum of money so spent will remain in the United States, which means much to the whole country. In addition to which we can better attract the tourist from abroad.
I wish to emphasize the importance and necessity of more help from the Government in caring for the parks. It has been urged by some Members of Congress that there is no more reason why the Government should appropriate money for Yellowstone Park and other western parks than they should for Central Park in New York, Forest Park in St. Louis, etc. This may be true, if the Government had never started on the present plan and if there was any other source of revenue for the country national park. The parks in the cities are supported by the municipalities and have a revenue that the country park does not have.
During the past 29 years large sums of money have been spent on the hotel facilities in the Yellowstone Park, and at the present date we have magnificent hotels at Grand Canyon, and Old Faithful Inn, an excellent hotel at the Lake, and I believe a new hotel under consideration at Mammoth Hot Springs.
We are spending thousands of dollars advertising the Yellowstone Park and other national parks. A great number of tourists who can afford to visit the national parks are of the class that insist on comfort and will not make the trip unless assured of this. We are all working to the one end, "to increase the travel." In order to do this increased appropriations from Congress are necessary to better the condition of the roads, oil and sprinkle them, and insure the comfort of the visitor.
The coaching feature through the Yellowstone Park is a very attractive one. If the Government will put the roads in general good order, which they can do for a comparatively insignificant sum, and if they will only spend enough money to oil and sprinkle them, the visiting tourist will be well taken care of.
With reference to the automobile, we see no objection to this, but we believe the first expenditure on the park should be to make the present roads safe and comfortable for coach vehicles, and after that is done, if it is thought best, automobile roads should be constructed. I believe it is out of the question to combine automobile and horse vehicles on one road; in fact, impossible. The coaching feature through the park is a very attractive one and I believe preferable to the automobile trip.
I believe we all realize the importance of having the Government that is supporting the San Francisco Exposition and that supported the Portland and Seattle expositions spend enough money in Yellowstone Park and other parks to keep them in first-class order for the use of the American people and the foreign tourist.
The SECRETARY. Now, personally, I am rather glad that Mr. Charlton was so nervous, because that paper is in such shape that if he gets over his nervousness he can forward a copy of it or hand it to Congressman Raker, and the Congressman will use it to the best purpose. It is not necessary to convert the Congressman, but it is necessary to furnish him all the ammunition of war for those in whose power it lies to build these roads and take care of them. If you will see that Congressman Raker gets a copy of that nervous paper of yours, Mr. Charlton, we will all be pleased.
Mr. CHARLTON. If I recover I will be glad to hand him a copy.
The SECRETARY. Is Mr. Schmidt here?
Mr. SCHMIDT. Mr. Secretary, the only national park reached by the roads I represent is the Hot Springs Park. Unfortunately I have never been there, but I do not understand that there is any fault found there with the hotel accommodations or the train service in that park. All of the Middle West roads are advertising the various national parks in their folders and other literature, bulletins, and so forth. I think we are all doing our share toward the advertising feature. We naturally want to create travel in all directions. Unfortunately, I understand the attendance, or the visitors to the parks, has fallen off in the last year or two. I thought of an old story yesterday of two boon companions who imbibed not wisely but too well. One fell in the gutter and said, "Help me up, Tim." Tim said, "I can't, but I'll lie down with you."
The SECRETARY. Mr. Schmidt, you represent what roads?
Mr. SCHMIDT. The Iron Mountain and the Missouri Pacific.
The SECRETARY. Now, there are a number of gentlemen here from Hot Springs. Have you any grouch on with those roadsanything about transportation facilities down there, or has anybody else any grouch against them? How about that, Mr. Myers?
Mr. MYERS. Mr. Secretary, we come from a land that don't permit grouches. If I had left home with a grouch, I would have gotten rid of it long since. We have no grouches against the railroad. The Iron Mountain spends about $20,000 in advertising. They give us all facilities. In the larger months they handle 12,000 or 15,000 people a month. It is a very splendid line, doing everything it can for Hot Springs, and its rates, Mr. Secretary, apply to Hot Springs the year aroundexcursion rates the year around.
The SECRETARY. That is a good thing. Is Mr. Thompson here, of the Rock Island road? I trust he is not so nervous that he has gone to the hotel for his manuscript. We have heard from the Yosemite Valley now. I think that embraces the list of the distinctive railroad representatives here, but it does not complete it, Mr. Harvey, until we hear from you, because the Santa Fe service would not be complete without you. You are interested in the whole question. Tell us what you think about it.
Mr. HARVEY. I came for instructions, rather than to give instructions. Besides, the Grand Canyon is not a national park; it is only a monument. I think, as a little monument, we had better learn a few things.
Mr. FEE. I want to add to my remarks that the lines in the Southern Pacific system, which I represent, to-day are heavily interested not only in the Yosemite National Park, but in the Yellowstone, as I intimated; also in the Rainier, the Crater Lake National Park, the Sequoia, and the General Grant. With reference to the two latter parks, we do send more or less people to those national parks each year, and at times we have thought we saw a substantial increase. I think this year in the Sequoia and General Grant, taken together, there was a very decided increase. I wanted to say with reference to the Crater Lake National Park that we are very anxious to see suitable hotel accommodations placed at the rim of the lake. The Southern Pacific Railway is building a new line from Klamath Falls, which will bring our trains within 20 miles of Crater Lake. I have understood that a good road is to be constructed from a point some 50 or 60 miles north of Klamath Falls. I hope that report is correct, and I hope that we shall hear very shortly that some of our friends with capital are ready to go, and will go, in and put up a suitable hotel there, because it certainly is one of the wonders of the world. We are anxious to contribute in any way possible, not only in other parks, but also to Crater Lake, which is a new and more recent member of the national park family.
The SECRETARY. Now, gentlemen, I think we have got to the terminal station of the railroad, but we are still outside the park.
Mr. FEE. I would like to suggest that Mr. Hughes here is of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul.
Mr. HUGHES. Mr. Secretary, the Milwaukee Railroad is deeply interested in the development and exploitation of national parks, but I should say more particularly in the development of the Rainier National Park. However, I think that the railroads are developing a broader aim, a broader spirit, in regard to this national park situation. Most of the people who travel from the East to the West travel one way on one line and in returning travel on the other lines. We have a deep interest in the development of Rainier. It is not purely a selfish interest, nor is it strictly unselfish. We expect that our fellow citizens will profit by developing our traffic. Of course, we incidentally expect to profit slightly ourselves. A short time ago, in Seattle, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner on the occasion of the convention of the National Association of General Passenger and Ticket Agents, and at this dinner the chairman of the evening, talking over traffic matters, called to the attention of the assembled representatives of the various railroads and steamships that there was being taken from the United States of America and expended in Europe each year the enormous sum of about 400,000,000. I accepted the gentleman's statement, inasmuch as he is a traffic man at the head of the largest traffic organization in this country and should be in a position to know whereof he speaks. I am satisfied, with proper cooperation on the part of the concessionaires and on the part of the railroads, that a goodly portion of that four hundred millions can be kept right here at home, and I want to say that the Milwaukee Railroad wants to help keep it here.
It was with much regret that I heard yesterday that there was a decrease in the number of visitors to the Yellowstone and to the Yosemite. There was also a decrease in the number of visitors to Rainier National Park. Of course, we have had a bad season up there. Sometimes it rains in our country, and this summer it rained all the time. But when you stop to consider that the decrease affected practically the three largest parks in this country, the Yellowstone, the Yosemite, and the Rainier, there is something radically wrong with the method and manner in which the parks are being exploited amongst our people. We were inclined to believe that the lack of attendance at our park was attributable solely to the terrible conditions of our roads and to the weather we had. My information is that they had bad weather at Yellowstone, but there must be something more than a coincidence when the three largest parks suffer in the same way, and I am inclined to believe that your suggestion, which I understand you made last year, to the extent that there should be cooperation amongst the railroads and amongst the concessionaires, who would act jointly with the Department of the Interior in an endeavor to advertise the national parks throughout the country, without specifying any particular national park; that is one of the benefits that would accrue, I believe, through the creation of a bureau of national parks. I am of the firm opinion that nothing will be achieved, or practically nothing worth while, until we have such a bureauuntil we have men in this bureau whose whole time is taken up with matters pertaining to transportation, to hotels, and to the advancement of the national parks as a wholewho will devote all their time to it.
I am heartily in favor of the creation of such a bureau and would suggest that the concessionaires get together and make a united concerted effort with the representatives from their various States in Congress, and demand their assistance in the establishment of such a bureau. My position in the Chicago, Milwaukee & Puget Sound Railway is that of assistant superintendent of dining and sleeping cars, and under that department comes hotels. It places me in the rather fortunate position of being able to view this national park hotel and transportation proposition from two standpoints. I had to operate the National Park Inn for two years, and I also had the handling of the dining, sleeping, and parlor cars that carried the people to and from the park. I want to make one recommendation to cover the ground that was discussed yesterday and to-day; that is the matter of hotel leases. I think you will agree with me, Mr. Secretary, that the largest investment in any of our national parks is represented by the hotels, and there is a tendency on the part of other concessionaires to criticize hotel accommodations and hotel people. That is brought about purely by their ignorance of the conditions surrounding the operation of hotels in national parks.
In the first place, the average hotel opens once in its lifetime and never closes until sometimes the sheriff closes it. A hotel in a national park opens once each year. The cost of operation of hotels in national parks is very excessive on account of the necessity of opening the hotel practically new each year and engaging employees who are not conversant with the conditions surrounding the hotel itselfnot acquainted with each other, and it is necessary to mold them into a cohesive whole to get the necessary amount of work and that degree of service which the other concessionaires and the traveling public would call good. It also represents a tremendous amount of money. Unquestionably there is more money invested in hotels in national parks than there are in anything else, transportation included. By that I mean to say that I think we ought to endeavor to find some way to improve the conditions under which the hotel men operate, give them that stability which the amount of capital they have invested warrants, and that can only be done by giving them leases of such duration that they would become willing to invest the money in large amounts to improve their property.
