Legacy of the Gold Rush:
An Administrative History of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
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Chapter 4:
Authorizing the Park

The International Park Proposal

As noted in Chapter 3, Alaska corrections personnel opened up the U.S. side of the trail in 1961-64, and by the winter of 1967-68, both state and NPS officials were aware that a park proposal was in the works. Canadian officials, during this period, watched the ongoing activities with an increasing degree of interest.

They had little knowledge of the Chilkoot, however; the only Chilkoot trips yet taken by Canadian officials had been James Lotz's hikes in 1963 and 1965 and a 1967 reconnaissance by Yukon Corrections officials.

In order to spur interest in the trail by officials from both sides of the border, Canada's National Historic Sites Service (NHSS) chief Peter Bennett, in April 1968, proposed an international Chilkoot hike. Such a hike would take place late that summer and would include representatives from a wide variety of agencies that had an interest in the Chilkoot Trail. The purpose of such a hike would be to discuss the trail's desirability as an international trail. [1]

Because of the impending Skagway Alternatives Study and the crisis over the Skagway railroad depot, the proposed hike had to be delayed. [2] By the following summer, however, the alternatives study had been completed, and a joint, late-season hike was planned.

The long-anticipated event was held over Labor Day weekend, 1969. Seventeen hikers participated in the four-day event. The state of Alaska was represented by Mike Leach from the Division of Lands. NPS representatives included Robert E. Howe, the Superintendent of Glacier Bay and Sitka national monuments, and Ted Swem, the Washington-based Assistant Director for Cooperative Activities. The Interior Department was represented by Yvonne Esbensen, a assistant to Secretary Hickel. Yukon Territory representatives included Ron Hodgkinson, the Assistant Commissioner, and both Victor Ogison and Gary McLaughlin of the territory's Corrections Department. The National and Historic Parks Branch was represented by Peter Bennett, Director of Historic Sites in Ottawa; Don Cline, an Ottawa-based planner; Gordon Gilroy, the Assistant Regional Historic Sites Director in Calgary; and Bruce Harvey, the NHS representative in Whitehorse. Several Skagway residents also made the trip. They included Mayor Edward Hanousek, Chamber of Commerce President (and local banker) Ed Leon, and packer Dave Hunz. [3]

Officials from the two countries had organized the Chilkoot hike as part of a larger effort to publicize the historic resources along the entire gold rush corridor. Participants, therefore, followed the hike by taking the train from Bennett north to Whitehorse; they then flew to Dawson and spent a day examining that area before returning to Whitehorse to evaluate what they had seen during the previous week's activities. On September 4, Swem and Bennett jointly produced a confidential report which outlined their proposal for an international historic park based on the Klondike Gold Rush theme. [4]

The hike and its aftermath were successful by all accounts. Director Hartzog, who received a copy of the joint report, noted in a memorandum to Interior Secretary Walter Hickel that

it greatly stimulated interest in the need to conserve the historic and scenic values of the entire Gold Rush route starting at Skagway and terminating at the gold fields near Dawson in the Yukon. The Canadian Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development officials and the National Park Service enthusiastically endorsed not only their own respective historical preservation proposals, but also the concept of an international historical park. [5]

Less than a month after the hike took place, Ted Swem met with Merrill Mattes in Washington and gained more background on the Skagway National Historical Park/ Klondike Gold Rush International Trail proposal. By early November, Northwest District Director Rutter had officially approved the concept, and Swem had gained the Director's approval for the new park, to be called Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. [6] Hartzog, in turn, recommended the park's establishment to Interior Secretary Hickel. That park was to include

a historic district in Skagway, a small area at Dyea, including reconstruction of three buildings [a barn, store, and house] at the old townsite, and sufficient lands along both the Chilkoot and White Pass Trails to allow public use and facility development and to protect adequately the historic and natural scene. [7]

The Canadians were likewise active. On November 11, 1969, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Jean Chrétien, flew to Whitehorse. Before a crowd at the Chamber of Commerce, he announced the creation of new national historic sites at Dawson City (where four buildings were to be designated) as well as at Bonanza Creek, Whitehorse, and Bennett. He also unveiled a $2 million development package designed to assist in site restoration. Along the Chilkoot, the Canadians planned to stabilize the Bennett church and construct a historical interpretation center. [8] Beyond that, they hoped to coordinate their Chilkoot Trail development activities with those on the U.S. side. Hartzog, for instance, recommended the implementation of a series of measures, all of which had been agreed to by Swem and Bennett in September. The NPS director suggested

that a standard sign and marking system be used on both sides to reflect a unity in approach and the true international aspect of the project, that we issue joint maps and publications covering the Gold Rush story, and that we cooperate in interpreting the story of the Gold Rush.... Also, we would hope to move ahead to establish certain stretches of the Upper Yukon River in Canada and the United States as a historic riverway as a part of the Klondike package.

To help achieve this coordinated effort, we recommend the appointment of an international advisory committee made up of representatives of all levels of government involved, plus outsiders, to advise on implementation of this proposal, and also a steering committee comprised of representatives of the park agencies from both countries. We believe the legislation on our side and any official action on the Canadian side should recognize this as a truly international park, even though each country would be responsible for development and operation of its own park units. [9]

Hickel, who because of his Alaska background had a personal interest in the proposal, approved of Hartzog's recommendations on December 16. [10] Two weeks later, Hickel and Canada's Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Jean Chrétien, simultaneously issued press releases announcing an international historical park, based on the Klondike Gold Rush theme, which would include sites in Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon. Chrétien's announcement noted that

A significant feature of the proposed Klondike Gold Rush International Historic Park will be the joint development and interpretation by both countries of the historic Chilkoot and White Pass Trails from Dyea and Skagway to Bennett. Also under study is the establishment of a Yukon Historic Waterway, embracing the water route to Dawson City and designed to preserve the historical environment of its more significant features. [11]

The Canadians also announced plans for a historic preservation program in the Yukon, while the Americans recommended that Congress establish a Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. [12]

The Park Master Plan

Following the December 30 announcement, officials of both countries began to prepare more specific land management proposals. Several months later, Canada's National Historic Sites Service issued a document entitled Klondike International Historic Park: Provisional Development Plan. That plan, which reflected the concerns of both U.S. and Canadian authorities, called for the "protection of the unspoiled and remarkable historic and scenic attractions of both [the U.S. and Canadian] Trails by the acquisition of land from skyline to skyline on the Chilkoot Trail from Skagway to Bennett." At Bennett, it proposed that the NHSS stabilize, preserve and fence the Presbyterian church, and acquire two or three railway cars "to establish exhibits featuring the story of transportation to the Yukon." The plan also called for a directional and historic marking system from Skagway to Dawson, the restoration of the S.S. Klondike at Whitehorse, and a broad plan of improvements along the Yukon River and in the Dawson area. The plan recommended that a consulting company be chosen to write a provisional master plan study for the Chilkoot Trail. [13]

On the U.S. side, the NPS began to prepare a park master plan. (A master plan was necessary before any bill establishing a new park unit could be submitted to Congress.) Crucial to the success of the park proposal was the support of the State of Alaska, the City of Skagway, and the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad. In January 22, 1970, therefore, the NPS's Ted Swem began that effort. He met in Washington with Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Thomas Kelly, who was primarily concerned with the management of the Chilkoot Trail corridor. Swem told him that the NPS

would like basic responsibility for administration of the Chilkoot and White Pass Trails, Dyea, and a Historic District in Skagway, but that if the State didn't feel that it could give up the State selected lands involved right now, that we might be able to work out [a cooperative agreement]. I told him, however, that because of the international scope of the historic story, and the varied nature of the resources involved, I thought the Federal government was probably in a better position to handle this project than the State. He said he agreed and wouldn't mind working out some arrangement like this, providing that they could make up for the loss of these selected lands by being able to select other public lands that they desired.... I asked whether he was agreeable to pushing for revocation of the [1948] water withdrawal on the Taiya River and he said he would do anything possible to get rid of it; that he wanted no part of a water project in this location. [14]

By mid-February, Regional Director John Rutter had also been informed about the proposal, and on April 2 he flew to Juneau to ascertain a broad range of opinions from state officials. Rutter met with Tom Cantine of the Alaska State Power Commission, with the director of the state museum, and with two members of the Department of Economic Development (DED); he also had a second meeting with Tom Kelly of DNR. Rutter ran across few problems during those meetings; the DED personnel, in particular, were enthusiastic about the proposal. Both Cantine and Kelly, however, criticized the NPS's plans because they were unwilling to ignore the proposed Yukon-Taiya power project. Both were well aware of the Canadians' opposition and were likewise aware that little active planning had taken place in recent years. But Cantine was quick to note that "of all the State's [proposed] water power projects, the Yukon-Taiya Project offered the fewest problems from an engineering standpoint," and Kelly "wondered if a balance between water and historic projects could not be made." [15] Governor Keith Miller was skeptical that a historical trail and hydroelectric plant could co-exist in the same narrow valley. But Walter Hickel, who was Secretary of the Interior as well as Miller's predecessor, declared that "I do not think it is possible nor appropriate ... that one particular use is the highest and best for the area." "The Taiya River Valley," he noted, "might well permit both uses without any real diminishment in the value of either." [16]

NPS officials also travelled to Skagway. In March, they had preliminary discussions with Mayor Malcolm Moe and White Pass officials. Then, on May 15, 1970 they had a public meeting on the proposed park. The NPS officials in attendance, who included Bennett Gale and Rodger Pegues of the Pacific Northwest Regional Office, Bob Howe of Glacier Bay National Monument, and Ernest Borgman from the Alaska Group Office in Anchorage, were sensitive to local Chamber of Commerce concerns and promised that the proposed park "would not interfere with multiple use of [the local] area." [17] The city council, at the time, was split on the issue. Some on the council were in favor of the NPS's plans, both in town and in the Taiya Valley, but others were fearful that renovating Skagway's buildings would give the agency a foothold which might eventually tie up the Taiya Valley to further development. Some, attempting to compromise, wanted the city to request State Park status. But Ted Smith, head of the state's Division of Parks, replied that he would prefer to see the NPS take over the trail. [18]

It appeared that the only substantial difficulties which state and local officials had with the proposed park concerned the Yukon-Taiya project. In order to iron out those difficulties, Bennett Gale, the agency's Associate Regional Director in Seattle, flew to Juneau in mid-December 1970 and met with Gus Norwood, the head of the Alaska Power Administration. As a result of that meeting, the two decided that "with proper planning and management, the two proposals can be reasonably compatible." [19] Because the NPS had satisfied each of the state's major concerns, Governor William A. Egan, in a letter to Interior Secretary Rogers C. B. Morton, gave his enthusiastic support to the gold rush park idea. [20]

Crucial to the success of the NPS's efforts in the area would be the preparation of a report that would link the physical resources in the proposed park to the area's history, and assess that history in the context of nationwide historic themes. Edwin C. Bearss, a historian in the agency's Office of History and Historic Architecture, was assigned that task in mid-1969. That August, he travelled to the Skagway and Dyea areas and hiked over the Chilkoot and upper White Pass trails. Using a broad array of source material, Bearss compiled a historic resource study which included more than 300 pages of text and more than 80 maps and photographs. His study was released in November 1970. [21]

The preliminary working draft of the conceptual master plan was submitted to the Pacific Northwest Regional Director in January 1971. Two months later, he approved the document and submitted it to the Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings, and Monuments. When the Advisory Board met in April 1971, its chairman noted that

it is considered appropriate...to recommend not only a national historical park, but a further step to join with Canada for an even more imaginative proposal, a Klondike Gold Rush International Historical Park. An integrated effort by the two countries to awaken a historical resource that has long been slumbering should not be delayed.

