Contested Terrain
North Cascades National Park Service Complex: An Administrative History
NPS Logo

Chapter 1:

At the turn of the century, the North Cascades were an undiscovered country for most Americans. While the range's wild, alpine grandeur inspired explorers and tourists, often with no small measure of terror, its steep terrain and severe climate limited their access and thus few voices called for its preservation. Material progress, the hallmark of nineteenth-century America, was the order of the day. Yet the range's stingy environment prevented developments in overland travel, whether in the establishment of trails, wagon roads, or railroad routes. It also restricted commercial ventures. Although the range's western drainages were densely forested, its steep-sided valleys proved difficult to log, and transporting timber out of the remote range down its narrow canyons and swift rivers was equally difficult and costly. Similarly, the climate and terrain precluded extensive agriculture and limited ranching opportunities. The most promising economic ventures were in mining, especially with the excitement surrounding the Klondike strikes in the late 1890s when prospectors flooded the range's major drainages in search of precious metals. Yet, while mining was active in the various districts on the Skagit, Cascade, and Stehekin rivers, it never turned into a large-scale enterprise. The range's desired storehouse of minerals never adequately offset costs for, and problems with, transportation, access, short working seasons, inclement weather, and a lack of capital. Although large companies took over the operations with the greatest potential, these, too, eventually subsided at the turn of the century when prices dropped and capital evaporated. [1]

Around this same time, homesteaders gradually moved into the range's major watersheds, following the miners. Small settlements, such as Marblemount on the Skagit and Stehekin at the head of Lake Chelan, grew as supply centers for the mines in the mountainous interior. Homesteaders managed to make a meager living, raising crops and livestock for a local market. They often supplemented their income by packing in mining supplies, by offering their cabins as hostelries, by trapping, and by working outside of the mountains part of the year. Nevertheless, this hard life took its toll; only a relative handful of homesteaders proved up on their claims. Thus much of the land in the North Cascades remained in the public domain by the turn of the century. [2]

Some settlers and entrepreneurs, however, envisioned that the economic future of the region lay not in timber, agriculture, livestock, or mining but in tourism. They did not advocate just any brand of tasteless entertainment, but tourism based on a close and somewhat comfortable encounter with nature. By the turn of the century, some had seized the opportunity to provide more elaborate accommodations for lodging, such as the elegant Field Hotel at the head of Lake Chelan, to cater to the tourists and travelers who at first shared space with, and later outnumbered, miners making their way to this impressive mountain district. The period's upper-class tourists were drawn to the spectacular scenery of mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls; they also wanted to experience the region's renowned fishing and hunting, and climb and explore its peaks, alpine meadows, and valleys by foot or horseback. [3] Their presence here also represented a growing interest in outdoor recreation and mirrored a national "back to nature" movement at the turn of the century when more Americans, faced with a new, urban-industrial society, sought relief for the body and soul in closer contact with wild lands. [4]

Of all the areas in the North Cascades, the Stehekin River Valley at the head of Lake Chelan achieved the greatest popularity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In part, relatively easy access contributed to its popularity. In the 1880s and 1890s, tourists could reach Stehekin by a "civilized" route, which included a train to Wenatchee, a steamboat up the Columbia River to Chelan Falls, a stage up to the town of Chelan, and finally a day-long excursion aboard a comfortable steamer up the fifty-five mile Lake Chelan. More important, the valley offered tourists the sublime and picturesque scenery they so valued. A mysterious and secluded world awaited them at the head of the lake where perpendicular peaks, capped in snow and ice, rose from the shore to heights just under 9,000 feet, towering some 7,000 feet above the level of the lake. Here was scenery, they thought, greater than Switzerland's. [5]

Not surprisingly, early proposals for a national park in the North Cascades focused primarily on the Lake Chelan country. This impressive fjord-like lake and backdrop of high, glacier-chiseled mountains inspired local residents and tourists with its scenic grandeur. This alone, they suggested, warranted turning the northern section of the lake and surrounding high country into a national park similar to Yellowstone, the nation's premier scenic wonder and symbol of the national park idea. At the same time, park advocates believed a park was necessary to curb the "encroachments of civilization...already marring the beauties of nature," and the wanton destruction of "the immense game preserves," namely the cherished populations of elk, deer, and mountain goats. They attributed these problems to increased settlement and visiting trophy hunters staying at several lake hotels. A national park, then, would meet the needs of protection and tourism, and save for the nation a superb example of mountain scenery of "a more varied, beautiful and artistic nature" than is found elsewhere in the "picturesque Northwest." [6]

These were the issues at stake in 1892 when a group of central Washington citizens issued the first proposal to establish a national park for Lake Chelan. Commercial interests in the region, however, did not share the group's opinion. Local boosters represented by Chelan land developer L.H. Woodin, for example, railed against the notion of a national park. Echoing traditional western sentiments, Woodin argued that a park would restrict unfairly an individual's right to use land for his own commercial gain. Woodin's opinions reflected the idea that the public domain was an American birthright -- the right to an abundant supply of free or cheap land. And since most of Lake Chelan and adjacent country was still in the public domain, it represented a resource hinterland for present and future growth. Ironically, he asserted that both the lake country's scenery and natural resources were imperative for future growth because both attracted settlers. Chelan townspeople, therefore, wanted the lake "for business and pleasure." Let the laws of the young Washington State protect the wildlife; neither scenery nor wildlife merited restriction from unfettered use. Thus, Woodin emphatically urged readers to "answer decisively, No!" to the park petition. [7]

The park petition died, lacking support in face of material arguments, but this early exchange would be repeated often whenever the park idea was raised for the northern Cascades. At the heart of the dispute was the schism between preservation and conservation which emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By the 1890s, it was clear that national expansion, with its combined faith in individualism, the market economy, and natural abundance, had depleted large tracts of the nation's "inexhaustible" natural resources. Rising up in response, the conservation movement espoused Progressive era beliefs in efficiency and scientific management of resources as articulated by Theodore Roosevelt's administration and the nation's first scientifically trained forester, Gifford Pinchot. Pinchot, who helped found the U.S. Forest Service in 1905, preached the doctrine of wise use of resources through federal management. His agency came to embody not only this principle but also promoted the concept of managed use as the most effective cure for eliminating wasteful grazing or logging practices, for example, and ensuring that natural resources on all public lands would produce the maximum amount of crops or services for generations to come. But conservation was complex. While Roosevelt and Pinchot found answers to resource problems in the Progressive era's faith in science and regulated use, others, like the naturalist John Muir, supported conservation in order to preserve the last tracts of unmodified nature as America transformed into a more urban-industrial society; wilderness would act as a balm for the ills of modern civilization. [8]

n the North Cascades, as elsewhere in the country, the complexity of the conservation movement seemed naturally to lead to a disagreement over what the proper course was to pursue, for conservation meant different things to different people. The fragile fusion of conservation and preservation interests exploded with the proposal to dam Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park, an episode that symbolized the strength of utilitarian arguments, with their pragmatic and rational emphasis on conservation as a form of wise development. As Pinchot liked to say, "Wilderness is waste," dismissing aesthetic notions of conservation held by Muir as "sentimental." Muir's views, after all, reflected the period's antimodern strain of thought; they were romantic, expressed a longing for the passing frontier that, in turn, fostered an appreciation of the nation's remaining wilderness and led to the protection of some of its most wondrous regions. To Muir, nature offered spiritual renewal; it was the embodiment of the divine spirit, harmonious, and a source of inspiration. It should be revered, not subdued by the new industrial age's machinery and lust for progress. [9]

The idea of a national park in Washington's northern Cascades confronted this division between utilitarian and preservation interests, but the lines between the two were not so clearly drawn. Advocates of a Lake Chelan national park, as well as many scenic preservationists, shared some of Muir's convictions. Like Muir, they promoted parks as places that would benefit national health in a modern society. Moreover, by saving "one of the most picturesque spots in America," they were arguing that national parks were a source of national pride. The national park idea, as historian Alfred Runte asserts, was born out of "cultural nationalism," the concern that nineteenth-century Americans felt for their country's lack of cultural attainments when compared with those of Europe. In their minds, the ageless wonders of the American West -- its time-hewn canyons, ancient trees, and towering mountains -- surpassed the Old World's masterpieces of art and architecture. Preserving monumental scenery for cultural ends proved to be a convincing reason for creating national parks, as exemplified by the first parks, Yellowstone (1872) and Yosemite (1890). That these areas were economically worthless also contributed to their protection. But unlike Muir, many park supporters did not see preservation as an end in itself, for they also strongly believed that saving places like Lake Chelan as a national park would promote economic growth. In this respect, the economic argument helped scenic preservationists justify parks and ensure their protection, especially with loss of Hetch Hetchy, by meeting the utilitarian arguments of their opponents. In the years after Hetch Hetchy, they successfully championed parks as economic engines for tourism, as well as places for physical and spiritual well-being. Parks, in short, were for people. [10]

Although this justification for parks worked well for the next half-century, the idea of a park in the northern Cascades was nurtured slowly throughout the late 1890s and early 1900s. News of the range's scenic wonders spread through regional newspapers and national magazines with reports about mountaineers, geologists, and adventuresome tourists trekking through the Stehekin country and surrounding mountains, all of whom extolled the range's "primeval grandeur." In 1899, for example, William G. Steel, who championed the cause of Crater Lake National Park, described the Portland Mazamas' climb up Mount Sahale in euphoric prose that bordered on a religious experience: "Each moment we were more and more enraptured of the scene; each moment more helpless to express the deep emotion in our hearts." [11]

With this burst of enthusiasm, another national park proposal surfaced when Canadian-born artist Julian E. Itter proposed that the Lake Chelan country be set aside as a national park in 1906. In January of that year, Itter displayed his paintings of the Lake Chelan country's enchanting natural beauty before a Seattle audience and received wide acclaim. Itter's popularity, in part, demonstrated that an appreciation of wilderness had developed in urban settings. Seattle residents, especially its business leaders and members of the Mountaineers, the city's climbing club, understood the value of natural wonders to the local economy, urban identity, and recreation with the popularity of the recently established Mount Rainier National Park (1899). Buoyed by the reception of his paintings, Itter may have been motivated to propose a national park for Lake Chelan and surrounding mountains some two months later. Striking a familiar theme, the artist promoted a park, similar in size to the 1892 proposal, as a scenic wonder certain to draw tourists to the region, just as Yosemite had done for California. More important, visitors would find that this magnificent country rivaled both Yosemite and Yellowstone in scenic grandeur. [12]

Itter's idea received support from the Mazamas, the Seattle, Spokane, and Wenatchee chambers of commerce, the Chelan Commercial Club, and the "See America First" league, but his whirlwind campaign soon withered when Chelan residents protested the park proposal as an outside threat to the local mining industry -- "the chief source of future wealth for the Chelan country." Ironically, no large-scale mining operations existed, yet park opponents argued persuasively that given the choice between a park and the mining industry they would choose the latter which, once developed, would produce "almost unbounded wealth." [13]

Desperate, perhaps, to appease commercial interests, Itter suggested that the proposed park could accommodate mining, and that a park might even further the development of mining operations by attracting wealthy tourists who would invest in their holdings. When he made this statement, Itter may have been thinking of the mining clause in Mount Rainier's establishing legislation, or he simply believed, as many did at the turn of the century, that the main purpose of a park was the protection of its primary wonders rather than its larger natural values. Nevertheless, Washington's congressional delegation did not believe that such a balance of mining and scenic preservation could be achieved, that ultimately a park would prohibit mining, and that purchasing mining claims would be too costly. Moreover, a parsimonious Congress was averse to creating parks because it did not want to fund their operations; Mount Rainier's meager budgets attested to this. Instead, Congress treated new park propositions as ploys to boost the local tourist economy at the expense of the federal government. Anticipating these problems, the state's congressional representatives sided with Chelan's vocal mining interests and did not introduce legislation. [14]

Though it failed, the 1906 proposal advanced several important elements of the park idea in the northern Cascades. First, for the most part, local interests resisted establishing a national park because they envisioned that the future of their community hinged on the development of the region's natural resources. They placed more faith in a potential mine to produce "unbounded wealth" than they did a national park. Second, Itter's willingness to allow mining and Congress' attitude toward parks pointed up that national parks suffered from the lack of a clear purpose. Until the creation of the National Park Service in 1916, no standards for national parks existed and few people had a clear concept of what a national park was: spa or nature preserve? Even though Yellowstone and Yosemite set the stage for scenic preservation, by the turn of the century the perception that a national park would boost a local economy contributed to the creation of some decidedly inferior parks and thus to Congress' resistance to their establishment. [15]