I think I would suggest that any hotel in any national park in this country that represents an investment of $50,000 should be granted a lease of not less than 25 years. The short-term leases, even those that are accompanied by a guaranty or a practical guaranty that the lease will be extended, does not give that necessary amount of protection in the mind of the investor to warrant him in putting more money in the property, even though he knows it is needed. He is under the impression that he has got so much tied up here, and the vicissitudes of political life may change the situation. By that time there may be some one else in power. They may not take the same view of it that our good Secretary Fisher does, and are afraid to put up this money, and for that reason I suggest and appeal to your assistance in having longer leases granted to hotel concessionaires in the park. The railroads, in my estimation, furnish adequate transportation facilities to the parks, and in fact I think they give a better and more efficient service than the business at the present time would warrant from a business standpoint. They are animated, however, by a desire to develop this park travel. For that reason they give possibly better than they would give under the circumstances, and better than the remuneration would warrant. On the Tacoma Eastern Railway, which is the practical gateway to the Rainier National Park, we are operating two trains each day each way in the summer time, and we furnish additional cars if it is required. We have been confronted by a terrible road condition, or I am inclined to believe that we would have as many people this year as our brothers of the Yellowstone. We confidently expected 17,000. As it was, we only had 9,000, which was a decrease that, however, is not attributable to anything but our moisture.
The SECRETARY. It seems that this train was running special and we did not have it on the schedule. If there is any other train running wild on the tracks, we would like to have it blow the whistle now. Are there any other railroad men here who have failed to let us know of their attendancerepresentatives of any other road? I suppose we may assume that we have at last gotten to the terminal station and it is time to take up the automobile question.
Mr. PARSONS. May I make a suggestion that seems to come in here? It has been stated that the Government publication carries with it authority that theirs does not possess. It has also been stated that they are spending large sums of money. They have confessed that their part of that does not have the effect they wish. It seems to me that here is a case for the Government to issue proper publications and sell them to the railroads in quantities. There is no question that the Government publications in foreign countries do carry weight that our railroad publications do not carry.
The SECRETARY. We will commend that to the careful and prayerful consideration of the railroad men.
Once more, are we ready for the automobile question? If we are, perhaps before starting it it might be well to make a brief reference to a little discussion we had last night, which, of course, is known to the selected representatives of the automobile people who are here present, but should be fully known to all the others. It may be desirable to clear away the fog on this question as far as we can. There is said to be a tendency toward fog on certain portions of the Pacific coast, and I want to make sure none has gotten into the automobile issue. It will not be necessary to argue with the present Secretary of the Interior that the automobile is an improved means of transportation which has come to stay; it will not be necessary to argue with him that if it can be introduced into the Yellowstone Park or to the Yosemite Park or any other park, under conditions which are otherwise proper, it ought to be done. The interesting and important question is whether the conditions are proper, and upon that what I wish is constructive suggestion. It will not be necessary for any representative of any automobile concern or of any automobile organization to argue with me upon the proposition that the machines should be admitted if we can find a proper way; but they should not pass up to me the question of what that proper way is. If I knew a proper way to admit the automobiles into the Yosemite Park it would not be necessary to discuss that question at all to-day or at any other time. The difficulty is that with all the consideration and attention we have given the subject, including the examination and report of engineers, we do not know of such a way, and we want to hear the question discussed from that point of view.
Now, there are several classes of automobiles, as you know, and a greater variety of automobilists. If all the automobiles were of certain types and if automobilists operated that type of machine in the way that some operate their automobiles, it would be a tame animal and we could introduce it into the parks with impunity. Unfortunately, in the process of evolution we have not got that far. It is not necessary to argue with the automobilists, if we are going to be frank with each other and talk man fashion, that there are still a great many gentlemen who buy automobiles who have not yet ceased to be peripatetic nuisances. We do know that some automobiles make a great deal of noise; that they emit very obnoxious odors; that they drop their oil and gasoline all over the face of the earth wherever they go; that those automobiles are sold by people who regard it as a hardship to be excluded from any particular road. We know much more clearly that even machines which, as machines, have reached a high degree of perfection, are operated by gentlemen who don't know how to operate them, and are operated by other gentlemen who may know how, but don't take the necessary pains to operate them properly, and by still a third class of gentlemen who are perfectly fearless themselves and, liking the adventure, operate them in such a way as to create the impression on passers-by on foot or in a horse-drawn vehicle that it is very dangerous to be on the road at the same time.
The daily papers are full of reports of the results of these things, and it does very little good to demonstrate even if it could be demonstrated to the satisfaction of a court, that after all, if the driver of a horse-drawn vehicle had handled his team with proper circumspection the accident would not have occurred. It has occurred. It does occur every day and therefore it is very important that we do not bring about a situation where it is more likely to occur, under conditions where the Government is inviting people into a national park on the theory that it is a playground and that they can largely relax the habits they may have in crowded centers of civilization of being everlastingly on the watch unless they be run into. There are several phases of the situation as it relates to the Yosemite.
There are a number of suggestions that have reached me, and I am going to try to get rid of a few of the questions right at the start. I am in receipt, as I said yesterday, of a considerable number of telegrams brought about by the very laudable and active influence of the automobile organizations and, I should judge, of the automobile manufacturers and agents, who want to see that the machines are admitted into this park; and in this connection permit me to say that I have not the slightest objection to the automobile business as a business. It is a very excellent business, and I would like to see it succeed, and I am willing to assume that a man in that business will be very earnest in trying to extend it. I have no objection to that. I think it is his right as an American citizen to do that and he is entitled to careful consideration. Now these telegrams have reached me; but among them there is apparently not an entire unanimity. Some of the telegrams object most strenuously to the introduction of automobiles in the parks, apparently on any basis, even to the rim of the park, so there is that difference to start with among automobile people. I have received other letters and communications with regard to the admission of automobiles on the floor of the valley, from men who have said they would be in favor of the admission of machines to the rim if it could be worked out, but would be radically opposed to the introduction of those machines on the floor of the valley, and I may say, without violating any confidences, you have among you here in attendance, gentlemen who most heartily concur in that view.
There are men who say that the machines should not be admitted to the floor of the valley. Some think they should be admitted to the rim, and they disagree among themselves as to whether that should be upon a road which is also used by horse-drawn vehicles or whether it should be on a separate road, and some of them have suggestions with regard to a separate road and others have suggestions with regard to the use of a road jointly with horse-drawn vehicles, but at different hours and under regulations that would protect the two kinds of traffic, as they think. Those are the things about which I would like to hear from you, and if the representatives will address themselves to those questions right at the outset, I think we will make more progress than in any other way. Senator Flint.
Senator FLINT. Mr. Secretary, ladies and gentlemen, I want to conform to the views of the Secretary in this matter, but I also want to take the advantage of having associated with Mr. Burns to do a little advertising for Los Angeles and the State of California. Carrying out the views of the Secretary, and in that respect I would like to have placed in the record the fact that the Automobile Club of Southern California is the largest automobile club in the world or in the United States, and that in the State of California we have some 84,000 automobiles84,700and there is only one State in the Union that has more, and that is the State of New York. We have more automobiles to the population than any other State in the Union, and that 65 per cent of the automobile licenses are issued from southern California; that the Automobile Club of Southern California has 4,500 members, 300 of them are foreigners and coming from various States in foreign countries; that the estimated number of foreign cars that visited California last year was 55,000. The estimated number of foreign cars that will visit the State of California this year, 100,000.
And following out and just commenting for a moment on the very able and instructive paper of Mr. Charlton, I desire to say that southern California has done as much as any part of the Union to keep that $400,000,000 that has been spoken of in the United States, and it offers a crop that is very valuable to us and we have appreciated it, and we trust that the balance of the country will also adopt the plans of encouraging people of the United States to remain at home and see wonders that we have here that are just as grand and beautiful as in any other part of the world, and I wouldn't want to close my opening observations without saying a word in this respect for two men who have done great work in bringing to us in this country our American tourists, keeping them at home. One is Mr. Child, with the magnificent service that he has given to the people in the Yellowstone Parkthe hotel service and the transportation service thereand the other would be Mr. Harvey, who has made an international reputation by the splendid service he has given, and especially the service that we have at the Grand Canyon.
So far as we, here in California, are concerned with the Government, we are in the unfortunate position of having two places that affect the automobilists. Thus, as far as Los Angeles and vicinity is concerned we have the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, and while we have spent in Los Angeles, under bond issue, the sum of $3,500,000 for macadam roads, when we reached that part of the soil under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Government of the United States we found the road impassable and impossible to go over without destroying our machine. That is the condition we find so far as the National Government is concerned. So far as the State as a whole is concerned, we have taken and appropriated by bond issue the sum of $18,000,000 to make great highways for the automobiles from one end of the State to the other, and when we reach other places where the automobilists desire to visit, which are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, we find it so that we are met with a barrier and we can not go in. Now, having made that statement I desire to say that owing to the plans for 1915 the Automobile Club of Southern California is desirous of having more automobilists here than have ever assembled in any other part of the world at one time and have a Glidden tour, and they naturally will want to visit the national park.
Now, we of southern California, in this automobile association, and I desire to say right now that I represent no automobile manufacturer or no implement connected with an automobileI am simply a member of the Automobile Club of Southern CaliforniaI appear here as an owner of a machine and a member of that club, and, much to my regret, without compensation. Now, having made that statement I desire to say that the Automobile Club of Southern California has taken every step possible to bring together the data to convince the Secretary of the Interior that the automobile should be admitted to the park. We have selected an engineer of great ability who has visited the park and the roads on six different occasions, and has made surveys and has made a report and it is only in the rough, Mr. Secretary, at this time, but it is a part of my remarks, and I would like to have it typed and placed in the record. Now, this examination that he has made takes two roads and makes favorable report thereon. One is by way of Wawona and coming in by Madera. From Madera to Wawona, now, the road is in use by automobiles constantly for 63 miles, or about that. Then we reach a point on the park line, and there the automobiles are barred. There is a road from 10 to 12 feet wide running from Wawona to Chinquepin, which is a distance of 20 miles, and from Chinquepin to Inspiration Point, a distance of about 13 miles.
The SECRETARY. That is the Inspiration Point near Glacier?
Senator FLINT. Yes, sir. And also, Mr. Secretary, from Chinquepin to Glacier Point, a distance of 15 miles. In this report he states that with the expenditure of $1,000 the road can be placed in shape from Chinquepin to Glacier; for the expenditure of $5,000 the road can be placed in proper condition for automobiles from Chinquepin to Inspiration Point. He also has made a survey of the road from Inspiration Point to the floor of the valley, in which he estimates that a new road on a 7 per cent grade can be constructed for $35,000, and that that road could be constructed at the time that the present road is in use by the public, which has a grade of 14 per cent.
Now that brings us up to the question that you brought up and asked us to discuss as to the point in the park to which automobiles should be permitted, and whether the road from Wawona to Glacier Point and Inspiration Point should be used exclusively for automobiles or jointly with automobiles and horse-drawn vehicles, and if so, under what regulations. I should say that as to the proposition of the road from Wawona to Inspiration Point and Glacier Point, that the road could be used at all times jointly with horse-drawn vehicles and automobiles with safety.