On May 6, the regional office released the document to the public and issued a press release announcing the proposed park plan. [22]

The plan adopted in the spring of 1971 was, in many ways, similar to Alternative Three which had been promulgated in March 1969 and approved that November by Regional Director Rutter. It still called for the establishment of a narrow historic district and the NPS acquisition of just three buildings: the depot complex, the Mascot complex, and Boas Tailor and Furrier. The proposed park, however, was to encompass 22,000 acres in and around Skagway--far larger than the 900-odd acres in the 1969 study. It called for the in-fee purchase of a mile-wide corridor for the entire length of both the Chilkoot and White Pass trails; in addition, it called for the protection, through cooperative agreements with the State of Alaska and the Forest Service, of the Taiya and Skagway river valleys from one topographic crest to the other. [23]

The plan also provided the park's first clear statement of purpose. The Alternatives Study was an ad hoc document which was intended to prevent the imminent destruction of Skagway's historical architecture. By March 1971, that threat had certainly not abated, and indeed, the preservation of the railroad depot was still by no means certain. The 1971 plan, however, put the preservation of Skagway's buildings squarely in the context of American gold rush history. It noted that

Although several mining communities in the Rocky Mountain West and Great Basin area of mainland United States are recognized as national landmarks, no area within the Park Service System has been singled out to illustrate a gold rush as part of our national heritage. No town in America offers a finer array of historic resources than Skagway for interpreting the story of a historic gold rush. The Klondike Stampede has all the dramatic ingredients necessary to create a magnificent historical and recreational park which transcends international boundaries. [24]

NPS officials distributed a large number of copies of the preliminary master plan, hoping to get as much feedback as possible on it. [25]

In order to collect public comment on the plan, an NPS master planning team from San Francisco headed up to Skagway. They held a public meeting on May 26 and remained in the area for a week. The public meeting revealed that the basic proposal propounded in the March report was far too vague. The plan, for instance, called for many specific improvements--from boardwalk improvements to building restoration to the installation of new railroad tracks--but it was categorically unspecific as to who would pay for them. Local citizens demanded answers, and the planning team could not immediately supply them. The state, while broadly supportive of the park concept, was worried that the provision of broad scenic protection to both river valleys would stifle area residential and industrial development. [26]

Local citizens were more vehement in their opposition to land use controls. The May 1971 plan, and the public meeting which followed the plan, was the first time in which Skagway's citizens had been confronted with a park which included the Skagway and Taiya river valleys within its boundaries. Many feared the loss of the recreational activities which they had long enjoyed. Longtime resident Joseph E. Herpst was so frustrated at the NPS's plans that he circulated a petition that was quickly signed by 166 local residents--over half of Skagway's registered voters. The petition said, in part:

We, the undersigned citizens of Skagway, Alaska, do not wish to have Skagway or the surrounding area made into a State or Federal Park that would have any restriction on any firearms, snow machines, trail bikes or restrict hunting in any way.... We surely do not want to be part of a Park that would have certain hours or seasons which the park can be used. Hunting, fishing, shooting, using snow machines and trail bikes are recreation for a lot of people in Skagway. Why must we give up our recreation so outsiders can walk in a park 3 months out of a year? [27]

Although local citizens felt that the government was interfering too much in the area's affairs, certain agency personnel came away convinced that a greater governmental presence was needed in order to preserve the area's history. Douglas Cornell, part of the NPS team, felt that Reed Jarvis's development plan, as laid out in the March 1971 Master Plan, offered too little NPS involvement. Cornell recommended that the agency take one of three new paths as it related to Skagway buildings management. At a minimum, Cornell recommended that the NPS purchase 24 lots in the Historic District and obtain one historic building (the city library) as part of those purchases. A second, stronger alternative called for the agency to acquire approximately ten additional buildings in the Historic District for restoration; these buildings would then be leased or sold back to the private sector for business use. [28] It also urged the NPS to pave the streets, repair the boardwalks, and replace street lighting with period fixtures. A third, even stronger alternative called for the acquisition of eleven more buildings than had been called for in the second alternative.

Cornell suggested other alterations to the March 1971 plan. The Historic District, for example, had to go beyond the boundaries which had been suggested in the 1969 alternatives study. (These were the boundaries that had originally been delineated in the city's 1964 community plan.) Areas to be added to the Historic District included the eastern extension of Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh avenues. He also recommended a stronger historic zoning ordinance, the establishment of a historic district commission, and an improved zoning ordinance. At Dyea, he suggested that a campground as well as a ranger station should be constructed. [29] Rod Pegues, who was the region's assistant director, agreed with Cornell's assessment, and noted that "I think we should shoot for a major project--including Seattle as well.... The significance and the potential visitation exists, and we ought to go after it." [30]

Before planners could proceed with the preparation of a revised master plan, they spent another week in the Skagway area. Their August visit featured a conference with personnel from the Canadian Environmental Services, Ltd. (CES, a Vancouver-based consulting company, had been selected to prepare a provisional master plan for the Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail.) The NPS team also held a public meeting in Skagway and took part in a second internationally-sponsored Chilkoot Trail hike. More than 20 took part in the hike. The NPS planning team included Douglas Cornell, Bob Howe, Gerald Patten, and Rod Pegues, while the Canadian consulting team members included Rainer Fassler, Erik Karlsen, and Jack Shadbolt. Pierre Berton, the well-known author of Klondike, a popular gold rush history, was also on the team. Other Canadian participants included Bruce Harvey, V. P. "Sandy" Rolfson, and Peter Matrosovs, all from the National and Historic Parks Branch; Gary McLaughlin, from the Yukon Department of Corrections; Lee Munn, a tourism official from Ottawa, and T. R. Broadland, from British Columbia's Historic Parks and Sites Division. Other American officials included John Hall, U.S. Forest Service; Jack Tripp, Alaska Travel Division; and Michael Leach, Alaska Division of Lands. [31]

After returning from the field, the combined planning teams met in Skagway and Whitehorse. The NPS planners began to prepare a master plan which was modelled, to a large extent, on the ideas which Douglas Cornell had outlined in June. The agency still envisioned a 22,000-acre park composed of lands along the Chilkoot and White Pass trails as well as parcels in Skagway and Dyea. But major changes took place in Skagway and Dyea. In Dyea, 12 residences and recreational cabins were to be purchased, while in Skagway, park officials planned to purchase 25 commercial buildings as well as the library. Planners also proposed a unit in Seattle and the purchase of a single commercial building in the Pioneer Square area. Appraisers estimated that the cost of the park proposal would be approximately $2.4 million: $1.3 million for land purchases, $0.5 million for building improvements, and $0.6 million for administrative and other costs. [32]

The most dramatic changes in the new plan were felt in Skagway. The NPS planned to purchase, restore, and interpret fourteen buildings in the historic district. (These buildings included the Moore House and adjacent cabin, the three-building Pullen House Complex, the two-building depot complex, Boas Tailor, and the three-building Mascot Saloon complex.) The NPS also proposed to purchase and restore eleven other downtown buildings but to allow them to be used for private commercial purposes. (The eleven included the Idaho Saloon, the Lucci Grocery, the Principal Barber Shop, Verbauwhede's Confectionery, and the four-building Pack Train Saloon complex.) The Red Onion saloon was to be used as a living interpretive exhibit, jointly used by the NPS and a concessioner. The plan also called for three private commercial buildings and another three interpretive structures to be moved to the historic core from off-Broadway locations. [33]

By December 1971, a second draft of the master plan was reported to be nearly complete, and NPS planners were hopeful that it would be ready for public distribution in early 1972. [34] State officials, however, balked when they saw what had transpired since the issuance of the preliminary draft. They feared that the park would block any future efforts to construct and operate the Yukon-Taiya power project; the new park might also prevent the establishment of new port facilities near the mouth of the Taiya River. To address these concerns, the state proposed the preparation of an area land use plan. The NPS had no comment on the port proposal, but agreed with the state's objections regarding the Yukon-Taiya project and agreed to participate in the creation of the land use plan. Because of the conflict, the issuance of the revised draft was delayed until late June. [35]

Map 3. Alaska park units and surrounding features. Source: NPS, Draft General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, June/July 1996, 1.4. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

After receiving comments from interested parties, a five-man international team (Don Campbell, Bob Howe, and Laurin Huffman of the NPS, with Bruce Harvey and Roman Fodchuk of Canada's National and Historic Parks Branch) once again travelled to the Skagway area and made a trip over Chilkoot Pass. They met at Lindeman Lake and discussed trail standards, artifact security, trail markers, signing, and similar measures. [36]

During the preparation period of the second master plan draft, NPS officials learned that Natives had applied for three land claims along the Chilkoot Trail. Andrew C. Mahle, a longtime Skagway resident, applied for a 160-acre allotment in the Sawmill-Finnegan's Point area in April 1971. His brothers, Fred and Harlan, had each applied for 80-acre allotments in the same area that October. The brothers claimed occupancy dating back to 1950, 1952, and 1961, respectively. Later that year, BLM surveyors visited the three claim sites and established corner posts. No one knew, at this point, whether the Mahles' claim would prove to be valid, but NPS officials recognized that they and the state of Alaska were not the only possible Taiya Valley landowners. [37]

Map 4. Alaska park units, showing surrounding land ownership patterns, September 1972. Two years later, the State of Alaska assumed effective ownership of most of the Chilkoot Trail Unit, the western portion of the White Pass Unit, and much of the surrounding territory. Source: NPS, Final Environmental Statement, Proposed Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Alaska-Washington, 1974, 12. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

By December 1972, the park proposal--this time, for a park not to exceed 12,000 acres--was declared to be complete. [38] Just before the plan was ready to be printed, however, Director Rutter had a change of heart and decided that the planned purchase of 26 of Skagway's historic structures was simply too great of a resource commitment. He reduced the building restoration program back to 16 buildings. Nine buildings were to be retained by the NPS for interpretive purposes: they included the two-building depot complex, Boas Tailor and Furrier, the three-building Mascot Complex, the Moore Cabin, the Boss Bakery, and the Tanner Building. The agency would purchase seven other buildings, then lease them to private commercial uses; these seven included Verbauwhede's Confectionery and its associated cribs, the four-building Pack Train complex, the Principal Barber, and the Idaho Saloon. [39]

The need to create new maps in response to Rutter's decision, and the vagaries of the printing process, delayed the publication of the final master plan until September 1973. Because of approval delays by the Interior Department in Washington, widespread distribution did not take place until February 1974. Chief among those who awaited its publication were Congressional leaders. Both senators and representatives had introduced a Klondike park bill in April 1973, but hearings on the bill could not take place until the master plan was completed. [40]

The master plan called for the creation of a park that, in many respects, resembles that seen today. The proposed park was to be not larger than 14,300 acres in extent and was to consist of four separate units: a Seattle interpretive unit, the Skagway historic district, a Chilkoot Trail unit, and a White Pass unit. In Skagway, the plan called for the depot buildings to be used as a visitor contact station; in addition, the historic district would be extended all the way to the railroad right-of-way between Fifth and Seventh avenues. Plans for Dyea called for the construction of a staffed interpretive center and trailhead contact station. For the Chilkoot Trail, the plan called for the scenic protection of the Taiya River valley, and the protection of historic trailside ruins. (It made no mention of the three Mahle claims.) For the White Pass unit, planners called for the scenic protection of the Skagway River valley and the protection of the ruins at White Pass City. [41]

Many ideas in the master plan, however, have not been fulfilled or were later seen as unrealistic. The plan, for example, proposed the installation of Engine #52 and a 70-class locomotive on Broadway; the creation of three off-Broadway parking lots; and an outdoor display area at Fifth Avenue and Broadway devoted to describing Skagway's function as an outfitting center. Planners also proposed that some of the NPS buildings along Broadway "would be restocked with vintage items and contain various historic exhibits," and that "NPS personnel would be dressed in Klondike period attire to recreate the sense of this gold rush town." Plans for Dyea called for the brushing of the historic street alignment and the establishment of two walk-in campgrounds. For the Chilkoot Trail, the plan called for the trail to be rerouted "to its true historic location, where feasible." For the White Pass unit, planners proposed the restoration of the upper portion of the White Pass Trail, a portion of the Brackett Wagon Road, and the construction of a connecting trail from the proposed Skagway-Carcross road to the park unit. [42]

A key difference between the preliminary (March 1971) working draft and the final (May 1973) master plan was the addition of a Seattle unit. Seattle was first suggested in May 1971, when Regional Director John Rutter asked Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman to comment on the plan. Rutter noted at the time that "we believe this proposal ties in quite closely with some of the concepts you are considering in your Pioneer Square and Seattle Waterfront Park Programs." (The Pioneer Square-Skid Road Historical District had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places less than a year before, on June 22, 1970.) Two weeks later, NPS officials sent copies of the plan to the Washington state Congressional delegation. Regional officials, who resided in the Seattle area, were well aware that the Klondike had played an influential role in Seattle's history. The role was particularly evident in the early 1970s, as the city prepared its two-year "Klondike Festival" to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the gold rush. By June 1971, as noted above, NPS official Rod Pegues was tilting in favor of a Seattle unit, and by September, the NPS had gone on record in support of it. The following January, Mayor Uhlman became an enthusiastic supporter as well. [43]

Planners originally conceived that the Seattle unit would consist of the Pioneer Building, a turn-of-the-century, multi-story structure on the east side of Pioneer Square. In 1971, the Pioneer Building was in imminent threat of being razed, so the NPS proposed that the agency purchase and restore it. But during the summer of 1972, Mel Kaufman and Tim Morgan purchased a 50 percent share in the Pioneer Building, and with co-owner Jack Butnick announced restoration plans. [44] For the next two months, NPS planners continued to assume that they would purchase the building, then lease out those areas not needed by the agency. An NPS appraisal, however, revealed that an adaptive restoration of the Pioneer Building would cost $7.4 million. Such a cost was far more than Congress was ever likely to authorize for such a project. By April 1973, therefore, planners reluctantly decided to lease space within the building rather than purchase it. [45]

Eagle, Alaska, and other sites were briefly considered, but later rejected, as units of the proposed international park. Governor Egan first broached the idea of Eagle's inclusion in February 1971. (The Eagle Historic District, which included the non-native townsite and Fort Egbert, had been added to the National Register of Historic Places just one year earlier.) Seven months later, at the initial meeting of the Klondike Gold Rush International Advisory Committee (KGRIAC), members from the two countries agreed that "the Park concept should be confined to Seattle-Victoria (and/or Vancouver), Skagway/Dyea, Chilkoot-White Pass-Bennett, Whitehorse-Yukon Historic Waterway, [and] Dawson-Bonanza Creek-Eagle." [46] By February 1972, a briefing statement elaborated on the concept, noting that

The proposed park will have units in Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, Skagway, and Dawson City. It may also include Eagle.... The development concept for Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver consists of restoration of one or two buildings in each place for use as a visitor center and museum.

Soon afterwards, the NPS toyed with the idea of including both the Eagle historic district and Circle in the proposed park. But the Bureau of Land Management made a recreational withdrawal of the Eagle area in mid-1972, and the NPS, which was developing plans for a major park unit in the nearby Yukon-Charley Rivers area, did not protest the move. The NPS's draft master plan, issued in June 1972, contained no references to either the Eagle or Circle areas, nor did any other planning documents issued after that date. [47]

The International Advisory Committee

After the 1969 Labor Day hike, parks officials from both countries had made it clear that they wanted to coordinate their efforts over the long term. Ted Swem and Peter Bennett, meeting in Whitehorse on September 4, recommended that the two countries should

set up an International Advisory Committee for consultation in connection with the planning of the program, with representation from appropriate State, Provincial and Territorial Governments as well as the Federal Government Departments concerned, but with the development and operation of the program to be entirely in the hands of the respective National and Historic Park Services....

