Pictured Rocks
An Administrative History
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The Kennedy magic was working marvelously as a motorcade took the President of the United States through streets lined with more than 50,000 curious and enthusiastic people. Duluth, Minnesota, was enraptured with the visit of the handsome young President. The leader that television had made so familiar seemed nonetheless more interesting than his predecessors, in part because of his frequent appearances before the cameras. John F. Kennedy consciously cultivated a personalized leadership style that made people look to him as the key figure in bringing about change. During his brief administration the American people became accustomed to the image of the President mastering crisis after crisis through courage, grace, and wit. That evening in a packed basketball arena the President told the people of the Upper Great Lakes Region that he was turning the attention of his administration to their crisis. "The economy of a region that should be prospering has reflected instead a series of economic setbacks as mines and mills shut down." The goal of the President would be "full employment of both the natural and human resources which this area still possess in abundance." [65]

The President came to Duluth in September 1963, to address the "Land and People: Northern Great Lakes Regional Conference," which had been organized by Orville L. Freeman, the Secretary of Agriculture. The goal of the program was to develop a coordinated plan of action to "restore and sustain a healthy regional economy." While Freeman emphasized that the creation of specific proposals was "for the people of the Region to decide," the inclination of the activist, "can do" Kennedy administration bureaucracy was to take the initiative. The charismatic style of the President himself encouraged the belief that the federal government, now that it was aware of the problem, would develop a solution. Yet, other than the vague idea of a multistate regional authority to develop an agenda, the Kennedy administration had no plan for the Upper Great Lakes region. In his speeches, both in Duluth and earlier in Wisconsin, the President linked economic development with conservation initiatives: "this Region is more and more a major recreation area within easy access to tens of millions of Americans." [66]

Kennedy's speech and the "Land and People" conference greatly reenforced the links which had been growing in the North Woods country between natural resource conservation and economic development. Yet while the linkage was natural and necessary, it could never be syncretistic. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was created in a flexible, liberal political climate which did not emphasize the inevitable conflicts between use and preservation. The lakeshore developed amid a consensus that preservation would lead to economic growth. This consensus profoundly shaped the enabling legislation, mandating its two most controversial features: the inland buffer zone and the scenic drive. The consensus masked deep seated divisions and would later accentuate bitterness between the people of the Pictured Rocks area and the National Park Service. Less than two months after the Duluth speech, John F. Kennedy was assassinated, yet the influence of his personality and his appointees would continue to shape federal conservation policy in the Upper Great Lakes region.

S. 2152: The First Pictured Rocks Bill

At the time of President Kennedy's Duluth speech, legislative initiatives to act upon the Great Lakes Shoreline Recreation Area Survey were stymied. Opposition to the creation of a Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and a Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was much stronger and more effective than had been anticipated. The National Park Service and the Senate sponsor of the bills, Phillip A. Hart, made a number of mistakes which doomed their initial effort and squandered the momentum generated by the successful completion of the Shoreline Survey.

The press responded very favorably to the report Our Fourth Shore when it was released early in 1960. "A new warning has been sounded," the New York Times noted, "that the sands of time are running fast against the opportunities for establishing shoreline parks along this nation's dwindling vacation frontier." While the newspaper praised the report, it caustically observed that Congress had yet to take any action to preserve nationally significant sites identified in the Atlantic coast survey published five years before. Such comments were anticipated by the National Parks Advisory Board which resolved at its October 1959, meeting that "consideration be given to the establishment of the Pictured Rocks area, Michigan, as a unit of the National Park System." [67]

The National Park Service did what it could to promote the study. In consultation with Senator Philip Hart, the agency prepared a preliminary economic impact study of a lakeshore at Sleeping Bear Dunes. On May 5, 1961, Ben H. Thompson, Assistant Director of the Northeast Region, spoke to a conference of Michigan mayors about the benefits of national park status. While Thompson emphasized that "economic benefit is secondary," what the mayors heard loud and clear were the projections that "$21.5 million would be infused into the regional economy if the proposed area is established." [68]

On June 27, 1961, Senator Hart introduced the first federal bill to preserve the Pictured Rocks. For the next five years discussion of the Pictured Rocks would be closely linked to efforts to save Sleeping Bear Dunes in the Grand Traverse area of lower Michigan. Senate Bill 2152 provided for the creation of a Pictured Rocks park while Senate Bill 2153 provided for a Sleeping Bear Dunes park. In introducing the bills Senator Hart stressed the scenic qualities of each location as well as the potential economic benefits of park status for the neighboring region. Like Alger County, the Sleeping Bear area experienced economic stagnation, population loss, and the awakening of commercial tourism. Unlike the Pictured Rocks, Sleeping Bear Dune was readily accessible to the growing population of southern and central Michigan. Senator Hart would work vigorously for the passage of both bills, but it was clear that his preference was for Sleeping Bear. It was more immediately threatened by development and it had the potential to positively influence a greater number of constituents. Hart wanted "Sleeping Bear Dunes to be the first National Lakeshore and Pictured Rocks to be the second." [69]

Philip A. Hart was the legislator most responsible for the creation of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. He was a Democratic Senator from Michigan from 1959 to 1976. At the time he introduced the first Pictured Rocks bill, Hart and his staff were still getting their feet on the ground in Washington. In time hard work, a talented staff, and reputation for sound judgement would win Hart a leading place in the Senate. In 1965, Lyndon Johnson handpicked Hart to shepherd the Voting Rights Act through the teeth of a southern filibuster. Through his leadership on every major civil rights bill of the 1960s and his advocacy of consumer protection legislation, the D-Day veteran became known as "the conscience of the Senate." Just before he was due to retire from the Senate in 1976, Hart died of cancer. [70]