Third, an important measure of protection had come to the range in recent years. Empowered by one of the most significant pieces of legislation in conservation history, the Forest Reserve Act of 1891, President Grover Cleveland established the Washington Forest Reserve on February 22, 1897, covering some three and a half million acres. Reaching nearly 150 million acres by the early twentieth century, the forest reserves withdrew unclaimed timberlands from the public domain in the American West to protect them from indiscriminate logging practices and for watershed protection. The Washington Forest Reserve embraced both slopes of the North Cascades, including land west of Mount Baker, from the Canadian border south to Lake Chelan, and extended federal control over most of the land which today comprises North Cascades National Park. [16]

While the forest reserve withdrawal assured that the northern Cascades would remain in public ownership, the reserves were poorly funded by Congress and thus poorly managed by the General Land Office within the Department of the Interior. In 1905, Gifford Pinchot successfully campaigned to have the forest reserves transferred to the newly created Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture. Under Pinchot's leadership, the Forest Service fashioned policies of multiple use and sustained yield, which, as noted above, emphasized programs of forest use for present and future production through scientific management. Pinchot demonstrated this commitment two years later when he changed the name of the reserves to national forests to remove any doubt that forests were for use. Reflecting this change, the Chelan and Washington national forests, whose common boundary was the summit of the North Cascades, were carved out of parts of the former Washington Forest Reserve in 1908. Although the Forest Service's management role was mostly custodial, it developed policies to regulate and promote grazing, timber, water-power projects, mining, and recreational developments. All of these, following Pinchot's principles, were to take into account the needs of local industries first. Thus when it came to creating a national park, scenic preservationists would have to contend with opponents from local communities and commercial interests who had found a strong ally in the Forest Service and the tenets of forest management. [17]

The presence of the Forest Service in the northern Cascades, however, did not diminish enthusiasm for establishing a national park out of some or all of this panorama of craggy peaks during the first two decades of this century. By this time, scenic preservation had evolved into a national movement. Influenced by the nation's rapid transformation from a rural to urban-based society, Americans appreciated nature for recreation and self-affirmation. With a tinge of romance, Americans envisioned rural life and the outdoors as an escape from the grimy, crowded, and noisy existence of city life. In addition, marketing scenery proved lucrative to the local tourist economy and was thus an element in defense of protecting scenic wonders, such as national parks. In the years surrounding World War I, the "See America First" movement typified the popularity of scenic preservation. It convinced many Americans with new-found leisure time to seek out the scenic grandeur of the American West, particularly its national parks, by rail and later, with the onset of the automobile revolution, by car. [18]

In the main, preservationists hoped that another park in Washington's Cascade Range would enhance the state's status as a "scenic summer playground" for both residents and tourists. The Spokane Chamber of Commerce, for example, took the lead in promoting Lake Chelan for national park status in 1916, proclaiming that "Another great national park in Washington will simply kindle additional interest in the hearts of Americans to visit the northwest during the summer time and will be a great aid in the entertainment of our rapidly growing army of tourist travelers." Already many national parks had been opened to automobiles, and the designation of the Parks-to-Parks Highway promised to entice more easterners to visit the Northwest. Once developed for tourists, a Lake Chelan national park would be "one of the greatest assets in this state," like Mount Rainier National Park, "to lure travelers to the great American Alps." [19]

The qualifications of the northern Cascades for a national park seemed indisputable. Novelist and national park advocate Mary Roberts Rinehart endorsed the range's park qualities after visiting the Lake Chelan-Glacier Peak country in 1916. "It is superb," she declared, and should be a national park, for there is "no other word for it." [20] Rinehart and other scenic preservationists, however, would be disappointed. No legislation was introduced for a park in the Lake Chelan-Glacier Peak country. In addition, numerous bills were introduced to create a national park around the Mount Baker area between 1916 and 1921, but they failed to secure congressional approval. [21]

It was with a small amount of irony that these park petitions and bills faltered, for the most part, because the National Park Service opposed them. With its creation in 1916, the Park Service set out to administer the system of national parks by bringing order to their chaotic management, setting standards to keep inferior parks out of the system, and strengthening their preservation through national publicity and the development of park roads and tourist accommodations to attract visitors and ensure the parks' political support. The agency's energetic leader, Stephen T. Mather, masterminded this practical mix of business and preservation in order to assure a conservative Congress that his bureau was worth funding; it also enabled him to overcome the opposition of the Forest Service to aesthetic conservation of any kind and the establishment of the Park Service itself.

Standards played an important part in Mather's decision not to pursue a park in Washington's northern Cascades. From the beginning Mather's small bureau was inundated with numerous proposals for new parks, many of them of poor quality, and he had created park standards so that only "areas large enough, primitive enough, and/or unique enough to be national in interest" were added to the system and thereby keeping alive the original national park idea. Based on these new guidelines, Lake Chelan was "just not good enough." On the other hand, the proposed Mount Baker national park, which included Mount Shuksan, was not suitable primarily because its signature features -- a volcanic cone, rugged mountain crest, and immense glacier systems -- too closely resembled "the features of Mount Rainier National Park, which represents the noblest example of this type of scenery." [22]

The fifth national park and Washington's first, Mount Rainier set a precedent for national parks in the Pacific Northwest. In this respect, all new park proposals in the Cascades competed with Mount Rainier's scenic grandeur and its ranking as the range's highest peak. The mountain, hovering above the skyline of the Puget Sound, symbolized the monumentalism at the heart of the national park idea. For this reason, the Park Service was not inclined to consider proposals for solitary peaks in the northern Cascades, such as Mount Baker or Glacier Peak, for fear that the addition of more peaks would diminish the significance of Mount Rainier -- an argument which maverick conservationist Willard Van Name called "indefensible nonsense" concocted by Mather to dodge demands for additional parks. [23] Mount Rainier also established a precedent for the commercial advantages associated with a national park. The nationally renowned peak was coveted by both Seattle and Tacoma as a drawing card for a lucrative tourist business. Bellingham residents, for example, envisioned for Mount Baker a kind of tourist paradise similar to Mount Rainier that only a national park and Park Service management could bring. [24]

There were political reasons as well. The notion of a park in the northern Cascades was opposed by the Forest Service. Since most new parks came from areas of exceptional scenery on national forests, the Park Service grew at the expense of the Forest Service, causing frequent disputes between the bureaus. There conflicts flowed naturally from differing conservation philosophies, the Forest Service representing the principles of utilitarian conservation, the Park Service the principles of scenic preservation. As Mather's biographer keenly noted, "unpleasantness was hard to avoid." Although in time the Park Service would become more aggressive and acquisitive, Mather wanted to maintain friendly relations with the older and more politically powerful Forest Service in his agency's early years. Accordingly, he suspended any investigations of Mount Baker in 1919, honoring an agreement between his agency and the Forest Service to study jointly new park areas which were on national forest lands. [25]

In the Pacific Northwest, Forest Service officials anticipated that some of the most magnificent natural wonders in the northern Cascades, such as the Mount Baker, Lake Chelan, and Glacier Peak regions, would eventually be converted into national parks. They therefore moved to defend the agency's territory. One common argument the agency employed was that park propositions were merely a change in name rather than management. In Mount Baker's case, the Forest Service noted that the proposed park legislation allowed for continued utilitarian management, such as mineral leases, railroad rights of way, water power and irrigation developments, and timber sales. Although some of these uses were eliminated in subsequent bills, the agency interpreted the major thrust of the park proposal as an effort to capitalize on a national park's attraction to tourists and to take advantage of federal appropriations for road construction to open the mountain up to auto tourists. The Forest Service claimed that it could just as easily provide improvements to public campgrounds and implement a road building program as the Park Service. (The Washington National Forest supervisor had in fact presented his own park proposal for the Mount Baker area in 1913.) And thus "the public needs for recreation and pleasure will be quite as well served on the Washington National Forest as they would be on the Baker National Park, and the results could perhaps be obtained much more quickly." [26]

Although somewhat misleading, given the Forest Service's commitment to the commercial management of natural resources, this statement related to another method used to resist the transfer of forest lands to Park Service jurisdiction: recreation. By the 1920s, the park bureau had built a national reputation as the federal agency best-suited to manage areas of exceptional scenery, as well as historic and archaeological features. In the process, it had gained a powerful political constituency, primarily from an urban-based population, because it marketed national parks as wilderness playgrounds at a time when outdoor recreation was experiencing rapid growth. The Forest Service found ways to battle the aggressiveness of its rival agency by claiming its niche in wilderness preservation, something the tourist and development oriented Park Service seemed to overlook. Influenced by the wilderness ideas and advocacy of Aldo Leopold, Arthur Carhart, and Robert Marshall, the Forest Service displayed a budding awareness of aesthetic values in the 1920s with the concept of primitive areas, a classification which set aside forest lands to be managed for their wilderness values. The agency also began to plan more for outdoor recreation which included camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, as well as leasing land for summer homes, hotels, and stores. [27]

By the early 1930s, the Forest Service had prepared recreation plans for all the forests in the northern Cascades, and its new emphasis succeeded in quieting calls for parks when they appeared during this period. In 1926, for example, the service deflected three park proposals. First, when yet another proposal appeared for a Lake Chelan national park, Chelan residents were quick to stress that the Forest Service was providing good protection for the region's scenic beauties, and under these circumstances, they preferred its management to the Park Service's. Second, by that year the Forest Service had accommodated earlier interest in a Mount Baker national park by designating the Mount Baker Park Division, a recreation area of 74,859 acres surrounding the second highest peak in Washington. In addition, the bureau also helped to finance the construction of a road and leased the site for a private lodge at Heather Meadows. And third, when Wenatchee citizens pressed for a national park for Glacier Peak in 1926, they soon changed their proposal in favor of a recreation area managed by the Forest Service. In this way, all interests would be served; Glacier Peak's scenic grandeur would be protected, attract tourists, and keep its natural resources available for commercial development. [28] In 1931, the Forest Service recommended the establishment of the Glacier Peak-Cascade Recreation Area, 233,600 acres which would encompass the peak mostly above timberline. [29] The bureau also extended more permanent protection for wilderness as part of its recreation program. That same year it established the Whatcom Primitive Area (172,800 acres) in the extreme northern portion of the North Cascades east of Mount Baker. In 1935, the service enlarged the area to 801,000 acres; the expanded area, renamed the North Cascades Primitive Area, straddled the spine of the North Cascades -- some of the range's most rugged terrain -- along the Canadian border. [30]

While the Forest Service may have incorporated recreation into its multiple-use doctrine, it wore the preservation mantle reluctantly. Passed in 1929, the regulation creating primitive areas, Regulation L-20, cast doubt on the agency's commitment to wilderness, for it continued to allow road construction, grazing, and logging. The Forest Service, it seemed, was more concerned with wilderness preservation as a way to appease preservationists and fend off Park Service land grabs than as a standard management practice. [31] This became especially clear during the depression of the 1930s, when the New Deal conservation programs placed the Park Service in a position to study a park in the North Cascades for the first time.


Soon after the federal government's reorganization in 1933, the National Park Service began to expand at an unprecedented rate; the park system more than doubled in size with the transfer of national monuments, battlefields, historic sites, and cemeteries from other federal agencies. The agency also assumed a lead role in administering the emergency relief programs, which in turn significantly increased its funding and its number of employees. Moreover, the bureau headed up national recreational planning, primarily because of its expertise and experience in park planning and because the Park, Parkway and Recreation-Area Act of 1936 placed the agency in the lead role. [32]

It was largely through its expanded role in recreation that the Park Service turned its attention to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Cascades. At the request of the National Resources Board, the Park Service submitted a report on "Recreation Use of Land in the United States," which was published in 1934 as part of the board's report on land planning. In its report, the agency listed several proposed park areas. One was a park along the Cascade Range in Oregon and Washington. [33] Three years later, Park Service Director Arno B. Cammerer appointed a five-member study team to follow up on this proposal. Led by Major Owen A. Tomlinson, superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park, the team investigated the entire Cascade Range in Washington, and in a November 1937 report recommended that a national park be established encompassing the length of the range, primarily its rugged, ice-capped peaks, the tentative boundaries covering some 5,000 square miles. [34]

The committee believed that the range, with its chain of five volcanic peaks, St. Helens, Adams, Rainier, Glacier Peak, and Baker, along with its intervening precipitous and glacier-clad mountains, was "unquestionably of national park caliber." It was a bold vision for a national park. The high Cascades (or "Ice Peaks" as it came to be known) would be a kind of "super park," the report's authors asserted, that "will outrank in its scenic, recreational, and wildlife values, any existing national park and any other possibility for such a park within the United States. Establishment of this area as one superb park is an inspiring project to fire the imagination," they concluded, "worthy of the Nation's efforts." [35]

The park proposal ignited controversy almost immediately. Timber and mining interests, the Washington State Planning Council, local communities, and chambers of commerce from around the state clamored loudly against the proposal because they believed that the park would lock up the range's resources and unfairly limit their economic well-being, a particularly harsh reality during the depression. Other factors fueled their outrage, such as the park's immense size, the current battle to create Olympic National Park, and Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes' recent attempts to transfer the Forest Service to his jurisdiction in a remodeled Department of the Interior known as the Department of Conservation. Ickes' involvement, moreover, cast a shadow of conspiracy over the study; it was just another play by the power-hungry and combative Interior Secretary to subject Washington citizens to a kind of federal land-management dictatorship. The Forest Service objected to the proposal by defending its multiple-use management policies for the range, and characterizing the plan as another land grab by its rival agency. Ironically, conservation groups such as the Wilderness Society and the National Parks Association criticized the proposal, too. They asserted that the Park Service's expansion in the 1930s limited its ability to protect wilderness areas and clouded its vision as to whether an area met the highest possible national park standards. However scenic, they maintained, the entire range certainly did not meet national park criteria with its pockets of developments and stretches of ordinary scenery.

