On-line Book
cover to Fauna 1
Fauna Series No. 1








Suggested Policy

Fauna of the National Parks
of the United States


When the survey party went into the field in May, 1930, its members purposely had not formulated an outline of procedure in advance. Preparations were confined to assembling the necessities for living in the open under a variety of conditions and the paraphernalia for making observations and recording data. The essentials consisted of a sturdy field car, camp goods, photographic supplies, collecting kit, and a few standard reference books.

It had been previously agreed that an independent procedure, that is, one guided by no former experience or prejudice, should be developed from knowledge gained on the ground. If the findings were to have even a fair chance of being unbiased, there must be freedom from any preconceived method of survey. It was believed that this approach would favor the development of the technique best suited to the problem.

The importance of starting in this manner is best explained in the object of the survey. The only reason for attempting this practical type of investigation was to provide park administrators with data which would help them to meet a new and difficult situation. How could the animal life be conserved under natural conditions and still contribute fully to the benefit and enjoyment of the people?

High mountain glade
FIGURE 4. – A high mountain glade, soon to be converted into a camp ground.
"How could the animal life be conserved under natural conditions and
still contribute fully to the enjoyment of the people?"
Photograph taken October 4, 1930, near Shadow Lake, Mount Rainier.
Wild Life survey No. 1327

As for individual biases, there were already too many. The park superintendent stood at the crossroads between the wild life and various groups of interested persons with their conflicting biases. Among them were those of the man who judged the park in terms of fish in its streams, the hunter who wanted the maximum production of game though he could not shoot it, the scientist who would exclude people from large areas in order that their potentialities as pure cultures for zoological research might not be destroyed, the visitor who would prefer to have the animals fenced by the road side for easy inspection from his car, and the person who eschewed the intrusion of any artificiality, even a road, in the native haunts of the wild creatures. Nor can one forget such well-meant suggestions as that of the cattleman who wanted to place a herd of purebreds along the entrance road inside a park in order to add to the interest – and so it would, for him and many other stockmen.

It was believed that the type of investigation which would come nearest to satisfying the needs of the Service was one that would furnish accurate data on the status of parks' fauna, with due emphasis on the economy or human relationships of each species. For this reason, the first weeks were devoted to the study of each park visited in its entirety, trying to analyze all factors which either affected the animal life or, conversely, were themselves influenced by the animal life. The administration, the visitors, structures erected by man, and the territory outside the park were scrutinized just as much as the animal populations. The vertebrates themselves received much the larger share of attention later on, but these other factors continued to figure prominently throughout.

The plan of procedure and the methods evolved in these first weeks were practiced and further developed throughout the period. This plan is discussed here and then presented in outline form for reference in subsequent studies. Four distinct steps or divisions were recognized as necessary to the completion of a survey, though at least three of them might be undertaken simultaneously.



Last Modified: Tues, Feb 1 2000 07:08:48 pm PDT

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