The primary purpose of S.2152 was to get a Pictured Rocks bill into the legislative hopper. The bill would create a 67,000-acre park along the Lake Superior shore between Munising and Grand Marais. Significantly omitted from the proposal was Grand Island. Hunting and fishing in the area were left to the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior. Rather than the term National Lakeshore that eventually would be used, the initial Hart bill used the term "National Recreation Area." [71]

"These dimensions are suggestions only," Senator Hart cautioned upon the introduction of his bills. "Not until we have had extensive public hearings should we settle on the areas." But such a qualification was little heard in the storm of criticism which swept over Michigan's junior senator when the terms of the bills became public The sleeping Bear proposal was denounced as a "land grab" by a large and vocal group of property owners within the proposed area. The bill was labeled "precipitous and ill-advised" and Hart was censured by the charitable as a dupe of the National Park Service and by the incensed as a "socialist." While opposition to Sleeping Bear was noisily public, the critics of the Pictured Rocks emerged more slowly and with greater political skill. [72]

In the weeks that followed the introduction of S.2152, Munising was awash with rumors and speculation concerning the implications of the proposal. Although there were not a great many full-time residents living within the area of the proposed park, property owners were most anxious about Hart's initiative. Nonetheless, at a public meeting concerning the bill, Alger County's basic response seemed quite favorable. Allen Edmunds presented an overview of the Park Service's plans for the area and William B. Welsh, one of Hart's most able aides, reviewed the process by which the bill would become law. One question from the floor which caused little comment at the time would loom large later. Edmunds was asked about the possibility of a scenic drive along the Rocks. He responded critically of a road along the Rocks, but expressed the Park Service's willingness to work with the State of Michigan on any plans for a lakeshore highway. There was no further discussion of the point. Journalists covering the meeting were struck by the "sharp contrast to the bitter opposition the Park Service has encountered in the Sleeping Bear Dunes region." [73]

Many Munising residents embraced the Hart bill because of the recent closure of the Munising Wooden Ware Company which took 300 jobs when the venerable old plant closed. That made Kimberly-Clark, whose paper mill employed about 600 workers, a mainstay of the local economy. In the minds of many of the younger men on the Chamber of Commerce the time had come for Munising to develop its tourist assets more aggressively. The people of Grand Marais were even more enthusiastic about the initial reports of a park near their town. That community was reeling from the loss of a U.S. Air Force radar station, the closing of an Air Canada emergency landing strip, and the loss to fire of a local forest products plant. Unable to attract new industry, the town invested its own funds and tried to bootstrap the Superior Wood Products Company into existence, but a lack of capital curtailed their efforts. "Grand Marais has to do something awfully quick, or die," concluded one civic leader. The president of the town Chamber of Commerce embraced Hart's bill as "the only futuristic out-look for Grand Marais." [74]

The first Pictured Rocks bill had the effect of pitting the growing tourist economy against the interests of the old economic stand-by, logging. Loggers and forest land owners within the 67,000-acre tract formed the core of the opposition to S.2152. Not only did they object to the prospect of being shut out of prime Alger County timberlands by the National Park Service, they were panicked by the spread of forest preservation across the Upper Peninsula. The creation of Porcupine Mountains State Park a decade before had led to a knock-down-drag-out fight between preservationists and loggers. When the Great Lakes Shoreline Recreational Area Survey released its recommendation to establish both a Pictured Rocks and a Huron Mountains park, the loggers objected, "you just can't make a natural area of everything!" The Timber Producers Association, which represented independent logging companies in the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin, decided to respond with a full-scale counter-attack. The first blow in this campaign was actually directed to Porcupine Mountains State Park, where they tried to force the state to grant selective logging permits. The goal was to shift the debate from reservation to multiple-use, not just in the Porcupines but also at Pictured Rocks where the forest lands were more desirable. A Michigan conservationist warned Chief of National Park Planning Ben Thompson that "there is an opposition organizing to Pictured Rocks which if not handled now may just be as bad as the one at Sleeping Bear." [75]

While the Timber Producers Association was public in its opposition to the Pictured Rocks bill, a more significant player lurked off stage. The Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company with thirty-nine percent of the land was the largest property owner affected by the proposed park. While the National Park Service was surveying the area for scenic and recreational resources, the iron company was planning to construct a $1.75 million sawmill to harvest the forest. Cleveland-Cliffs was a powerful industrial concern with clout in both Michigan and Ohio. Confident of its political leverage it could afford to respond to the Pictured Rocks proposal with patient adroitness. Officially the company minded the press of its laudable conservation record, which had recently been reenforced by turning over land to make Fayette State Park on Lake Michigan an actuality. At the same time the company expressed its desire to retain logging rights within the Pictured Rocks area. Aware that it was in for a long fight the company moved to create an organization which could push the corporate line behind the veil of the broader public interest. [76]

On November 30, 1961, the Forum On Resources of Upper Michigan (FORUM) was created to promote the "conservation of the resources of the Upper Peninsula through wise use in the interests of the public at large, the residents of the Upper Peninsula and the resource owners." Joseph Rahilly, a twenty-seven-year veteran of the Michigan Conservation Commission, was elected the chairman. The initial members of FORUM included an impressive list of executives from other major Upper Peninsula landowning corporations, some chamber of commerce representatives, and a smattering of academicians and journalists. That the real power behind the organization was Cleveland-Cliffs was not well hidden. Ogden Johnson, Director of Industrial Relations for the company organized the initial meeting which was held in the company's restaurant, the Mather Inn. While FORUM began as a front for Cleveland-Cliffs, it evolved into a membership organization which helped to rally a broader constituency opposed to the Pictured Rocks bill. In time FORUM would have a considerable influence on the evolution of the lakeshore. "The situation is a pretty hot potato here," Harold L. Dunklee, president of the Alger County Chamber of Commerce, warned Senator Hart, "there is going to be a lot of strong opposition." [77]