The SECRETARY. You say from Wawona both to Glacier Point and to Inspiration Point?
Senator FLINT. From Wawona and Chinquepin and branching off both ways, I say; but that if it is desired to take an extra precaution, one that we do not think is necessary, because we travel constantly on a road as narrow with as great a grade and with more chances of danger than this one daily in our southern country. If the Secretary after investigation reaches the conclusion that he wants to take extraordinary precaution, then there could be hours set apart upon which the coaches and horse drawn vehicles could go and the automobiles go; that would bring us up to the point at the rim of the valley. Now, there are two propositions from Inspiration Point to the floor of the valley. One is the proposition of permitting, say, for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, automobiles to take the road from Inspiration Point to the floor of the valley, say, from 9 to 10 in the morning and from 2 to 3, to illustrate, in the afternoon; that the automobiles could be used during those hours on that point and that the road for a comparatively small sum could be put in condition for them.
The SECRETARY. Just a moment. Are you now discussing the 14 per cent road or the 7?
Senator FLINT. The 14 per cent road. With a small expenditure, that can be put in shape to be used.
The SECRETARY. Has your engineer made any estimate on that expenditure?
Senator FLINT. He has not made an estimate of that cost. Now, the next road that he has reported on is the road known as the Big Oak Flat Road. That road, he estimates, could be put in condition for the use of the public into the floor of the valley for the sum of $25,000. Now, in both of these roads
The SECRETARY. You say from where to where?
Senator FLINT. Taking the Big Oak Flat Road as a whole.
The SECRETARY. From the floor of the valley up?
Senator FLINT. Yes, sir; within the limits of the park.
The SECRETARY. What is the condition outside the park?
Senator FLINT. As the report makes it, I might state in a few words, the expenditure of $25,000 would make a safe, completed road of it between 10 and 12 feet wide for the whole length of the road. Now, in reference to the road by Wawona I may say this: That in the county in which the road is situated that comes outside of the park they expect to make improvements on that road, as they do on the Big Oak Flat Road, so that if we carry out this plan we will have completed roads so that automobiles can use them from one end to the other to connect with the State highways, in good condition.
Now, that brings us up to the proposition as to what advantage would there be if we were limited to the rim of the valley as far as the Madera-Wawona Road is concerned. I want to call your attention to this, Mr. Secretary, that having visited the valley a great many times myself, and my judgment, I think, has been reached by many others who have visited the valley, that the great points of interest can be best seen by coming in by the road on the rim so that you can visit the Big Trees, then the Glacier Point, and the fine forest and mountain view beyond, and, on the other hand, Inspiration and Artists Points and the valley. Now, it is practical to have a garage at Inspiration Point so that the automobiles could remain there if you decide not to admit them into the valley, and for a comparatively small sum of money have a stage connect between the floor of the valley and Inspiration Point. Personally I think that automobiles can with safety be permitted to come at one hour in the morning and at one hour in the afternoon into the floor of the valley, but as you stated, there is no use, after the very frank talk that you gave us last night, of attempting to deceive ourselves or you by any statements that there is such a matter for decision to come down from the point on the rim into the floor of the valley, and for that reason I am presenting the statement along the lines that if you do decide to stop at the rim, there is a practical way of getting down here into the valley and seeing it and going back to their automobiles and returning and having a beautiful automobile trip all the way.
The SECRETARY. Now this is a man-to-man discussion. We know that the automobile is still in the evolutionary stage and that an accident happening on one of those roads on which a carriage for any cause might go over the cliff, might seriously affect the whole attendance at this park during the exposition at San Francisco. A very strong sentiment exists in many quarters against having automobiles admitted to the Yosemite Valley. What do you say, man to man? What do you think the Secretary of the Interior ought to do in regard to admitting automobiles on the floor of the valley?
Senator FLINT. I can see no danger from my viewpoint.
The SECRETARY. I am talking about policy.
Senator FLINT. I will reach that point. I would not permit the 14 per cent grade from the floor of the valley to Inspiration Point if I were Secretary of the Interior, and I wouldn't advocate permitting the joint use of that road by horse-drawn vehicles and automobiles, but I do say that from the floor of the valley to Inspiration PointI say there ought to be an hour a day for the exclusive use of automobiles in the morning and an hour in the afternoon and horse-drawn vehicles kept off. On the floor of the valley there is no point where there is any danger of accident.
The SECRETARY. How long does it take to go from the floor of the valley on up to the rim upon that road in a horse-drawn vehicle?
Senator FLINT. I ought to know but I don't.
The SECRETARY. How long, Colonel?
Col. FORSYTH. Two hours going up.
The SECRETARY. Then your automobiles would be compelled to start at such hour as to leave adequate time for the horse drawn vehicles to go up and they couldn't all start at one timethat is, we could not say the horse-drawn vehicles had to start at 10 o'clock and get up there at noon, very well. There would have to be some leeway for a number of such vehicles.
Senator FLINT. I can answer that, Mr. Secretary by saying I would give the horse-drawn vehicles up to 11 o'clock the use of that road.
The SECRETARY. In other words you would let the automobiles come in after 11 o'clock?
Senator FLINT. Yes, sir; and give a similar time in the afternoon, before it got to be dark.
The SECRETARY. Now, taking that suggestion, would you permit an automobile to come down that road to go through to the hotel and would you let it go around on the floor of the valley?
Senator FLINT. I wouldn't permit it to go around on the floor of the valley if I had my say.
The SECRETARY. That is what I want to know. In other words, your idea is that we ought to let the automobile come down to the hotel so as to unload there?
Senator FLINT. I wouldn't permit it to go through the valley. I think from my standpoint, being here all my life, I think one of the beauties is to have the burro to take the trip around in the valley here.
The SECRETARY. You know there are automobilists who apparently would resent the fact that they were not allowed to run their automobiles into St. Peters up under the central dome, because it could be done, and if they occasionally knocked over an Italian who was engaged in prayer it would be to them a matter of small consequence. Do you think all the automobilists would be satisfied if they were allowed to go to the hotel and get out there and be allowed to pass through?
Senator FLINT. Not all. But I think the automobilists who would not be satisfied are the ones who do more to stop the automobiles from getting into parks and such places than those who ask for reasonable regulations. So far as we are concerned we do not believe in dashing through the streets, in running down people; we believe in prosecuting those who do, and the speed maniac with his automobile is a man who wants to come dashing around in this valley amongst the treeswe do not want themwe are not asking for them. We want the man who has come across the continent or from some other part of this State to be given the privilege of coming into this valley with his automobile under proper regulations.
The SECRETARY. You say it would be desirable when we look into it carefully to stop at the rim and come down by a line of coaches and other vehicles that will be provided, taking care of machines at the top of the rim?
Senator FLINT. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Who are the owners of the roads you have been describing to me as available for that purpose? Are they in private hands?
Senator FLINT. I understand so; yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. What arrangements, if any, can be made with those owners on this subject?
Senator FLINT. I only know from reading this report of our engineer and a conversation I had with Mr. Washburn this morning that he states that so far as that is concerned that they will cooperate.
The SECRETARY. Does that mean that they will operate as a toll road or upon what terms and conditions?
Senator FLINT. That I am not prepared to say. The president of the company is here.
Mr. WATSON. That would be operated as a toll road.
The SECRETARY. And under what tolls?
Mr. WATSON. The tolls are fixed by the board of supervisors of Mariposa County; have been for many years.
The SECRETARY. Does that include the tolls on a portion of the road that is within the confines of the park?
Mr. WATSON. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. They exercise jurisdiction over that part of the road, do they, for the purpose of regulating your tolls?
Mr. WATSON. Yes; have been for many years, and they are fixed, and there is now existing an automobile toll from Wawona to the valley and to Glacier Point.
The SECRETARY. What is your toll?
Mr. WATSON. $2.50 in and $2.50 out.
The SECRETARY. $5 for the round trip?
Mr. WATSON. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. What is the charge for the horse-drawn vehicle?
Mr. WATSON. Well, that I would not know; I would have to ask the secretary.
The SECRETARY, And what, Senator, did you say was the investment necessary to make it possible for the company to collect those tolls?
Senator FLINT. $60,000.
The SECRETARY. What do you think of the proposition of those tolls? Have you looked into the question as to whether the supervisors have adequate authority to regulate those tolls?
Senator FLINT. I have not.
The SECRETARY. Would you do that and advise me?
Senator FLINT. I would. I would like to have some information as to the supervision of these tolls as to adjusting the rates by the secretary. The mileage, as I have it here, is only 46 miles, and that would be a $5 toll for a 46-mile road.
The SECRETARY. Well, of course, I can readily see that if they charge that amount for every automobile coming in, if there was any considerable traffic, as you gentlemen think, it would be a very desirable investment.
Senator FLINT. Very, and as I say, I assume there ought to be some regulation of that
The SECRETARY. Mr. Watson, I don't know the regulations by the supervisorsI don't know anything about it one way or the otherbut to relieve all questions of doubt on that subject would you be willing that the rates charged should be subject to regulation by the department?
Mr. WATSON. I understand that is in the hands of the supervisors.
The SECRETARY. That is not the question. Would you be willing we should regulate them?
Mr. WATSON. I am only one of the officers of the company. I will take it up with the directors and let you know.
The SECRETARY. And at the same time take up the question as to whether you would be willing for us to regulate the character of the use as between the automobiles and horse-drawn vehicles. I suppose you would want us to be able to make only reasonable regulations? Having the right to carry it into the courts if we were unreasonable?
Mr. WATSON. We have gone into that with Mr. Walker in particular as to hours, and I am satisfied we can agree on hours.
The SECRETARY. But Mr. Walker represents the automobile, doesn't he?
Mr. WATSON. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Well, I am interested in the horse question. I am assuming that you might come to an understanding with Mr. Walker which he, as an automobilist, would feel was perfectly right. Suppose the horseman did not agree with him; are you willing we should regulate that question?
Mr. WATSON. Well, so long as you didn't eliminate our stage line entirely; we have quite a heavy investment here. This may look like a large deal.
The SECRETARY. I don't want to discuss the facts. You may be right. I want to know if you are willing that the Department of the Interior should make reasonable regulations as to the conditions under which that road could be used and the rates you charge for it, you having a right to carry into the courts the question of unreasonableness if you do not think we are reasonable. Will you ask your board of directors and let me know?
Mr. WATSON. I will let you know.
The SECRETARY. Senator, have you any suggestions to make?
Senator FLINT. I am in entire accord with that.
The SECRETARY. You think there ought to be such conditions of the use of that road?
