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REPORT No. 545
PROVIDING FOR UNIFORM ADMINISTRATION OF NATIONAL PARKS BY DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
APRIL 21 (calendar day, APRIL 28), 1930.—Ordered to be printed
Mr. NYE, from the Committee on Public Lands and Surveys, sub
mitted the following
[To accompany S. 196)
The Committee on Public Lands and Surveys, to whom was referred the bill (S. 196) to provide for uniform administration of the national parks by the United States Department of the Interior, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with the recommendation that the bill do pass with the following amendment:
On page 1, line 8, after “Sec. 2." and the period, beginning with the word "That", strike out all down to and including the word "Park" before the period in line 6, page 2, and insert in lieu thereof the following:
That hereafter the Secretary of the Interior shall have authority to prescribe regulations for the surface use of any mineral-land locations already made or that may hereafter be made within the boundaries of Mount McKinley National Park, in the Territory of Alaska, and he may require registration of all prospectors and miners who enter the park: Provided, That no resident of the United States who is qualified under the mining laws of the United States applicable to Alaska shall be denied entrance to the park for the purpose of prospecting or mining.
This amendment supersedes the one suggested by the Secretary of the Interior, as set forth in his favorable recommendation of the bill in his letter of March 21, 1930, which also sets forth the facts concerning the proposed legislation, as follows:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, March 21, 1930. Hon. GERALD P. NYE, Chairman Committee on Public Lands and Surveys,
United States Senate. My DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: With further reference to your request of January 28 for a report on S. 196, to provide for uniform administration of national parks by the Department of the Interior, I transmit herewith a memorandum from the
Director of the National Park Service. After a review of the proposed measure,
Ray LYMAN WILBUR, Secretary.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,
Washington, March 12, 1930. Memorandum for the Secretary.
Reference is made to letter dated January 28, from the chairman Committee on Public Lands and Surveys, United States Senate, inclosing copy of $. 196, entitled “A bill to provide uniform administration of the national parks by the United States Department of the Interior, and for other purposes," with request for an opinion as to its merits.
The purpose of this bill with comments on the various sections thereof is given below:
Section 1 provides that no permits or other authorization shall be issued in the future for prospecting, development, or utilization of the mineral resources within Mesa Verde and Grand Canyon National Parks. Several coal mining leases in Mesa Verde have been granted, but all mining thereunder has been abandoned as unprofitable and the leases canceled. No permits in Grand Canyon have been granted under the authority to be repealed by this act, and in 1926 the department definitely established the policy that mining operations in the park are not advisable and should not be permitted.
Section 2 would prohibit further locations of mining claims in Mount McKinley National Park, Alaska. The desirability of taking this action with reference to the whole of this park at this time has been carefully considered by this service and discussed with officials of the Geological Survey. It is felt that until more opportunity has been had to exploit the mineral possibilities on the west side of the park, the objects of this provision might be satisfactorily accomplished, from the standpoint of the administration of this area as a national park, by simply prohibiting the location of mining claims on the east side. The use of mining locations for purposes other than to extract the minerals, however, is undesirable and should not be permitted anywhere in the park. A satisfactory amendment of this section along the lines of the above may be accomplished as follows:
(1) Striking out the language beginning with “the area of,” page 2, line 1, down through and including line 6.
(2) Inserting the following in lieu thereof: “that part of Mount McKinley National Park, in the Territory of Alaska, lying east of Stony Creek, Anderson Pass, the West Fork Glacier and the West Fork of the Chulitna River: Provided, however, That mineral locations in the park shall entitle the locator only to the minerals in the land and no surface rights, except such as are reasonably necessary to extract the same, may be acquired by virtue of such location.”
Section 3 provides that permits or other authorizations shall no longer be issued for summer homes in Glacier or Lassen Volcanic National Parks, except that those now outstanding may be renewed. There is no authority in law for the Secretary to issue such permits in his discretion, but for some time the policy has been only to renew those outstanding and not to issue new ones.
Section 4 prohibits the acquisition of rights of way for railroads or roads in Lassen Volcanic National Park under filings or proceedings under laws applicable to the acquisition of such rights over national forest lands. No applications have been granted under the authority sought to be repealed by this provision. Railroads in national parks are not desirable and should not be permitted therein.
Section 5 prohibits acquisition of rights of way through the valleys of the North and Middle Forks of the Flathead River for railways in the Glacier National Park under laws applicable to the acquisition of such rights of way over the public domain. No rights of way have been granted under the authority to be repealed by this provision.
Section 6 repeals the provisions of the act of March 2, 1899, granting rights of way to railway or tramway companies for the purpose of building, constructing, and operating railway or tramway lines through or in the Mount Rainier National Park, but provides that the Secretary may authorize a tramway for the accommodation or convenience of visitors. This is all that may be justified in the park. . No rights of way have been acquired under this authority.
Section 7 repeals the provisions of the act of January 26, 1915, authorizing the Secretary, in his discretion, to grant easements or rights of way for steam, electric, or similar transportation upon or across lands within Rocky Mountain National Park. No rights of way have been granted under this authority.
The provisions of this bill in general seek to repeal or amend existing provisions of national park laws which are inimical to the primary purposes for which these areas were set aside, so as to conform the laws to the established policies governing these areas. This service therefore is unequivocally in favor of the bill and recommends that it be favorably reported on by the department with request for amendment of section 2 thereof as indicated herein.
HORACE M, ALBRIGHT, Director. O