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Cover to America's National Park Service: The Critical Documents
Cover Page


Table of Contents


The Early Years,

Defining The System,

The New Deal Years,

The Poverty Years,

Questions of
Resource Management

The Ecological Revolution,

Transformation and

A System Threatened,

Summaries of
Lengthy Documents

About the Editor

America's National Park System:
The Critical Documents
Chapter 5:
Questions of Resource Management: 1957 - 1963
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(Often called the Stagner Report) 1962


Many significant factors have affected wildlife populations during the past several decades. Western areas of the United States have experienced vast and often times drastic land-use changes that have dramatically altered the ecology of most wildlife species. These changes have proved beneficial to the existence of some faunal populations and detrimental to others.

In addition, the introduction of exotics has had varying effects upon native plant and animal species. Entire wildlife populations have sometimes been affected. Climatic conditions during the past decade that have generally been of a more mild nature have not only had decided effects upon the various vegetative processes, seasonal movements of migratory species, reproduction and decimating factors, but many other items that have definite effects upon wildland populations. The present population numbers of wildlife contained in State and Federal lands has also changed due to these and many other affecting forces of nature and actions by man.

Former preservation measures applied to the management of wildlife have in many instances become obsolete. The balance between land carrying capacity for wild populations and population numbers has reached and even surpassed the point where decided and definite action should be taken for a proper realignment. Only through attempts to realign these two items will other park resources such as soil and vegetation be conserved. The Service's obligation to conserve in an "unimpaired" manner is explicit. Waste or complete destruction is to be avoided.

This summary has been compiled to present field area data concerning wildlife management programs that were in effect during the July 1, 1961 to June 30, 1962 period. Certain special items and programs dealing with this management field are also included. An attempt to summarize activities and programs of each area in the National Park System has not been made. Only those areas which have significance, inherent or which possibly will be subjected to more extensive wildlife management problems are being considered. Limitations and omissions that should not have occurred are unavoidable due to this office's dependency upon submission of significant data from both field and regional offices.

The primary concern of this summary is to present management activities that developed with management of ungulates during early 1961. The controversy arising from some management programs continues to be the subject of considerable discussion and action among interested groups and individuals. The importance of direct reduction programs in National Parks for the conservation of several renewable and nonrenewable resources and maintenance of suitable biological relationships resulted in the appointment of a special wildlife advisory board by the Secretary of the Interior. Additional information on this group of eminent conservationists and their work as an advisory committee is included in the section dealing with Special Wildlife Programs.

For a number of years, annual summaries or reports were published on the status and condition of wildlife in areas of the National Park System. They also included accomplishments in the various fields of biological research. Resumption of this annual accomplishment summary, on a recurring basis, is anticipated for future years.

In attempts to comply with the act of August 25, 1916, areas comprising the National Park System are administered in such manner as ". . . to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. . . ." The conservation principle of wise use and its application to certain wildlife populations has been determined to be necessary in order that other resources of America's priceless heritages, as found in the National Park System, may be enjoyed by future visitors.

During this reporting period new additions, such as Haleakala National Park, City of Refuge National Historical Park and Buck Island Reef National Monument, were added to the 189 existing Service administered parks and related areas. These additions all contain varying quantities and diversified compositions of wildlife that will add to visitor enjoyment and experiences. In addition, 82,276,000 visits and 91,758,000 days of visitor-use were experienced in the approximately 25,957,901 acres contained in scientific scenic, historic and prehistoric reservations of national significance. Recreational use of fishery resources, which originated from lands administered by this Service and as submitted by annual reports of thirty-five areas, indicated an angler use day figure of approximately 1,750,000.


Adopted wildlife management policies as found in Volume VI, Part 2, Chapter 5, of the Administrative Manual, have been issued as guidelines to all park activities or programs in this field. A review of this material by field offices will not only be of assistance in public presentations of current park activities, but should also assist in the formulation of an active management program.

Particular reference is made to the various regional office memoranda issued in conjunction with the Director's April 11, 1962 memorandum relating to Information on Bear Management Activities. Informational instructions contained therein should be sufficiently adequate and explicit for proper bear management in all applicable areas.


The animals indigenous to the parks shall be protected, restored, if practicable, and their welfare in the natural wild state perpetuated. Their management shall consist only of measures conforming with the basic laws and which are essential to the maintenance of populations and their natural environments in a healthy condition.