Even though there were few park supporters, led by the Northwest Conservation League, the Park Service officials seemed optimistic that their proposal would appeal to a broad spectrum of the American public. They suggested that a national park of such a grand scale could accommodate wilderness preservation, traditional park management for scenic preservation and developments, and even some commercial uses such as mining, which was the most promising but relatively unproven industry in the range. [36] Moreover, Tomlinson and the other committee members thought that the conversion of the range into a park would be easy to achieve since their agency was best suited to manage the nation's premier scenic wonders. With the exception of Mount Rainier National Park, the Forest Service managed all of the land in the proposed park, covering five national forests. Creation of the park would only require a transfer from one agency to the other, rather than an expensive purchase of private lands.

The Forest Service, however, did not share the same opinion. Historically opposed to national parks and smarting from the Olympic National Park battle, the agency and its local and industrial allies fought the Ice Peaks proposal. The bureau relied on tactics that had worked in the past, namely using recreation and wilderness studies or classifications for sections of the range under park study to defeat or at least delay the park proposal.

The main proponent of wilderness for the range was Robert Marshall. As early as 1935, the liberal forester and wilderness advocate had identified the northern Cascades as one of the country's three "great western wildernesses" on national forest land and recommended that the range from Stevens Pass north to the border of the North Cascades Primitive Area be set aside as wilderness, an area of 794,440 acres. No part of the United States, he claimed, was "so well adapted for a wilderness," for this was some of the most rugged, roadless, and beautiful country he had seen. At the time, Marshall worked in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and while a study report was submitted in 1936, the Forest Service never acted on the measure. Marshall, who had become head of the bureau's division of recreation and lands in 1937, seized upon the creation of Olympic National Park in 1938 to renew efforts to gain wilderness classification for the North Cascades. He suggested to Regional Forester C.J. Buck that establishing the Glacier Peak wilderness would prevent the region from being turned into a national park, implying that this had been their agency's critical error on the peninsula. More important, Marshall believed that if the northern Cascades were handed over to the Park Service it would destroy the range's wild character by extending roads "into its heart." Marshall gained some success in 1938 when the Secretary of Agriculture officially approved of the Glacier Peak Recreation Area, comprising 275,200 acres, and in 1939 when Chief Forester Ferdinand A. Silcox, Marshall's superior and friend, reopened the Glacier Peak wilderness for study, temporarily removing it from commercial use. [37]

Marshall's plan, ironically, backfired. The regional forester worried that converting the range to wilderness status would not protect it from park status but only justify its reclassification as a national park. A tireless Marshall tried to persuade local foresters to create the Glacier Peak wilderness as a way to keep it from the Park Service, but to no avail. In September 1939, he conducted what would be his last high country trip through the Glacier Peak region, hoping to resolve this thorny issue, but he had to cut the trip short because of health reasons and died two months later of heart failure. [38] In one of his last letters, he acknowledged the difficult situation created by the furor over the Ice Peaks park study and agreed to delay final wilderness classification, but he stressed that in order for the Forest Service to keep the North Cascades "it seems to me our position would be greatly strengthened if we could show the recreationists that...[we] are... planning to preserve the very values which the Park Service people claim they are especially equipped to preserve." [39]

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Forest Service and Park Service attempted to reconcile their differences after years of jousting and fighting over proposed national parks and park extensions by forming a joint Forest Service-Park Service committee to address these issues. [40] In the spirit of cooperation, the two bureau leaders appointed an interagency committee to study the high Cascades national park. But after their first meeting in the summer of 1939, the group dissolved, as Assistant Chief Forester Leon Kneipp observed, over a "conflict in philosophy and aspirations," but agreed to conduct separate studies, produce separate reports, and cooperate with the Washington State Planning Council. [41]

The council had begun its own study of the Cascade Range in the spring of 1939. In September, the council, under the leadership of Ben Kizer, appointed a seven-member advisory committee to determine, among other things, the feasibility of establishing a high Cascades national park. So as not to prejudice the council's findings, both the Park Service and Forest Service agreed to withhold their reports until the council had reached its own conclusions. But prejudice seemed to be a foregone conclusion. In the fight over Olympic National Park, for example, the planning council had organized the opposition to the park, representing the interests of timber companies, chambers of commerce, and the Forest Service. Although the planning council was ineffective in the park's final legislation, it spoke with a more powerful voice across the Puget Sound, where it conducted seven public hearings on either side of the range. Public response, especially in the state's newspapers, was overwhelmingly against the proposal, since it would drive a wedge between an east-west flow of commerce, halt timber harvests, grazing, and any future mining developments, still considered the most important potential industry in the Cascades. The statement by representatives of north central Washington civic organizations -- that a new national park would be created only over their "dead bodies" -- typified the sentiment of park opponents. [42]

In the spring of 1940, the study teams issued their reports, ending months of apparent secrecy and intensity surrounding the future of the Cascades, and, needless to say, there were few surprises. The Park Service stood by its original recommendation, stressing that the high Cascades deserved to be a national park under its jurisdiction "to insure their greatest productive use on a non-consumptive basis." Stating that, with qualifications, some prospecting and mining would be allowed, the report also tried to soothe park opponents outraged over the proposed park's restrictions on natural resource developments. On the other hand, the Forest Service, as it had in the past, argued that the entire range was not park caliber, and that it could manage the range more democratically, providing commercial and recreational uses of the Cascades that would satisfy the majority. Finally, the Washington State Planning Council recommended that the Forest Service continue to manage the range under multiple-use principles, and strongly advised against the establishment of a new national park in the Cascade Mountains. [43]

The planning council's report, though only a recommendation to the governor, did not defeat the park by itself, but it did demonstrate that Washington residents were decidedly against a new park, and without wide public support, the Park Service could not expect congressional support for the park proposal. One of the main reasons the park proposal could not expect support, as the planning council stressed, was that a Cascades park would preclude resource development. The Columbia River hydroelectric projects, such as the nearly completed Grand Coulee Dam, would supply energy through electrical distribution networks to tap into the range's "great storehouse of raw materials." New Deal conservation was characterized by a holistic view of natural resources and society in which comprehensive planning integrated the needs of society with wise stewardship of the environment. However, preserving natural resources in a national park seemed antithetical to the broader benefits of multiple-purpose dams, for they would provide cheap electricity and regional development by reclaiming desert lands for farming, providing flood control, and thus aiding a disadvantaged population during the environmental and economic disasters of the 1930s. [44]

Although preservation also had its place in the broader scheme of conservation in the New Deal, the National Park Service was not very successful in conveying this message for the Cascades. In part, the hard feelings generated over the establishment and subsequent expansion of Olympic National Park in the late 1930s only served to solidify opposition to a new park in the Cascades. Furthermore, the Olympic situation pointed toward Harold Ickes, who had been instrumental in that park's creation. Silent on the Ice Peaks proposal, Ickes denied any knowledge of it prior to the release of the study committee reports. Nevertheless, critics of the proposed park suspected Ickes was directing the Ice Peaks study, scheming behind closed doors to gain control of the Forest Service. Indeed, Ickes wanted the northern Cascades under Park Service management, perhaps as a consolation prize since it was becoming clear his new department would not be created. In August 1940, he abandoned the park idea for the range after the Cascades study met so much resistance, and directed Park Service officials to draw up plans for a national recreation area that would encompass a similar area, permitting hunting, fishing, prospecting and mining, and water conservation projects. Only in this way, he concluded, would the scenic resources of the high Cascades be liberated from Forest Service management, which "does not recognize the importance of one resource more than another." [45]

In the end, the curmudgeonly secretary of the interior proved to be a liability to the proposed Ice Peaks park. Goaded by Miller Freeman, editor of the Mining World and planning council member, Ickes openly criticized the planning council's study as having a Forest Service bias. In an August 1940 letter to Freeman's journal, he charged that the council had suppressed material on the park proposal (in particular Ickes' concessions to mining), fomented opposition to the study at its public meetings, and expanded its study to include resources in five national forests, giving the public the impression that the park would be much larger than proposed. The exchange eventually drew the response of President Roosevelt who defended his administration's conservation record and Ickes himself. Nevertheless, park critics did not trust Ickes. A year later, while in the Pacific Northwest, Ickes pledged that he would not seek to establish another park in Washington, yet he still maintained that he would like to see recreation areas created, presumably in the Cascades. Individuals like Freeman interpreted this as a thinly veiled attempt to accomplish an earlier agenda, to transfer management of the northern Cascades from the Forest Service to the Park Service. In this political climate, neither a national park nor a recreation area managed by the Park Service would find any public support. [46] With the nation's entrance into World War II, the Ice Peaks proposal faded from sight, an orphan of the New Deal.


By 1941 the Ice Peaks proposal had been roundly defeated. Moreover, with Marshall dead and Silcox following shortly thereafter, two strong wilderness advocates within the Forest Service were gone. In their absence, the agency relaxed the wilderness classification for the North Cascades, noting that the North Cascades Primitive Area provided enough wilderness and that the area Marshall proposed as wilderness never had been approved officially. In addition, the regional forester pointed out that the northern section of Marshall's study area contained the potential for mining operations near Cascade Pass and the possibility of a cross-mountain highway in this vicinity. He thus returned this part of the range to regular multiple-use management. In 1946, instead of creating a wilderness area, the bureau set aside a more modest area of 325,000 acres, the Glacier Peak Limited Area, which granted the region wilderness-type protection but delayed permanent classification until later. [47]

At midcentury, despite its lack of formal wilderness classification, the North Cascades were still one of the most unknown and virtually undeveloped sections of a nation undergoing rapid population and economic growth after World War II. This growth seemed destined to consume the last expanses of American wilderness for material gain. Thus when wilderness preservationists gathered forces in the postwar era, they perceived in Washington's northern Cascades one of the country's "most untouched primeval regions," a sanctuary from the complicated life of modern society, "one of the country's last and perhaps its greatest." [48] Although these words echoed those of Bob Marshall, they were spoken with a greater intensity, a greater sense of urgency, and by larger numbers of concerned Americans.