No such committee was mentioned at the time of the joint accord agreed upon by Hickel and Chrétien that December. Just a week afterwards, however, NPS personnel presented Hickel with the idea of a 13-member Klondike Gold Rush International Advisory Committee. On February 9, he passed that suggestion on to Chrétien, who was equally enthusiastic about it. [48]

The idea of an international committee to coordinate national park planning was not new. The Canada-United States Joint Committee on National Parks had first met in Ottawa in 1967. It had been established informally, by an exchange of letters between the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Secretary of the Interior, rather than through diplomatic channels. Since then, it had met annually; at Everglades National Park in 1968, and in Jasper National Park in 1969. [49]

Once the two agency heads had agreed to the committee's establishment, more than a year elapsed before official letters were exchanged and the necessary committee members could be appointed. [50] The first meeting took place in September 1971 in Whitehorse. The committee, as finally constituted, consisted of five Americans and eight Canadians. The U.S. members consisted of the Assistant Secretary of the Interior, the Director of the State Division of Lands, the Mayor of Skagway, and two outsiders; Canadian members included the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Deputy Provincial Secretary of British Columbia, the Executive Assistant to the Yukon Commissioner, the mayors of Whitehorse and Dawson City, and three outsiders.

The Klondike Gold Rush International Advisory Committee (KGRIAC) remained an active organization for most of the remainder of the decade. During that period they played a crucial coordinating function. The full committee met twice annually during 1972 and 1973; in addition, several subcommittees met in order to investigate specific problem areas. The full committee met once per year in 1974 through 1976. But the authorization of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, on the U.S. side of the border, removed much of the committee's reason to exist. It met just once more, in 1978, then faded away. [51]

Canadian Park Developments, 1971-1973

In 1970, as noted above, the National and Historic Parks Branch decided that a consulting company should be employed to formulate a provisional master plan study of the Chilkoot Trail. That consultant, Canadian Environmental Services, Ltd. of Vancouver, was selected in April 1971. CES quickly assembled a study team which included, in addition to its in-house staffers, three outside experts: author Pierre Berton, Jack Shadbolt, a well-known painter; and Abraham Rogatnick, a professor of architectural history. The CES team travelled to Skagway in August and, as noted above, hiked the Chilkoot in conjunction with NPS, state, territorial, and provincial officials. Working in conjunction with an international advisory team, the consultant issued a February 1972 report which proposed that the Chilkoot portion of the Klondike Gold Rush International Park include a hotel at Bennett, along with campsites and cooking shelters at Happy Camp, "Bridge Camp" (Deep Lake), Lindeman, and Bennett. It recommended that a spur road be constructed from the proposed Skagway-Carcross Road into Bennett, and that sites in the Gastown area of Vancouver and the Bastion Square area of Victoria be chosen similar to what the NPS was doing in Seattle's Pioneer Square. The National and Historic Parks Branch, upon receiving the report, noted that it "was not in full agreement with many of the statements and the way they are presented." In particular, the agency felt that "apart from emergency shelters we should not provide permanent type accommodation between Sheep Camp and Lindeman Lake." [52]

Meanwhile, planners had to contend with more immediate concerns. In January 1972, a National and Historic Parks Branch official, V. P. "Sandy" Rolfson, recommended the implementation of a protection and interpretation program on the Chilkoot. Such a program was needed to provide public safety and supervision, to catalogue and photograph artifacts, and to mark and maintain the trail. In order to develop the program, Rolfson urged the construction of a headquarters camp at Bennett and an overnight camp in the vicinity of Chilkoot Summit or Crater Lake. Three patrolmen would be needed to guarantee public safety, while additional personnel would be needed to catalog and store trailside artifacts. The Western Regional Director, Ron P. Malis, recognized that artifacts along the trail were quickly being lost and consented to the cataloguing proposal. [53]

To carry out the cataloguing plan, a special summer employment program under the supervision of Bruce Harvey brought four students--Bill Massé, Ken Berube, Alex Hermann Kerr, and Andrew Holmes--out to the trail in July and August 1972. The four lived at Lindeman Lake in three 10' x 14' plywood-and-canvas tents which were constructed for their use by members of the nearby Corrections crew. The quartet took 240 photographs of artifacts and building remains, each keyed to catalogue cards and located on a topographic map. Upon the advice of a regional office curator, some of the most valuable artifacts were brought back to Whitehorse and placed in storage in the National and Historic Parks Branch warehouse. [54]

Central to the establishment of any park unit on the Canadian side was the transfer of potential park land from British Columbia to the Federal government. To effect that transfer, Peter Bennett of the National and Historic Parks Branch contacted L. J. Wallace, British Columbia's Deputy Provincial Secretary, in the spring of 1972. For the next several months, provincial officials weighed the value of the proposed park over possible resource utilization in the area. Finally, in mid-June 1973, Jean Chrétien, the Minster of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, reached an agreement in principle with Jack Radford, British Columbia's Minister of Recreation and Conservation. Part of that agreement provided for the eventual transfer of some 80 square miles from the province to the federal government and allowed the inclusion of that parcel in the Chilkoot Trail Unit of the so-called Klondike Goldrush International Historic Park. The parcel in question included the Chilkoot Trail corridor, along with the adjacent drainage to the west. [55] All signs seemed to point to the creation of a large historic park on the Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail.

By the time Chrétien and Radford had signed their historic agreement, a second year of Chilkoot Trail field work had begun. Due to the efforts of Bruce Harvey, a second group of students continued the previous year's work. Alex Hermann Kerr, who had been part of the 1972 crew, returned to the trail; he was joined by Bruce Murphy, Collyne Bunn, and Patricia Smith. A corrections crew was also deployed that summer for trail maintenance purposes. [56]

The Yukon-Taiya Commission Concludes Its Work

As noted in Chapter 3, the Yukon-Taiya Commission had been established by the 1967 Alaska Legislature in order to provide a forum for the investigation into the area's hydroelectric resources. The commission, however, was not funded until 1968, and its first meeting was held that fall. Elmer Titus, from Ketchikan Public Utilities, was appointed as chairman. The remaining committee members included Glenn Waterman, an Anaconda Ltd. executive from Britannia Beach, B.C.; Don Mellish, the president of the First National Bank in Anchorage; Elton E. Engstrom, the Juneau-based state senator who had organized the effort to create the commission; and Malcolm Moe, the former mayor of Skagway.

Just a few days before the commission was to meet, the primary focus of their efforts became clear. In Ottawa, personnel from the U.S. Embassy met with officials from the Canadian Department of External Affairs (i.e., Canada's Department of State) and exchanged International Notes for a cooperative power market potential study. U.S. efforts would be organized by the Juneau-based Alaska Power Administration, part of the Interior Department, while Canadian efforts would be organized by the Department of Energy, Mines, and Resources. Together, the two agencies formed the ad hoc Canadian Upper Yukon River study group. [57]

The commission's first meeting took place in Juneau on December 20, 1968. Recognizing that project development would depend first and foremost on the development of new power sources, commission members asked several Federal agencies involved with mineral exploration to ascertain the area's mineral development potential. [58]

When the commissioners met again three months later, they obtained updated information on Alaska and Yukon minerals potential. They were informed, however, that there was little present demand for new power. One expert noted that in order to justify the 400,000 kilowatts which would be generated by such a project, 20 to 50 new mines--each within economic transmission distance of the project--would have to be developed. Even under an optimistic development scenario, such demand was not expected until 1985. The commission responded to the news by demanding an expedited minerals exploration program. [59]

The commission met in Anchorage in December 1969, and again in Juneau in April 1970. By this time, the U.S. and Canadian authorities had announced their intention to create a park which included the Chilkoot Trail. Commission members knew that such a park could ruin any hydroelectric development plans, so they passed a resolution which "strongly recommends that the power project be designated the prime use of the area and that the historical trail be developed in concert with this primary use." [60] Those concerns were relayed to state and federal authorities. As noted above, most Alaska officials agreed with the commission, while Federal officials (most notably Interior Secretary Hickel) felt that the two uses were not necessarily incompatible. Because of the state's concerns, both the master plan and proposed legislation contained a provision which insured that the park's establishment could in no way jeopardize future hydroelectric development in the Taiya Valley. [61]

At their April 1970 meeting, commission members received a progress report on the work of the Canadian Upper Yukon River study group. They recognized, however, that they could do little until the group had completed a preliminary draft of its power market potential study. [62] The report, scheduled to be completed by the end of 1970, had still not been completed by September 1971, so the commission which convened in Skagway that month visited the proposed development site and was updated on the study's progress, the park proposal, and other relevant matters. [63]

By October 1971, it had become apparent that little was to be done regarding the joint study in the foreseeable future. Data and preliminary views relating to power potential had been exchanged between the two countries. The data thus far gathered did not support further water development, and no further studies were planned. [64] Yukon Commissioner James Smith, perhaps reflecting the prevailing mood in Canada, was quoted as saying, "As far as the Taiya power project is concerned, it was just a glimmer in somebody's eye which could be written off and forgotten." [65]

By the following January, Alaskans had arrived at the same glum conclusion. Rush Hoag, an economic development consultant, published The Promise of Power, a Commission-sponsored study of southeastern Alaska's power potential. (Hoag had completed a similar study for the state Department of Economic Development three years earlier.) Hoag concluded that because power costs in Southeast were not significantly lower than those in major industrial centers, the development of large power sources would depend upon processing domestic raw materials rather than imports. The region did not have readily-accessible raw materials that demanded new power sources; there was little immediate need, therefore, for the Yukon-Taiya project. Hoag recommended that two other power projects be constructed in southeastern Alaska before serious consideration be given to Yukon-Taiya. [66]

The Fate of the Pullen Collection

As noted in Chapter 2, owner Mary Kopanski moved the Pullen Collection out of Skagway shortly after the Pullen House closed in 1959. The collection was stored in a new, fireproof building in Lynnwood, Washington (a suburb of Seattle) where it remained until shortly after the completion of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. At that time, much of the collection was displayed in a building in Seattle Center (the site of the fair), where it remained for another ten years. Many hoped that the stay in Seattle would be only temporary and that the collection would soon return to Skagway. [67]

In 1972, however, a new crisis loomed. Seattle Center's management announced plans to remodel its facilities, and informed Mrs. Kopanski that the collection would need to be moved. Citing financial difficulties, she responded by declaring her intention to sell the collection. [68] She expressed the hope that the entire collection could be sold to a museum or other facility that would be able to properly curate and display her grandmother's memorabilia. Many Alaskans, particularly those who had seen the collection, were similarly hopeful that the collection could remain together, preferably in Alaska. They recognized that if no institutional purchaser could be found, the collection would have to be sold off piecemeal, something that was to be avoided if at all possible.

Speculation on potential purchasers of the collection centered on either the federal or state government. The NPS, which had shown an interest in the collection in the initial draft of the master plan, reiterated the need to preserve the collection. They could do nothing, however, until Congress authorized the establishment of the park--something that was not expected for several years.

Action then moved to the Alaska legislature. On January 24, 1973, the Alaska House and Senate introduced bills which would have authorized $200,000 to purchase the Pullen Collection and display it in the Alaska State Museum. [69] House Bill 125 was passed out of the State Affairs Committee on February 1 on a 2-1 vote; on February 27, it passed the House Finance Committee, 6-2. Three days later, it passed the House on a 31-9 vote. [70]

On March 6, the bill was sent on to the state senate, where it received a rocky reception. On April 3, HB 125 lost a Senate Finance Committee vote, 3 to 2. The two Democrats, one of whom was Bill Ray of Juneau, voted in favor of the bill. All three Republicans, however, voted against it, one of them noting that "We cannot afford this luxury." Despite the setback in the Finance Committee, the bill was forwarded to the full Senate for its consideration. On April 7, the last day before the Senate was to adjourn, the Senate voted 11 to 9 against returning the bill to the Finance Committee; shortly afterward, the Senate voted 12 to 8 in favor of HB 125. Because Governor William Egan, a Democrat, had announced his intention to sign the bill, its passage by the Senate appeared to be the last hurdle needed in order to preserve the collection and keep it intact. [71]

After the Senate completed its vote, however, Senator Clifford Groh (R-Anchorage), the Finance Committee chair, gave notice of reconsideration of his vote. A notice of reconsideration is a procedural motion that holds the bill over until the next legislative day. Groh, who had previously voted against HB 125 when it had been in the Finance Committee, effectively killed the bill for the 1973 legislative session by utilizing this parliamentary maneuver on the last day before adjournment. [72]

Faced with stonewalling by the state and federal governments, and with few other financial reserves, Kopanski decided to sell the collection on the auction block. From July 1 through July 5, 1973, James Greenfield of Seattle's Greenfield Gallery sold some 5,000 items, organized into 2,238 lots. Museum curators from six states along with scores of independent collectors attended the auction. The sale of the collection, held at Greenfield's auction house, brought Kopanski significantly more than the Alaska legislature was willing to offer. Sources variously estimate that she grossed anywhere from $269,000 to $350,000. [73]

The Skagway-Carcross Road

As noted in Chapter 2, Skagway citizens had been lobbying for a road across White Pass since the century's opening decade. The city council, the chamber of commerce, the media, and individual citizens had repeatedly taken the matter up with state, federal, and Canadian officials. Local residents, over the years, had often been given verbal support for their efforts, but during the Territorial period funding levels were never sufficient to provide more than token construction work.