Senator FLINT. Yes, sir; just one word in conclusion. I want to say this: So far as we are concerned and the organizations I represent are concerned, we are not committed to any road. The Big Oak Flat Road is also a toll road. I presume the same conditions exist there.
The SECRETARY. Any negotiations been made with the owners of the road?
Mr. CURTIN. I speak for those, Mr. Secretary.
Senator FLINT. I simply want to say we are not committed to any roadbased simply upon the report of our engineer of whose investigation of the roads in the vicinity of this valley he had made a report to our organization of what he thinks is the best plan for road surveys. First, the adoption of the road from Madera via Wawona into the valley, and second, from the floor of the valley by the Big Oak Flat Road out there on the north. Now, that would make a complete circuit from the north to the south and as far as the rim of the valley is concerned it would give immediately or within a comparatively few months, if the Secretary would consent to it, the automobilists the privilege of coming into the National Park, which is the important matter with, first, safety, and second, time, and third, a complete circuit from the south through the valley to the north. I thank you.
The SECRETARY. Now, Mr. Parker, I would like to ask you a question.
Mr. PARKER. Certainly.
The SECRETARY. Have you made such a report, in sufficient detail, as to enable the park superintendent, Col. Forsyth, and his engineers, to check it, in order to see what they think of your estimate and your suggestions?
Mr. PARKER. Yes, sir. That is, it is in sufficient detail as to specifications.
The SECRETARY. Has it included the expense of protecting walls at such points as in your judgment were dangerous?
Mr. PARKER. Yes; and as to the location of those walls.
The SECRETARY. So they can check it up?
Mr. PARKER. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. How soon?
Mr. PARKER. As soon as it can be typewritten.
The SECRETARY. How soon will that be?
Mr. PARKER. A few hours.
The SECRETARY. I assume you agree with me that it would be well to have it carefully checked by our engineers?
Senator FLINT. I certainly do.
The SECRETARY. Now, Mr. Curtin.
Mr. CURTIN. This is a somewhat embarrassing condition to occupy on this subject. The object, as I understood, of the meeting was to obtain permission to enter the Yosemite Valleythat is, the parkright on the floor of the valley, and of course that permission has been repeatedly denied. We have assumed that if we got that permission at any time it would be upon such conditions as would be imposed by the Secretary of the Interior, and if those conditions were first outlined and we could comply with them, certainly permission would be granted. Now, from the conversation of yourself last evening, as well as the remarks this morning, the conditions leave us in such a condition that it is hard to meet the conditions now presented because of the apparent change of the situation. I am one of those people who believe in modern progress and that each condition which arises will take care of itself, and the only thing we can do is to endeavor to minimize danger in all walks of life, but that accidents are going to happen no matter what you may do. Now, the question arises whether we should enter the floor of the valley. This is my position exactly, and when I speak of that, Mr. Secretary, let me say that I do not represent any automobile association or any road in particular. I came in here with the owners of the Big Oak Flat Road. We believe, in behalf of the people of the State of California, that this valley ought to be open for the automobilist for the reason that it is one of the Nation's assets. It is one in which people are interested, and if their voice goes out for that permission I am one of those who believe there ought to be a solution of the question, and I concur very heartily in the story told by yourself a few moments agothat we get through with the reading of last year's reports and take our new business up.
The SECRETARY. Well, let us take up the new business.
Mr. CURTIN. Then go into the valley with the automobile and don't let the horse keep it out. The automobile is the new business and the horse is the old onethat is the point I want to make.
The SECRETARY. Now, just a minute. Let us assume that the horse is an aging animal. Do you believe we ought to crowd the mourners?
Mr. CURTIN. I will answer that, Mr. Secretary, by the story of the old darkey who lived in the city of Atlanta. He said, "Those Yankees are a wonderful people; they came down to fight the South and only set the little nigger free."
My friend spoke of Christ riding a jackass through Jerusalem. I do not believe he would have done it if he had had an automobile. I want to say further, Mr. Secretary, on this proposition that I am one of those people who believe in modern progress; I am going to repeat that the State of California has done a good deal in this respect. I want to preface my remarks by assuring you the State of California has gone all around it and appropriated a large amount of money for the construction of roads. We have built a road to Lake Tahoe. We have connected it over here and we have gone in south of the Kings River Canyon. We are going to make that grand connecting link in there so we can come into the valley. The State has done its portion and we think we ought to be able to come into this valley because if a rule or condition may be made by which danger may be minimized we will endeavor to comply with that condition. Now they said, "What are you going to do about danger?" Danger occurs everywhere. My long years of experience in riding over these mountains is that accidents don't happen on narrow roads as they do on good level roads.
The SECRETARY. I don't want to interrupt you, but I feel that it is necessary to do so. All of those things I perfectly agree with, as I told you last night. Tell me where you think it can be done or how it can be done. If you have a plan
Mr. CURTIN. I am coming to it. The only answer that appears to me is to widen the road.
The SECRETARY. Which one do you think you ought to widen?
Mr. CURTIN. You, no doubt, all know there is a bill pending for the construction of a road which would leave you go up into Lake Tahoe, and then go into Oregon and Nevada. Owing to that fact and the fact that it is the one road that reaches over 1,370,000 people, that would be the logical one.
The SECRETARY. Who owns that road?
Mr. CURTIN. The Big Oak Flat and the Yosemite Turnpike Road Co.
The SECRETARY. You say it could be widened?
Mr. CURTIN. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Who will widen it?
Mr. CURTIN. The men who constructed it originally advised me that it cost only a few thousand dollars to construct that road, and said that $6,000 will widen it. That money will be forthcoming if you open the road.
The SECRETARY. That will be a toll road?
Mr. CURTIN. At the present time toll is charged only to Crane Flat. Crane Flat is only one-half mile from the park line.
The SECRETARY. Will the people be willing to consent to conditions we have just discussed?
Mr. CURTIN. I think so.
The SECRETARY. Will you find out and let me know?
Mr. CURTIN. The president is here.
The SECRETARY. Have you, or has he, had an engineer examine that road? You spoke of the man who built that roadyou mean the contractor?
Mr. CURTIN. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Where would that road enter the valley?
Mr. CURTIN. Over the Big Oak Flat Road, where it is now.
The SECRETARY. Where would it come out?
Mr. CURTIN. Down to Big Oak Flatdown to Chinese Camp and that way to San Francisco.
The SECRETARY. I have been on the Big Oak Flat Road. You would go by that road to get outyou go back up to the rim of the valley by the road we came in?
Mr. CURTIN. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Go right out on the top?
Mr. CURTIN. Yes; right out on the rim and out by Crane Flat.
The SECRETARY. The company has authorized the plan of changing that road when the time arrives and the permission be granted?
Mr. CURTIN. What the cost is I don't know, but they are prepared immediately to carry that work forward.
The SECRETARY. $6,000 would not build many retaining walls.
Mr. CURTIN. I only took the man's word that built the road.
The SECRETARY. Do you know that those suggestions are practical?
Mr. CURTIN. Most assuredly.
The SECRETARY. When was it built?
Mr. CURTIN. About 1874.
The SECRETARY. What are the differences in the cost of labor and material between 1874 and now?
Mr. CURTIN. It has increased considerably, but we are allowing considerable when you consider that the original road is already constructed.
The SECRETARY. In other words, then, if we should look into your suggestion as to that road, we would have to have our own roads?
Senator FLINT. Our engineer's report covers this very road. Twenty-five thousand dollars is his estimate.
Mr. CURTIN. The Big Oak Flat Co. stands ready, if the road be opened for the automobiles, to close up all the horse traffic on that road and allow it exclusively for automobile, if you so desire.
The SECRETARY. You think it would be desirable?
Mr. CURTIN. Yes, sir; I think so. Because when you reach Crane Flat in only 4 miles more you strike the Coulterville Road and come right down from El Portal.
The SECRETARY. The Coulterville Road is the road we saw coming up the valley? I was told by an expert horseman the other day that he hesitated to go over it, and that while he had gone over it, he never went over it without finding a considerable number of bowlders there that had not been there the last time.
Mr. CURTIN. I understand in recent years they have not expended much money on that road. I understand the owners of the Coulterville Road have expended but very little money on that road.
The SECRETARY. Have you taken up the question with them as to whether they would loosen up now?
Mr. CURTIN. I understand they would have to loosen up.
The SECRETARY. Do you think they would have to put that road in shape just because you want a road there?
Mr. CURTIN. Why, in self-interest they certainly would
The SECRETARY. You think the return would be adequate? Haven't you got the horse away behind the cart? What I want to know is what you think I can do and ought to do?
Mr. CURTIN. That is the point. If a road is opened, I would imagine it a matter to name the conditions and see if we can
The SECRETARY. We have not gone that far. What do you think the conditions are that we have to name?
Mr. CURTIN. Open the road and tell us how we have to use it.
The SECRETARY. That is the same thingthat is certainly not an answer.
Mr. CURTIN. I am unable to say anything further than to say that if the Big Oak Flat Road is opened, we will widen it. We will go further, we will help the United States and we will take care of our own road ourselves.
The SECRETARY. I have asked you whether you would submit to regulations.
Mr. CURTIN. I will cheerfully take that matter up and forward it to you.
The Big Oak Flat Road Co. has not charged any toll beyond Crane Flat.
That is where this road turns off and goes down. To that point the Big Oak Flat Co. charges no toll, and many conveyances come up that way. They come as far as Crane Flat, then go down and strike the Coulterville Road. Some of them go out that far to avoid the toll on the Oak Flat Road. We would go furtherwe would put a telephone line and have a man there to keep advised all the time.
The SECRETARY. That is so you could warn the horse-drawn vehicle?
Mr. CURTIN. I think they should be excluded altogether.
The SECRETARY. If there was an alternative road?
Mr. CURTIN. Yes, sir. If there was any danger of meeting an automobile to exclude him altogether.
The SECRETARY. Do these suggestions you make involve the expenditure of money on any parts of the road that are not owned by a private individual?
Mr. CURTIN. Well, the Government still claims jurisdiction of the road to the old State line, but exercises no jurisdiction from there to the park line, however.
The SECRETARY. That would leave how much road to be taken care of by the Government?
Mr. CURTIN. Four miles from that point.
The SECRETARY. How do you suggest you get the money for that?
Mr. CURTIN. We have already got it.
The SECRETARY. You mean in the appropriation made this year?
Mr. CURTIN. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. How is that? Is that money available for that purpose?
Mr. CURTIN. Our understanding is that $50,000 was available. I took an active part, Mr. Secretary, in the proposition of urging Congress to appropriate funds upon the assumption, which I had a right to believe, that part of it would be used to widen the road.