As the historian Samuel P. Hays has suggested, World War II and its aftermath gave rise to a new generation of Americans who valued the natural world as an amenity of life rather than a commodity for the marketplace. In their minds, preserving the North Cascades as an unaltered wilderness was more important than any kind of natural resource development. Vast social changes in the postwar era underpinned this evolution of popular attitudes towards nature. Rising standards of living, increasing income levels, and growing numbers of Americans attaining higher levels of education helped foster these new environmental values; they were the foundation for the postwar environmental movement and the source of conflicts with the more traditional conservation values that stressed the efficient use of resources. As more middle-class Americans worried less about daily living needs, they expressed a greater concern about their quality of life, which was increasingly linked to the pursuit of the natural world beyond crowded and polluted cities. Their new attitudes were a driving force in why they sought the enjoyment of life's "amenities," according to Hays, in vacations to the nation's forests, parks, and wilderness areas. Yearning to experience natural beauty and escape urban spaces strengthened their support for wildlife protection and wilderness preservation. [49]

The best example of this new concern arose out of the national debates over the future of the nation's remaining wilderness areas, the most significant conservation victory coming in 1956 when conservationists won a hard-fought battle to defeat the Echo Park Dam in Dinosaur National Monument, what historian Roderick Nash has called the American wilderness movement's "finest hour to that date." The Echo Park victory signaled the emergence of a new era in the nation's environmental history, for it not only justified the importance of preserving national parks and wilderness but also marked the growing public support and political clout needed to ensure the preservation of the nation's wild lands. The Echo Park controversy brought together nearly eighty organizations into a national movement and gave national exposure to those groups most closely associated with parks and wilderness, namely the National Parks Association, the Wilderness Society, and the Sierra Club. Afterwards, the Wilderness Society revived the campaign for a national wilderness system, and the Sierra Club achieved a new public image as a hard-hitting, uncompromising national conservation group, under the leadership of its executive director, David Brower. [50]

In the years after World War II, the northern Cascades seemed far removed from the pressures affecting the nation's wild lands, the congestion of its cities, and the explosion of highway construction and car ownership. An estimated fifty-two million automobiles were on the road in the middle of the decade, many of them packing the nation's parks, but the range appeared unaffected; it epitomized the geography of wilderness. It seemed to raise an impenetrable shield to progress, turning back numerous road projects since the turn of the century, leaving the heart of the range a wild country so primitive and vast that it seemed forever new and waiting to be explored. Indeed, even the Beat Generation's most potent symbol of car culture, Jack Kerouac, reached the end of the road here in the summer of 1956, when he came to work as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak. [51]

More compelling proof could be found in the community of Stehekin. In the second half of the twentieth century, no road reached it (though a unimproved road ran the length of the valley). Stehekin was much as it had been in the late nineteenth century. Some thirty year-round residents inhabited the lower ten miles of the Stehekin River Valley and lived mostly subsistence lifestyles, hunting, gardening, and bartering. Here in an age of sweeping change a fragment of the frontier persisted in mythical proportions -- a remote, preindustrial world, isolated from progress. As one admirer noted romantically, nature seemed in control here, and for this reason Stehekin remained beyond the modern highway, automobiles, and thus "the currents of American life racing past the mountain barriers around it." [52]

In the 1950s, however, the Forest Service shattered this illusion when it began to reevaluate national forests, including the North Cascades, to meet the demands of the postwar housing boom and the pressures of a rising population. For the first time, the range seemed vulnerable as the agency considered a variety of uses for the region, including timber harvests, mining, construction of a cross-mountain highway over Cascade Pass, as well as wilderness classification for the Glacier Peak Limited Area. In the postwar planning for the greatest production and wisest use of the nation's limited supply of natural resources, the Forest Service would ultimately decide how much of the North Cascades would be thrown open to development and how much would remain as wilderness. This new turn of events forced conservationists to consider how best to protect the northern Cascades as one of the nation's finest alpine wildernesses -- national forest or national park?

At first the Forest Service seemed to be the logical choice for preserving the wilderness of the North Cascades. It had managed the region since early in the century, after all. Foresters like Bob Marshall had pioneered its wilderness philosophy, and Marshall himself had proposed a vast wilderness for the range. Yet there were reasons to question the bureau's commitment to wilderness management in the 1950s. To conservationists, the Forest Service's multiple-use policy, though it implied managing forests for a balance of timber, range, water, wildlife, recreation, and other resources, seemed to favor timber harvests over wilderness preservation. Under the leadership of Chief Forester Richard McArdle and during a Republican administration, the bureau prepared to meet society's demands for wood by adopting a more aggressive management style. This involved cooperating with private industry, "upping the cut" on national forests to operate the agency in the black, building logging roads for timber access, and conducting a timber resources review to assess the future of the nation's timber supply, which, it concluded, could only be maintained through intensive management. [53]

David Brower and the Sierra Club worked hard to have the agency guarantee wilderness protection in its management plans, but a series of confrontations, highlighted by the reduction of Oregon's Three Sisters Primitive Area for logging, led them to conclude that the Forest Service could not be trusted to protect wilderness permanently. Even under the "U regulations," which provided stricter wilderness protection, wilderness was still an administrative measure and often viewed as a temporary classification employed until an area was ready to log. In 1955, during the clash over the Three Sisters, McArdle informed Brower that wilderness constituted only one kind of recreational use. It was restrictive and enjoyed by a relatively small number of people, and to make wilderness a permanent classification would not be in the interests of society's current needs. Therefore, in the spirit of multiple use, the service would designate as wilderness only those areas that had the slightest commercial values and where wilderness represented "the highest form of public use." This policy, as conservationists witnessed, informed the agency's decision to redraw the boundaries around the Three Sisters Primitive Area to exclude lands for timber harvests, leaving just the high country of rocks and ice as wilderness. [54]

In 1956, the Forest Service unveiled similar plans for Glacier Peak in Washington's North Cascades. Especially alarming were proposals to open timber sales in the Stehekin Valley and the Agnes Creek drainage and to build a road down Bridge Creek to the Stehekin Valley once a cross-mountain highway was constructed. Alerted to the crisis, Pacific Northwest conservation groups, such as the Mountaineers and Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, joined forces with the Sierra Club (which had opened its first chapter in the region in 1954) to lobby the Forest Service to expand its Glacier Peak wilderness study to include all of Bob Marshall's original proposal. In this way they sought to prevent the destruction of this pristine country and ensure "the preservation of the maximum wilderness area." [55]

Conservation groups favored diplomacy initially because they feared that a confrontation with the bureau might compromise the progress of the recently introduced national wilderness bill. They also believed that Marshall's legacy was strong; it held out a glimmer of hope that the Forest Service might honor his memory in its wilderness study. The Wilderness Society, for example, kept Marshall's interest in the North Cascades alive after World War II by featuring the region in its house organ, The Living Wilderness, reminding readers that the fate of this magnificent country was still undecided but pressured by a modern society. As early as 1949, the society urged the Forest Service to reopen the study of the Glacier Peak wilderness, outlined by Marshall. Though the service deferred reclassifying the area, conservationists, such as the Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, continued to petition the bureau for a similar study in the mid-1950s. In 1956, Seattle's Mountaineers even submitted its own study and recommendations to the bureau requesting that the Forest Service consider Marshall's "far-reaching wisdom" in the boundaries he chose for its wilderness evaluation. [56]

The Mountaineers' proposal emphasized Marshall's ideal of wilderness. In a mechanized society with a swelling population, it was important to set aside a region that was unscarred by logging and "unencumbered by roads" so Americans could "gain the pioneer feeling of isolation and adventure so necessary for retention of sanity in our day and age." The boundaries embraced all of the Glacier Peak country's magnificent beauty -- from its lowland forests to its rugged alpine peaks -- and extended protection to those areas the Forest Service had earlier excluded for resource developments. Although the primary reason for contesting the Forest Service's plans was to protect the virgin forests in the river valleys approaching the high country of the North Cascades, mining was especially troubling. The bureau could not legally prevent it in wilderness and typically drew wilderness boundaries to avoid conflicts with future mining developments. Nevertheless, Philip Zalesky, author of the Mountaineers' report on Glacier Peak, concluded that the wilderness boundary should include all of Marshall's original acreage "regardless of any previous conjectures made concerning ore bodies." Wilderness values "should be allowed to stand on their own merit." [57]

Marshall's memory and his conception of the North Cascades as a true wilderness, however, were not enough to persuade Forest Service officials to expand their study. Regional Forester J. Herbert Stone, not known for his love of wilderness, decided to evaluate only the existing limited area -- because mining, timber, and highway construction had been the main reasons for reducing Marshall's recommendation in the first place. The agency's preliminary report, issued on February 7, 1957, confirmed what conservationists had come to expect from the Forest Service. As Grant McConnell wrote, for all its friendly talk about "non-market values," the Forest Service was still the Forest Service and was "mainly concerned about the maximization of cellulose." The Glacier Peak wilderness report recommended an area of 434,000 acres. While larger than the limited area, it excluded the Stehekin-Cascade Pass region from wilderness and at the same time called for roads up many of the range's forested river valleys for logging and roadside recreation, all of which demonstrated that, just as in the Three Sisters study, the agency valued the forests of the North Cascades more for the market than for wilderness recreation. [58]

Fresh from its victory at Dinosaur, the Sierra Club mounted a similar, yet smaller, campaign to force the Forest Service to reconsider its position, using the most effective tool in the embryonic wilderness movement -- publicity -- to raise the issue to a national level. Like Dinosaur's fantastically-shaped canyons, the North Cascades were an unknown wilderness jewel certain to be lost before Americans even knew what they had. Through pamphlets, illustrated articles in the Sierra Club Bulletin, and high country trips, the Sierra Club sent this message to the nation. The Wilderness Society, among other groups, also gave the issue coverage and even held its 1957 annual meeting below Glacier Peak, as the society's leader, Howard Zahniser noted, "to deliberate on the future of wilderness." Brower, who had captivated the public with dramatic images and descriptions of wilderness during the Dinosaur fight, built on this theme in his film, "Wilderness Alps of Stehekin." Released in 1958, the short color film featured children hiking through the high country in pillars of sunlight with "America the Beautiful" playing in the background. Similar to Brower's film about Dinosaur, "Wilderness Alps of Stehekin" became quite popular, was shown widely by local conservation groups, and circulated to public officials and members of Congress. In addition, the Glacier Peak cause received national coverage when stories appeared in Sunset Magazine and the New York Times, when Ansel Adams photographed the northern Cascades for a display in New York, and when U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas drew attention to it through his own wilderness travels and writings. [59]

All of these works conveyed the message that the fate of the range's incredible scenery and unspoiled wilderness hung in the balance of the Forest Service's short-sighted plans. The issues at stake in the North Cascades were the same as those facing the country's remaining wild lands in postwar America. Their future was now, and the Sierra Club, based on an intensive study of the region by David Simons, asserted that the bureau should consider the range in the interest of the nation rather than local saw mills. Only by using qualitative rather than quantitative values, however, could the Forest Service serve the national interest and preserve the range's highest values -- its scenic and wilderness qualities. And this could only happen, as activists like Grant McConnell argued, if the Forest Service reformed the rather outmoded policy of multiple use to reflect these values. Otherwise wilderness lovers could not expect to see the northern Cascades preserved. [60]

In 1959, McConnell's prediction seemed to come true. That year the Forest Service released a revised proposal for the Glacier Peak wilderness of 422,925 acres, a reduction of approximately 11,000 acres from its first plan. This revised plan called for even deeper indentations into the "wilderness core" in order to extend roads farther up the valleys of the Suiattle and Chiwawa rivers and Railroad Creek. The new boundaries incised the wilderness area from the west and east, giving it the appearance of a starfish, easily severed at its center by roads. Regional Forester Stone explained that these new boundaries were in "harmony with the multiple-use concept of national forest management." When constructed the roads would provide greater access to the wilderness area, markedly increase roadside recreation in the valleys leading to the wilderness, and allow access to patented mining claims. [61]

Stone's plan sent a clear message to members of the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Mountaineers, and the recently formed North Cascades Conservation Council: the agency had lost its way in its dedication to wilderness preservation. "Where are the blazes with which Bob Marshall marked the trail toward wilderness?" asked David Brower after the plan was released. How was the trail "so obviously, so tragically lost as to permit the present Glacier Peak proposal ever to emerge from the agency he served so well?" [62] In the fall of 1959, the Forest Service held two public hearings on the plan in Wenatchee and Bellingham. Over one hundred people testified, and greater than half favored the Mountaineers' proposal. The Mountaineers spoke for many wilderness activists when they called the plan and its new excisions "a mockery" of the idea of wilderness conceived by more wilderness-minded foresters like Marshall. Although the testimony and protests of conservationists had no effect on the regional forester's final decision, a flood of nearly one thousands letters protesting the plan reached Secretary of Agriculture Ezra T. Benson, which evidently influenced his decision. Before officially approving the area on September 6, 1960, he added Agnes Creek and the Suiattle River corridor to the final wilderness boundaries, bringing the total to 458,505 acres, and directed that the Cascade Pass-Stehekin River country should be managed, primarily, for scenic recreation. [63]

This final concession did little to assuage conservationists. Quite to the contrary, it cemented their decision to propose a national park for the North Cascades. In this way they could preserve all of the range proposed by Marshall for wilderness. Wilderness advocates had debated the park idea since the beginning of the Glacier Peak study but chose to wait for the Forest Service's decision. On the one hand, the idea of preserving the range as a national park, while not new, illustrated the extent to which wilderness activists had grown disenchanted with the Forest Service's wilderness policies in the late 1950s. A park seemed to offer the most practical alternative to saving the wilderness of the North Cascades. Under the Forest Service, wilderness received only administrative protection and therefore the agency was not accountable to Congress and the American people. National parks, however, represented the nation's premier form of scenic preservation; parks were legally bound to protect wilderness, for the most part, by their enabling legislation and the Park Service's Organic Act. On the other hand, the park choice raised the question of whether the Park Service could preserve the range as true wilderness. Or would the agency, as Bob Marshall had predicted, drive "roads into its heart."