Skagway residents, and economic development interests throughout Alaska, hoped that statehood would bring sufficient funding for a road to Carcross. Initial signs, in fact, were optimistic. In the fall of 1960, Alaska's Department of Public Works was allotted $1 million to extend the highway another mile toward White Pass, and in the summer of 1961 the road was extended from Black Lake to Porcupine Creek. [74] In the meantime, Alaskans regularly discussed the road, and similar topics, with their counterparts in British Columbia and the Yukon. [75] In March 1961, Alaskans were dismayed to hear that the huge Battelle Memorial Institute report on north-country transportation routes, Transport Requirements for the Growth of Northwest North America, did not recommend that the road be built. But they knew that the Alaska Marine Highway System would soon be operating and felt confident that pressure to construct a highway would follow soon afterwards. [76]

During the 1960s, as in previous decades, local residents used every opportunity at their disposal to push for a road. [77] Area leaders were sensitive to those concerns, and in September 1964 the Premier of British Columbia, the Yukon Commissioner, and the Governor of Alaska jointly supported the idea of a Skagway-Carcross road. [78] No action followed their resolution, however. The following year, the need to re-energize the effort induced volunteer parties at both ends of the highway to extend the road, if only to a symbolic degree.

In the federal election of 1965, Canada's Progressive Conservative party announced that they would build their share of the road immediately if successful at the polls. The Liberals, however, were successful. Despite that setback, the Canadians made a preliminary survey of the road the following year. That fall, the Alaska Highway Department upgraded the 2-1/2 miles of existing roadway. [79]

The NPS also became interested at this time. Roger Allin, a Washington-based planner who had extensive experience in Alaska, wrote a document which called for the designation of five scenic roads in Alaska, the road between Skagway and Carcross being one. Allin, who was convinced that the highway would be built in the "early future," noted that "Scenic road concepts and standards to guarantee the appropriate development of this beautiful and historic valley should be important elements in such construction." [80]

In 1967, a series of events rekindled local interest in the road. In March, the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development asked Travacon, a Calgary consulting firm, to study the Yukon transportation system. As part of that study, the consultants spoke about the Skagway-Carcross road to various Alaska commissioners; in addition, Canadian officials visited the proposed right-of-way that spring and did some preliminary survey work. Then, in September, Senator Ernest Gruening visited Skagway. Gruening knew that Congress was set to give Alaska a substantial payment for highway improvement, so he suggested that a petition be gathered to show local support. Skagway resident Ed Feight obliged him, and before long a 300-signature petition had been sent to Governor Hickel. During his visit, Gruening received the White Pass company's approval for the proposed road. (Many local residents had worried that the railroad would fight against the proposed highway.) State legislators did what they could to push the road as well. On February 23, 1968, senators Elton Engstrom and John Butrovich introduced a resolution (SJR 44) which advocated the highway's construction, both on the U.S. and Canadian side of the border. The resolution, however, did not get beyond the committee stage. [81]

The Canadian study, which was completed in 1968, concluded that a Skagway-Carcross road "would offer some advantages, but these would not be sufficient to offset its high costs." Although they were tepid to the idea of a road to Skagway, officials from the Canadian Department of Public Works agreed to meet on the matter with their counterparts in the Alaska State Highway Department. The meeting took place in Skagway in the summer of 1969. At that meeting, officials agreed to again study the feasibility of the proposed road. That survey was completed in June 1970. [82]

Meanwhile, both the Americans and the Canadians were gradually improving their roadway. In 1969 state maintenance crews upgraded the five existing miles of roadway near Skagway; in 1970, a new bridge was constructed at Carcross; and in 1971, in conjunction with activity at the Venus Mine, construction crews extended the Klondike Highway 2.5 miles to the Yukon-British Columbia border. [83] The summer of 1971 also witnessed the continuation of aerial surveys over the proposed right-of-way. The British Columbia government, however, refused to support the road because they saw no benefit in it for themselves. [84]

Planning finally turned into decision making in 1972. In February, Commissioner James Smith of the Yukon announced that the federal government had agreed to build and maintain the 33.6 miles of road needed to cross British Columbia. That same month, Alaskan officials also agreed to construct the 9.4 miles of road that would be needed to complete the highway, and proceeded to prepare a draft environmental impact statement for the project. (The DEIS was completed later that year.) The only remaining hurdle to progress was British Columbia's grant of a right-of-way to the federal government. [85] In the fall of 1972, B.C. Premier David Barrett met with Governor Egan and assured him that provincial officials "would do their share and would proceed to work out details with Ottawa." By December, the B.C. government finally agreed to grant the road right-of-way; Canadian federal officials, as a result, got ready to make firm commitments for funding their portion of the highway. [86]

In March 1973, in anticipation that road construction was in the offing, state highway officials held a hearing in Skagway on the proposed right-of-way; as part of that hearing, they described why the so-called West White Pass route was favored over routes which crossed Chilkoot Pass or Warm Pass. Soon afterwards, city, state, and federal officials met in Skagway to ensure that the proposed construction would minimally impact the Skagway and White Pass Historic District. [87] The road enjoyed broad support. The only dissent came from conservationists, who worried that the construction of a road would jeopardize the historical values found along the White Pass Trail corridor. [88]

Finally, on June 13, 1973, road construction was assured when Northern Affairs Minister Jean Chrétien met with Jack Radford, British Columbia's Minister of Recreation and Conservation. In the same agreement which expressed the province's willingness to transfer its lands for park purposes to the federal government, Canada announced its intention to cooperate with the United States in the construction of the Skagway-Carcross road. Soon afterwards, Governor Egan praised the Canadian officials' pact and detailed the state's plans regarding the road. Recognizing the need to plan for a historical park in the Skagway business district, officials from the city, state, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation met in Skagway and agreed to reroute the state highway from Second Avenue to First Avenue, to replace the existing bridge across the Skagway River, and to construct 9.4 miles of new road to the Canadian border. Leaders from both countries hoped that initial construction would take place later that summer and that the road would be completed by 1976. [89]

The announcement of the highway's construction gave Skagway residents the outlet to Canada that they had been anticipating for over 60 years. The selection of the West White Pass route, moreover, reduced the pressures which had intermittently arisen over the years for construction of alternate routes. Interest in a highway over Chilkoot Pass, for example, had first surfaced in 1950, shortly after the road to Dyea was completed, and in 1961 a state official noted that a proposed route for the Skagway-Carcross road ascended the Taiya River valley. [90] The idea re-emerged in 1971, when an assistant to Governor Egan openly worried that the NPS would prevent the construction of a Chilkoot Pass highway. The following year, the Alaska Highways Commission recommended such a highway to Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), but by the fall of 1972, NPS planners had been assured that the state had no plans to build a road over Chilkoot Pass. [91] Another road that was proposed during the early 1970s would have gone from the Log Cabin area to Bennett. The province of British Columbia, which hoped to develop the area, was behind the idea. The Klondike Gold Rush International Advisory Committee, however, was firmly against a road to Bennett; perhaps for that reason, plans for its construction were shelved. [92]

The NPS had no qualms with the construction of the Skagway-Carcross highway. At no point did the agency oppose it. It recognized that the road would not only stimulate tourism to the Skagway historical district, but it would also provide an access point to the park's White Pass unit. The Park Service even offered the state the services of a landscape architect in order to minimize the adverse impacts of construction. [93] The state, however, had difficulty accepting the NPS boundaries proposed in the June 1972 revised draft master plan, because it showed the proposed highway passing through the White Pass Unit. Instead, it argued that the NPS recognize the existence of a designated highway corridor. [94] The NPS, responding in the master plan, reiterated its support for the road but did not provide for a designated corridor. The agency specifically intended that the road would become an access road to the proposed park; in fact, the boundaries of the White Pass Unit were configured to give the NPS full management control over a trail which would connect the road to the White Pass City area, the Brackett Wagon Road, and the White Pass Trail. [95] For awhile in early 1973, the conflict between the state and the NPS resulted in a proposed park boundary that parallelled the road's right-of-way. Later, however, the boundary was extended west to the next section line, where it remains today. [96]

Although some authorities were confident that the road could be constructed in two or three years, more than five years would elapse before the project was completed. On the Alaska side, the surveyors finished their work in 1973 and bids opened for road construction in July 1974. [97] By October, Central Construction Company of Seattle was awarded a $10.9 million contract. [98] Work began immediately. By the end of 1975, a pioneer road had been roughed out as far as Captain William Moore Creek, and by August 1976 the bridge across the creek had been completed. [99] By year's end the road had been pushed a mile beyond the bridge, and by September 1977 workers were able to report that the completed highway was "within sight of the border." By season's end, the highway had been blasted as far as the summit. [100]

Canadian crews had to construct far more roadway than the Americans, so two different construction contracts were let. By October 1973 the first contract had been let to Ben Ginter Construction, Ltd. of Prince George, B.C., for 16 miles of roadway between the Yukon-B.C. border and the south end of Tutshi Lake. That contract should have been finished by the end of the 1974 season, but project work was delayed for a full year. Construction work was stalled for so long that the Alaska legislature passed a resolution calling for a "timely completion" of the highway; a more strongly-worded resolution, calling for the two countries to complete the road at the same time, died in a House committee. [101] The second contract, for the remaining 20 miles of the highway, was let in the spring of 1976 to General Enterprises, Ltd. of Whitehorse. [102] By September 1977, General had completed a tote road to within seven miles of the border. They finally reached the border on July 28, 1978, and by September 1, construction workers were able to drive over White Pass summit. [103] A few hardy Skagway residents were able to drive to Whitehorse that year. Most, however, waited until 1979 to use the new road. [104] The highway was dedicated on May 23, 1981 at the Liarsville campground, near Skagway. [105]

During the early stages of the road planning effort, the NPS demanded that a turnout--intended as a viewing area and trail head--be placed within the mile-long stretch of road included within the proposed park boundaries. [106] During the summer of 1975, the NPS was called on to select a specific location for the turnout. A location was suggested which would provide a view of White Pass City; a proposed signpost would describe the history of the White Pass area. [107] The NPS intended, at this time, to have only one interpretive location along the Skagway-Carcross road. By the time construction took place, however, authorities decided that a second pull-out (located between Black Lake and the Porcupine Creek crossing) was necessary as well.

Congress Introduces a Park Bill

Alaska's Congressional delegation introduced the first bills to establish Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in April 1973. By that time, the NPS had been working for more than two years on the language to be contained in such a bill. Work had begun in January 1971 when the Western Service Center had completed the preliminary master plan. The preparation of a planning directive and legislative support data allowed officials to begin compiling a draft legislative bill in April 1971. Senator Stevens and NPS officials cooperated in preparing the text for the bill, and in January 1972, a preliminary draft for a 22,000-acre park was shown to Governor Egan. [108] By March, the agency had shown a new draft of the bill (revised because of state objections) to the remainder of the Alaska Congressional delegation, and Stevens informed the agency that he planned to introduce a park bill that summer. [109] In August, however, Stevens notified regional officials that "it would probably be too late to hold hearings on it this Congress," and action was delayed until 1973. [110] For the next nine months, the language of the proposed bill changed several times in order to conform with ongoing changes in the park's master plan.

By April 2, 1973, the draft bills were ready to be submitted. Stevens planned to introduce a bill on April 17, and fellow senator Henry Jackson (D-WA) had already agreed to co-sponsor it. [111] On the 17th, Stevens introduced S. 1622; it was co-sponsored by senators Jackson, Mike Gravel (D-AK), and Warren Magnuson (D-WA) The same day, Representative Don Young (R-AK) introduced an identical bill (H.R. 7121) in the House of Representatives; it was co-sponsored by Brock Adams (D-WA) and Joel Pritchard (R-WA). Adams and Pritchard had special reasons for joining as early co-sponsors; Adams's district covered part of the Pioneer Square historical district, including the Pioneer Building, while Pritchard's district covered the remainder of the Pioneer Square area. [112]

Once the bills were submitted, they were filed in the Senate and House Interior and Insular Affairs committees. There they waited for committee action. Meanwhile, the regional office prepared legislative support data packages for the proposed park. [113]

The National Park Service, which had worked with Congress in the preparation of the two bills, agreed with most of the language contained within them. On December 16, 1973, however, it recommended four amendments to S. 1622, and a month later, it recommended two more. Of the six, only two were substantive. First, the NPS urged that the park's maximum size be increased from 12,000 acres to 13,300 acres, in order to coincide with the areas the NPS had identified as being required for the park. The second amendment dealt with the Yukon-Taiya project. The original bill, as crafted by Congress, contained a subsection which specifically authorized the construction of the Yukon-Taiya power project and the use of lands and waters within the park for the project. The NPS, in response to that subsection, had no quarrel with the intent of that language. But an Interior Department lawyer recommended that reference to the project be deleted, since Congress--regardless of the bill's contents--was capable of authorizing the project should it wish to do so. [114]

In February 1974, the park master plan was released. That same month several Alaska House members, including local representatives Mike Miller and Mildred Banfield, introduced House Joint Resolution 74, which advocated the passage of a Klondike park bill. Within a month the resolution had passed both chambers with unanimous votes, and on March 11 Governor Egan signed the measure. In mid-May, the Juneau Chamber of Commerce approved a similar resolution, and on June 17, the Seattle City Council did the same. [115]

Although the bills to authorize the park, by this time, enjoyed broad support, they did not receive Interior Department approval until May. They were then sent to the Office of Management and Budget where they were held up for several months. When the bills emerged from OMB, Ted Stevens asked Alan Bible, the chairman of the Senate Parks and Recreation Subcommittee (part of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee), to schedule hearings on S. 1622. By that time, however, the session was winding down. As a result, neither S. 1622 nor H.R. 7121 were acted upon by their respective committees during the 93rd Congress. Signs were good, however, for action in the next Congress. A logjam of other park legislation was being cleared away, and the Interior Department had recommended that the Klondike park proposal be included in President Ford's legislative program. [116]

During this period, the Canadians also hoped to make progress on the establishment of a park in the area surrounding the Chilkoot Trail corridor. The Chrétien-Radford announcement of June 13, 1973 portended continued momentum toward a new park. After that announcement, however, the park proposal got bogged down in British Columbia's bureaucracy. Jack Radford, the Minister of Recreation and Conservation, hoped to proceed with park plans, but the Provincial Water Resources Chief Engineer was less than enthusiastic about the idea. The engineer objected to the 80-square-mile land transfer because the Chilkoot Trail corridor was still covered by a power withdrawal, made in February 1949, that had been related to the proposed Yukon-Taiya Project. (See Chapter 2.) To the engineer, the ability to develop that power had to be preserved. Another roadblock that arose during this period was one of aboriginal land rights; the B.C. government did not recognize these rights, and the province feared that a land transfer with the Federal government (which acknowledged Native land rights) might imply that the provincial government similarly recognized them. The Provincial Environment and Land Use Committee was given the task of resolving these conflicts. In the meantime, no action took place on the land transfer. [117]

Skagway Preservation Efforts

The National Park Service had decided, almost from the beginning of its involvement, that preservation controls would have to be enacted if a park unit in Skagway was to have any real chance of success. Thanks to the Alaska State Housing Authority, the city's first zoning map had been created in 1964 as part of a comprehensive plan. Included in that map was a Skagway Historical Zone. But Skagway had neither a historic ordinance nor any other kind of zoning ordinance.

