Challenge of the Big Trees
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Chapter Seven:
Two Battles for Kings Canyon


The Matter of Jurisdiction

The first issue, and the one on which all the others ultimately hinged, revolved around jurisdiction and administration. Congress had left no doubt about who had ultimate legal jurisdiction—the Forest Service. Yet the canyon was virtually surrounded by park land at the far end of a deadend road. Before the ink had dried on the act of March 4, the Park Service approached Agriculture Secretary Wallace and Acting Chief Forester Granger with a proposal for Park Service administration of Cedar Grove. A week later, on March 11, representatives of the two agencies met for the first time in what was to become a long and confusing process. Regional Forester Show attended and his mood was anything but cooperative. Frank Kittredge subsequently reported that Show believed the exclusion of Cedar Grove from the park indicated a congressional mandate for Forest Service development, a mandate he fully intended to carry out. Kittredge summed up the situation some weeks later, "no arguments by Park Service participants seemed to appeal to Mr. Show, who stood staunchly for Forest Service administration and operation of the Cedar Grove area." [37]

Once again, however, Show was overruled by his superiors. Granger saw the issue as one of cost. Despite the feelings of his subordinates, and perhaps his own ideas as well, Granger believed the Forest Service could better spend its limited capital on larger areas under complete Forest Service control, those not threatened with destruction by reclamation development. In July 1940, he instructed Show to make the necessary arrangements for Park Service administration of Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon to keep "uniformity of planning and administration of recreation facilities on this and the adjacent areas of similar character within the Kings Canyon National Park." [38] The Forest Service also readily agreed to protect the road on Forest Service land between Grant Grove and Cedar Grove.

Despite this reasonably quick and amicable settlement, problems of definition and decision still cropped up over the next decade. Congress did not allocate money for Park Service development of other federal lands until August 1946. The matter of park entry fees and concession acreage allowances still needed to be settled. In these cases the decisions went with Forest Service fees, which were zero, and Park Service concession regulations. Meanwhile the concession company, led by George Mauger, looked suspiciously at this unusual agreement and, as we shall see further in the next chapter, used it to delay construction of visitor facilities at Cedar Grove. [39]

Perhaps to Park Service personnel the most trying issue of jurisdiction concerned regulations and law enforcement. Basically it was understood that this remained a Forest Service holding with appropriate Forest Service regulations. Park rangers were deputized by the Forest Service to enforce those statutes. This necessitated learning just what those regulations were and then retraining park rangers. However, a most significant issue with this arrangement arose when visitors questioned the regulations. Cedar Grove was an area ostensibly under Park Service management which, according to law was open to Forest Service regulations allowing firearms, hunting, and uncontrolled camping. Time and again through the 1940s and 1950s rangers and superintendents questioned this "difficult" arrangement. Throughout the period, they insisted that visitors behave as if it were part of the national park. Fortunately no visitors ever legally challenged the Park Service's right to insist upon their own regulations, however inappropriately. [40]


Challenge of the Big Trees
©1990, Sequoia Natural History Association
dilsaver-tweed/chap7e.htm — 12-Jul-2004