It was this last point conservation groups grappled with before backing the park proposal. Preservationists had reason to be hopeful that the North Cascades would become the nation's "greatest wilderness parkland." As the historian Mark Harvey suggests, the Dinosaur victory "resoundingly reaffirmed" the sanctity of the national park system -- strengthening the Park Service's unimpaired doctrine of 1916 -- and firmly associated the protection of national parks with wilderness preservation in the public mind. But they also had reason to be cautious. The irony of victory was that while wilderness defenders strengthened parks to outside threats, the real threats to parks were coming from within during the postwar travel boom. Public appreciation and support of parks came with a price. It was the old dilemma of preservation and use but in proportions far greater than during the Park Service's publicity campaigns of the 1920s. In 1946, nearly twenty-three million tourists visited the national park system, up nearly 40 percent from before the war. By the mid-1950s, that figure had almost doubled, with close to 100 percent of park visitors entering the parks in automobiles. To make matters worse, the parks were not prepared to handle such a deluge of tourists. The parks faced a crisis; the war years had left them underfunded and understaffed, and their facilities rundown. In 1956, the Park Service answered the crisis with Mission 66, a ten-year, billion dollar development program to bring park facilities up to standards. [64]

The major emphasis of the program, preservationists observed, was to improve the parks for the motoring masses rather than to uphold the high standard of wilderness purity. Mission 66, for example, expanded the carrying capacity of national parks to handle an estimated eighty million automobile tourists by the agency's fiftieth anniversary (1966) by adding more overnight accommodations, building visitor centers, and constructing park roads. David Brower and other Sierra Club leaders denounced the program, championed by Park Service Director Conrad Wirth, as antithetical to wilderness preservation in national parks because it emphasized too much development. They cited highly controversial highway projects, such as the Tioga Pass Road in Yosemite, as examples of the program's insensitivity to wilderness protection.

While Wirth defended such projects as well planned and necessary for better access and safety, he also tried to disarm his critics through a promotional campaign that portrayed Mission 66 as "a wilderness preservation program," stressing that "clearly" national parks were meant to "preserve wilderness values" and that the program's developments would provide a form of wilderness protection by relieving the pressures inflicted on park resources by the flood of auto tourists and simultaneously increasing public use as a means to justify preservation. Wirth's promotion, however, rang of the Park Service's old formula for success, and convinced few conservationists that Mission 66 would advance park preservation. [65]

Curiously, at the same time Brower and other wilderness activists were criticizing the Park Service's redevelopment program and the threat it posed to wilderness, they were also pushing for a national park to protect the wilderness of the northern Cascades. By the time the final Forest Service plan appeared for Glacier Peak, however, preservationists had come to terms with the paradoxes associated with national park management, and were in general agreement that a national park for the North Cascades represented the best way to protect the range as a wilderness sanctuary. [66]

Perhaps one of the most important exchanges about the park decision took place between Grant McConnell and David Brower in 1958. While it was true that the Park Service had its problems of tourists hordes and overdevelopment, McConnell noted, it could provide the kind of permanent protection for the region which the Forest Service could not. Without concern for commercial resource use, the Park Service could protect the range's forests, prevent mining (especially with the Kennecott Mining Company's interests on Miners Ridge near Glacier Peak), and design roads and developments that were sensitive to scenic preservation rather than focused on clearcuts. McConnell also knew that a national park could embrace Stehekin and the valley road omitted from Forest Service plans. Finally, because of campaigns like the one that saved Dinosaur, the general public would be more mobilized to support a national park for the range; parks were more widely understood and cherished than Forest Service wilderness areas. Thus, McConnell concluded, given the Forest Service's Glacier Peak proposal, a "National park for the Northern Cascades is the only genuine and possible solution to the area's problems." [67]

Brower agreed. Contradicting his earlier criticism of the Park Service's Mission 66 program, he stated that "this wrath comes from an honest difference of opinion between groups of people working for the same goal -- preservation of national parks and their primary asset of wilderness." True, Brower acknowledged, the Mission 66 program "is a construction program," but, echoing Conrad Wirth, "the NPS constructs to preserve -- just as the National Gallery had to be constructed to preserve." Moreover, the Park Service could protect the area proposed for wilderness by Marshall (and the Mountaineers) just as it had in Kings Canyon, and unlike the Forest Service make the declaration last. "We have the tremendous advantage, working with the Park Service, of knowing that all of us seek the same ends -- sustenance for the national soul, not the local mill." [68]

By early 1959, the National Parks Association, Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, the Sierra Club, North Cascades Conservation Council, the Mountaineers, and the Cascadians had endorsed a national park for the North Cascades, generally, and requested that the Forest Service suspend its study and invite the Park Service to study the range for its national park caliber. [69] Bolstering its case, the Sierra Club introduced David Simons' study of the North Cascades entitled "The Need for Scenic Resource Conservation in the Northern Cascades of Washington." Simons argued for a national park of some 1.3 million acres, expanding Marshall's original boundaries to include the lowland forests on the west and east sides of the range, most of Lake Chelan, the Cascade Pass-Stehekin River country, and Harts Pass. The Forest Service, however, refused conservationists' requests stating that it was fully qualified to assess all of the range's values. [70]

The Forest Service's refusal spoke to its long-standing jurisdictional rivalry with the Park Service over the status of the nation's pristine lands. More specifically, the study proposal reopened old wounds dating back to the Ice Peaks study of the late 1930s, which would make any concessions on the part of the Forest Service slim. For their part conservationists believed they were on solid ground with their park proposal and quoted repeatedly from the 1937 report that a national park in the northern Cascades "would outrank in its scenic, recreational, and wildlife values, any existing national park and any other possibility for such a park within the United States." Park advocates used this observation as irrefutable evidence of the range's park caliber. Ironically, they were trying to protect the wilderness Bob Marshall had wanted to save using the same Park Service study he had opposed. Only now, it seemed, Marshall's agency had abandoned his ideals and it was left to the Park Service and the creation of a national park to realize his vision.

As the Dinosaur campaign had proven, a national park symbolized the nation's wilderness heritage and the public's growing involvement in its preservation. Thus conservationists banked on a national park's widespread popular appeal to bring about the park study. But the park study issue dragged on for several years and evolved into one of the most hotly debated and politicized topics of the burgeoning environmental movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The poor relations between the Forest Service and Park Service continued to characterize the issue. In March 1959, Washington Congressman Thomas Pelly intervened on behalf of conservation groups and asked the Park Service to conduct a study of the range, only to be told by Director Conrad Wirth that his agency could not embark on such a project without the Forest Service's permission, according to legal statute. Both Chief Forester Richard McArdle and Agriculture Secretary Benson ignored the Park Service and secretary of the interior's requests for a joint study, and it was half a year later before McArdle replied to Pelly denying his request. McArdle stated, in a rather lengthy letter, that his bureau's fifty-year management history served as enough reason for his rejection, as did the 1936 Recreation Area Study Act which, essentially, exempted Forest Service lands from investigations by the Park Service without the former agency's permission. For his part, Wirth bridled at McArdle's snub and his public comments against a park in the North Cascades. He informed the interior secretary that he had sought assistance in good faith but "had not had the courtesy of a reply." [71]

At this point, the park struggle entered the political arena and moved beyond the control of the Forest Service. Expressing great disappointment in the Forest Service's decision, Congressman Pelly continued to press the study issue, and with the assistance of the Interior Department and leaders of the North Cascades park campaign introduced legislation in the next two sessions of Congress to initiate a Park Service study of the range. Although Pelly's legislation died, it served notice that there was growing grassroots support across the nation for a national park study in the North Cascades. In 1961 the North Cascades Conservation Council presented Pelly a petition containing nearly 22,000 signatures from almost every state in the union in favor of a park study. [72] That same year, Washington's senators, Warren G. Magnuson and Henry M. Jackson, prevailed on Orville L. Freeman, the new Secretary of Agriculture in John F. Kennedy's administration, to develop a forest management plan for the area north of the Glacier Peak Wilderness, among other disputed regions in their state. [73]

To this end, Freeman imposed a moratorium on logging in the region on June 7, 1961, until the Forest Service had conducted a long-range management plan. But this only brought temporary relief. In March 1962, when the Forest Service released its high mountain management policy for Washington's Cascade Mountains, it confirmed conservationists' belief that the bureau's intent was logging not scenic preservation. The plan proposed to create landscape management areas in which limited commercial logging would continue in the approach valleys and high country of the North Cascades, provided that clear cuts (or "patch cuts") were designed in such a way that panoramic scenery appeared unimpaired from roads and trails. But after examining the plan closely, conservationists criticized the Forest Service for placing too much emphasis on timber harvests and failing to protect some of the most impressive views of the range. Leaders in the park campaign believed that if they were to have any chance at preserving the North Cascades as a national park, they would have to prevent the Forest Service from ruining the range's spectacular scenery beforehand. In June, Pelly once more asked Freeman to impose a moratorium on logging -- this time below four thousand feet in twenty key valleys and to suspend any long-term development projects in the region -- until a national park study could be completed. But now, with the high mountain policy in hand, the secretary denied the request, noting that half of the area's on Pelly's list would not be developed for the next five years, but the remaining areas would. [74]

In the early 1960s, the Forest Service's resistance to the park study ran counter to the urgency expressed by increasing numbers of Americans demanding the preservation of more wild lands and a clean environment. Groups such as the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, and Audubon Society were aggressively pursuing preservation, gaining in membership, and becoming a formidable political influence. In 1958, Congress had created the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission to study the recreational needs of the nation, and many of the recommendations in its 1962 report would form the basis for the establishment of new recreation areas, national seashores and parks throughout the decade. Ecology also emerged as a household word, and the health of humans and their relationship to the natural world came into sharper and sometimes shocking focus. Published in 1962, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring set the tone for modern environmentalism by pointing out the potential human health hazards associated with pesticide use and the necessity of environmental protection. The following year, Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall raised the level of national consciousness about environmental stewardship with the publication of The Quiet Crisis, which traced the history of the American conservation movement and set a program for the future. As Kennedy's Interior Secretary, Udall had embarked on one of the most ambitious conservation programs of the postwar era, dedicated, with Kennedy's blessing, to wilderness preservation and expansion of the national park system. [75]

In 1963, the North Cascades study moved to center stage in the Kennedy administration's conservation program when two of its priority items, the wilderness bill and the land and water conservation fund, were delayed in Congress. Looking for public support of a conservation program that seemed stalled, Kennedy was able to announce in February that both Freeman and Udall had achieved a "milestone in conservation progress." The previous month, the two secretaries had agreed to settle many long-standing jurisdictional disputes between the Forest Service and Park Service, what was informally called the "Treaty of the Potomac." One of the key components featured in this "new era of cooperation" was a joint study by the two departments to determine whether the North Cascades merited national park status. Shortly thereafter, the five-member study team, composed of two representatives of the Department of Agriculture and three of the Department of the Interior, embarked on an investigation which lasted some two and a half years. [76]

In their letter to Edward C. Crafts, chairman of the study team, the secretaries related that the study team's mission was to investigate all federal lands in Washington's North Cascade Mountains from Washington Pass north to the Canadian border "to determine the management and administration of those lands that will best serve the public interest." While they recognized they had handed Crafts "a complex, difficult, and controversial assignment," they were anxious that the study team arrive at recommendations that were "soundly based and in the interest of the people of the area, the State of Washington, the region, and the United States." [77] It was a rather daunting task. Consider the six major issues the study team outlined:

1. Should there be a new national park?

2. How much wilderness is enough?

3. How best to provide for the more conventional types of recreation desired by the great mass of people?

4. How to reconcile national and local interests when the two appear to conflict?

5. How to utilize and manage the timber resources in harmony with other multiple uses of the area?

6. The extent to which scenic roads should be an essential ingredient in making the North Cascades available to large numbers of people. [78]

Consider also the public interest in the outcome of the study. Park and wilderness advocates wanted the maximum amount of the North Cascades preserved, whereas traditional resource industries such as timber and mining supported continued multiple-use management under the Forest Service as the optimum way to secure their economic growth. Likewise, outdoor recreation groups such as hunters, skiers, boaters, fishermen, and off-road vehicle users wanted their interests ensured as well in the final outcome; and similarly, Seattle City Light worried that wilderness or park classifications would interfere with its existing and future projects on the Skagit River. Local communities dependent on the timber economy also worried about their futures and how they would support services such as public schools. And finally, Washington State had a large stake in the investigation, with concerns ranging from fish and wildlife management to highway construction. The team held public hearings in Seattle, Wenatchee, and Mount Vernon in October 1963 to introduce the study. By the time the hearing record was closed on November 15, nearly 2,600 people had given oral or written statements; an overwhelming majority favored establishing a national park in the North Cascades. The turnout and written statements foreshadowed future hearings as the park moved toward completion.