In March 1969, NPS planner Bailey O. Breedlove consulted officials from the Alaska State Housing Authority, the Anchorage Area Borough, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Soon after, he began to fashion a model Historical Preservation Zoning Ordinance. As noted in Chapter 3, the Skagway Alternatives Study of March 1969 suggested that the city, as a prerequisite to NPS involvement, would be required to adopt 1) a zoning ordinance with a strict definition of "the historic district," and 2) a Historic Advisory Board to advise the Mayor and City Council on matters of historic preservation. [118] The agency approved the implementation of the alternative which included these provisions. Two years later, the park's preliminary master plan noted that the city would need to 1) "establish by ordinance the historic district..." and 2) "adopt local zoning laws which would help to preserve the historic integrity of the privately owned remaining historic buildings within the historic district...". [119]

NPS planners--chiefly Rod Pegues, assisted by Laurin Huffman--then worked with the city in order to establish an appropriate historic district zoning ordinance. At first, agency officials were unsure whether it was legal for the city to enact such an ordinance. (No other city in Alaska had a specially-zoned historic district.) Both the Interior Department Solicitor and the state Attorney General, however, issued opinions stating that the city could legally do so. [120] Over the next few months, Pegues worked with the Skagway City Council and the city attorney to craft a citywide zoning ordinance which provided for a historic district. That ordinance was finally presented to the City Council in the summer of 1972. It was given its third reading and was passed at the October 3 council meeting. The new ordinance called for the creation of the Skagway Historic District (or zone) with boundaries identical to those called for in the second draft of the master plan. The new ordinance, which became effective in November, was administered by the city's planning commission. There was no attempt at this time to establish a commission specifically for historic district affairs. [121]

During this period, several owners of Skagway's business properties contacted the NPS seeking architectural advice. The old Idaho Saloon, at the northwest corner of Third Avenue and Broadway, had suffered a fire in early 1972. Repairs were needed. [122] The Principal Barber shop changed hands, and the new owner hoped to restore it. Verbauwhede's Confectionery suffered a fire in the fall of 1973, and restoration of the Nettles hardware store was proposed. [123] The owners of these and other local historical properties were aware that their investments were becoming increasingly valuable, and all were eager to obtain the services of a historical architect if one were available. The NPS had an architect in its Seattle office, and promised his services to local residents. The architect, however, was constrained by his position; he could give general advice, for instance, but as a public sector employee he could not draw detailed plans and specifications. Besides, he was often too busy with other duties to provide much direct assistance. [124]

By the fall of 1973, the Skagway city council had finally moved to implement the provisions of the historic district zoning ordinance which had been created the previous October. John McDermott, owner of a business located in a Broadway historical building, was asked to head the Skagway Historical Commission. Other members included Jim Hamilton, Jean Richter, Jack Brown, Jewell Knapp, and Rex Hermens. As McDermott understood it, the commission's primary duty was to review and approve building plans for new construction or remodelling in the historic district. He and the other members, however, knew little about architectural detail. They prevailed on the NPS, therefore, for drawings, photographs, and other backup materials. [125]

In addition, John Rutter was able to relay their concerns to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Trust responded by sending staff members John Frisbee, Robertson Collins, and Carol Galbreath to Skagway for two technical workshops which were held in mid-March 1974. NPS and State officials also attended. One workshop was held for the city manager, the Skagway Historical Commission, and the Skagway Planning Commission; another was presented at the high school for the community at large. The National Trust came away from their visit with a number of suggestions for improving the historical commission's function; many of those were packaged into an ordinance which passed the City Council later that year. [126]

By June 1974, it was evident that the historical commission was still having trouble getting started. In addition, local citizens became alarmed when cedar shingles began to be applied to the Nome Saloon, at the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Broadway. In response to those problems, and to a spate of new renovation activities, the commission invited NPS planner Don Campbell to Skagway. [127] The NPS recognized that many local architectural problems could be solved only with professional expertise. Therefore, it entered into a cooperative agreement with the city that July which called for an architect to provide regular consultation to the historical commission. [128] The man chosen to fulfill that role was Laurin Huffman, the Historical Architect in the Pacific Northwest Regional Office, who had been visiting Skagway since 1972. [129]

The Historic District Commission, which McDermott had organized in the fall of 1973, had its first regular meeting on October 24, 1974. NPS planner Don Campbell was in attendance. Two months later, the commission more than doubled in size, to 13 members. [130] Laurin Huffman, the NPS advisor, continued to consult with the commission on an intermittent basis. Interest in the commission, however, soon declined. It met only once in 1975, in May; meetings scheduled during other months were postponed for lack of a quorum. [131] The commission's inactivity resulted in the disestablishment of the historic commission within months of the park's authorization. The city planning commission assumed its functions and became the Planning, Zoning, and Historic Commission. [132]

The Role of the National Park Foundation

The National Park Foundation, which had become the owner of the former White Pass and Yukon Route depot in May 1971, became increasingly involved in the preservation of Skagway's buildings during the mid-1970s. The 1973 master plan, it may be remembered, proposed that the NPS purchase nine Skagway buildings, restore them, and retain them for interpretive purposes. Except for the two-building White Pass depot complex, the other seven buildings were privately owned. These included the three-building Mascot Complex, Boss Bakery, Boas Tailor and Furrier, the Tanner Building, and the Moore Cabin. The master plan also identified seven buildings which it hoped to purchase and restore, then lease back to private parties; these buildings included the Verbauwhede's Confectionery complex, the four-building Pack Train complex, the Principal Barber shop, and the Idaho Saloon. National Park Service officials were worried that many of these buildings would lose their historical importance if they were not immediately purchased. The NPS, however, could not purchase any buildings until the park had been authorized. The agency, therefore, enlisted the National Park Foundation to serve as a holding agency.

During the early months of 1973, NPS personnel examined each of the above buildings and made cost estimates for their acquisition and restoration. The Foundation was kept apprised of those costs. [133]

That July, NPS personnel traveled to Skagway and obtained a series of options to purchase several Skagway properties. From Malcolm Moe, the agency obtained a 12 month option to purchase the Verbauwhede's Confectionery complex for $17,500. He also agreed on a 12 month option to sell the Boss Bakery building for $4,000, but only if it could be moved to another location. Cy Coyne agreed to a 12 month option, for $7,500, for the lot at the northwest corner of Broadway and Fifth Avenue. Finally, Charles Hermens, George Rapuzzi and their wives offered to sell the Mascot complex for $40,000, but only if a deal could be consummated by December 23, 1973. [134]

Over the next few months, the NPS dropped its option on Cy Coyne's lot and obtained an option on the Principal Barber shop. [135] Lacking available funds, it showed little immediate interest in purchasing most of those properties. The Mascot complex, however, was another matter. The agency had been interested in the Mascot buildings since the late 1960s, and as Regional Director John Rutter told NPS Director Ronald H. Walker, the buildings were "the key to the planned living history interpretive exhibits on city life in the historic district of Skagway." Rutter was worried that "these unique historical buildings might be sold to a new owner unless the offer is promptly accepted." In addition, he hoped to consummate the sale in order to curry favor with George Rapuzzi, "one of the most knowledgeable persons on the Klondike Gold Rush." Rapuzzi, over the years, had

collected an estimated five buildings full of antiques--original bars, signs, documents, pictures of the original Klondike, and many other miscellaneous items which will be essential in developing an interpretive program for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. [136]

John L. Bryant, Jr., who had recently replaced Stuart Cross as president of the National Park Foundation, was well aware of the Mascot's importance. Bryant, however, was doubtful that the Foundation would be able to raise $40,000 in the three months which remained before December 23. [137]

Rutter, determined to find a way to orchestrate a deal, sent NPS staff back to Skagway and tried to get Rapuzzi to extend the sale offer or to lower his price. Rapuzzi refused on both counts. He then wrote to Director Walker about the situation and spoke to him as well, and asked the NPF to again consider the matter. [138] What happened next is unclear. By mid-December, however, the NPS was on the verge of wrapping up a deal. Rapuzzi, recognizing that fact, agreed to extend his offer until January 23, 1974. He evidently extended it awhile longer, because the transaction was not finalized until March 18. On that date, the National Park Foundation purchased the Mascot complex from George and Edna Rapuzzi and Charles and Virginia Hermens. [139]

The NPF, meanwhile, attempted to raise the funds to purchase the remaining options. Signs were initially pessimistic; at a September 21, 1973 meeting, Foundation board members sensed that the park would not be established in the immediate future, and concluded that the body "would not want to find itself in the position of purchasing land for which the NPS was not actively supporting legislation authorizing reimbursement." They promised, however, to undertake a fundraising campaign. Soon afterwards, letters were sent out to several key Alaskans who might be able to provide fundraising assistance. [140] The following spring, Bryant and NPS official Bill Collins traveled to Anchorage on a fundraising trip; while there, they met with various business and fine arts patrons. Their fundraising efforts, however, were largely unsuccessful, and the National Park Foundation made no more purchases in the Skagway area. [141]

During its period of ownership, the Foundation protected its Skagway buildings by hiring a watchman--first John Edwards, then Bob Vaughan--and providing fire insurance. Edwards and Vaughan made minor repairs and served as local points of contact when Glacier Bay Superintendent Bob Howe visited. [142]

Throughout the 1970s, NPS personnel were well aware that the White Pass depot was rapidly deteriorating. In October 1972, shortly after a destructive windstorm, wall bracing (using NPF insurance funds) was installed on the administration building. Intended to be temporary in nature, the bracing remained for another eight or ten years. In February 1974, it was reported that plaster was falling on the second floor; that fall, Don Campbell noted that the roof was leaking badly. Campbell asked Laurin Huffman, the regional historical architect, to investigate. Huffman discovered that the railroad annex had suffered a total roof failure and that a chimney on the depot side was ready to collapse. He warned that "If this condition is allowed to remain for any length of time, the building will become a total ruin and collapse in a few years." He suggested two ways to fix the roof: a plastic membrane, which would work for an estimated two years, and a full roof replacement, which would work for twenty. [143]

The NPS, wishing to minimize expenses, opted to protect the roof using plastic sheeting. It was prepared in May 1975 and installed in July. Huffman, using all the good humor he could muster, was "betting...about 50-50 as to whether the covering will be effective and will weather out the winter winds." "It gives one great humility," he noted, "to have to report that at least 97 per cent of the citizens of Skagway are betting against the durability of this roof repair (the other 3 percent had not heard about it yet or were too young to care)." By this time, the depot chimney which Huffman had noted the previous fall had fallen down. [144]

No sooner had the Foundation acquired a title to their depot and saloon than outside parties began to show an interest in using them. Soon after the Mascot Saloon was purchased, local resident Cheri Burns expressed an interest in using it for a summertime theater. Several months later, Tom Biss, an actor who portrayed Soapy Smith, made a similar request. Insurance provisions, however, prevented such activities from taking place. [145] In October 1975, the Foundation, without the Service's knowledge, actually did lease the Mascot complex to local resident Kurt Kosters. But NPS regional officials were more interested in displaying a bicentennial exhibition of photo murals, display cases, maps, and artifacts on the property, and prevailed upon the NPF to cancel Kosters' lease. [146]

More serious attempts were made to develop the railroad depot into a cultural attraction. Local resident Richard Haupt, with a 1973 proposal, was the first person that tried to rent the facility. But more serious interest developed in 1975. Skagway citizens had long sought a large meeting hall, and as a result, members of the Skagway Fine Arts Council spoke with Bob Howe regarding the use of the depot as a performing arts center. That September, Rick Goodfellow, from the Alaska State Council for the Arts, wrote to regional officials about the idea. The NPS gave Goodfellow the same answer they had given Haupt; they would be glad to consider the idea of a theater, but not until the park was authorized. [147]

Beginning in December 1975, the cause of a depot theater was championed by Eldon Elder, a New York-based consultant in the employ of the Southeast Alaska Regional Arts Council. The Council hoped to establish a series of performing arts and visual arts centers throughout the panhandle, and the Skagway Fine Arts Council designated the depot as the Skagway location for such a facility. At first, signs were encouraging for a theater development; the NPS was willing to cooperate and provide information, and the passage in February 1976 of the Rail Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act (S. 2718) promised funds for the utilization of historic railroad buildings. [148] Arts groups and the Alaska Congressional delegation were vocal in their support for the project.

