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NPS Expansion: 1930s







New Deal



NPS 1933-39




Expansion of the National Park Service in the 1930s:
Administrative History

Chapter Two: Reorganization of Park Administration
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A. The National Park Service and Forest Service

The Forest Service opposed any attempt to transfer the national monuments under its jurisdiction, however. It marshaled its powerful lobby in opposition to Section 2, and managed to defeat it. [3]

The act that established the National Park Service did not include provisions transferring the national monuments from the War and Agriculture departments to the new bureau. The conflict over passage of the enabling act, and the effort to secure transfer of the monuments administered by the Agriculture Department, however, left a residue of bitterness that contributed to the continued friction that characterized relations between the Forest Service and National Park Service in the 1920s and 1930s. This friction was not merely bureaucratic wrangling between two highly aggressive bureaus, but was often, as described by the Forest Service's chief forester in 1921, "continued warfare." [4]

In public, at least, officials from both bureaus dismissed the notion of a conflict, insisting that the work of the two was complementary and their relationship harmonious. It is true that examples of cooperation between the two bureaus through the years are plentiful. Yet, each viewed the other warily, convinced that the other was working to absorb it. These concerns were, in fact, not unjustified. As early as 1906 and 1907, for example, Gifford Pinchot, then Chief Forester, had actively worked to transfer the national parks from Interior to the Forest Service. [5]

After the creation of the National Park Service, through the 1920s and into the 1930s, Forest Service and Department of Agriculture officials consistently argued that the National Park Service should be transferred to the Department of Agriculture. [6] A clear assumption in this argument was that once transferred, the Park Service would be merged into the Forest Service. In 1923-24, 1928-29, and 1932-33, efforts to effect such a transfer would be made. [7]

Just as National Park Service officials worried that their agency would be absorbed by the Forest Service, officials in that agency were convinced that Park Service people were working behind the scene to transfer the Forest Service to the Interior Department. Efforts to consolidate administration over parks and monuments in the 1920s specifically referred only to transfer of sites administered by the War Department areas to the National Park Service. Forest Service officials clearly believed, however, that such a transfer would be merely a first step that would ultimately lead to transfer of all national monuments to the Park Service. Particularly after 1922, when Interior Secretary Albert Fall proposed transferring the national forests to the Interior Department, Forest Service officials viewed almost all National Park Service actions, and that included boundary adjustments, with considerable suspicion, if not hostility. [8]

Chapter Two continues with...
Early Efforts to Transfer War Department Parks


Last Modified: Tues, Mar 14 2000 07:08:48 am PDT

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