An important contribution to the record and the argument for a national park was the submission of the North Cascades Conservation Council's Prospectus for a North Cascades National Park. The council by now had become the lead group heading up the park campaign and the Prospectus presented a solid case for establishing a park for the first time. Edited by Michael McCloskey, a lawyer, Northwest conservation representative for the Sierra Club, and consultant to the North Cascades Conservation Council, the document reflected McCloskey's belief that conservationists needed a clear policy statement if they were to court public opinion for the park cause. The 120-page document detailed the national park quality of the range, the inadequacies of Forest Service management, the advantages of Park Service management, the economic benefits a park would bring through tourism, and draft legislation for a park that would encompass an area similar to the one identified by David Simons in the late 1950s. The park would set aside some 1.3 million acres from roughly the Skagit River south to Stevens Pass, including all of the highly scenic areas left unprotected in Forest Service management plans, as well as the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area. Moreover, the park legislation, written by McCloskey, set down guidelines for minimizing conflicts with existing commodity uses, such as the well-established sport hunting industry located on the eastern side of the range. For this reason the legislation offered a large park and a "Chelan Mountain Recreation Area," of some 270,000 acres, where hunting would be permitted. The draft bill was also very specific about how the Secretary of the Interior could acquire private land, manage the park, compensate local counties suffering temporary economic hardships from reduced timber sales, and provide local residents employment opportunities in the park's management. [79]

The document represented a significant advance in conservation crusades because it provided not only a policy statement but a blueprint for action on the part of elected and agency officials. By the end of 1964, the Prospectus had won the endorsement of all conservation groups involved in the North Cascades campaign. However, it would take more to join the two feuding bureaus in a united vision for the future of the North Cascades. The North Cascades Study Team may have constituted a major advance in land-use planning and was a major achievement in park movement, but the wide-ranging study had at its center the park question and ultimately this proved to be its most divisive issue. [80]

As the team's recommendations suggest, the park issue continued to reflect the jurisdictional dispute between two powerful federal agencies. Intensely loyal to their agencies, the team members found no common ground on the park proposal. The Forest Service recommended retaining the region north of Cascade Pass under its jurisdiction and voted against creating a new national park in the region. Instead of a park, it proposed managing the area under current management policies with more emphasis on recreation. It advanced its recent plan to designate this much-disputed section as the Eldorado Peaks High Country of 537,000 acres, a more formal plan based on its high mountain policy and the Secretary of Agriculture's 1960 directive for the creation of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. The bureau reaffirmed its commitment to manage this country, cherished by wilderness preservationists, primarily for its scenic values but also "to open it up and develop it for the use and enjoyment of the large numbers of people who desire other kinds of outdoor recreation and those unable to engage in wilderness travel." In addition, it proposed some small additions to the northern section of the Glacier Peak Wilderness of some 20,000 acres, the creation of the North Cascades Wilderness Area, 813,000 acres, from the former primitive area by the same name, and continued maintenance of the Mount Baker Recreation Area. [81]

On the other hand, the Park Service recommended the establishment of two new national parks -- one centered around Mount Baker and the Picket Range west of Ross Lake and from the Skagit River north to the Canadian border, and the other centered around Glacier Peak. It also proposed creating its own recreation area -- the Eldorado-Lake Chelan National Recreation Area -- encompassing the Eldorado Peaks country, the upper third of Lake Chelan, and the region extending southeastward to the southern end of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. The agency also recommended reclassifying the portion of the North Cascades Primitive Area east of Ross Lake as the Okanogan Wilderness (managed by the Forest Service). In addition, the agency's proposal envisioned extending protection to some of the highly scenic areas surrounding these new areas; developing a scenic road system in the North Cascades, which included a road down the eastern shore of Ross Lake to connect to Highway 20 when it was finished; and using some new forms of transportation, such as tramways, funiculars, and helicopters as well as the development of appropriate facilities, to enable more tourists to visit the new parkland and see its incredible beauty.

The study team's chairman wrote the compromise proposal. Ed Crafts, the director of the recently created Bureau of Outdoor Recreation in the Department of the Interior, had been a career employee with the Forest Service for nearly thirty years, ten as assistant chief. He knew well the contentious relations between the Forest Service and Park Service, yet Udall and Freeman had agreed on his appointment based on his experience with both of their departments. Moreover, while Crafts recognized that the question of a national park in the North Cascades was "undoubtedly the most controversial" issue the study team addressed, he believed that it deserved a resolution.

Thus in drafting the final report, he proposed creating a park that both sides might accept. Totaling 698,000 acres, the new park would extend south from the Canadian border to several miles below the head of Lake Chelan, including Mount Shuksan, Ross and Diablo lakes (as well as the associated Seattle City Light operations), the Picket Range, the Eldorado Peaks country, and the Stehekin Valley. In Crafts' opinion, the North Cascades deserved national park status without question, for the range possessed "superlative mountain features" that would make it "one of the most outstanding units" in the park system. But physical and scenic characteristics were among a "great many factors" contributing to the park recommendation. First, there was the statutory protection a park would provide for the range. Second, there was "the need for making the area available to significant numbers of people" by developing the area for "mass recreation use" and providing "adequate access" by "road, trail, water, and air." Third, a park would cause minimal adverse impact on resources such as timber. Fourth, a park's stature would bring economic benefits to the region through tourism. And finally, there was the relationship of the park proposal to the other recommendations. That is, there was more at stake than creating or not creating a park; the study team made twenty-one recommendations for future management of the range, all of which represented an interrelated whole. Among these were the establishment of new wilderness areas (along the range and bordering the proposed park), the enlargement of the Glacier Peak Wilderness, and the continued multiple-use management of existing forests under Forest Service management, as well as the expansion of Mount Rainier National Park.

Nevertheless, Crafts noted that this recommendation was "not unanimous among the team." Team members revealed their criticism of the park proposal in their comments on the report's final draft in the latter part of 1965. National Park Service Director George Hartzog, Jr., for example, responded in an agreeable tone, assenting to the inclusion of the Eldorado Peaks country in the national park and the continued Forest Service management of Glacier Peak as wilderness under the stricter provisions of the recently passed Wilderness Act of 1964. But he strongly disagreed with Crafts' exclusion of Mount Baker, stating it had long been recognized as having national park caliber; it was necessary for completing the geological story of the range and important for developing visitor use facilities. Excluding Mount Baker also eliminated the Nooksack River Valley, a corridor essential for visitor and administrative developments and access to the western half of the park. [82]

Clearly, representatives of the Department of Agriculture objected to the park plan the most. George Selke, for example, considered the park proposal "the height of folly." It did not adequately assess the economic implications of the management changes. Selke disliked the report's conclusion that tourism could somehow replace resource development. More important, he resented the report's implication that a change of status, from forest to park, automatically increased the value of the land and for that matter accorded it greater protection. "The area has been preserved," Selke reminded Crafts, "largely because it was designated as National Forest land and was administered by the Forest Service for over sixty years." In addition, he stated that the park proposal would unfairly preclude hunting, remove the Picket Range from wilderness management, and create a large national park that Americans could only use seasonally, in the high country's short summers. [83]

Moreover, because the report recommended a national park, the Forest Service and the Secretary of Agriculture pressured Crafts and Udall to delay final publication of the report. Late in 1965, Freeman wrote to Udall that "the draft I saw struck me as intended to promote a national park. I do not agree that this is the best course in the resource interest of the Nation. This is why we should talk about it before we wind up in open opposition." [84] Freeman's letter allowed Agriculture's two team members, Selke and Forest Service Deputy Chief Arthur W. Greeley, enough time to submit another statement to clarify the Department of Agriculture's position. Once again, the Forest Service stated its opposition to a national park: "We believe strongly that it is neither necessary nor desirable," Selke and Greeley wrote, to have another national park in the North Cascades. "We think national emphasis can be given to the recreation and scenic values of this area without establishing a duplicating organization and administrative unit." Therefore, as an alternative, they recommended the establishment of a North Cascades National Recreation Area, essentially replacing the Eldorado Peaks High Country, with the addition of Ross Lake, covering 537,000 acres. On either side of Ross Lake, they also proposed to establish a Picket Range Wilderness and a Pasayten Wilderness. The new recreation area, they noted, would solve numerous land-use issues for the present and future generations, much in the same way a national park would, except on a much broader scale. As a national recreation area, the North Cascades would receive "congressional recognition and a national name" without a management change. [85]

In response, Crafts wrote a strongly worded letter to Udall warning him to "stand firm" on the report and "not to join with Freeman in his efforts to misrepresent, undermine, and torpedo the North Cascades report." In the previous year, the Forest Service had broken the team's agreement that the agencies involved would not attempt to influence public opinion on the study area until the report was released; the Forest Service had conducted a statewide publicity campaign about its long-range recreational planning for the Eldorado Peaks country, especially once Highway 20 was completed. Furthermore, the study chairman stated, the Department of Agriculture's statements were "inaccurate, slanted, misleading, and put the main emphasis on a Recreation Area" which did not even appear in the report until "the last minute Selke-Greeley letter." If Udall did not support the study report, Crafts threatened to resign, for the secretary would undermine the bureau's influence and destroy any hope for a national park. [86]

Udall held his ground and on January 6, 1966, the study report was released to the public. Afterwards, conservationists expressed a cautious optimism about the park plan but openly criticized what they saw as the proposal's inadequacies and the Park Service's development plans for this wilderness sanctuary. They were disappointed, for example, that the study report recommended a smaller park than the 1963 North Cascades Conservation Council's proposal and the Park Service's recommendation in the study report. The compromise proposal's most glaring omission was the Glacier Peak Wilderness -- "the most superb section" of the range, deserving both park and wilderness protection since it still faced mining development by Kennecott. They also questioned the "wretched precedent" of including hydroelectric projects in national parks and the uniformly bad innovations of tramways and helicopters, as well as traditional roads, to open up the park's high country. The former provisions especially, they contended, were poorly conceived concessions to win the support of the local tourist industry -- and "entirely contrary to the whole idea of parks as natural preserves." One keen observer who supported the park plan in principle suggested that in light of these provisions the agency needed to review the meaning of the national park concept by rereading Thoreau, Muir, and Mather and "get back on the beam." [87]

The concept of what a national park should be, wilderness preserve or natural area modified for public enjoyment, pervaded the arguments presented by conservation organizations as the park campaign proceeded over the next several years. The North Cascades Conservation Council, for example, wondered seriously about the Park Service's commitment to wilderness preservation considering Hartzog's proposal to install trams and other facilities but more specifically the use of helicopters in the Picket Range to promote "mass wilderness visitation." Council president Patrick Goldsworthy called these plans "a grave tactical error" certain to rob the park plan of support among many conservationists and enlarge its opposition. Goldsworthy's comments typified the general consensus among conservationists who supported a park but also favored "wilderness just as strongly." William O. Douglas, in fact, advocated protecting the Picket Range as a wilderness area in a national forest using the 1964 Wilderness Act to keep it roadless and remote. Thus, the wild range would receive better protection and not be subjected to the current over-crowded conditions plaguing the national parks. [88]

With the hard-fought battle for the Wilderness Act won, preservationists finally had the legal support to protect wilderness lands inviolate. Perhaps the Forest Service instead of the Park Service was better prepared to meet this objective. Doubts about the Park Service's cool treatment of the Wilderness Act lingered in the minds of preservationists; the wording of the act itself implied misgivings about the agency's wilderness commitment. Echoing the Park Service's Organic Act, the Wilderness Act stated that wilderness areas were to be managed "for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use as wilderness." Here the unimpaired doctrine specifically meant preserving wilderness conditions rather than ensuring the public's enjoyment. [89] The reality, of course, was that a national park could provide the best and most immediate protection for the wilderness of the North Cascades. There were no guarantees with the Forest Service. The Wilderness Act stipulated that federal agencies had ten years to complete their wilderness reviews and allowed mining to continue for twenty years, during which time some of the valued lowland forests in the northern Cascades could disappear and the Glacier Peak country could be scarred forever with an open pit mine.