Even so, the idea never got beyond the conceptual stage. NPS officials made it known that the primary interest in restoring the depot's first floor was the creation of a setting for NPS interpretive activities. A community theatre, tangential to that goal, was acceptable if it was otherwise compatible. The agency, however, bridled at Elder's proposal, which would have gutted the depot's interior. Furthermore, any restoration efforts were years away; the agency could not allot funds for the depot complex until the park was authorized by Congress, and restoration efforts would take several years to complete. As a result of these factors, the idea of a community theatre in the depot had been shelved by February 1978, more than a year before the NPS began active restoration work on the depot. [149]

The NPS made no attempt during this period to open its buildings to the public. In response to local chamber of commerce concerns, however, the agency offered to create an informal interpretive display at the Mascot Saloon. In May 1975, NPS officials removed the boards that George Rapuzzi had used to protect the building's windows. By late July they had installed a message board and six poster-sized black-and-white prints. [150]

Chilkoot Trail Activities, 1972-1976

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Chilkoot Trail had witnessed an explosion in recreational visitation, from less than 100 during the 1968 season to an estimated 1000 during the summer of 1972. Through the 1972 season, however, there was no ranger presence on the Chilkoot. The only staff on the U.S. side during the 1969-1972 period were maintenance personnel from the Alaska Division of Parks, who spent just a few weeks on the trail each summer. On the Canadian side, the only staff from 1968 through 1971 had been a crew of Whitehorse-based inmates. In 1972, the inmates were supplemented by a crew of students, who spent the summer photographing and collecting artifacts.

That situation soon changed. The state's Department of Natural Resources, which had selected the land along the trail corridor, recognized that the NPS had spent a considerable amount of effort developing a proposal for a Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, and it also realized that it was unable to provide season-long protection for hikers or the area's historical resources. The Bureau of Land Management owned most of the land in the Taiya Valley. Neither that agency nor the state, however, had available staff to protect the area. Based on those assumptions, the NPS, the BLM, and the state entered into a cooperative agreement on August 11, 1972. The agreement stated that the NPS "shall undertake to provide management and protection and do what may be necessary to administer, protect, improve, and maintain the lands and associated resources" in the Chilkoot Trail corridor. The parties maintained, however, "that this cooperative agreement shall in no way be deemed to be a transfer of title to any lands or associated resources, nor constitute in any way a disavowal or relinquishment of any right, title, or interest by any of the parties...." The agreement was to terminate "at such time as legislation is enacted to establish the proposed Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park or at such time as the parties hereto may hereafter agree." [151] The NPS was to undertake its new responsibility beginning in the summer of 1973.

The same week in which the cooperative agreement was signed, NPS and Canadian staff were meeting at Lindeman Lake to agree on a common set of trail standards, signs and markers. Officials agreed that the trail should have white-on-black mileage markers established each half-mile between Dyea and Bennett; in addition, six-inch orange triangles were to be stenciled in the rocks "in a neat and appropriate manner" between Stone House (approximately a mile north of Sheep Camp) and the Pass, after which orange snow markers would be used as far as "Small Lake" (Morrow Lake). No new shelters would be built along the trail; instead, wall tents would suffice. Camp tents would be constructed at Canyon City, Sheep Camp, and Deep Lake, while administrative tents would be erected at the Scales and at Morrow Lake. Finally, they agreed to establish a series of small, unobtrusive metal interpretive signs on both the U.S. and Canadian sides of the trail. [152]

Most of the August 1972 trail recommendations eventually came to pass. That winter, the NPS chose Scott Sappington and Chuck Nelson to be its first Chilkoot Trail rangers, and asked them to undertake a state-sponsored law enforcement course that deputized them as state park rangers. The two, under the guidance of Superintendent Bob Howe of Glacier Bay and assisted by local resident Bob Vaughan, began working along the trail in late May 1973 and continued their duties until late September. Sappington and Nelson established a new ranger headquarters at Sheep Camp, which consisted of an A-frame wall tent located one-quarter mile south of the state-built cabin. (The wall tent had been prefabricated at Glacier Bay and transported to the site.) They spent the summer providing guidance and information, enforcing regulations, and educating hikers on the importance of the area's historical resources. Beyond that, they asked each hiker where they had camped, their direction of travel, the size of their party, the age and sex of hikers, and their state or country of origin. This was to be the first of five years in which hikers would be thus surveyed. Sappington, who was trained as a biologist, also made detailed notes of the plants and animals he observed along the trail; he included an extensive species compendium in his season-ending report. [153]

In early June 1973, the State of Alaska trail crew joined the rangers and spent the next few weeks maintaining the trail, much as they had been doing since 1969. As part of their work, they installed mileage markers each one-half mile along the U.S. side of the trail. (These did not continue north of the summit.) On the Canadian side, both the corrections crew and the students who photographed and collected artifacts continued their work, much as they had in 1972. [154]

In 1974, Parks Canada dispatched its first protection and maintenance personnel on the Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail. Bruce Harvey, the agency's Superintendent of Yukon Historic Sites, installed a four-person crew consisting of warden patrolpersons Shirley Moore and Marina McCready and maintenance personnel Manfred Hedgecock and Gordon Blasko. The team established a new camp at Lindeman Lake, at the site of the present headquarters camp (on the left bank of Moose Creek, east of Lower Cabin), which consisted of two two-person wall tents and a cookhouse. Hedgecock and Blasko replaced, and continued the work of, the Yukon Correctional Institute crews, while Moore and McCready pioneered ranger activities along the trail. Beginning that year, and for years thereafter, the trail was managed not as a separate park area, but as a unit of Yukon National Historic Sites. [155]

On the U.S. side that year, Scott Sappington returned as a trail ranger. He was accompanied by Art Mortvedt, who was replaced in mid-season by Doug Sanvik. The U.S. rangers continued the work they had begun in 1973. In addition, they teamed up with Canadian trail personnel and installed a series of 24 aluminum interpretive signs. These signs, created and designed by Laurin Huffman, had been manufactured in 1973 under a Parks Canada contract, courtesy of Bruce Harvey. Most (though not all) hikers were happy with the signs, which remained on the trail until the early 1990s. [156] By the end of the 1974 season, U.S. and Canadian trail personnel had implemented most of the recommendations made at the August 1972 Lindeman Lake meeting. The only idea which never came to fruition concerned the trailside wall tents.

The proposed park master plan, which was effectively completed in 1973, noted that one of the NPS's chief objectives, as it pertained to the Chilkoot Trail, was to "relocate the present trail to its true historic location, where feasible." [157] In order to investigate the practicality of moving the trail, the NPS rangers were asked to submit their comments on the subject. The rangers, after a summer's work, took a dim view of the subject. In 1973, a ranger discovered the original trail in the Canyon City area; the following year, the old pathway between Pleasant Camp and Sheep Camp was found. In both instances, dramatic evidence was presented that well-travelled historic trail segments contained far fewer artifacts than the more remote segments. Perhaps as a result of those efforts, the NPS has made no attempt to relocate the recreational trail to its historic right-of-way. [158]

After 1974, trail operations remained relatively stable until 1977. The NPS continued to support a two-person crew, assisted by Skagway resident Robert Vaughan and a short annual visit from State Division of Parks maintenance personnel. Parks Canada continued with its four-person crew. Four new buildings were constructed along the trail during this period. They included a third residential tent at the Lindeman Lake warden's camp (1974), an additional tent frame at Sheep Camp (1975), a wooden A-frame supply cache, located east of the trail opposite the Sheep Camp ranger station (1975), and a wooden A-frame at Stone Crib, just north of Chilkoot Pass (1976). During the same period one de facto overnight site, the Dan Johnson cabin near Bennett, was purchased by Parks Canada and closed to public use. Visitation increased dramatically during the period (see Appendix A), from 1,070 hikers in 1973 to a total of 1,508 who made the trip in 1976. [159]

Communication along the trail improved enormously during the mid-1970s. In 1973, Bob Howe gave the trail rangers a radio and attempted to keep in touch with them from the Glacier Bay headquarters at Bartlett Cove. Radio transmissions, however, were often less than reliable and were occasionally impossible. Communication between the U.S. and Canadian sides was more primitive; rangers met at the summit and conversed, or notes were passed from camp to camp by willing hikers. In 1974, the NPS acquired a portable single sideband transceiver, and radio transmissions between Glacier Bay and Sheep Camp were reported to be "loud and clear." [160] In 1975, the Canadian wardens were provided with portable radios, and communication became possible between Whitehorse, Lindeman Lake, Sheep Camp, and Bartlett Cove. The quality of radio communication was spotty that summer. In 1976 it fared no better, being operational for just 20 percent of the season, and rangers still had to direct their communications via Bartlett Cove on many occasions. [161]

During the 1973-1977 period, Parks Canada made few moves toward implementing the park plans which had been announced so dramatically in June 1973. The agency did, however, decide on a shift in emphasis. Rather than focusing its interpretation on the Bennett church, as it had in the early 1970s, the agency decided that the entire Chilkoot Trail was of interest; it did so by the Chrétien-Radford decision to create a park and by the agency's appointment of trail personnel, both before and after that announcement. In addition, problems which developed at Bennett between Parks Canada and the White Pass railroad demanded that Bennett be de-emphasized as a point of historical interest. Park planners decided, therefore, that the main Chilkoot Trail orientation and interpretation center should be located at Carcross. Bennett was relegated to secondary status. [162]

Throughout this period, hikers traversing the Chilkoot continued to receive state-sponsored trail guides. These guides, as noted in Chapter 3, had first been published in 1968. In late 1972 a revised guide was published with the cooperation of the Corrections Branch of Yukon Territorial Government; it included detailed information about the Canadian side of the trail. In early 1974 the state published a second revision that reflected the NPS's new management presence, the new interpretive signs, and other changes. Soon after its publication, members of the Klondike Gold Rush International Advisory Committee began to demand further revisions. The result of that effort was "The Historic Chilkoot Trail," a cooperatively-produced trail guide printed in Canada and distributed during the summer of 1976. [163]

The Environmental Statement and Affiliated Studies

As noted above, a master plan had to be completed before Congress would consider the Klondike gold rush park proposal. But other documents would be necessary as well. In order to satisfy the dictates of Sec. 102 (c) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (P.L. 91-190), NPS personnel had to complete a park environmental statement. As a necessary adjunct to the ES process, state and local interests wanted to know how the park would impact Skagway's economic and social fabric; reports were prepared, therefore, which addressed those questions. Additional studies which were prepared during the period which preceded the park's authorization included a survey of Chilkoot Trail hikers, a community planning project, and a state-sponsored land use plan for the Haines-Skagway area.

NPS personnel began writing a draft environmental statement in 1972, during the same period in which the park's master plan was being finalized. The first draft of the DES was issued in March 1973. Soon afterwards, it was distributed for public review. The document, however, was held up in Washington according to the same schedule (and for many of the same reasons) as the master plan. The revised DES was not completed until April 25, 1974, and it was not distributed until mid-May. [164]

The DES, which merely reflected the same information which had been contained in the master plan, was distributed to the general public as well as to the various governmental agencies. The document proved to be relatively non-controversial. The Bureau of Mines castigated the report for the incompleteness of its coverage of mineral resources, and a Juneau-based Sierra Club spokesman questioned the agency's support of the Skagway-Carcross road. [165]

NPS regional office personnel responded to those concerns, and a panoply of others, during their preparation of the Final Environmental Statement. The FES was under way by July 1974, and by September it had been passed on to Washington. By November, it had been approved by both NPS and Interior Department officials, and by mid-December it had been approved by the President's Council on Environmental Quality and had been distributed to the public. [166]

In addition to the master plan and environmental statement, planners on both the U.S. and Canadian sides of the border hoped to obtain additional data on Skagway and the trail corridor before the park was established. The idea of an additional study was first broached at the October 1972 meeting of the Klondike Gold Rush International Advisory Committee, where "It was agreed that an economic study of the proposed park would likely have beneficial effects in Alaska and British Columbia as well as with Congress and the American administration." [167] Canadian planners investigated the matter, and in July 1973 they presented NPS officials with a proposal for a $32,000 economic study of the Chilkoot Trail, which would entail obtaining questionnaires from a thousand Chilkoot hikers. Half of the cost of the proposed study would be paid by each country. Regional Director John Rutter liked the idea, but Park Planner Don Campbell rejected it as inappropriate and too costly. Instead, he suggested that the NPS undertake a study (on its own) which would project the economic impact of the park on the town and region of Skagway and the sociological changes which Skagway would face as the park was developed. [168]

Campbell's idea was passed on to Dr. Donald R. Field, a professor at the University of Washington's College of Forest Resources who also served as the agency's Regional Chief Scientist. Field, who was enthusiastic about the proposal, responded by organizing a study team. The economic study was to be completed by two Washington State University economists, James C. Barron and Kenneth L. Casavant. The sociological study would be written by Stephen R. Wells, a Yale-trained graduate student who had recently applied to UW. Finally, a visiting professor from the University of Kentucky, Dr. Rabel Burdge, was asked to head a study profiling Chilkoot Trail hikers. Field himself would serve as the principal investigator for the combined studies, which would begin in fiscal year 1974 and continue until June 1975. [169]

On May 28, 1974, the University of Washington and the National Park Service signed a contract whereby the two parties would cooperate in the preparation of the various socioeconomic studies, which together would serve as an addendum to the ES. [170] Work on the economic impact study began immediately. Field, Barron, and Casavant visited Skagway in late May and interviewed John Bowers, the city manager. Barron, who specialized in economic matters, and Casavant, who investigated the area's transportation system, completed a draft version of their $4,500 study in December 1974. The NPS, however, did not release their study to local officials until the following November. [171] NPS officials were cautious about the report's findings, noting it as a draft report which "should not be looked upon as a basis for decision making." [172] Officials in Skagway, however, were happy with its findings, and no final report was issued.