The plan proposed by the Northeast Region for the Pictured Rocks served to weaken Senator Hart's confidence in the National Park Service's projections for Pictured Rocks. According to the plan, the forest lands within the lakeshore would be managed to effect "the restoration of the cutover forests to a natural condition." While this seemed like a logical goal in the Philadelphia office, Hart knew it would have an incendiary effect in northern Michigan. To loggers this raised "many red flags." If reforestation was one of the goals of the lakeshore, then why not let the U.S.D.A. Forest Service take the lead in creating the park? "We would have no objection to the Forest Service operation of a park area," the Timber Producers Association wrote Senator Hart, "because we believe that this department has handled recreation and also conserved a wasting asset. We feel, however, that the policy of the Park Service, with their single purpose attitude toward lands, is a tremendous waste to an area." [78]

The preliminary plan also poorly projected the economic benefits of the proposed park. The plan suggested that the forest products industry would continue to decline and that developing recreational resources was the only viable economic use of the lands. Unfortunately, the United States Senate Committee on Public Works had recently commissioned a study of economic development options for the Upper Peninsula which offered a different prescription for the area's woes. The study noted major new sawmills opening near Munising and Newberry, Michigan, to demonstrate the continued viability of logging. Rather than predicting the end of logging in northern Michigan, the author, Michigan State University forestry professor Lee James, stressed the importance of tourism and forest products developing in tandem. "If recreationists reject, in general, the principle of multiple use," James warned, "and insist on large scale allocations to exclusive recreation use, they could cause a severe curtailment in other regional economic opportunities, particularly in the wood-using industries." [79]

By the fall of 1961 Senator Hart was feeling the heat from constituents on both sides of the Mackinac Bridge. With both S.2152 and S.2153 dead-on-arrival the Senator and the Park Service were sent scurrying back to the drawing board. Hart was guilty of following too closely the broad-stroke proposals of the Lakeshore Survey. For its part the National Park Service had not paid enough attention to the local situation in Michigan. "We made mistakes in Michigan and got off to a bad start," confided George A. Palmer Assistant Director of the Northeast Region. "We are reversing the trend now....[there] is no great hurry but we do need to make progress." [80]

Pointing the way to make progress in Michigan was the example of Cape Cod National Seashore, created by act of Congress in the summer of 1961. It was the first addition to the shoreline protection program since the authorization of Cape Hatteras National Seashore in 1937. Even more significant for the Pictured Rocks were the provisions of the Cape Cod bill. For the first time in an act authorizing a large natural park, Congress had authorized funds expressly for land acquisition. For almost fifty years the National Park Service had been limited to the "beg, borrow, or steal" approach to land acquisition. Cape Cod set another precedent when the seashore included numerous small towns within its boundaries. Outright purchase of these properties would have been financially and politically impossible. Instead, the National Park Service provided zoning guidelines for private property within the seashore. The Cape Cod bill was an example of how to work flexibly with the local community to protect their economic interests and still offer improved recreation to the general public. [81]

The patchwork of innovations and compromises that made Cape Cod a national park unit would never have occurred had it not been for that area's heavy political influence. From President Kennedy, who sailed the off-shore waters since boyhood, to the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, to the well-heeled cottagers of the Cape, the supporters of compromise had the clout to get their way. Underscoring President Kennedy's personal interest in Cape Cod was his commitment to provide improved recreational opportunities to the swelling population of Urban America. In December 1961, Kennedy met with Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall and Assistant Secretary of the Interior John Carver. The president stressed that the country needed "parks where there are people and the people are in the East." Like the Cap Cod solution, parks in the East and Midwest would not be like the "Museum Parks" of the Far West. "To do what the President wants," Carver remembered," the NPS has to accommodate itself to the local situation." From the meeting with Kennedy came an emphasis on "new policies and practices." [82]

Park planners in the Northeast Regional Office quickly got word of the change in direction. Assistant Secretary Carver flattered the Philadelphia staff by describing them as the "intellectual" region, capable of "real thinking," before charging them with developing in Michigan "solutions in a new mold." He also admonished them for not working more closely with the Michigan Conservation Commission in preparing a proposal that reflected local realities. Philip Hart had already suggested a compromise with Cleveland-Cliffs and requested that the Park Service find a way to allow commercials logging within the Pictured Rocks. By the end of 1961 both, the Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Pictured Rocks proposals were back on the drawing boards. [83]

"Charting a New Course"

The objections of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company and the Timber Producers Association created an obstacle to the passage of a Pictured Rocks bill. The precedent of Cape Cod spawned a climate conducive to creative thinking within the bureaucracy and legislature. For the next five years Senator Hart and the National Park Service struggled to use the opportunities brought by the Cape Cod precedent to remove the obstacles logging interests had placed in their path. Neither within the agency nor on Hart's staff was there an inclination to force a choice between preservation and economic development. Their efforts were keyed to achieving both ends in a single park proposal.