In the latter 1960s, the battle for the North Cascades became a national issue, thanks largely to public interest in environmental protection, grassroots politics, and a well-orchestrated publicity campaign. A significant contribution to the latter was the Sierra Club's publication in 1965 of The Wild Cascades: Forgotten Parkland, an Exhibit Format book which was part of the influential series launched by the club in 1960 with This Is the American Earth. Filled with inspiring photographs, prose, and poems that related the story of this magnificent country and the need for its protection, The Wild Cascades was widely distributed to members of Congress and daily newspapers across the country, the timing of its release coming on the eve of the study report's release and a possible park bill. At stake in the North Cascades, as Paul Brooks would write later in The Atlantic Monthly, was the opportunity to save the "last unopened corner of our country" and create "the most beautiful wilderness park in our entire national park system." Of all the recent conservation battles, which included the establishment of Canyonlands National Park, passage of the Wilderness Act, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, the one for the North Cascades presented the greatest and most important challenge. Here Americans faced the ultimate questions: "What future do we want for this remnant of wild America, and to whom shall we entrust it?" [90]

The fate of the North Cascades, as with conservation issues across the nation, lay in confrontation between conservation philosophies and power politics. And though park supporters could expect better results given the political strength of conservation organizations and the mood of the public, they needed someone to guide the political process. While some of Washington's congressional delegation had voiced their support for a park study and their opposition to a national park, none had yet expressed their support for creating a park, avoiding a volatile and perhaps politically damaging issue. Who would step forward? In the mid-1960s, as he looked out across the magnificent view of the northern Cascades and Olympic Mountains from atop Glacier Peak, even poet and nature philosopher Gary Snyder wondered: "you mean there's a senator for all of this?" That senator was Washington's Henry M. Jackson. [91]

Conservation organizations knew early on in the park campaign that they would need Jackson's support if they were to see a national park established. Jackson wielded considerable political power as chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Although Jackson would later express his love for the North Cascades -- the range's "natural beauty and power to impress the spirit" -- he remained publicly silent on the park question, waiting for public opinion to rise in favor of the park and evidence that a park would not damage his state's economy, particularly the timber and mining industries. Yet he worked for a national park behind the scenes. He used his influence, for example, to maneuver through the interdepartmental bickering between Interior and Agriculture to secure a park proposal from the study team. The report's detailed analysis demonstrated that the proposed park area would not seriously impinge on commercial interests, satisfying one of Jackson's central concerns. To satisfy the other, that public sentiment was in favor of a park, he moved swiftly once the study report was released, recognizing its local and national appeal. He took the unusual step of holding public hearings on the study team's report, bringing his committee to Seattle in February 1966. But the senator was confident in the outcome, for at the same time, he announced that he would introduce legislation, based on the report's proposal, following the two-day hearings. Jackson's assessment of public opinion was on the mark. More than two hundred people attended the hearings, the majority of whom favored a national park. [92]

Even so, it appeared that Jackson might be risking his political career by pressing for a national park. Lined up in opposition were the traditional park opponents -- the state's timber and mining industries, hunters, outdoor recreation groups, such as ski area developers, and local area residents and industry-oriented chambers of commerce, all of whom favored continued Forest Service management. Similarly, Seattle City Light, with some 700,000 customers in the Seattle area, continued to lobby for protection of its interests under the proposed Park Service management. Washington State Governor Daniel J. Evans expressed his doubts about the study's park recommendations, stating that the report did not adequately account for all of the people and groups "who have an interest in the future of the truly unique and unusual North Cascades, one of nature's great natural wonderlands." Aware of how politically divisive the park issue was, Evans stressed the importance of hunting and fishing, skiing, and federal forest funds to the people of his state, as well as the future completion and administration of the North Cross-State Highway. To address these issues and make the state's official recommendation to Congress, Evans created his own study committee. In July 1966, the seventeen-member committee released its report recommending a 1.8 million acre North Cascades National Recreation Area, comprised of a series of recreation areas and wilderness areas managed by the Forest Service, and a small national park (335,000 acres) in the Picket Range. [93]

Jackson, however, displayed not only his political acumen but his statesmanship in dealing with the park issue. He sought and received President Lyndon B. Johnson's endorsement for the park. By securing the administration's approval of the park, Jackson could avoid any political fallout and pursue legislation more effectively. Committed to preserving the nation's natural beauty and protecting the environment, Johnson announced his support for the creation of a national park in the North Cascades during his state of the union address, entitled "Protecting Our Natural Heritage," on January 30, 1967. While Johnson took some political heat off of Jackson, he also ended the bitter struggle between Agriculture and Interior over the park. In late December 1966, Freeman and Udall had presented the case to the president as the only issue left unresolved from the "Treaty of the Potomac." Their departments and respective agencies were hopelessly divided on the subject, the secretaries related. Given the constellation of conflicting interests involving the range, Freeman still maintained that a park was not the best solution. The president, he concluded, faced a decision "Solomon himself could not make...that would satisfy everyone." Udall, on the other hand, convinced Johnson that creating the park would not only add to the country's precious crown jewels but also "be a monument to the conservation leadership of this Administration." [94]

On March 20, 1967, Henry Jackson, along with Senator Warren Magnuson, introduced the administration's bill as S. 1321. Drafted by the Interior Department, the bill was based on the study team's report. It proposed to establish a two-unit national park of 570,000 acres and a Ross Lake National Recreation Area of 100,000 acres; to assign wilderness status to the portion of the North Cascades Primitive Area east of Ross Lake to be known as the Pasayten Wilderness, under Forest Service management; to add lands along the Whitechuck and Suiattle river valleys to the Glacier Peak Wilderness; and to review the national park for wilderness designation within two years. [95]

This version already reflected several of the compromises necessary to create a national park. First, the legislation provided for a smaller park, divided into northern and southern units. In between these two units, it added Ross Lake National Recreation Area encompassing Ross Lake and the portions of the Skagit River that contained Seattle City Light's operations, namely the Gorge, Diablo, and Ross dams and lakes. In this way, City Light was assured that its existing operations and future plans, which involved raising Ross Lake, would not be jeopardized within a national park. In addition, classifying the lake and its surrounding environs as a recreation area would permit more intense and diversified activities than those normally allowed in a national park. [96]

Second, the legislation eliminated Granite Creek from the park and left it under national forest management. This was the last, unfinished section of Highway 20, and as Secretary Udall noted, his department eliminated the route so that no part of the highway would traverse the national park, only the recreation area, and thus "there would be no question of interference with commercial traffic, and the rights of the State to construct, maintain, operate, and administer" the highway. And third, in addition to other administrative measures regarding general park management and financing, the legislation paid special attention to private landowners, namely Stehekin residents, who found their homes within the boundaries of the proposed park. It noted that they retained rights of use and occupancy for the rest of their lives or for twenty-five years. [97]

Afterwards, the Interior Subcommittee on Parks and Recreation conducted a series of hearings in April and May 1967 in Washington, D.C., and Wenatchee, Mount Vernon, and Seattle, Washington. The hearings, which lasted for five days, epitomized citizen activism. Hundreds of individuals testified and well over a thousand submitted letters and petitions for the record. The hearings consolidated the disparate views expressed by the park's supporters and opponents. Emotions ran high. Harvey Manning, author of The Wild Cascades and member of the North Cascades Conservation Council, for example, apologized to future generations in the year 2000 for not saving enough of the land in the North Cascades that "needed and deserved protection." Conversely, the mayor of Sedro Woolley, William O. Pearson, stated that his community, with its timber-based economy, resented "the interference of the Sierra Club in its attempts to force us to change our mode of living, in its attempts to curtail our economic and recreational activities." [98]

The conservation community, led once again by the Sierra Club, North Cascades Conservation Council, and the Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, among others, generally supported S. 1321, but it was only a start towards preserving the wilderness park proposed by the North Cascades Conservation Council in 1963 and the Craft's proposal of 1966. To this end, they recommended eight amendments, most of which dealt with extending protection to highly scenic lands left out of the bill's boundaries; these approach valleys had been the catalyst for the park movement. The revisions called for expanding the park to include the Granite Creek Valley, the Mount Baker region, the Cascade River Valley above Marble Creek, as well as adjusting the park boundary to include more of Big Beaver Creek. [99] Other recommendations called for adding Sulphur, Buck, and Downey creeks to the Glacier Peak Wilderness, and the Horseshoe Basin area and Lightning Creek to the Pasayten Wilderness. The remaining amendments suggested immediate wilderness classification for most of the park under the terms of the Wilderness Act, rather than abiding by the two-year waiting period as provided in S. 1321, and finding some way to halt the impending plans the Kennecott Copper Company had for construction of an open pit mine in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. [100]

The main intent of these revisions, conservationists maintained, was to ensure that the park preserved as much wilderness as possible. They wanted to include Granite Creek in the park's boundaries, for example, both for its scenic qualities and as a form of wilderness protection. As Brock Evans testified on behalf of the Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, having a section of highway within the park would provide the "opportunity for visitors from other parts of the country to drive through the park," and at the same time would not put pressure on the Park Service to construct its own roads (for visitor and interpretive services) "into the existing wilderness which is the prime glory of the North Cascades." [101] Specifically, conservationists worried that the agency might build a road down Bridge Creek -- or for that matter any road -- to the Stehekin River Valley, opening this so-called remnant of early America to the world and in the process destroying this valley and its special qualities as a wilderness threshold. Ironically, while the Stehekin country had long been compared to Yosemite in scenic grandeur, preservationists believed that a road to the outside would swamp the valley with automobiles and create the same kind of overcrowded conditions choking Yosemite Valley as well as other parks in the late 1960s. In effect, Stehekin would mirror not the national park ideal but its destruction. Similarly, they advocated immediate wilderness classification because the North Cascades had been thoroughly studied for wilderness and because it would prevent the Park Service from implementing its controversial transportation and development programs. [102]

While conservation groups, with their national following, represented the majority in favor of a national park, the park's opponents commanded perhaps more attention, due to their diversity and the political influence. As one historian has argued, opponents influenced the final shape of the national park more than its supporters. [103] In the months following the hearings, Jackson, along with his aides and Agriculture and Interior officials, modified S. 1321 to satisfy some, but not all, of the issues surrounding the park's legislation. In general, Jackson and Interior Department officials met the traditional anti-park arguments with the traditional argument for a national park: that the lands included within the proposed park's boundaries were economically worthless, and thus their removal from commercial development would have little impact on the state's economy.

The most vivid example of the compromises necessary to establish the park appeared in the committee's amended legislation, which made five main changes. The first, a nod to conservationists, was the addition of the Windy Peak-Horseshoe Basin area, but not Lightning Creek, to the Pasayten Wilderness. The second and third changes involved Seattle City Light and provided for the enlargement of Ross Lake National Recreation Area by adding more of the Skagit River Valley to accommodate the proposed Copper Creek dam and reservoir and transferring the lower Thunder Creek basin from the park to the recreation area. Altogether the size of the recreation area now totaled 105,000 acres. The Senate committee agreed to these changes on one level to resolve any conflicts the city's utility operations would have with the proposed legislation or the park's management.

But on another level, City Light and its superintendent, John M. Nelson, successfully lobbied for these changes based on the lighting department's long and storied history as one of the nation's most celebrated city-owned utilities, exemplifying that "public ownership meant low rates and widespread use of electricity." [105] City Light also capitalized on the work of its first superintendent James D. Ross who helped the department achieve its fame by developing popular tours of its facilities, lakes, and company towns at Newhalem and Diablo. A key aspect of these towns was their impressive landscape design, along with waterfalls that were illuminated with colorful light displays. After visiting the Skagit River project, Jackson and other committee members were quite impressed with City Light's recreational developments, and thus they were willing to agree in principle to the changes the utility desired. [106] As Patrick Goldsworthy recalled some fifteen years later, Jackson was a master negotiator and his concession to City Light typified this skill. "Just off the record," Jackson told Goldsworthy, "we just can't go bulldozing ahead and totally ignore" City Light; without "some compromises...we're not going to get the park." And, as Goldsworthy remembered, "he wanted this park." [107]

The fourth significant change to the legislation was the creation of a Lake Chelan National Recreation Area of 62,000 acres. Of all of the amendments, this one was the most complicated and controversial, for it attempted to appease a number of interests -- hunters, fishermen, and private landowners and residents in the Stehekin Valley -- by designating the lower Stehekin River Valley and upper Lake Chelan areas as a national recreation area rather than a national park. Ironically, the Stehekin country had inspired the first national park proposals in the 1890s and, when threatened with logging in the 1950s, sparked the current park movement. But sportsmen's groups formed a formidable lobby, and led by the Washington State Sportsmen's Council and the Washington State Department of Game, they impressed upon the committee members the historical significance of hunting, as well as fishing, in the North Cascades.

A key figure was John A. Biggs, director of the Washington State Department of Game. An outspoken critic of creating another national park in Washington, Biggs was a member of Governor Evans' study committee and played an influential role in developing the state's proposal. Although Biggs spoke of the need for management policies that allowed a wide range of recreational opportunities, namely under Forest Service multiple-use management, his main concern was maintaining his department's jurisdiction over wildlife management in the northern Cascades. [108] In his testimony before the Senate subcommittee, for example, the Game Department director stressed that more than 800,000 people hunted and fished in the state at the present and the creation of a third large national park in the state would have a serious effect by prohibiting hunting altogether and limiting the state's current fisheries management and restocking programs in the range's lakes and rivers. Biggs also argued that, from the perspective of sound wildlife management, a park was a poor decision. Without hunting, the health of the range's wildlife populations, specifically deer and mountain goats, would inevitably "deteriorate without population control." One need only look to the examples of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks to see tragic errors of park policies where "elk by the thousands have been ruthlessly slaughtered by Park Service employees" to reduce populations. But Biggs also stressed the intrinsic values associated with hunting that could not be measured by the numbers of deer (1,000) and mountain goats (40) taken annually by hunters.