Stephen Wells' sociological study followed. It was intended to be a social history of the community, a sociocultural profile of present-day Skagway, and a basis for measuring the social impacts of the new park. In July 1974, Wells kicked off his study by spending the month in Skagway. He then returned to Seattle and spent the next school year as a student. He made a formal study proposal to the NPS in May 1975; based on that proposal, he gained approval for the $6,500 study in June. [173] Wells worked on the study extensively in 1975 and 1976, and used the data he collected as the basis for his Ph.D. dissertation. His study was completed in March 1978. [174]

The last of the three NPS-sponsored projects to begin was the Chilkoot Trail hiker survey. As noted above, the U.S. trail rangers had begun surveying hikers, on an informal basis, in 1973. A more formal trail survey had first been suggested by Canadian park personnel in 1972-73, but the U.S. had balked at their plans. A trail survey, headed by Rabel Burdge, was included in the May 1974 contract. By that time, however, the Canadians' study plans had been delayed. Parks officials reluctantly agreed to defer the project for a year. That October, Field and Burdge met with Dr. Jay Beaman, a Parks Canada statistician, to develop a suitable questionnaire. Officials also made logistical plans. Parks Canada, unable to hire personnel to assist in the data gathering, agreed to pay approximately one-third of the study's $5,100 price tag. The NPS would shoulder the remainder of the costs; field workers would be graduate students from UW's Sociology Studies Program. [175]

Plans seemed to be on course for data collection during the summer of 1975. That April, however, Glenn Gallison of the NPS requested that the project be postponed for another year. His reasons for doing so were political, not logistical. (See section below.) Well aware that the Senate, at long last, was about to hold a hearing on the park, he tactfully told Peter Bennett, his Canadian counterpart, that the NPS "would prefer not to initiate any new research studies until the park is established, since we do not wish to stir up the residents of Skagway at this critical time." [176]

By January 1976, political feelings had calmed down, and plans were made yet again to survey hikers on the Chilkoot. The NPS called for proposals to be submitted in February for work that was to begin in May. Two full-time data gatherers were chosen; Wendy Wolf and Peter Womble from UW. The two spent the summer of 1976 in and around the Lindeman Lake Parks Canada camp, and by mid-September they had collected survey forms from 1,516 Chilkoot hikers. Working with the assistance of Dr. Field, rangers at both ends of the trail, and NPS regional personnel, they compiled Hikers on the Chilkoot Trail: A Descriptive Report, which was published by UW in January 1978. [177]

Another area project carried out during the mid-1970s was a community planning study. The $7,500 project, which began in April 1974, had been suggested by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, that wanted

a comprehensive inventory of the entire city, evaluating each structure as to its present use and its retention potential... This material should be integrated into an historic preservation master plan for the city, not limited to the historic commercial core. [178]

The study was sponsored by the City of Skagway and by the Division of Community Planning in the Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs. These two entities had a slightly different interest in the project; they felt that "since the city's continued prosperity is so heavily dependent upon the successful preservation of its past, it is felt that an overall review of land use and historic structures...is an essential first step in updating the 1964 comprehensive plan." The study, to be completed by the end of June, called for an inventory of land use, which included an area building inventory, and an inventory of structures of historic significance. The contract also called for the development of a community preservation plan. [179]

Local resident Marvin Taylor was selected to write the report. Taylor was a former mayor, city councilman and city clerk; in addition, he was a longtime White Pass & Yukon Route official. Recently, however, he had severed his relationship with the railroad and established a consulting company, M. P. Taylor and Associates; he also operated a travel agency, engaged in a car-rental business, and served as a stevedoring agent. During May 1974, Taylor met with NPS contact Don Campbell, who hoped that the study would "form the basis of a national registry application to place the entire city under national landmark designation." [180] (The Skagway and White Pass National Historic Landmark, as noted in Chapter 3, had been designated in 1962 and revised in 1965. That designation, however, gave no specific information about the specific historical resources located in the NHL.) The project was submitted shortly after its June 15 due date. When finally submitted, Taylor recommended the designation of the following structures as national historic landmarks: the old cable office building on the southwest corner of First Avenue and Main Street; the old city hall on Fifth Avenue, between State and Broadway streets; the Reno (Case-Mulvihill) residence at Seventh Avenue and Alaska Street; the Roehr (Nye) residence, just east of the Reno residence; the Fairway Fast Freight (Rich) building, the gold rush cemetery, and portions of the Brackett Wagon Road. Taylor's land use and planning data was edited by Gillian Smythe, the Community and Regional Affairs planner that served as the project's overseer. [181]

The state, which had a keen interest in the proposed park, compiled a land use plan for the Haines and Skagway areas during the mid- to late 1970s. The idea of a state-sponsored land use plan originated in early 1972, when Governor William Egan was asked to respond to an early draft of the Klondike park bill. Egan was worried that the bill, if enacted in its present form, might hinder economic development in the Dyea area; it would not provide adequately for the Yukon-Taiya power project, and it might hinder future expansion of port facilities. Egan, therefore, urged the creation of a land use plan which would allow for those uses. [182] It would be the state's first land use plan.

During late 1972 and early 1973 the Division of Lands (within the state's Department of Natural Resources) organized its land use planning team. Most members represented the various state land management agencies, but two federal agencies--the Forest Service and NPS--also had representatives on the panel. Rodger Pegues, who was the regional chief of co-operative activities, was the first NPS representative; he was later succeeded by Park Planner Don Campbell, and still later by Glacier Bay Superintendent Bob Howe. NPS lands were a relatively small part of the area covered by the land use plan; even so, NPS personnel remained an active part of the committee in order to guarantee the agency's interests.

The Haines-Skagway Land Management Planning Team held its first meeting in Juneau on May 10, 1973. During the next year they held three more meetings, two in Juneau and one in Haines. [183] By May 1974, the team held its first public hearings on the plan. The Skagway hearing, which was held on May 29, was attended by only six local citizens; by the admission of one participant, "nothing of significance occurred" there. [184]

The land use team held another meeting, in July; soon afterwards, DNR personnel began to prepare the land use plan's preliminary first draft. The draft, which called for "compatible management on lands outside the proposed park boundaries," was released on December 9, and was immediately followed by a second round of public hearings. The December 11 Skagway hearing, attended by 24 local residents, was more lively than previous meetings but few concrete criticisms were offered to the recently issued draft. Bob Howe, who had attended both the May and December hearings, confidently predicted that "I believe that the land use planning recommendations will be altered very little before final drafting." He attended one more team meeting, in early April 1975, and found that his predictions were confirmed. He noted afterwards that "the needs of the National Park Service at Dyea were re-confirmed with no opposition." [185]

By mid-1975, the Haines-Skagway land use planning process was by no means over. Over the next few years, plans would continue to be revised and expanded upon, and the three-volume final plan would not be completed until 1979. But after 1975, the role of the NPS was minimal, and the recommendations in the later versions of the plan, as they pertained to lands within the proposed park, did not change. [186]

A significant event related to the state's interest in the Taiya Valley took place in the midst of the land use planning process. As noted in Chapter 3, the state had selected lands in Dyea, the Taiya Valley, and the surrounding area in June 1961. The BLM had been slowly processing the selection application ever since. Then, on June 25, 1974, the BLM informed the state's Division of Lands that it had tentatively approved the transfer of an 84,000-acre parcel that included the above-named lands. The BLM's granting of a tentative approval was tantamount to fee-simple ownership. Since 1974, the final step--that of issuing a patent--has not been completed, but the state has been managing its Taiya Valley lands as if it owned them. [187]

The Park Bill Becomes Law

As noted above, a Klondike park bill had first been submitted in April 1973; House and Senate bills were introduced within days of each other. A variety of delays in both the agency and Congress, however, prevented action on the bills in the 93rd Congress. Though no hearings or other legislative activity took place during this period, the Alaska Congressional delegation promised action on a park bill early in the next Congress.

On January 14, 1975, the first day of the 94th Congress, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced H.R. 1194 in order to establish Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. The following day, Ted Stevens introduced S. 98, numbered so as to commemorate the "Days of '98" associated with the Klondike Gold Rush. S. 98 was co-sponsored by senators Gravel, Jackson, and Magnuson, just as S. 1622 in the 93rd Congress had been. [188]

As noted above, the National Park Service had, by this time, already completed both a master plan and a Final Environmental Statement for the park, and agency staff were hopeful that Congress would adopt the recommendations contained in those documents. State legislators--most notably Mike Miller, a state representative whose district included Skagway--were likewise enthusiastic about the proposal.

Several residents of Skagway, however, had growing misgivings about the bill. In December 1974, when the Alaska Division of Lands held its public meeting on the Haines-Skagway Area land use plan, several local residents expressed their unwillingness to accept restrictions on almost any kind of "development" or "progress" in the area. [189] A Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman complained that "except for the area encompassed in the present city boundaries and the proposed park area, the balance appears to be all withdrawn." Because of the combined efforts of the state and the NPS, she noted that "apprehension is developing on how restricted the park corridor and the other State withdrawals are going to effect the potential commerce of our area." [190]

Shortly after the public meeting on the state land use plan, local citizens began to receive copies of the Final Environmental Statement. Although the information contained in the FES was little different than that contained in the master plan, the issuance of the FES gave fuel to those citizens who, for whatever reason, were philosophically opposed to an increased federal land management presence. These citizens, who appear to have been in the minority, approved of the park's economic benefits, and were specifically supportive of the Park Service's plans to rehabilitate various buildings in downtown Skagway. They were less enthusiastic, however, with the proposed park units in the Taiya and Skagway River valleys, because they held the potential of limiting land use activities, either for recreational or economic-development purposes. Skagway's residents, who by reasons of topography were an isolated population, had long treated Dyea, the Chilkoot Trail corridor and the White Pass area as their own, and several local citizens resented any attempts, by state or federal authorities, to limit their freedom to use the local public lands as they saw fit. The election in October 1974 of a more development-oriented "old city machine" (city council) merely exacerbated the situation. [191]

Those simmering resentments came to a head in late January 1975. Marvin Taylor, the president of the Skagway Chamber of Commerce, gave a speech before the chamber critical of the NPS's plans. Although he professed his support for the park concept, he was concerned about the agency's plans in Dyea, about the Chilkoot Trail cooperative management zone, and that the proposed White Pass unit would preclude the construction of new transportation routes over White Pass. Taylor, a former White Pass official, was not on the city council, but he was an acknowledged "power behind the scene" in Skagway politics. Taylor had not taken part in the two public meetings on the state's land use plan, nor had he discussed either the park's master plan or the environmental statement with NPS officials. But his criticism of the newly-released Final Environmental Statement in a public forum tilted local momentum against the park, at least for the time being, and forced the NPS to do some quick damage control.

Bob Howe, the Glacier Bay superintendent and local "keyman" for the agency's efforts, made a quick trip to Skagway to assess the situation. He contacted several local leaders, and soon discovered that Taylor and city councilman Evron (Ed) Fairbanks had gone to Juneau to see Governor Hammond. The two had also written to Senator Stevens and asked for a local hearing on the park. In order to investigate the basis for their criticisms, Howe contacted Taylor soon after he arrived in Skagway. The chamber of commerce president repeated the points he had made in his speech; he also was adamant that the NPS would be taking Dyea's valuable water frontage, land that might be needed for a port, for industry, or for other purposes. [192]

Howe soon discovered that there was more to Taylor's criticisms than a philosophical inclination toward development. In the spring of 1974, the ex-railroad official had opened a consulting business, and several times since then he had harangued the NPS because the UW, not an Alaska entity such as his own, had been chosen to write the various socioeconomic impact studies. [193] Howe also learned that Taylor's insistence on keeping Dyea flats open for development was based on the expectation that he would soon be named as the Skagway Port Director. In that capacity, he hoped to oversee the dredging of the Dyea mud flats and invite shipping and industry into the area. [194]

Although Taylor's plans may have been far-fetched, his standing in the community was strong, and NPS officials did all they could to investigate the basis of his complaints. The agency had already held several public meetings on the park, and the city had already given its approval to the park concept, but they were certainly willing to go along with his idea of having a local public hearing on the park proposal. Henry M. Jackson, who was head of the Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, had little interest in holding a committee hearing outside of Washington. But Alaska House member Mike Miller, in response to the concerns of several Skagway residents as well as the NPS, was willing to hold a local meeting on a house resolution which, similar to HJR 74 of the 1974 legislature, would urge Congressional passage of S. 98 and H.R. 1194. [195] Accordingly, Miller introduced HJR 16 on February 26, and scheduled a public hearing, which was technically a subcommittee meeting of the House State Affairs committee, in Skagway on March 8.

In preparation for the upcoming hearing, Bob Howe visited Skagway in late February. While there he met with city leaders, distributed copies of the environmental statement, and attended a meeting of "concerned citizens" where he was questioned for three hours on the park proposal. While there, he met head-on with those who were against the park proposal, including hunters and other outdoor recreationists, and by meeting's end all of those present supported the park proposal. [196] On March 7, Howe returned to town; that evening, he and five local residents discussed the park proposal on an hour-long, locally-broadcast television program.