For Philip Hart, in particular, the Cape Cod precedent opened a graceful line of retreat from his initial positions on the Pictured Rocks and Sleeping Bear proposals. The proposed National Shoreline Recreation Area at Pictured Rocks is not intended to be developed as a traditional national park," Hart explained to the head of the Timber Producers Association. ''The Department of Interior is looking to the long-term recreation needs of the nation, preserving the scenic areas of greatest beauty, permitting hunting and fishing, and encouraging other uses compatible with recreation objectives." Out of Hartís desire to accommodate those "other uses" were born the two most controversial features of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: the inland buffer zone and the scenic drive. [84]

The inland buffer zone was the creature of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company. It was born in negotiation with Senator Hart over how to get around the traditional ban on commercial logging in a national park. The company proposed that the bulk of the timberlands within the park be left in private ownership so long as they were managed for sustained yield and left accessible for public recreation. In return the Company promised to sell the lands within the park which were essential for scenic and recreational development. Hart thought the suggestion could be the basis of a "new concept" national park. On May 29, 1962, Hart introduced S.3364 which included the Cleveland-Cliffs proposal and added to it the involvement of the U.S. Forest Service as the official arbiter of what constituted sustained yield forestry. The new bill would reduce the actual area preserved for park purposes from 67,000 aces to 26,000 acres and would bring the Park Service, private owners, and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service into a long-term cooperative management role on the remaining 41,000 acres. [85]

S.3364 also called for the development of "facilities to provide the benefits of public recreation, including a scenic shoreline drive." This provision was an attempt, made with little investigation, to enhance the economic development potential of the proposed lakeshore. Since the 1930s the Michigan Highway Department had discussed a scenic drive linking potential tourist sites in the eastern Upper Peninsula. The Great Lakes Shoreline Recreation Area Survey report in 1959 praised U.S. Highway No. 2 along the northern shore of Lake Michigan as an "outstanding" scenic highway but warned that any future construction "should be carefully planned so as not to restrict ultimate development of existing and proposed parks." By 1962, the Michigan Highway Department actually had plans for 650 miles of scenic shoreline drives in the entire state, including a plan for a stretch of road from Detour (on Lake Huron) to Munising. The plan was contingent on "when and if money is available," no small limitation since the 187 mile project carried a $31.8 million price tag. At the October 1961, Pictured Rocks public meeting in Munising Harold Dunklee, President of the Alger County Chamber of Commerce, listed the free tolls on the Mackinac Bridge, a Pictured Rocks park, and a lakeshore highway as the elements needed to build the Upper Peninsula's tourist economy. The Tourist Industry Relations Committee of the Michigan House of Representatives and the Forum On Resources of Upper Michigan (FORUM) also called for such a road. [86]

Driving the call for a scenic shoreline drive was the rapid rise in tourism along the Province of Ontario's north shore of Lake Superior. In the late 1950s Ontario made a major investment in its recreation industry. The number of provincial parks rose from six to one hundred, the tourist promotion budget grew to more than four times that of Michigan, and an improved highway, the Superior North Shore Route, was opened. A drive along the rugged, almost wilderness north shore became a popular summer vacation. Upper Peninsula tourist businesses sat in helpless frustration as federal Interstate highway construction in lower Michigan and the magnificent Mackinac Bridge were used to speed vacationers right past them and into Canada. [87]

It is likely that the provision for a scenic shoreline drive in the Pictured Rocks bill was due to the advocacy of FORUM. That economic development group conducted a brief study of a Detour to Munising road in the spring of 1962. Their report was sent to Philip Hart and it received a close reading by his staff. The study's goal was to report the feasibility of such a road "as an alternative to a Public Recreation Area at Pictured Rocks." FORUM condemned the National Park Service for planning a thirty mile gap "in a most scenic portion" of their proposed highway. The report was not a fair analysis, rather its purpose was to create a false dichotomy between a highway the state did not have a hoot-in-hell chance of building and a federal park: "The choice seems to be obvious 'Wilderness' in which a few can hike or 'Scenic Routeí which will attract vacationers in large numbers." Nonetheless Hart was inclined to consider this objection for political reasons. He had met with the Michigan Highway Commission and learned that it was unlikely the state would obtain the funds to build the shoreline drive and if it did the road would not reach the lakeshore until 1980. Nonetheless Jean Worth, the editor of the Escanaba Daily Press and a member of FORUM, enthusiastically hyped the highway as a legitimate proposal. The inclusion of the scenic shoreline drive in S.3364 was in many ways an attempt to forestall a thinly veiled disinformation campaign. [88]

If Philip Hart was guilty of following the Park Service's projections too slavishly in his first bill, S.3364 was guilty of erring in the opposite direction. Park planners in Philadelphia were dismayed by Hart's involvement of the U.S. Forest Service in managing the inland buffer zone. Assistant Director of the National Park Service, William L. Bowan, tried diplomatically to convey that sentiment when he noted: "The National Park Service does not favor this type of arrangement since it is not in the best interests of managing and protecting the area for primary use of recreation and because it interjects another agency into the management machinery, thus making it more cumbersome than necessary." [89]

Nor was Hart's compromise warmly received by the timber interests or their "wise use" allies. The forest products industry was leery of the precedent of agreeing to Forest Service supervision of timber harvesting on private lands. Small-scale loggers were particularly uneasy about having the government looking over their shoulder, as many such operators were unfamiliar with sustained yield management. Cleveland-Cliffs liked the basic outlines of the bill but was frustrated and suspicious that it did not contain a detailed description of the boundary line between those lands where logging would be permitted and the inner park area. FORUM was pleased to see its scenic drive concept in the bill but was unimpressed by the bill's vague wording and the lack of a map showing the actual route of the road. [90]