The SECRETARY. Now, the colonel has made his estimates of expenditures.
Col. FORSYTH. There was no estimate made for widening the road for automobiles. The appropriation of $80,000 is for the protection and improvement of the Yosemite National Park. The amount of the estimate was something like $300,000.
The SECRETARY. That is so. You made an estimate of needed appropriations here aggregating $300,000?
Col. FORSYTH. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. We got $80,000.
Col. FORSYTH. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. That is for the whole purpose?
Col. FORSYTH. Yes, sir; if we take any portion of that money to widen any of these roads for automobile purposes we will have to take it away from some other purposes.
Mr. CURTIN. We doubt if that other $30,000 would have been given at all without our effort. If there is anything further that I may add, I should be glad to do so.
The SECRETARY. I understand, Senator, that it is, of course, within our power to divert the money from any of the purposes that is needed if the situation demands it. We can not do that except upon a thorough consideration of the whole question.
Mr. CURTIN. That was our aimto get that $30,000.
The SECRETARY. I find it valuable to have different gentlemen with different aims all boost the appropriation.
Mr. CURTIN. I think I did my part. I had the privilege of one hour and a half, and during that hour and a half I tell you I labored for the Yosemite Valley and the Yosemite National Park.
The SECRETARY. I think that is correct.
Mr. CURTIN. Anything further?
The SECRETARY. Who is the third speaker?
Mr. C. I. MENTZER. Mr. Secretary, it seems that on this occasion each man is his own press agent. That seems to be characteristic of the year.
The SECRETARY. Whom do you represent?
Mr. MENTZER. I represent Merced and Mariposa Counties, and particularly the Coulterville Road, the one which seems to have called forth criticism.
The SECRETARY. In what way do you represent it?
Mr. MENTZER. It is a public highway, and that is our contention, and we ask that it be opened up for the use of the publicnot that there is to be a toll charged for the traveling public.
The SECRETARY. That road has been an open road, a public road, as I gather from your remarks?
Mr. MENTZER. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. We were of the impression it was also a toll road.
Mr. MENTZER. The supervisors exercise jurisdiction over that roadthe old toll road.
The SECRETARY. Is it conceded by the private interests there that it is a public roadthat they have no claim?
Mr. MENTZER. For four years the county of Mariposa has exercised positive jurisdiction over the road. Mrs. McLean has the only surviving interest, and she has made no effort at all toward looking after and establishing any claim she may have had in the matter. The board of supervisors has passed a resolutionpassed the necessary ordinanceswhat they conceive necessary to make it a public highway, and they have exercised the jurisdiction necessary under the laws of the State, and the road has become a public highway by adoption and use. A toll road, under the laws of California, may become a public highway by nonpayment of license or by abandonment. For four years there has been nothing done by the ownersthere has been an apparent abandonment by those who may have any interest in the road.
The SECRETARY. There has been some correspondence on that subject.
SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., October 5, 1912.
Maj. W. FORSYTHE, Yosemite Valley, Cal.
DEAR SIR: As the owner of the toll road known as the Coulterville Road, this company begs to notify you that various articles have recently appeared in the San Francisco newspapers to the effect that it is proposed to turn the Coulterville Road over to the owners of automobiles to be used by them free of tolls, inasmuch as the road has been abandoned by the owner.
We beg leave to say that this company is the owner of the toll road from Hazel Green to the border line of the old State Park, and also from Hazel Green to Crane Flat. This road passes through the Merced Grove of Big Trees. This road has never been abandoned and it is the intention of this company to operate the same as a toll road and to collect tolls therefrom.
We would thank you to inform the proper authorities at the proposed conference soon to be held in regard to this matter that this company has decided objections to permitting its property to be taken away from it and turned over to the public for free use.
COULTERVILLE & YOSEMITE TURNPIKE Co.,
1423 WILLOW STREET,
Maj. W. W. FORSYTHE, Yosemite Valley.
DEAR SIR: In explanation of the accompanying letter I would like to remind you of something which I told you at a conversation in your office. The Macauleys would not pay their toll at the tollhouse, and when I remonstrated with them, told me to come and collect it. Not only this, but they told campers how to get by the tollgate by going through their place. Their toll would have more than paid the taxes and license, and had they paid what was due, I could have kept the road in good shape. The Y. T. Co. has regularly paid the amount agreed on for its use of the road. I have never abandoned the road nor given it up, but have complied with the law as far as I knew it and was able.
My father, Dr. John T. McLean, put more than a hundred thousand dollars in that road, and could I realize something from it, it would be a great blessing, as my own savings were used in caring for him during his last long and painful illness. I have no one on whom I can depend but myself and nothing to look forward to except hard work unless I can realize something from this road, which I would be willing to sell at a reasonable price.
I hope you are well, and that you have continued to find Yosemite as delightful a place of residence as you anticipated.
(Miss) MARY HELEN MCLEAN.
Mr. MENTZER. Mr. Secretary, it is apparent from the reading of the communication that the McLeans still claim some interest that may raise a question of law and one that will be disposed of by Mariposa County. It has exercised jurisdiction over that road. It has kept the road under improvement its full length for the last four years.
The SECRETARY. Right into the valley?
Mr. MENTZER. My information is right into the valley. All the work that has been done on the Coulterville Road has been done by the board of supervisors of the county and of that district.
The SECRETARY. Has there been any work done on that road, Colonel?
Col. FORSYTH. Not that I have been able to discover.
The SECRETARY. Has there been any, Mr. Mentzer?
Mr. MENTZER. Yes, sir. This last year.
The SECRETARY. What work was done?
Mr. MENTZER. Something like $75 was expended.
The SECRETARY. On what length of road?
Mr. MENTZER. About a mile on the grade into the valley. On the other portion there was something like $400.
The SECRETARY. On the important part, the slope down into the valley, there was something like $75 expended?
Mr. MENTZER. Yes; this last season.
The SECRETARY. What do you think of the expenditure of $75 on that road as being the basis of any claim of exercising jurisdiction over the road?
Mr. MENTZER. In the last four years there has been money expended on it.
The SECRETARY. What is the total amount that has been expended on the part which Mrs. McLean claims in her letter?
Mr. MENTZER. Averaging about $300 yearly for four years.
The SECRETARY. For a distance of about what?
Mr. MENTZER. About 13 milesthat is, on the old toll road that she claims. As far as the Coulterville Road is concerned, I say to you that it is as smooth as any road in the valleyabsolutely no question about it. The width can be enlarged without any considerable expense, and the road may be enlarged by the simple use of a road grader in many in stances.
The SECRETARY. Has any estimate been made as to the cost?
Mr. MENTZER. This is an estimate made from personal observation, and I give it for what it is worth. Mr. March estimates that by the expenditure of $5,000 from the point where it commences to be a toll road near Bower Cave to the rim of the valley here, that the road can be put in a very passable condition. As far as the grades are concerned from Bower Cave to the rim of the valley there is nothing to interfere in any way with the use of an automobile. The road is as smooth as anything here in the valley. It seems to have been the first road traveled by an automobile in the past. Years ago a photographer made the trip into the edge of the valley and he got in and out through that road, Mr. Secretary.
The SECRETARY. I congratulate him.
Mr. MENTZER. As far as that road is concerned, if you want any information in the way of engineering data, we will present it to you. The engineer we have that was going over the matter was called awaythe county surveyor of Merced County. There has been some mention made about the expenditure of money looking forward to the opening up of a road and a report made by a commission, which you are familiar with. Upon investigation of that reportit was made in 1900 by the commissioner that was appointed by the Secretary of War for that particular purposethere was a recommendation about a new road, and that new road will come sooner or later. It is going to come. We are going in the right direction when we ask for the Coulterville Road. We may assure you of the fact that there is no danger in going that way. The Yosemite Transportation Co. will put on auto stages or auto trucks to carry the people from El Portal into this valley and get them here in an hour and a half.
The SECRETARY. Aren't we getting our wires crossed? You don't agree with the Senator?
Mr. MENTZER. Of course not.
The SECRETARY. How would you take care of the horses if we put these auto trucks on the Coulterville Road?
Mr. MENTZER. The only horse-drawn vehicles that go over that road now, practically, are the stage coaches from here to El Portal. There has only been one horse-drawn vehicle over the Coulterville Road this summer.
The SECRETARY. I am not surprised to hear you say it.
Mr. MENTZER. The only way is to take you over the road and assure you, so far as the travel is concerned, there will be no injurious results.
The SECRETARY. The report of our engineers is that that road could not be used without some considerable expenditure.
Mr. MENTZER. That is to be used jointly by horse-drawn vehicles and the auto?
The SECRETARY. I assume that if we should eliminate the horse from the valley and let the automobile take its place, if we opened it up to-morrow a certain number of automobiles would begin to pile in over the rim.
Mr. MENTZER. I understand there is private property at that point. If you desire any data from an engineering standpoint along those lines, we will present it. The proper way out of the valley is along the river. In this same report made a few years ago the cost of the road would not exceed $135,000. That carries it directly into Merced County, where the roads are good, and will connect directly with the State highways. The proposed road for 75 miles will not exceed a 2 per cent grade.
The SECRETARY. That is a matter for the State and Federal Governments.
Mr. MENTZER. The State is beginning to loosen up already, and, as you suggested, there is one man in attendance here who could speak for the Federal Government, as it were.
The SECRETARY. Don't speak to Congressman Raker here. What you have to do is to furnish him with ammunition.
The SECRETARY. There was a third representative elected to speak for the automobilists.
Col. WEINSTOCK. We finally decided, Mr. Secretary, that we probably would achieve better results if we set aside our conflicting views and harmonized, and we did. We made up a program.
The SECRETARY. I judged that was what it was.
Col. WEINSTOCK. In doing so we discovered we were reckoning without our host, because no sooner did we submit the program than you tore it to pieces in about two minutes. Under the circumstances, then, the members of the committee who had prepared themselves with a magnificent array of pyrotechnics find they will have to leave them piled up or carry them away and inflict them upon some more susceptible person. Accordingly Senator Flint changed his attitude and point of view. The Senator came with some very excellent constructive suggestions. Senator Curtin likewise came with constructive suggestions. I am not prepared to submit any constructive suggestions. I am a practical man along these lines. I therefore call upon Mr. Walker, president of the automobile association, and also upon Mr. Mordecai, who represents the central part of the State, and who likewise, I hope, will be able to give you suggestions that will be helpful.
The SECRETARY. We will be glad to hear from Mr. Walker.
Mr. WALKER. Mr. Secretary, ladies and gentlemen, like the portly gentleman who preceded me some time ago I am extremely nervous, and my nervousness covered such a period of time that I was not able to write so it would be legible; therefore what remarks I make will be, in a measure, disconnected.