Our high mountain deer and mountain goat hunting is the epitome of hunting in our State. It provides the hunter an opportunity to go into the high mountains during that period of the year when they are at their greatest beauty, to camp out and to enjoy this scenic wonderland, while engaging in one of America's most traditional and honored forms of outdoor recreation -- the hunting of big game. [109]

While less dramatic, a park would have similar consequences for sports fishing, given the range's extensive system of rivers and lakes. Ross and Diablo lakes and the Skagit and Stehekin rivers, he noted, were the most important fishing waters in the proposed park. These waters were heavily used yet without his department's extensive restocking program, fishing would diminish, for they offered "little or no potential for natural restocking." The Stehekin River figured most prominently in the discussion of fisheries management. The Stehekin was "the key to fishing" in Lake Chelan because it was the only tributary which had "the physical characteristics needed to implement modern fisheries management programs," such as fish hatcheries and artificial spawning channels, all of which were currently underway or in the process of construction. "Were the Stehekin River to be included in the park," he concluded, it would interfere with these developments and affect fishing for the entire lake -- far outside the park. [110]

These arguments and the political pressures exerted by Biggs and the hunting organizations prevailed. Jackson sought a compromise with the recreation area designation for the Stehekin country. The Game Department identified the lower Stehekin River Valley at the head of Lake Chelan as one of the most "important hunting areas" in the proposed park; but hunters did not get all they wanted because the other area, the Panther Creek-Fisher Basin area, remained in the park. The Senate subcommittee also approved of another proposal offered by the Game Department -- that state licenses be required for fishing in the recreation areas and the park, and for hunting in the recreation areas. In conjunction with this, the legislation stipulated that the Secretary of the Interior would enter into a cooperative agreement with the Game Department for the management of fish and game in the recreation areas. (This allowed the Game Department to continue its fisheries management program in the Stehekin Valley.) [111]

Stehekin residents, while they represented a less significant political force than hunters, had some of their concerns addressed in the legislation creating the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. Stehekin residents were divided over the national park. Some were happy with Forest Service administration of the valley management, while others favored Forest Service management because they feared that under Park Service management they might lose their property or that the agency would extensively develop the valley for visitor services. Many, however, shared Grant McConnell's views that national park management offered the best hope to prevent large-scale logging -- and thus the destruction of the valley's scenic grandeur -- and the possible construction of a road down Bridge Creek. But it remained to be seen how exactly the Park Service planned to manage the Stehekin community, which by modern standards appeared to be a true picture of pioneer America. The community, however, contained some of the amenities of modern living, such as electricity from a small hydroelectric plant, a school, several resorts, summer homes, ranches, original homesteads, and an unimproved valley road and automobiles, among other things. Park Service Director George Hartzog assured residents that his agency intended to employ the same policy it had used in 1950 with the creation of Grand Teton National Park, which also contained privately-owned land. The essence of this policy was that the Park Service would allow the historic uses of the valley to continue and would not seek to acquire any of the 1,700 acres of land in private ownership "so long as the lands continue to be devoted to present compatible uses now being made of them -- such as for modest homesites, ranches, limited eating establishments, lodges, etc." This policy would also apply to Ross Lake National Recreation Area. [112]

The final important amendment to the legislation charged the secretary of agriculture and the secretary of the interior with developing a plan within two years after the park's creation for coordinating the development of "public use facilities and for administrative purposes." This change was meant to account for the various land management areas in the range -- national park, national recreation areas, and national forest. It recognized that the different land management units of the North Cascades formed a seamless whole. Visitors would approach the national park and recreation areas through national forest lands, and in other instances enter national forest lands through the park or recreation areas. This aspect of the legislation also grew out of concerns Congress expressed for the expenses related to and incurred by the duplication of services and facilities when national forests and parks bordered one another. [113] In addition, subcommittee members intended this section of the bill to appease vocal outdoor recreationists -- namely the ski management and development associations -- whose opinions were expressed primarily by the umbrella group, "Outdoors Unlimited, Inc.," with a reported membership of 27,000. Among the public-use facilities the legislation listed for identification in a joint study were ski lifts, which, it explicitly stipulated, "should lead to a plan" for their development on the edge of the national park, within the recreation areas, or in adjacent areas of national forest. [114]

The Interior Committee, however, did not adopt all of the proposals suggested during the hearings. Most of these would have been major concessions to conservation organizations. Although it expressed its concern over the impact that Kennecott's proposed open-pit mining operations would have on the "natural, ecological, and scenic values" of the Glacier Peak Wilderness, the committee determined that this specific issue was part of the larger problem related to mining and the national policy governing the management of the national wilderness system; therefore, among other factors, the committed decided that considering this complex issue might "delay unduly congressional action on S. 1321." As for adding more scenic valleys to the park, namely the Cascade River and Granite Creek valleys, the committee decided against these proposals, primarily as a concession to the Forest Service, which planned to manage these scenic approaches to the park under its landscape management policy (the same one that conservation groups protested against early in the park campaign). The committee also made another concession to the Forest Service, allowing it to continue managing Mount Baker as a recreation area under a similar policy. [115]

At the end of October 1967, the Senate Interior Committee reported the legislation with amendments and recommended that it be passed. On November 2, 1967, Senator Jackson introduced the bill to the full Senate, announcing from the floor that it was "with great personal pleasure" that he brought the bill before his colleagues. Praising the North Cascades as one of the most "distinctive and unforgettable" features of the Pacific Northwest, Jackson stated that this bill represented a true compromise.

[It] is not an ordinary or even extraordinary national park bill. It is truly a regional bill. The Committee, in its hearings and investigations, verified the findings of the Study Team that the greatest potential for this relatively untouched region was outdoor recreation. To be sure, many persons differed in specifics as to how this potential should best be managed, but there was wide-spread agreement that protective administration was needed....I believe the Administration and the Committee have pieced together a complex of management units which will keep this area forever a scenic masterpiece. [116]

By the time the legislation emerged from the Senate, it was virtually in its final form. As if forging this compromise legislation had not been challenge enough, it remained to be seen if any legislation for the new park would be reported out of the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, chaired by Colorado Representative Wayne N. Aspinall. A Democrat, Aspinall gained the reputation as the "most obdurate foe" of the Wilderness Act, delaying the measure for years and inserting the clause guaranteeing "all established mining claims and permitting new claims until 1984" as the price of the bill's passage. [117]

The same delays seemed to be in store for the North Cascades bill. These delays, in part, reflected the political nature of the House itself, for the House Interior Committee would consider not one but four bills. One was the Senate passed version of S. 1321. The other three were introduced by Washington's congressional delegation. The first was H.R. 8970; identical to the original administration bill S. 1321, it was introduced by Democratic Representative Lloyd Meeds. The second bill, introduced by Republican Representative Thomas Pelly, was H.R. 12139, which was identical to the 1963 proposal of North Cascades Conservation Council, calling for a large park and adjacent recreation area. And the third was H.R. 16252, introduced by Republican Representative Catherine May, which proposed essentially the same national recreation area, with a small park, recommended by Governor Evans' study committee. Meeds and Pelly introduced their bills in April and August of 1967, respectively, and May submitted her legislation in March the following year. [118]

On March 8, 1968, President Johnson helped move the legislative process along when he urged the House to create a national park for the North Cascades during his message on conservation, "To Renew a Nation." The following month, on April 19 and 20, Representative Aspinall brought the House Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation to Seattle, Washington, for hearings on the park legislation. The hearings were grass-roots democracy at its finest. More than eight hundred people requested to testify, comprising the largest park proposal hearing and drawing the people from all walks of life. The Seattle Times captured the drama of the event well: On April 19, shortly before the hearings were scheduled to begin,

the corridor of the mezzanine floor of the Benjamin Franklin Hotel was jammed. Elected officials and their assistants rubbed elbows with housewives and students, with teachers and lawyers, with biologists and engineers, with mountain climbers and politicians. All were waiting to get into the packed hearing rooms. [119]

Eventually, everyone who wanted to testify or listen was admitted, although subcommittee members grumbled about the duplication of testimony and that the hearing process had ballooned out of proportion. Overwhelmed by the turnout, Aspinall remarked that "he had never seen anything like it." Who were all these people, he wondered. "Are they hippies or part of a Seattle drive to get out into the country?" Aspinall was correct in one sense. Most of the witnesses favored a national park, and the majority of them were from Washington's metropolitan corridor along the Puget Sound. Even though park supporters and opponents offered little that was new in their testimony, Governor Daniel Evans presented what might have been the most crucial statement. After hearing Evans present the official position of the state, Arizona Representative Morris K. Udall challenged him to choose between the national park recommended by the Senate or no park at all. In response, the governor stated he would support the Senate bill. [120]

Afterwards, Representative Aspinall promised to bring a report on the North Cascades bill to the floor of the House before the current session ended and to hold other field hearings in Wenatchee, Washington, and Washington, D.C. But the legislative process stalled. In June, Representative Roy Taylor of North Carolina, chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation, announced that he had given the North Cascades bill "low priority" because he had received so much mail in opposition to it. Similarly, Aspinall indicated that it was unlikely that any action would take place on the bill because there was not enough time left in the session to resolve the controversy surrounding the proposed park. Indeed the Interior Committee's schedule was tight. Including North Cascades, it had four major conservation bills to report on -- Redwood National Park, the Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and the Scenic Trails System. [121]

But park proponents had other views on why the subcommittee was holding up the legislation. As Brock Evans, Northwest representative for the FWOC, noted,

Apparently all the talk about the legislation being 'controversial' and 'not enough time' is really just smoke-screen language, for a tug-of-war over Central Arizona legislation now going on between House Interior Chairman Aspinall and Senate Interior Chairman Jackson. The three to one testimony in favor of the North Cascade National Park at the hearings in Seattle (ten to one for individuals) should be adequate evidence that the legislation is not that controversial. [122]

Evans was referring to the Central Arizona Project (CAP), part of the Pacific Southwest Water Plan, which would have diverted water from the Columbia River to that parched and growing part of the country. When the proposal first surfaced in the mid-1960s, Senator Jackson would have no part of the diversion proposal; his state had water to spare but not electricity, most of which came from dams. In 1965, Jackson had quietly attached a rider to the Pacific Southwest Water Plan requiring that Congress approve of the Bureau of Reclamation's feasibility studies first. Jackson's action displayed his annoyance with the Bureau's tactics of forcing its projects on Congress by arousing public enthusiasm for them in advance, but it also had the same effect "as if Jackson had strung a six-hundred-volt electrified fence along the entire south bank of the Columbia River." [123] Thus when the legislation for CAP appeared before the Senate in 1968 containing a provision for studying the diversion of the Columbia, Jackson refused to consider it. In doing so, he controlled the fate of CAP and with it the fate of the North Cascades bill. Aspinall and other congressmen, who were deeply concerned about the fate of this legislation, agreed to a compromise eliminating the diversion study, and the water plan bill began moving again in the Senate. And, at the same time, so did the important conservation matters before the House, including legislation for North Cascades. As an added political advantage, Jackson's committee was also considering legislation for the Blue Ridge Parkway, which extended into Representative Taylor's state and thus its progress was of special interest to him. [124]

In light of the fact that 1968 was an election year, Jackson's negotiations took on more significance. A new administration could delay the North Cascades bill indefinitely. As one conservationist observed, if "we do not get legislation this year the bitterness and controversy will only increase and it will be that much more difficult in the following years." On July 13, 1968, the subcommittee held hearings in Wenatchee, and on July 25 and 26, it convened hearings in Washington, D.C. During the proceedings, Chairman Aspinall informed the subcommittee that it would not report out any legislation unless the three representatives from Washington State could agree on one park bill. A compromise seemed in the making when Representative Thomas Pelly stated that he would support any of the bills. Interior Secretary Udall and Park Service Director Hartzog strongly endorsed Meeds' bill; Hartzog even testified that he would prefer no park to the smaller park proposed by Governor Evans in Catherine May's bill. May stood by her bill until Evans reached her by telephone and restated his earlier statement at the Seattle hearings: he would prefer the Senate's version of the park bill to no park at all. May broke the deadlock when she agreed to support the Senate bill. [125]

In early September 1968, the subcommittee heard its final testimony on the park bill, and on September 9, it reported out H.R. 8970. The House subcommittee had accepted the Senate passed bill, S. 1321, with one amendment restricting land acquisition costs to the $3.5 million estimate of the Interior Department. On September 16, the House passed the bill, and three days later the Senate concurred with the House amendment and passed the North Cascades National Park bill by voice vote, sending it to the White House where President Johnson signed it into law on October 2, 1968. [126] Signed on the same day as the bill creating Redwood National Park, the North Cascades bill ranked high among the accomplishments that earned the 90th Congress the distinction as one of the greatest in conservation history. The new park was hardly perfect from anyone's perspective, yet as one preservationist proclaimed: "Here a new park in matchless wilderness has been borne." [127]

<<< Previous <<< Contents>>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 14-Apr-1999