Hart hoped to hold a hearing on S.3364 in the Upper Peninsula but was advised by the Department of the Interior that further study was needed before it could take a specific stand on the bill. More importantly Joseph Rahilly, the head of FORUM, opposed a public hearing in 1962. Rahilly wanted to see a master plan for the park as well as some economic impact studies. The people of the Upper Peninsula, he suggested, "can't buy a pig in a poke." With Rahilly's opposition, all plans for a hearing were dropped. [91]

In spite of the immediate opposition it engendered, S.3364 did advance the political objectives of its sponsor. Hart made it clear that he was willing to work with the timber interests and the local communities to draft a park bill that would meet their needs. The process of drafting the bill also pointed out the shortcomings of the Park Service's knowledge of the area. At Hart's urging the agency contracted for an economic impact study of the proposed park and the Philadelphia office began a restudy of the land protection requirements of a Pictured Rocks park. [92]

The policy implications raised by Hart's bill spurred Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall to call on the newly created Bureau of Outdoor Recreation to take a leadership role in coordinating an evaluation of S.3364 and to recommend, if necessary, options to Hart's proposal. Conrad Wirth, Director of the National Park Service, took immediate exception to this directive. "I am afraid that confusion and duplication will result," was Wirth's specific objection but he also went on to voice the looming issue of bureaucratic turf. "I think that it is absolutely essential to the future of national park conservation that the Park Service be the Department's agency primarily responsible for the planning and recommendations concerning proposed parks and related areas of national significance for administration by this Service I think it is essential also to the vitality of the Service as a Government bureau." Wirth's appeal ensured the Park Service remained the lead agency in the development of the Pictured Rocks, yet from here on the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation was also a player in the process. For the next two years the Pictured Rocks proposal was bogged down in a welter of bureaucratic meetings and a frustrating series of private negotiations. [93]

William Welsh, aide to Senator Hart, spearheaded a sustained effort to bring the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company into support of a Pictured Rocks park. Negotiations were based on a "Preliminary Development Plan" which protected 39,000 acres in the inner zone and allowed logging in an outer or buffer zone of 26,000 acres. In December 1962 Cleveland-Cliffs made a counter proposal increasing the size of the buffer zone. By the spring of 1963 it appeared that a deal had been struck and a 47,000-acre buffer zone would be open to sustained yield logging under Forest Service supervision. Senator Hart incorporated this boundary in a new bill, S.1143, which D. R. Forrest, president of Cleveland-Cliffs, described as "a satisfactory solution to the problems we have discussed." [94]

By the spring of 1963, Philip Hart was confident that two years after his first Pictured Rocks bill was introduced a viable piece of legislation had been crafted. "Th blows have fallen pretty fast and furious in the intervening months," he told a group of conservationists, but it was now clear "we are going to make it." His confidence was buoyed by the recent agreement with Cleveland-Cliffs and by an accord, in February 1963, between the departments of Interior and Agriculture. Stewart L. Udall and Orville L. Freeman agreed to a broad range of cooperative programs to advance recreation in America. National seashores and recreation areas would no longer be the province one department but would be administered cooperatively. The half-century-old rivalry between the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service was officially brought to an end. President Kennedy hailed the accord as a "milestone in conservation practice." From Hart's perspective it was a stirring endorsement of his plan to have inter-departmental management of the Pictured Rocks. [95]

But the bright promise of spring wilted under the summer sun in Northern Michigan as the difficulties of crafting a consensus among multiple agencies and between the private and public sectors unraveled Hart's Pictured Rocks agreement. Things first began to fray in June when the Michigan Department of Conservation hosted a meeting in Munising of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company, the National Park Service the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation. The principal goal was to reconcile differences between the Park Service's understanding of the buffer zone boundary and that of Cleveland-Cliffs. With all of the interested parties together for the first time outside of Hart's office, it became clear how much actual disagreement existed with S.1143. On the other hand, the men meeting in Munising found ample common ground upon which to craft their own solution. [96]

Cleveland-Cliffs very effectively demonstrated their overriding concern for access to quality stands of hardwood forest by giving all of the conferees a tour of their recently completed Forest Center Sawmill and an on-the-ground inspection of forest lands involved. William Briggle of the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation then suggested that the bill could be amended to permit Cleveland-Cliffs to exchange the hardwood lands they would lose in the recreation zone of the proposed park for government-owned hardwood lands outside the park. For its part Cleveland-Cliffs would be willing to accept the Park Service's boundary for a very large protected or recreation zone if the idea of a buffer zone could be dropped altogether. The Park Service did not like the idea of a smaller lakeshore park but the proposal did have the virtue of removing the Forest Service's supervisory role, something to which Cleveland-Cliffs also "heartily objects." The Forest Service and Michigan Department of Conservation agreed to consider making their lands available for exchange. "Everyone left the meeting with the feeling that it had been most helpful," recalled Allen Edmunds. Instead, they had just thrown a giant monkey wrench into the legislative process. [97]

The seeds of trouble planted in June bore fruit in August when it was determined to be a violation of Congressional mandate to exchange industrial forest lands for U.S. Forest Service holdings outside of the park. The Iron Company, however, was adamant that it wanted to be compensated with hardwood lands as valuable and as close to the mill as it lost to the proposed park. Hart rightly accused the company of backing down from its March 1963 agreement. The misunderstanding settled on the difference between Cleveland-Cliffs being compensated with lands within the buffer zone as opposed to Forest Service lands outside the buffer zone. Lengthy negotiations in November 1963 failed to resolve the impasse. After flirting with embracing Hart's bill the iron company went back into the ranks of the opposition. [98]