Early in this fight for the admission of automobiles to the Yosemite Valley I began to look about for some tangible and practical means of overcoming what was apparent to me as an almost insurmountable objection on the part of many people toward the admission of automobiles to the park. Realizing that it was necessary for us to agree on some one proposition we took up the matter of serving the greatest number of peoplethe greatest number of automobilistsand of getting what we thought the quickest action in the premises; but Senator Flint has already said the largest number of automobilists come from the south. We of the north have never learned the secret of their wizardry in the compilation of statistics, and so I do not hope to compete with him. We agreed to state the situation from the point of the greatest good to the greatest number and from the point of immediate results, and it is the conclusion of the Automobile Club of Northern California that we would very strongly urge the Secretary to consider an immediate opening of the road from Glacier Point, not as a means of ultimately satisfying us entirely, but as a means of relieving the strain or the restraint, rather, that the automobile fraternity may feel now with reference to this valley. Our views are that ultimately, and when in the judgment of the Department of the Interior it seems best, we be permitted to come over in the Big Oak Flat or Coulterville Road and pass through the Wawona Road, or vice versa. Realizing that that is an involved question, and it seems more involved the longer we listen here, I am strongly in favor of placing the California State Automobile Association on record as being satisfied at this time with permission to come first to Glacier Point over a privately owned road under restrictions that the Government may make as to the time of the passage of autos and as to the rate of speed, and, second
The SECRETARY. How about the toll?
Mr. WALKER. I am unable to offer anything on that inasmuch as it is a proposition involved between yourself and the attorney representing the road company.
The SECRETARY. What I want to know is what you think as an automobilist. Do you think we ought to impose as a condition for carrying out this plan, that the owners of the road should submit to reasonable regulations?
Mr. WALKER. Most certainly. I feel that we should not be left entirely in their hands because of their being in possession of the only suitable road.
The SECRETARY. This road passing over the Federal domain, would we be safe in leaving it with the local authorities of that county, subject to future legal determination, or should we insist that they consent to reasonable regulations by the Department of the Interior?
Mr. WALKER. I think the best interests of the automobilists are in insisting that the Government be taken into consideration in the regulation of rates.
The SECRETARY. You mean the Federal Government?
Mr. WALKER. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Is that one of the roads that Senator Flint has referred to?
Mr. WALKER. It is.
The SECRETARY. How would it come in?
Mr. WALKER. It goes through Wawona.
The SECRETARY. Where do you leave the railroad?
Mr. WALKER. It is many miles from the railroad. We reach the railroad at Raymond. Those from the north would have to come to Merced and cross either to Wawona by way of Mariposa or else go down to Brenda which is midway between Merced and Madera and cross over in that way, going up to Wawona, where we come now by automobile. We go that far at this time. It is not the widest road. It is not the road we ultimately hope to have, but in our club we feel that if we can not get a whole loaf we are willing to take a half loaf.
The SECRETARY. You know the public sentiment. You know the conditions in the valley. What do you think of the question of policy? Do you think it wisdom to go beyond the spot you recommend at this time?
Mr. WALKER. Not without the roads being fixed and after being fixed not without definite regulations as to speed and hours of travel. From some personal experiences I have come to the conclusion that it is a very wise thing to place restrictions as to speed and minimum time elapsement between two points. If the department determines to allow automobiles to go to Fort Monroe or Inspiration Point within a certain time, during which we may be permitted to travel to the floor of the valley, I think as a condition incident to that a minimum time elapsement should be provided and any one negotiating the distance in a shorter time than that called for should be placed under arrest because, if accidents happen, it would tend to give us a black eye, which we are not entitled to.
The SECRETARY. You think that should be done as a protection to the automobilists themselves?
Mr. WALKER. I think, as a matter of safety, it should be done. The question of admission of automobiles to Glacier Point does not, in my judgment, involve very many problems. You don't make any abrupt turns. You don't travel over any road that is at this time dangerous. You travel over a road which, I understand from a report from Lieut. Col. Forsyth, involves only the expenditure of a small amount of money, which perhaps in a few months' time would be available. The stage company has agreed to place that road in condition to meet the general requirements of Col. Forsyth. That being accomplished, there seems to be no reason why we could not have relief from the barrier which is now raised against us in the valley.
The SECRETARY. Now, Senator Flint suggested a road of which there would be two branchesthat is, you go from Inspiration Point first?
Mr. WALKER. It is one road to El Capitan. From there there are two branches, one going in the direction of the floor of the valley and passing Inspiration Point and Fort Monroe, the other turning to the rim and going to Glacier Point, making an ascent of some few hundred feet.
The SECRETARY. Do you advocate at this time opening both those forks from Chinquepin?
Mr. WALKER. Not of necessity. The one to Inspiration Point would involve a change in the arrangements of the stage company which they have agreed to makehaving stage accommodation to meet the automobiles and come down to the floor of the valley. That involves constructive work which the other does not. The other requires only the passive consent of the Government at this time to allow the automobiles to come in and the expenditure of a thousand dollars, which the stage company has agreed to.
The SECRETARY. You understand the Government has no financial interest in it beyond the protection of the people?
Mr. WALKER. The members of our club will stand behind the Government on the question of any exorbitant rates.
Mr. LOVELL. I will ask Mr. Walker if we did not discuss the rate of $2.50, which has been fixed by the supervisors, and ask him to state now whether that was not agreeable to him; and I want you, Mr. Secretary, to bear in mind that we of course do not care to turn this road entirely over to the automobile people. We have a very large plant
The SECRETARY. That is one of the reasons why I think we have got to regulate it.
Mr. WALKER. Mr. Secretary, Mr. Lovell is attorney for the Yosemite Stage & Turnpike Co., and we have had considerable discussion on this subject. I consider that the toll is reasonable, provided it carried with it a provision for making the Big Trees, and I think that possibly they may agree to that. The reason I have singled out Glacier Point and that part of the road is that the idea of the greatest good to the greatest number carries with it the idea of going to the Big Trees. There are many people as much interested in viewing the Big Trees as there are of going to the valley. We will go to the Big Trees and see the valley. Many people will go to the valley as possibly you and I have gone to points of interest and have been busy, and we only wanted one glance at it, and this glance we may get is from Glacier Point and from Inspiration Pointeither one of those and on this road we will have accomplished both those points. Now, the matter of getting to Inspiration Point is somewhat more involved than the one to Glacier Point. I am willing to say that our club will be very glad to accept the opening of this road to Glacier Point. The situation seems involvedthe Government does not move very rapidly. It is only a matter of a small expenditure to put the roads in shape so that those in charge of the work would be willing to trust automobiles over it indiscriminately and in the interim.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Walker, I understand your position to be, as you expressed it to me, that as conditions are you think it would not be wise to admit machines to the floor of the valley.
Mr. WALKER. Not to the floor.
The SECRETARY. You think we ought, as promptly as possible, to open the way to Glacier Point?
Mr. WALKER. I am brought to that conclusion by the situation which presented itself some years ago in the city of San Francisco. We have quite a beautiful park there. For a long time the commissioners there absolutely refused the admission of automobiles to the park. We made a strong fight and we didn't get anywhere. Finally we asked that we be permitted to use one drive. We were permitted to do it. One by one we were given the roadways of the park until to-day the larger per cent of vehicles coming in the park are motor vehicles. I think that will be the result in this case if we are permitted to come to Glacier Point. We will be able to demonstrate to the lieutenant colonel, or whoever is in charge, and whom I feel, perhaps, from his remarks, is unduly apprehensive of danger in the operation of automobiles, I believe we will be able to convince him that it is not quite the bugbear that it seems and that there is a very sane and practical solution of the question, in placing a minimum time limit and negotiating the exact distance, fixing certain hours for travel, which do not trouble the stage company.
The SECRETARY. There are a lot of minor matters
Mr. WALKER. That is a restriction that is placed on cars in many of the cities in this State, and there would be no objection.
The SECRETARY. I think, Mr. Walker, you have been very frank and candid, and I will give your suggestion very careful consideration.
Mr. MORDECAI. As I remarked last night at the meeting, I was requested to come here by the Madera Chamber of Commerce for the purpose of furthering the interests of the Wawona Road into the valley or to the rim of the valley. Now, the old stage road from Madera to Wawona has been traveled a great number of years. I am familiar with the history of it, in fact, familiar with the history of the whole of that country for the past 40 years. I came over all these trails on horseback and came into this valley horseback 40 years ago down this trail we have been discussing here to-day, on the rim of the valley, on the Wawona Road. Now, the history of the stage road from Madera to Wawona is that it was adopted by the Yosemite Stage & Turnpike Co. as the most feasible and practical road to Wawona and has been from that time continuously used in that respect; has been used in that connection ever since, not only for stages, but in the evolution of travel it is now used successfully and safely by automobiles as far as Wawona.
Now, the question as I understand it, Mr. Secretary, presents itself here to us, as to which is the best road to come to the rim of the valley. I do not advocate, at this time, going to the floor of the valley at all with automobiles. The question as to which is the best road in every respect, in every regardconvenience, safety, grade, scenic beautyall those matters which should be considered in a matter of this kind, which is proposed for the convenience of tourists more than any other object. Now, it seems to me that the idea that has been advanced here of this grand loop embracing the Wawona Road coming into the valley and going out over the Big Oak Flat grade is a grand proposition, and no doubt will ultimately come to pass, but, Mr. Secretary, I should respectfully suggest that at this time we are not prepared for a proposition so large as that. I do not think that the Government is prepared to build roads from the floor of the valley up to meet those various points of interest, and taking all considerations togetherthe present conditions which actually eliminate any passage of automobiles from the rim of the valley down to the floorit seems to me that the best thing that can be obtained, the best object to be attained, the best for the whole country, is the proposition to bring this road from Wawona to Glacier Point.
The SECRETARY. The suggestion made by Mr. Walker?
Mr. MORDECAI. Yes, sir. Now, as to the constructive possibilities of these roads, I am not prepared to give any data at this time, and I do not think it is necessary in view of the fact of the exhaustive report that Mr. Flint and his engineer have made here to-day. They have covered the whole question so far as I can see, and there is nothing for me to argue on at all. The only thing I should like would be that this road would bring us by the Big Trees and along the best scenic route to Wawona, to the best point of view over this valley. And in that regard it far surpasses any other road which comes to the rim of the valley. That is the point I would make, and in arguing in behalf of these roads that, I think, is an essential point. It is not only a question of grade, not only a question of expenditure of money, but it is a question as to which route will display the great beauties in any of these roads. That is one of the great questions, I think, as much as the expenditure and the grade, and for that I am heartily in favor of letting the matter stop at that, so far as the interests of my community are concerned; let us advocate the opening of this road to Glacier Point and let the matter rest at that.