Hunting. Hunting in areas of the National Park System is incompatible with their preservation in the manner contemplated by the authorizations for their establishment and will not be permitted, except as specifically provided by law.

Wildlife problems, especially those in relation to overpopulation, are to be solved effectively, but use of public hunting as a method of wildlife management aimed at readjusting animal populations to approximate natural biotic conditions is definitely not to be a solution.

Predatory Animals. No native predator shall be destroyed because of its normal utilization of any other park animal or plant, unless such animal or plant is in immediate danger of extermination, and then only if the predator is not itself a vanishing form. When control is necessary, it shall be accomplished by transplanting, or if necessary, by killing offending individuals and not by campaigns to reduce the general population of a species. Species predatory upon fish shall be allowed to continue in nominal numbers and to share normally in the benefits of fish culture.

Exotics. Nonnative forms shall not be introduced into parks. Any exotic species which has already become established in a park shall be either eliminated or held to a minimum provided complete eradication is not feasible, and the possible invasion of the parks by other exotics shall be anticipated and steps taken to guard against the same.

Native Forms. Every native species in the areas of the National Park System shall be left to carry on its struggle for existence unaided as being to its greatest ultimate good, unless there is real cause HP believe that it will perish if unassisted.

Where artificial feeding, control of natural enemies, or other protective measures are necessary to save a native species that is unable to cope with civilization's influences, every effort shall be made to place that species on a self-sustaining basis once more. The artificial aids, which themselves have unfortunate consequences, will then no longer be used.

Reintroduction. Any native species or subspecies which has been exterminated from a park shall be brought back if this can be done, but if a species has become extinct, no related species shall be considered a candidate for reintroduction in its place. If a subspecific variant of a species has become extinct, substitution of a closely related subspecies may be considered.

Adverse Biological Forces. Plants and animals which are inimical to the public health or welfare or which are destructive to historic, archeological or scientific structures, sites, features or records of primary importance shall be subject to neutralization or control.

Hoofed Animals. The numbers of native hoofed animals occupying a deteriorated range shall not be permitted to exceed its reduced capacity and, preferably shall be kept below the carrying capacity at every step until the range can be brought back to its original productiveness.

Artificial Feeding. No animal shall be encouraged to become dependent wholly or in part upon man for its support.

Captive Animals. Artificiality shall be avoided in the presentation of the animal life of the parks to the public. The preferred presentation shall be through wholly natural situations.

Management. Management measures or other interference with plant and animal relationships should be undertaken after properly conducted investigation. Approval of programs for the destruction and disposition of wild animals which are damaging the land, or its vegetative cover and of permits to collect rare or endangered species has not been delegated.

Endangered and Vanishing Species. The issuance of a scientific collector's permit must be based upon the abundance of the species in the park which the permit applies. Every request must be considered carefully, and the collection of endangered or vanishing species is restricted or prohibited.


Recreational fishing within National Parks and Monuments shall be permitted under management programs directed toward the perpetuation, restoration and protection of native species and wild populations of fishes and the protection of the natural aquatic environments and the ecological relationships of the associated fauna and flora. This activity shall be directed so as to not decrease the wildlife, scenic, scientific or historic values of the park.

Where Fishing is Excluded. Fishing may be excluded from specific waters when necessary to preserve aquatic or terrestrial species or habitats which are limited in distribution or when such activity materially decreases the enjoyment of the areas by the general public.

Native Species. The perpetuation, protection and restoration of native species in safe numbers in waters where they originally were found shall be given primary consideration of any management plan whenever possible.

Native Nonsport Fishes. All species of fishes are fully protected, except those designated for recreational angling.

Native nonsport fishes shall not be reduced or eliminated except as may be unavoidable and incidental to the primary objective of extirpating an exotic unwanted population of fishes.

In any restoration plan, native nonsport fishes should be reintroduced as well as the sport fishes.

Hybrid Trout. Hybrid trout shall not be stocked in waters of National Parks and Monuments.

Stocking. Artificial replenishment of stocking may be employed:

1. To reintroduce native species into waters where they have become eliminated or seriously depleted by natural or man-made causes.

2. To maintain fish populations in selected and approved lakes which are capable of supporting fish life, but which lack sufficient natural spawning facilities to maintain an adequate fish population to meet the need of recreational angling.

Size of Fish to Stock.