As if it was not enough that Hart's carefully crafted private-public partnership was coming apart, S.1143 next fell prey to the type of bureaucratic conflicts President Kennedy had tried to put to rest. In January 1964, Hart requested a legislative report from the Department of the Interior on S.1143. The newly established Bureau of Outdoor Recreation was created by Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall to take the lead in recreational and new area planning. It was Udall's often-stated goal to increase rapidly the amount of recreational and national park areas in the United States and he felt that only a new agency could handle the volume of studies necessary to meet that goal. In March 1963, the Bureau's Recreation Advisory Council issued its guidelines for selecting new areas. This was the standard that the bureau applied when it reviewed Hart's bill and the Park Service's proposed development plan. To the surprise of everyone involved the council voted to disapprove the Pictured Rocks because recreation was not the paramount purpose of the plan. [99]

On one level the action was little more than an exercise in bureaucratic warfare, with the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation ensuring that the Park Service recognized the new agency's primary responsibility for new area studies. Yet there were some important long-term management issues lurking beneath the surface. The preliminary land use and development plan for the Pictured Rocks, which had been drafted by the Philadelphia office in August 1962, clearly indicated that the area would be managed not as a traditional national park but with a "heavy emphasis" on "scenic and interpretive enjoyment." By initially rejecting the Pictured Rocks plan, the council compelled the Park Service even more specifically address the primary criteria for recreation areas. These concerns included demonstrating that the area could support a high carrying capacity, that it would serve inter-state patrons, its primary purpose was recreation, and that it was located within a densely populated census division. Once the Park Service met these requirements, the council gave its approval, clearing the way for a positive opinion from the Department of the Interior. [100]

With the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation on board, Hart's bill was finally ready for a public hearing. There was no companion bill in the House of Representatives, so the hearings had to be held by the Subcommittee on Public Lands of the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Fortunately, fellow Democrat Gaylord Nelson, senator from Wisconsin, was on the public lands subcommittee. Nelson was an ardent conservationist and the author of a bill to create the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Nelson obligingly offered to try and arrange an early date for a hearing in the Upper Peninsula. [101]

The field hearing was held on July 20 1964, in Escanaba, Michigan. Gaylord Nelson presided with Senator Hart in attendance. Due to knowledgeable advice of E. Genevieve Gillette of the Michigan Parks Association the hearings successfully demonstrated the strong base of support in both lower Michigan as well as the Upper Peninsula. The town of Grand Marais led by Father Neil Smith, pastor of the local Catholic church and president of the Chamber of Commerce, and Frank Mead, supervisor of Burt Township, presented particularly compelling testimony in favor of the lakeshore. Munising was represented in force as well. Thirty-three businesses from the town and nineteen community organizations sent representatives to the hearing. The sentiment from the caravan of Alger county residents who drove to Escanaba was almost unanimously in favor of the lakeshore. [102]

A critical element in winning support for the lakeshore was the publication of the economic impact study prepared by Michigan State University's Institute for Community Development. The study was a sophisticated analysis of the likely economic result of the Park Service's development plan for Pictured Rocks. The report included an extended comparison of the future economic potential of both tourism and logging in Alger County. The study's careful projections included several different scenarios depending upon the scale of the eventual lakeshore and the aggressiveness of tourist promotion by area communities. In the main, the report predicted an increase in the number of jobs in Alger County due to the lakeshore with no substantial loss of jobs in the wood-processing industries. Because the report explored so many different economic scenarios, however, its judicious projections could be easily misinterpreted. In arguing for the lakeshore at the hearing, the Upper Peninsula Committee for Area Development seized on one of the most positive scenarios to make the point: the lakeshore would provide jobs for 10 percent of Alger County. " We need it badly. We need it now. We hope we can depend upon it." [103]

The optimistic projections perceived in the economic study and the strongly supportive stands taken by the towns of Munising and Grand Marais disarmed the remaining critics of the lakeshore. Representatives of FORUM reported the results of two recent studies. One was a survey of small landowners likely to be affected by the proposed lakeshore. Not surprisingly they noted that seventy-two percent were opposed to Hart's bill. A second study critiqued the economic projections by observing that the Michigan State University team did not forecast "the income which might be realized by a vigorous development of the wood-using industries comparable to the suggested development of tourism." But such objections fell flat. When Senator Hart pressed the FORUM representatives for a "blunt statement for the record whether you do feel a national recreation lakeshore park should be established here." The chairman of the organization answered in the affirmative. The most important accomplishment of the Escanaba hearing was to establish that the Pictured Rocks proposal rested on a firm foundation of local support. [104]

"A Clear Mandate": Passage of the Pictured Rocks Bills

The Escanaba hearing also marked the emergence of Raymond Clevenger as a player in the Pictured Rocks legislative story. Clevenger was an ambitious Chicago-born attorney with a legal practice in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Clevenger had long been active in Democratic politics and had recently announced his candidacy for the eleventh district of Michigan's congressional seat. The district stretched from Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula to Alpena in lower Michigan, one of the largest in the eastern United States. Clevenger hoped to make a dent in this traditionally Republican area by identifying his candidacy with former President Kennedy's and Lyndon Johnson's economic development initiatives. The Pictured Rocks proposal united conservation with economic stimulation and, in Clevenger's opinion, it could serve as a tangible example of how he would use his seat in Congress to help an impoverished district. Victor Knox, the Republican incumbent, handed Clevenger the issue by his steadfast refusal to submit a House bill to accompany Hart's Senate legislation. In testimony before the subcommittee Clevenger drew applause by announcing his intention, if elected, to push for the bill. "In my opinion the only objection to this project,'' he said, ''is that no actual start has been made though more of our men are losing jobs and our employment problem is getting worse." [105]

Clevenger became involved in the Pictured Rocks project at a time when the bill was nearing approval. Nonetheless, he played an important role in bringing the legislation to a speedy resolution. By 1965, Senator Hart's talents were increasingly being directed to civil rights issues. He became the champion of the Voting Rights Act which faced an entrenched opposition in the Senate. While Clevenger brought his energy to the Pictured Rocks proposal, his principal political interests were not in the area of natural resource conservation. Clevenger's necessary commitment to antipoverty and other social programs helped to heighten public expectation further in northern Michigan that the Pictured Rocks project would be a development catalyst for the entire north country.