Mr. SECRETARY. We seem to be approaching a degree of unanimity which is gratifying.
Mr. MATSON. On behalf of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, we people of the South, in coming to this conference, came prepared to give you facts and figures, and you have received them
The SECRETARY. That is, we are going to receive them.
Mr. MATSON. You shall have them in written form, and we are further prepared to back our documents up with the presence of our engineer, whose services we have tendered the Secretary of the Interior, in order that he may give him facts and figures. The gentleman who just spoke and Mr. Walker, also, I want to take issue with them on this trip to Glacier Point. Gentlemen, you have strayed away from the proposition which the railroad man put up just a little while ago. Why don't they bring more people into the Yosemite Valley? Because you have not the accommodations for them. Are you going to improve conditions by bringing them up to Glacier Point, leaving your people, giving them a bird's-eye view of the valley? Where is your capital coming from? Look at it from a broad point of view, neither of the gasoline-propelled vehicle or the coal-burning. Leave both out. Look at it from the standpoint of the crop that Senator Flint spoke of awhile agothe biggest crop the world has. You want that $400,000,000. I tell you, we people of Los Angeles demand your respect. We do not ask it, we do not crave it, we demand it. We have shown you how to keep the $400,000,000 in the United States. We have developed a country a few years ago a desert, and we have brought money from all over the globe in the development of that country, because we have an attractive spot. We have gone 250 miles into the mountains to get water. We have played an important part in building State highways.
Therefore, I ask that special consideration be given the propositionthe relation of the trip to the Yosemite and tourist travel. We are not going to satisfy the tourist travelthere is not a man here who is going to be satisfied to drive his machine, who wants to come to the Yosemite, who is going to be satisfied to drive his machine to Glacier Point and then come down the trail with a burro. The report of our engineer is feasible. I believe you can easily be convinced of the fact that it is a good plan for permitting those machines to come into Wawona, up to Chinquapin, visit Glacier Point, and from Chinquapin down to Inspiration Point. If, in the judgment of those in charge of the park, it is too dangerous for machines to enter the valley, I would accept the modification of allowing the machines to stop at Inspiration Point; but I do believe that we are reasonable in asking that an hour2 hours out of 24; 2 out of the 16 of daylight during the seasonbe allotted to the machine to come into the valley. Senator Flint very frankly told you, without conference with any of the delegations from the South, that he wouldn't want to see the automobile running at large over the valley. Neither would I. I feel that the State of California owns this park, when you come down to it, and the State of California did a great and noble thing in turning it over to the Government to save its possible absorption by private interests. I believe we are entitled to some consideration. We want the Government of the United States to recognize the fact that we are going to use this park not in an improper manner, but we are going to develop this asset for the benefit of all people.
As Senator Curtin said last night, a Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and we are not trying to drive the horses out of the Yosemite Valley. We are trying to make it possible for people to get in here. We can't induce our good friend Frank Miller to come in and put up a good hotel if he thought the automobile would be on top of the hill. You can't expect the railroads to give better service or better rates under the present conditions; but if you give the people consideration we would double, treble, and quadruple the traffic to this park.
The SECRETARY. We don't admit any automobiles to the Yellowstone. Mr. Child runs some very considerable hotels in the Yellowstone without any automobiles coming in the park.
Mr. MATSON. How many automobiles are there in that district? There are 8,000. We have 85,000 within reach of this park of our own, and we told you this morning we had 50,000 visiting.
The SECRETARY. That doesn't answer me at all.
Mr. MATSON. I say there are 8,000 within reasonable reach of the Yellowstone, and I tell you we have 85,000 of our own and 50,000 visiting machines, a total of 135,000 automobiles within the confines of the State of California within reach of this park.
The SECRETARY. You said that Mr. Miller, as an illustration, would not put up a hotel unless he got the automobile travel.
Mr. MATSON. No; I say that any investordo not misunderstand my statement. I said that an investor would hesitate to put his money in a concession here in the floor of this valley if a large percentage of the travel that would use that concession were denied access excepting by burro to the valley.
The SECRETARY. That is another story.
Mr. MATSON. That would diminish the railroad travel and not increase the railroad travel. I went back, Mr. Secretary, to the line of argument followed by Mr. Fee and Mr. Burnsthe railroad questions here to-daybecause, I say, it has a very important relation. We have a community of interest, and we want to protect their interests as well as our own. I wish to give you just one more little thing here. During the winter our average number of inquiries at the Automobile Club of Southern California, our headquarters, are 20 per day concerning the Yosemite Valley, and approximately 3 of the 20 have come to the Yosemite by reason of the restrictions. Now, those inquiries are from the tourist element and would benefit any community through which they pass in reaching this valley, and there is only that small percentage, approximately 15 per cent, 14 and a fraction per cent, of the inquirers come to the valley. I believe that a percentage of that kind is entirely out of all proportion.
The SECRETARY. You think there would be a definite advantage in the way of giving increased access to the public and in that way benefit the hotel or other concessions in the park if at that point on the rim where the automobile is admitted there was afforded access to the valley and that that access certainly could be furnished by conveyancestage or horse-drawn conveyanceand that, if practicable, the automobile itself should be permitted to come as far as the hotel, that is, using one road to the hotel and not going about in the valley. Was that at certain hours of the day, as Senator Flint has suggested?
Mr. MCSTAY. Yes, sir; that is the point, with one addition, perhaps. If, in the judgment of the Secretary and those in charge of the park, the present road is absolutely unsafe from Inspiration Point to the valley, that the road to Inspiration Point be opened with the understanding that the road to the valley be opened as soon as the wherewithal can be furnished.
The SECRETARY. That last provision is so controlling and important that you can omit the "if." Let us get the wherewithal.
Mr. MCSTAY. We will help you if you will make the recommendation about the building of that road; we will help you get the wherewithal. I believe, beyond a question of doubt, that we can get the appropriation through Congress. I know that the automobilists of California are sufficiently interested, and I know we can secure the cooperation of the automobile clubs throughout the United States on that proposition. I pledge you the support of the Automobile Club of Southern California.
The SECRETARY. Let us get that clear. I am thoroughly in favor of the proposition that the automobilists, if admitted to the rim of the valley, ought to be afforded a feasible means of going on, so that they will not have to go back the way they came in.
Mr. HAWKINS. Mr. Secretary, I should like to tell you how I think this can be done now under your present conditions.
The SECRETARY. Please tell us something about your knowledge.
Mr. HAWKINS. I have been in the motor-car business as western manager for the White Motor Car Co., who manufacture motor-car trucks.
The SECRETARY. How familiar are you with the condition here.
Mr. HAWKINS. I have been studying this a number of years. I have been in a number of times. I have come in on one roadI am not familiar with any but the Big Oak Flat Road. I have recently, however, worked out a number of similar transportation problems for traffic people. I have recently worked out a transportation problem jointly with horses and motor trucks for the Midway & San Pedro Oil Pipe Line, running some 300 miles through southern California, under similar conditions, where there was but one roada narrow road through the mountains under dangerous conditionsand I won't take a minute of your time, simply to point out what seems to have been overlooked, that the road I came in over, with the exception of about 3 miles from the bed of the valley up to the rim, is a perfectly safe road for horse and automobile to go on because the passing places are frequent. There are narrow places, but passing places are sufficiently frequent that the automobile can back up or go by without any more danger than anywhere. From the rim, for 3 miles up, is, I think, a very dangerous road.
My recommendation is that inasmuch as it is about a two hours' haul for a team for the 3 miles, allowing liberally; that you let your teams go over the road from one end, starting your automobiles first, the faster vehicles first, and the slower ones afterwards, carry those vehicles to the top to the safety point, during certain hours; then stop the traffic in that direction for two hours and let the traffic come in the other direction for two hours.
The SECRETARY. Let us put that into the hours of the day.
Mr. HAWKINS. But confining it to daylight, say, at 8 o'clock in the morning.
The SECRETARY. At 8 in the morning you would permit the automobile to go up or down this road either way?
Mr. HAWKINS. No, sir; let us say they are permitted to start from here to go up at 8 o'clock in the morning.
The SECRETARY. During what period can they start?
Mr. HAWKINS. I should say during a period not to exceed 20 minutes.
The SECRETARY. That is to say all automobiles should be there at 8 o'clock and should be off by half past 8.
Mr. HAWKINS. I would say that when they are gone the horses follow. Then, that no automobile or horse that appears there 10 minutes later should start for another two hours.
The SECRETARY. Take the horse-drawn vehicles, they are going to start at half past 8.
Mr. HAWKINS. The machines start first; that is what I said. Automobiles to start between 8 and 20 minutes after and allow horses to start 10 minutes after. My proposition of 20 minutes was from 10 minutes before to 10 minutes after.
The SECRETARY. It is not necessary to agree on the exact time. I want an illustration. In the 20 minutes between, 10 before and 10 after, you would start the automobiles?
Mr. HAWKINS. Yes.
The SECRETARY. After that for what period of time would you start horses?
Mr. HAWKINS. For another 20 minutes. Let them be there or wait another 20 hours.
The SECRETARY. We wouldn't start very many in that 20 minutes. By half past 8 they would all be off. You wouldn't let any other vehicles from the bottom of the valley until what time?
Mr. HAWKINS. Until the relay of vehicles from the top of the valley had all reached the bottom.
The SECRETARY. These vehicles at the bottom would be allowed to go to the top before anybody starts down?
Mr. HAWKINS. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. So that that means that from half past 8 to half past 11, no vehicles would start down from the top?
Mr. HAWKINS. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Now then, you would start them down from the top the same way?
Mr. HAWKINS. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. You wouldn't allow any additional vehicles to start from the bottom until they all got up to the top?
Mr. HAWKINS. No, sir.
The SECRETARY. That would mean no horse-drawn vehicles could start from the top until the middle of the afternoon.
Mr. HAWKINS. They would go down fast. Two hours would be sufficient to go down.
The SECRETARY. That would mean, then, if you started at half past 11 they would all be traveling during the middle of the day.
Mr. HAWKINS. The road is passable. They are using it now.
The SECRETARY. But not by a combination of vehicles.
Mr. HAWKINS. The combination does not make any difference. They are going in the same direction, the fast ones before the slow ones.
The SECRETARY. Do you think the automobile can use the same road that a horse-drawn vehicle can?
Mr. HAWKINS. Certainly.
The SECRETARY. Can they use a road with equal safety?