1. Fingerling trout may be planted in lakes where competent study had determined a need for supplementary stocking.

2. The stocking of eyed-eggs, fry or fingerlings in streams shall not be practiced except to restore a depleted population of native trout. (Numerous qualified studies on streams of varying sizes throughout the country have demonstrated that where conditions are suitable for trout, natural populations are maintained at maximum carrying capacity by natural reproduction. Planting of eyed-eggs, fry or fingerling trout in streams to supplement this natural reproduction has proven to be of negligible or no benefit.)

3. Stocking of catchable size trout to provide "put and take fishing" is not compatible with the fundamental concept of the National Park Service, therefore, the planting of fish for immediate recovery by the angler shall not be made in waters of national parks and monuments.

4. Adult wild trout may be transplanted to re-establish native species or depleted populations.

Stocking National Parkways. Recreational fishing within National Parkways is permitted under management programs and stocking procedures normally practiced by the State or States in which the Parkways are located. This activity shall be regulated by the National Park Service.

Each Parkway Superintendent shall designate Parkway fishing waters. When the impact of fishing pressure would create damage to Parkway features and facilities, would produce hazardous traffic congestion or would result in unusual enforcement problems, individual waters may be closed to fishing and to stocking.

Stocking Exotic Species. Exotic species of fishes or other exotic animals, or any exotic species of aquatic plants may not be introduced or stocked in waters of the National Parks and Monuments except:

1. In waters where exotic fishes are established and the restoration of native species is impracticable.

2. Where adequate investigations have demonstrated that additional planting is desirable and necessary to supplement limited or nonexisting natural reproduction.

Management of Exotic Sport Fishes. In waters where exotic sport species of fishes are established, and they are valuable for angling and are ecologically compatible with the existing environment, and their replacement by native species is impracticable, the fishery for the exotic species will be managed in a manner similar to that for native forms.

When replacement of the exotic by the native species is practicable, the latter shall be encouraged to take over its former place.

Removal of Exotic Species—Eradication or Control. Where exotic species have become dominantly established to the detriment of the native species, restoration of the original fish composition may be brought about by the removal of the undesirable exotics. Standard eradication methods; such as, chemical treatment or electric shocking may be employed. Also, these methods may be employed to control exotic species where complete elimination is not feasible.

The need for and techniques to be used for an eradication or control program shall be based upon adequate investigations by aquatic biologists.

Egg Taking. The taking of eggs from fishes for the purpose of artificial propagation within waters in national parks and monuments is rarely justified and should not be permitted until a thorough review has been made.

Protection of Virgin Waters. Lakes and streams which are barren offish life shall remain in this virgin condition and shall not be stocked.

Artificial Improvement of Lakes and Streams. All forms of artificial improvement of streams or lakes for fishery management purposes which change the natural habitat and the surrounding landscape are prohibited, except that, when the aquatic environment has been so altered by man that restoration by natural means is improbable, measures may be taken to return the streams and lakes to a more natural condition.

Management by Regulations. To preserve the populations of native species and yet allow angling, sport fishing shall be controlled by regulations which provide for the conservation of native species of fishes and compatible management of introduced, established species. Limits shall be established so that the total catch will not exceed the natural productive capacity of the waters. Creel limits shall not be considered as "goals".

Fishery Investigations. The conservation and proper management of the fishery resources and angling as a recreational activity is dependent upon a complete knowledge of the status of the fish fauna and the angling pressures being exerted. Adequate and continuing investigations are vital to the successful preservation and management of this resource.

Commercial Fishing. Commercial fishing is generally non-compatible with National Park Service objective and shall be permitted only within national parks and monuments where this activity is specified by law. It will be conducted under restrictions which are designed to conserve and perpetuate the resource.

Publicity. Publicity regarding fishing within the areas of the National Park System shall be directed toward the recreational and aesthetic values, and the appreciation of the unspoiled environment as a whole rather than emphasis on the catch. Information regarding angling will be factual and realistic with respect to fishing conditions.

Promotional types of publicity are discouraged but this does not apply to release of information on subjects of conservation of aquatic resources, fish regulations, care of fish by anglers, or the place of angling in the national park experience.

National Park Service Archives, Harpers Ferry, Box N16, Management Biology 1946-1962, Introduction plus "Policies and Guidelines" section, 1-6.

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Last Modified: October 25, 2000 10:00:00 am PST

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