Following his election in the Johnson landslide of 1964, Clevenger and other newly elected Democratic representatives were brought to Washington by the party. Speaker-of-the-House John McCormick introduced the new members to the legislative aides of each cabinet department as well as members of the White House staff. Then each new representative was asked what his legislative priority was for his first term. The purpose of the meeting was to instill party discipline and to ensure that the new members had the full strength of both the executive and legislative branches working to make them successful representatives. McCormick stressed the importance of following the party line in their voting and indicated "You want to get along, you got to play along.'' When Clevenger was asked to name his priority he answered "Pictured Rocks park.'' In June 1965, Clevenger introduced H.R. 8678, a companion bill to Hart's Senate proposal. [106]

Clevenger's bill included a controversial agreement between the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company and the National Park Service which promised to remove the last obstacle to the creation of the lakeshore. The tortuous negotiations which led up to the new bill began in the summer of 1964, in the wake of the Escanaba field hearing. Cleveland-Cliffs presented its own plan for developing a park at the Pictured Rocks. The detailed plan touched on the size of the park, the location of the "scenic highway" and scenic vistas, and of course the management of the buffer zone. The plan itself was of less importance than the company's proposition that the two sides agree on the general principle: "a Federal recreation area and a scientifically managed industrial forest can both exist and prosper in close harmony in eastern Alger county." [107]

While both sides could agree on the general principle, there were two nagging issues which had prevented agreement: 1) The boundary between the inner or shoreline zone, which would be managed as a park, and the outer or inland buffer zone where sustained yield logging would be permitted; and 2) How would Cleveland-Cliffs be compensated for the prime forest lands lost to the creation of the lakeshore. The latter issue had been tentatively agreed to back in 1962 only to unravel over federal restrictions on land exchanges. Unable to find a more mutually acceptable solution, both sides decided to go back to this earlier agreement. National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Cleveland-Cliffs closeted themselves away and hammered out a complex three-way exchange of lands. The National Park Service would purchase Cleveland-Cliffs' lands in the shoreline zone. Cleveland-Cliffs would then select comparable lands from National Forest holdings in Alger, Schoolcraft, and Luce counties. These lands would then be transferred from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of the Interior and sold to the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company. Later the Michigan Conservation Department was brought into the agreement, giving the iron company access to be compensated from nearby state holdings. [108]

By making the land transfers a three-way exchange the proposed solution was a cloaked attempt to circumvent the rules of the House Committee on Government Operations. Those rules had been drafted to prevent lumber companies from holding up federal reservoir projects by demanding National Forest lands in exchange. Clearly the National Forests could not function properly if every federal land acquisition project empowered private interests to demand compensation with Forest Service lands. On the other hand, the goals of the Pictured Rocks compromise, recreation and wise use of timber resources, were consistent with the purpose of National Forests.

Not all supporters of a Pictured Rocks park were pleased with the compromise. The deal favored the interests of a large corporation like Cleveland-Cliffs at the expense of the independent logger. Forest Service timber lands made available to the iron company would otherwise have been opened to bids from small-scale loggers. More importantly supporters such as Grand Marais's Rev. B. Neil Smith predicted that the Congress as a whole would never approve of "raiding" the National Forests. Senator Hart received the brunt of this criticism. It was felt he was bending over backwards to please Cleveland-Cliffs because of the extreme opposition he faced from local forces over the Sleeping Bear Dunes proposal. Rather than continue to oppose Cleveland Cliffs on land exchanges, the cynics suggested, Hart would leave it up to Congress to say no. "In his obsession to make 'Sleeping Bear Dunes' the first National Lakeshore in Michigan," Smith wrote, "he has unconsciously allowed a situation to develop which would greatly impair the passage of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore." [109]

But Philip Hart was not the only one impatient with arguments about bureaucratic precedent. At House field hearings in Marquette, Michigan, Raymond Clevenger demonstrated his full support for the compromise. If national forest lands could be given to the Park Service to be part of the lakeshore, why not use national forest lands to make the lakeshore possible? "I suggest," he observed at a House field hearing, "that we have the Forest Service and Park Service join the Federal Government or else that we negotiate a separate peace treaty with them." The audience cheered Clevenger's no-nonsense approach but Representatives Ralph J. Rivers (D-Alaska) and John A. Race (R-Wisconsin) who held the Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation hearing were less enthusiastic. After questioning both Cleveland-Cliffs officials and Clevenger, Subcommittee Chair Rivers warned, "I think this probably would establish precedent and I don't think the Forest Service is going to like or would allow that precedent." Fortunately, the rest of the Marquette hearing went off without a hitch. Congressman Race concluded by observing "I can't see with all the good will and cooperation of the persons of this area why this bill wasn't passed 2 years ago." [110]