Mr. HAWKINS. I didn't understand you to say
The SECRETARY. That is what I meant.
Mr. HAWKINS. Where the automobile will go, and it can go comfortably over that road, it is a safer vehicle than a horse-drawn vehicle.
The SECRETARY. There is some difference of opinion on that among engineers. Have you had any experience in engineering? Are you a constructive engineer at allroad construction?
Mr. HAWKINS. No, sir. I am a mechanical engineer. The point I makethis question of motor-car traffic over bad roadshas been a specialty of mine for years in mountains and under these conditions, and I say, without fear of successful contradiction, that the motor car is safer, either as a motor truck or a car.
The SECRETARY. Suppose we send a good, heavy car up this road and something happens to the gear half way up, what is going to happen with the car?
Mr. HAWKINS. The same thing would happen to a horse-drawn vehicle if an axle broke.
The SECRETARY. How often does the thing happen to the one?
Mr. HAWKINS. I should say it probably happens a little more often with the automobile than with horses.
The SECRETARY. A good deal more often.
Mr. HAWKINS. Perhaps so in the hands of the average driver.
The SECRETARY. It would block the entire use of the roadyou think we can afford to have the traffic stopped?
Mr. HAWKINS. Temporarily, as they do on a railroad. There is scarcely such a thing as not getting a motor truck out of the way.
The SECRETARY. I have had considerable experience
Mr. HAWKINS. I have also, but it is not a considerable delay. It temporarily blocks the traffic but it can not be avoided.
The SECRETARY. It can be avoided by first providing proper turnouts.
Mr. HAWKINS. Your breakages in a motor car comes from speed. Drive a motor car at proper speed.
The SECRETARY. Mr. Walker had an accident and there wasn't anything the matter except that the steering gear went wrong. It sometimes does go wrong.
Mr. HAWKINS. It is largely a matter of speed that breaks your automobile.
The SECRETARY. Not always.
Mr. HAWKINS. But the point I am trying to make clear is that this road or both these roads in and out of here at the present time under proper regulations intelligently applied with speed restrictions, which I would insist upon, can be usedit is the misuse of the road that is dangerous.
The SECRETARY. I am addressing myself to those statements you have made that you think there would only have to be a small amount of work done at a few places where you say it looks dangerous.
Mr. HAWKINS. I don't say they have to do the work on it. You put a railing up therethe man who goes by or the lady who rides by in any vehicle feels more comfortable. It is of no consequence as a matter of safety. If you put on your proper speed restrictions you have no difficulty. It is the misuse of the road that makes it difficult.
The SECRETARY. You say if it looks dangerous just put up a wooden railing that looks like protection but is not any protection. Do you think we ought to fix those points in any other way than by putting up these wooden railings that make it look less dangerous?
Mr. HAWKINS. No, sir.
The SECRETARY. You think that it is all right without?
Mr. HAWKINS. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. And that the turnouts are adequate. You haven't met my proposition of a broken-down machine.
Mr. HAWKINS. You tow it out.
The SECRETARY. Say it breaks down in the middle of the route?
Mr. HAWKINS. Perhaps Col. Forsyth can tell me how many turnouts there are on that road from the floor to the rim.
The SECRETARY. They have got some, but the report has been that they ought to have more.
Mr. HAWKINS. A turn out is a very simple thing at certain intervals and a very inexpensive thing. My opinion is that it is feasibleperfectly feasible at the presentby confining your traffic to one direction at a time. It is perfectly feasible to operate it at the present time without the expenditure of a dollar. I think it can be demonstrated at any time.
Mr. LEHMER. I would like to say on behalf of the Yosemite Transportation Co. that when the time for admitting automobiles onto the floor of the valley comes the transportation company hopes they may have the privilege of operating automobiles and automobile trucks over the El Portal Road.
Mr. HAWKINS. I consider that perfectly feasible.
The SECRETARY. I want a more definite opinion. I want somebody that is able to give a more definite opinion
Mr. WALKER. If I may be permitted, I would like to go on record in reference to this question. The enthusiastic and able speaker from the South apparently did not get my meaning. My reason for going to Glacier Point is that it is an entering wedge in the matter. It is a means of instilling confidence on the part of departmental authorities and it is a step in the right direction pending the accomplishment of what we want. It is apparent that it requires a congressional appropriation before anything can be done as to coming into the valley to those who look to the utmost safety of everybody; that being apparent, it means a year or more to wait. I believe a solution will be found in permitting automobiles at the opening of next year's season to come to Glacier Point, but it is not my idea that it will ultimately settle the problem, but it is my judgment that at some time we should be permitted to enter the valley, coming in one way and going out the other.
Col. FORSYTH. With every desire to see the means of transportation to the Yosemite Valley increased in every reasonable way and without any desire to throw any obstructions in the paths of the auto people, it occurs to me that the railroad companies connecting with the Yosemite Valley Railroad, companies that certainly are furnishing ninety-seven out of every one hundred dollars that is expended in the interest of improving travel to the Pacific coast and to this valley, should be heard in connection with the proposition to bring autos to the valley or to the rim of the valley. What we need here and what these people desire is A No. 1 hotel accommodations in the floor of this valley. I hold no brief from Mr. Drum, the president of the Yosemite Valley Road, nor am I authorized to speak for Mr. Lehmer, but I am speaking for the railroads back and connecting directly with the Yosemite Valley Road that are putting forth special efforts to increase this travel, but it does occur to me, whether it be Mr. Miller or some other gentleman engaged in the hotel business, may be induced to come here and put in a first-class hotel; that unless simultaneously with automobile travel to the rim of the valley auto service is established between El Portal and the Sentinel Hotel, the building or construction of a suitable hotel in the Yosemite Valley is likely to be postponed a considerable time.
Mr. NELSON. I am in a position to answer several questions that have been asked. It has been my good fortune to have made two automobile trips into this valley. I have been over every road in the valley for the past 19 years. This road coming down into the valley, the Big Oak Flat Road, I traveled in an automobile in 1903, again in 1906. I found it perfectly safe, and there is not a road going in or out of this valley that is not as safe as 40 roads I could put you on within a few miles of San Francisco under similar conditions, just as narrow, just as steep, and there is no trouble going over them whatever. You never hear of anything. There could be no blockade on this road. You have three methods of getting out of the valley. If one road was wiped out entirely, you have the others. The part of this road you seem to think would be of serious importance is not traveled by horse-drawn vehicles at all.
You want to get out under the head of new business. They have been asking why it is the railroad travel has diminished. They know, and you know, and I know, it has diminished because the people who have been spending their money traveling are traveling in automobiles, and the records show it. As conditions have changed, why not meet those conditions and allow us the privilege of driving into the valley? You won't find one automobile man in a hundred that wants to go back over the same road.
The SECRETARY. You heard what I said. We don't want to argue the question.
Mr. NELSON. No; but you asked the question whether they considered this road a safe one. I am in a position to answer it is safe as it is at present, and especially if it should be traversed with a time schedule, as suggested by Mr. Hawkins, as I have been over the road.
The SECRETARY. Has anyone else got anything affirmative to contribute that has not been discussed? Perhaps, Col. Forsyth, you want to say something on that subject.
Col. FORSYTH. As I am probably the one that will enforce any automobile restrictive measures in case they come in under restriction, I am very much interested in it. I don't know anybody that likes riding in an automobile any more than I do. It is the ideal way of traveling. I have been told that the airship surpasses it, but the automobile is good enough for me; so that I have no personal grudge against the automobile. As an official of the Government, and a park official off and on for about 20 years, I have seen from personal experience and presence on the ground that the great majority of visitors to national parks have no idea but that some Government officer sat down at a desk, scratched his head, and wrote out park rules and regulations, and then he scratched his head again, and wrote another.
Now, the park rules and regulations did not grow up that way at all. They were evolved from experience. Some incident happenedsome accident happenedsome condition arose that made manifest the necessity of one of those rules and regulations; and that is the history of it. Now, I don't know that an automobile ever frightened any team of horses or mules in this park or any other park, but I do know that the bicycle and motor cycle have caused runaways with disastrous results; and if one frightened such teams the other would. It is one of my duties and one of my great responsibilities to see that every reasonable safeguard is thrown around the life and limbs of the public when they come to this park, and I have no desire or any other motive whatever than to see the automobile admitted to the rim of the valley and, perhaps with the experience that may result from that, permit them to cross the lower end of the valley and go from north to south and from south to north across it, provided it can be done without undue risk to those who travel either in the automobile or animal-drawn vehicles. Now, the whole matter it seems hinges on this one point, and it is a matter of opinionwhat is the reasonable protection against such risk; and it seems to me that is a question for the engineers.
The SECRETARY. Maj. Cheney, have you anything to say on the engineering question here?
Maj. CHENEY. Well, hardly in an engineering way, Mr. Secretary. Engineers don't like to discuss engineering questions when they have not started in an engineering way. I have only made some little personal observations of the roads. I have been from the floor up to Inspiration Point, and last year I went out to Crane Flat over the Big Oak Flat Road. Not, however, looking at them from a point of view of their use by automobiles. The question was not in my mind at the time and so I have scarcely compiled anything of any material value from that source.
The SECRETARY. You have heard the suggestion here that we have a report of the engineer employed by the Los Angeles people who will prepare and furnish us a statement showing just what he thinks is necessary and we can check that and make our own estimates on it. I suppose, from what you say, you think it would be better to defer any statement with regard to that matter until you have made such examination and report?
Maj. CHENEY. Yes, sir.
The SECRETARY. Well, then, gentlemen, it looks as though the general principles were fairly well agreedI wouldn't want to say it was unanimousbut I would state my own impression from it that the fundamental question here is an engineering question and it ought to be checked up from an engineering point of view. The engineer from Los Angeles seems to think we ought to spend $25,000 in one case, and he is prepared to make a written report as to just how that ought to be done.
Mr. HAWKINS. May I answer that, sir? There is a considerable delegation here from Los Angeles. I live in San Francisco. I have no criticism of their enthusiasm and their progressiveness. I just want to point out to you that by their method they can come by the northern route, the Big Oak Flat Road, only 24 miles over a great State highway farther than the southern route, but if we from San Francisco must come the southern route to the valley that is a hundred miles farther than the northern route, thereby removing this magnificent park 100 miles farther from San Francisco and very much nearer Los Angeles.
The SECRETARY. The gentlemen would just see that much more of the scenic beauty of this wonderful State, and that extra hundred miles would be traversed in machines now in so short a space of time under the excellent road system you have it would really be a pleasure.
We will now adjourn until 3 o'clock this afternoon.
Last Updated: 03-Mar-2009