Miller's subcommittee hearing took place on March 8 in the Eagles Hall. Some 80 local citizens attended; also in attendance was Bennett T. Gale, an NPS official from Seattle, and several state officials. Thanks in large part to Howe's advance work, the meeting was relatively noncontroversial. No one spoke in opposition to the resolution or the park proposal, although some concern was expressed about hunting access, the joint management zone and future use of the Dyea area. Miller felt that "the consensus of the very large crowd attending the hearing was unquestionably positive in regards to the creation of the park," and the head of NPS's legislative office told Congressman Young that "Based upon our recent observations, public support for the Klondike park has never been stronger." [197]

The success of the Skagway meeting, combined with the high priority which Senator Stevens gave to the Klondike bill, resulted at long last in a Congressional hearing. On April 16, the Alaska delegation sent word that the Senate National Parks and Recreation Subcommittee would hold a hearing on S. 98 on May 12. J. Bennett Johnston, Jr. (D-LA), the subcommittee chair, would preside. [198]

Miller knew that legislative business would prevent him from attending the Washington hearing. In Juneau, however, he played an instrumental role in pushing through another resolution supporting the park. On April 26, HJR 16 passed the Alaska House 29-0. Then, on May 9, just three days before the U.S. Senate hearings were to begin, the resolution passed the Alaska Senate by a 16-0 vote. Governor Jay Hammond signed the measure the same day and immediately forwarded it to Interior Secretary Rogers C. B. Morton in Washington. [199]

The May 12 Klondike hearing was sandwiched between bills dealing with Assateague Island National Seashore and Guadalupe Mountains National Park. In addition to J. Bennett Johnston, who chaired the meeting, only two members of the subcommittee were in attendance: Clifford Hansen (R-WY) and Richard Stone (D-FL). Speakers at the hearing included Alaska's two senators, Ted Stevens and Mike Gravel. Stevens noted that the bill "has no opposition from any area that I know of in the state." Gravel, suggesting the area's importance, intoned that

Alaska has its culture, with respect to the Russian influence, and it has its gold rush. Those are the only two cultural pillars we have to look back upon. I would hope that the Government would see fit to enshrine this in a park.

Washington's two Democratic senators, Henry M. Jackson and Warren Magnuson, also spoke, along with Pacific Northwest Regional Director Russell Dickenson and National Trust for Historic Preservation representative Robertson Collins. Those who submitted written statements included Governor Jay Hammond, Guy Martin, and Mike Miller, from the state of Alaska; Governor Daniel Evans of Washington; Edward J. Kurtz of the NPS; Lillian Litzenberger of the Skagway Chamber of Commerce; and Cyril A. Coyne, Jack C. Lee, and Marvin Taylor from Skagway. Telegrams in support of the park came from Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Turner, George and Edna Rapuzzi, Rand Snure, the Skagway Inn, Charles L. Hermens, the Keller family, and R. A. Derr; all who sent them hailed from Skagway except for Derr, who represented the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce. [200]

The hearing, like that in Skagway, proved to be relatively noncontroversial. No opposition was expressed to the park, and the only change made as a result of the hearing was the deletion of language pertaining to the Yukon-Taiya hydroelectric project. The subcommittee felt that the project was inactive, and that mention of the project was unnecessary since the Congress would ultimately have to pass on it. [201]

Once the hearings were over, the Senate acted quickly on S. 98. On May 16, the subcommittee met and approved the amended bill. Five days later, the full Interior and Insular Affairs Committee unanimously passed it, and on June 4, the full Senate gave its approval. [202]

Action soon shifted to the House of Representatives. Hearings were needed in the House Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation, which was chaired by Roy A. Taylor (D-NC). Some Congressional staffers hoped that hearings could be held in July, but it soon became apparent that Taylor would not address the bill until after he completed an August trip to Alaska. [203]

August came and went, and although Taylor included a visit to Skagway and a ride on the White Pass as part of his Alaska trip, he made no immediate moves to schedule a park bill. Finally, in late September, Rep. Joel Pritchard (R-WA) requested a hearing. (A portion of Pritchard's congressional district was located in the Pioneer Square historical district; in addition, the Congressman had just returned from a family hike over the Chilkoot Trail.) Taylor responded by setting a hearing for November 17. [204]

As the time for the hearing approached, Taylor received plaudits for the bill from the National Park Service, the Alaska Historical Commission, and the Governor of Alaska. [205] Affirmations for the bill continued during the hearing itself. Speakers at the hearing included Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and Pritchard (R-WA); NPS Director Gary Everhardt, along with Park Planner Don Campbell; Norman Banfield, a White Pass and Yukon Route attorney; Ed Fairbanks, from the Skagway City Council; and a three-man panel from Washington state. The three included Ralph Munro, from the office of Governor Daniel Evans; Bruce Chapman, the Secretary of State; and Bill Speidel, the tourism entrepreneur who had played a significant role in publicizing and interpreting Pioneer Square. All supported H.R. 1194, Representative Young's Klondike park bill. The hearing record also included written statements submitted by Walter B. Parker, the Alaska Commissioner of Highways; Lowell Thomas, Jr., Alaska's Lieutenant Governor; Leonard Gerber, of the Pioneer Square Association; H. J. Musiel, a Seattle tourism retailer; and Anchorage entertainer Larry Beck, who contributed a poem urging the solons to enact the park bill. [206]

The House subcommittee suggested three minor modifications to the Senate bill. First, the White Pass and Yukon Route was considering changing from narrow-gauge (3' 0") to standard-gauge (4' 8-1/2") tracks, and the changeover would require broader curves. Therefore, Norman Banfield suggested that a clause be added to H.R. 1194 which gave the railroad the ability to move its right-of-way, so long as it remained within the area that the General Land Office (now the Bureau of Land Management) had allotted to it back in 1899. [207] A second modification dealt with the Yukon-Taiya project. As noted above, the Senate subcommittee had suggested that specific project language was unnecessary. Don Young, however, insisted that the language be retained; removing it, he argued, might prevent the project from being reconsidered should the two governments ever agree to construct it. [208] As a final suggestion, Ed Fairbanks of the Skagway City Council asked for a guaranteed right-of-way across the Chilkoot Trail Unit should a road ever be built from Skagway to Haines. As noted in Chapter 2, a road between the two cities had first been proposed in 1949. It had been rejected as too expensive at that time, and a quarter century later, NPS official John Rutter reacted to the city's plea by noting that the construction of such a road "would be an engineering marvel to accomplish." But he was willing to add an appropriate clause to the park bill if the Alaska Congressional delegation insisted on it. [209] The subcommittee had no further disagreements. It did, however, ask the NPS to answer eleven questions regarding the park proposal, questions that Everhardt and Campbell had been unable to answer to Congress's satisfaction. [210]

Agency officials mulled over the suggested modifications and the eleven questions posed to them, and by January 6 they had sent a reply which ironed out the remaining areas of disagreement. Regarding the WP&YR's concerns, the agency agreed to add a clause to H.R. 1194 (which became Sec. 1 (c) of P.L. 94-323) which recognized the "valid existing rights" for transportation lines "provided that significant adverse impacts to park resources will not result." The NPS was also willing to include a clause (Sec. 1 (d)) which authorized a highway right-of-way across the Chilkoot Unit under certain conditions. It did not, however, recommend new language regarding the Yukon-Taiya project. It recognized that any such language, as noted above, would be superfluous. Perhaps equally important, it contacted the Alaska Power Administration and persuaded the agency to shift the site of the project's main facility from the Finnegan's Point area "to a location which would be away from the trail and on the edge of the park boundary." Given that shift, the two agencies felt that the park and the hydro project "could coexist without greatly altering the historical integrity of the area." Rep. Young, the other members of the Alaska Congressional delegation, and the Republican members of the House Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation were apparently willing to accept that compromise. [211]

Slowly but surely, momentum built toward passage in the House. In early January, the NPS responded to the subcommittee's information request, and soon afterwards the subcommittee passed H.R. 1194. [212] On April 7, the House Interior and Insular Affairs unanimously approved the bill; the day of its passage, Rep. Young proclaimed that "This bill is well-justified...To my knowledge, no one does not support it." [213]

On June 8, the amended H.R. 1194 passed the House of Representatives. Later the same day, however, the bill was vacated, and S. 98 was substituted for it. Ten days later, members of the House and Senate Interior committees met to resolve their differences on the bill, and the Senate agreed to accept each of the amendments which the House had made as a result of its November hearing. On June 21, both the House and the Senate agreed to accept the bill which had emerged from the conference committee. The bill, still called S. 98, was almost identical to H.R. 1194; the only portions remaining from its passage in June 1975 were the title, bill number, and introduction. [214]

On June 21, S. 98 was forwarded to President Gerald Ford. Six months earlier, the president had announced his support for the measure, so gaining his approval was a mere formality. On June 30, 1976, he signed S. 98 into law (Public Law 94-323), and Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park became a reality. [215]

The Alaska Congressional delegation took justifiable pride in the recently-passed bill. Senator Ted Stevens remarked to the editor of the local North Wind that

The creation of the Klondike National Park [sic] preserves the legacy of the historical and colorful goldrush era for future generations.... This area has much to offer the tourist interest in this important part of the nation's past, and the park will provide the facilities and management to help attract and accommodate these visitors.

Representative Don Young was also proud to have shepherded the park bill through Congress. In the quarterly report that was sent to his constituents, he declared that "He did yeoman's service in helping resolve the Klondike Gold Rush National Park which will help Skagway terrifically!" [216]

The path toward the establishment of the park had been long and tortuous. Fourteen years had elapsed since the Skagway-White Pass area had been nominated as a national historical landmark, and it had been eleven years since Congressman Ralph Rivers had urged that the NPS investigate the area as a potential park site. Authorizing the park involved a broad range of agencies at the local, state, national and international levels. The bill which authorized the park elicited little controversy by the time it reached the halls of Congress. Considering the number of agencies which had to be consulted, however, it is not surprising that it took as long as it did to authorize Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. The park, after all, was substantially different than most other units in the National Park System; few other parks, for instance, were composed of scattered, individual buildings within a living town. Most agencies and individuals, however, saw the wisdom in establishing a modest park based on the gold rush theme. Relatively few disputes, as a consequence, erupted over land ownership or land use.

Critical to the park's establishment were the efforts of the National Park Service and the Klondike Gold Rush International Advisory Committee. The National Park Service played a key role by holding frequent public meetings, by designating a "keyman" who made frequent trips to Skagway, and by providing technical expertise in the preservation of Skagway's privately owned historical buildings. In addition, the efforts of the Klondike Gold Rush International Advisory Committee cannot be overemphasized. Formed in 1970-71, the committee provided a regular forum in which bureaucrats from all levels of government, in both the United States and Canada, could meet and deliberate. The committee was primarily organized in order to stimulate international negotiations, but the opportunities it provided for communication between Alaskan and federal officials cannot be overlooked.

In mid-June 1973, British Columbia tentatively agreed to transfer parkland to the Canadian federal government. Skagway's North Wind (June 1973, p. 11) published this map, which had previously appeared in the June 13, 1973 Whitehorse Star.
Skagway's Pullen House

key federal and state historical officials
(top) Skagway's Pullen House was famous for its museum collection. When the hotel closed in 1959, the collection was moved to the Seattle area. In 1973, the state legislature considered purchasing it. But it did not do so, and in July its owners sold the collection at an auction. (bottom) On June 5, 1973, key federal and state historical officials visited Skagway. They included (l-r) Rod Pegues and Don Carpenter, NPF; Ted Smith, Alaska State Parks; Stuart C. Cross, NPF president; John Frisbee III, NTHP; Father David Melbourne, Skagway; Robertson, NTHP; Robert Howe, NPS. (KLGO SC #422 (top); North Wind, June 1973, 3 (bottom))

John Rutter, Roy Minter, Ronald Walker

Don Campbell, Tom Ritter, Bob Howe, Loren Huffman
(top) In June 1974, Skagway visitors included John Rutter, the NPS's regional director; Roy Minter, a consultant for the WP&YR; and NPS Director Ronald Walker. (bottom) During the fall of 1975, key NPS staff journeyed to Skagway. They included Don Campbell (PNRO), Tom Ritter (GLBA), Bob Howe (GLBA), and Loren Huffman (PNRO). (North Wind, June 1974, 8 (bottom) and October 1975, 5 (top) )

Lindeman Lake warden's camp

road up the Skagway River valley
(top) In 1974, Parks Canada established the Lindeman Lake warden's camp at the mouth of Moose Creek. It has grown slowly over the years; this photograph was taken in 1986. (bottom) For many years prior to the mid-1970s, the road heading up the Skagway River valley (left) terminated near Porcupine Creek. On the right is the WP&YR right-of-way. (Mark Bollinger photo, KLGO SC #1673 (top); Dedman's Photo Shop, in North Wind, September 1973, 4)

Skagway-Carcross Highway

Captain William Moore bridge
The Skagway-Carcross Highway was constructed from 1974 to 1978. In the top photo, construction personnel work in the Skagway River valley; the bottom photo shows the Captain William Moore bridge under construction. (Dedman's Photo Shop (both photos))

Pres. Gerald Ford with Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens
On July 17, 1975, President Gerald Ford (left) met with Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK). Young and Stevens sponsored the Klondike park bill in the House and Senate, respectively; on June 30, 1976, President Ford signed the bill into law. (Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Library, photo A5566-13A)

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Last Updated: 24-Sep-2000