Equally as vexing as the issue of the land exchanges was trying to determine the size and boundary for the protected shoreline zone. In March 1966, Allen T. Edmunds and Jay Bright of the Park Service were in the field with Cleveland-Cliffs officials trying to work out the problem on the ground. The company wanted a shoreline zone of 23,000 acres while the Park Service had already determined to have a shoreline zone of 28,000 acres or no park at all. The two areas of greatest difficulty were Beaver Basin, where Cleveland-Cliffs wanted to exclude several thousand acres of Superior timber lands from the protected zone, and Chapel Lake Basin, where the company's logging interests clashed with public enjoyment of Mosquito and Chapel Falls. The Beaver Basin lands were particularly important to the plans for the lakeshore. Every Park Service evaluation of the area had emphasized that the area was "the foremost natural and ecological unit in the proposed park." Numerous attempts by field-level personal to work out an acceptable solution had failed. In May 1966, the executives of Cleveland-Cliffs were invited to Washington to negotiate a boundary with Director George B. Hartzog, Jr. [111]

Hartzog was an aggressive manager, hand picked by Secretary of the Interior Udall to preside over the expansion of the national park system. He blended the astuteness of a former attorney with the practical experience of a park superintendent. To break the deadlock, the Park Service proposed a 27,500-acre shoreline zone and a 39,500-acre inland buffer zone. Hartzog agreed to Cleveland-Cliffs request to log selectively in the Chapel and Beaver basins, but culled the acreage down to two small demonstration forests. The company would engage in sustained-yield forestry on those tracts "in perpetuity" while the Park Service would use the tracts to interpret modern timber management. When Cleveland-Cliffs tried to argue for more boundary concessions Hartzog responded firmly. He reminded the company of how flexible the agency was being, how long the process had been going on, and the need to finalize an agreement. Robert W. Taber, Cleveland-Cliffs Vice President, appreciated the validity of the Director's arguments and signed the deal. [112]

"After almost ten years of studies, surveys, hearings and reports," the Marquette Mining Journal observed, "we feel any further delay would be a serious disservice to the entire project." But while northern Michigan was finally united in favor of the lakeshore, the park had a number of federal hurdles still in its path. The biggest of those obstacles appeared to be Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman. While he had signed a celebrated "peace treaty" with the Interior Department to speed the development of recreation areas, he was not willing to put the viability of the National Forests at risk to achieve that end. Secretary Freeman's report to the House Interior Committee on H.R.8678 recommended the removal of the critical land exchange compromise. Fortunately, neither the Forest Service nor Cleveland-Cliffs had forgotten the spirit of cooperation which inspired the earlier accord. On May 16, company executives met with officials of the Hiawatha National Forest and found a way around Secretary Freeman's precedent. [113]

Rather than follow the cumbersome and precedent-setting procedure of conveying Forest Service lands to the Department of the Interior to then be sold to Cleveland-Cliffs, the parties found a simpler and cleaner method to achieve the same effect. The lands Cleveland-Cliffs wanted from the Hiawatha National Forest were already adjacent to or intermingled with corporate holdings. Under the provisions of the 1911 Weeks Act, the Forest Service was empowered to exchange isolated parcels for lands which were needed to block in the Hiawatha purchase Unit. The deal gave the Forest Service holdings which were easier to manage and gave Cleveland-Cliffs timber resources as good as they lost in the lakeshore. When Forest Service and Cleveland-Cliffs officials were called before the House Subcommittee on National Parks Washington hearing they announced their deal and removed another obstacle to immediate passage of the bill. [114]

The Senate's Washington hearing proved to be a continuation of the love feast inaugurated in the House. As Interior and Insular Affairs chair Alan Bible (D. Nevada) commented, this bill "is completely noncontroversial Iíve never seen such a thing!" Bible requested some minor changes in the language of the bill but not enough in his opinion to require a conference committee meeting with the House. [115]

Avoiding a conference committee was critical if a Pictured Rocks bill were to become law in 1966. Ray Clevenger was using every bit of his freshman congressman's clout to get the bill approved before the November election. Clevenger had been a good "Great Society" soldier. But he realized that he needed something tangible to bring home to the voters if he was going to survive in his largely Republican district. "I had 'played along' just as President Johnson's team told us to when I first went to Washington, now I needed their help. I told them it was my turn to get," Clevenger later I remembered. A hasty meeting was arranged with National Park Service Director Hartzog to finalize the location of the road. "I don't give a f__ where the road is," Clevenger exclaimed, and the final details were agreed upon. [116]

The last remaining problem was time. The Pictured Rocks bill was not on the calendar and the Congress was nearing its summer recess. The Democratic leadership in the House, however, was determined to give Clevenger his bill before the election. On September 19, H.R. 8678 was passed by the House, after being put on the consent calendar to ensure speedy consideration. Hart's Senate bill, with minor amendments, was passed on October 7 and three days later the House approved those changes. On October 15 1966, Lyndon Johnson, "in order to preserve for the benefit, inspiration, education, recreational use, and enjoyment of the public a significant portion of the diminishing shoreline of the United States," signed Public Law 89-668 creating the first National Lakeshore at the Pictured Rocks. [117]

For Allen Edmunds who had been working on Great Lakes park issues since 1958 the creation of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was a rare moment of victory. Don't be "overly optimistic" Conrad Wirth had warned him when he began. In 1966, the proposal for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was nearing passage by the Congress, although similar proposals for Sleeping Bear and Apostle Islands, in spite of vigorous legislative support, remained bogged down in controversy. But at least the agency was taking the first step in preserving the pristine remnants of the late Great Lakes. "It has been a long struggle," Edmunds observed with pride. [118]

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Last Updated: 05-Apr-2002