Advocates; Should public use of our national parks be restricted?; 312
This record is featured in “Protecting Places: Historic Preservation and Public Broadcasting.”
Theodore Roosevelt said leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it and you can only mar it. What you can do is keep it for your children your children's children and for all who come after you as one of the great sights which every American can see. Yosemite. One of the oldest largest and most popular of our national parks. From the beginning it was recognized that man's unrestrained use of the parks could threaten their existence. And so when the National Park Service was created it was given the dual purpose of managing their use in such a way as to leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. And so the conflict between the need to use the parks and the duty to preserve them has been present since the creation of the National Park System. And there is that continuing conflict that provides the basis for today's program.
Hi I'm Mike Dukakis and welcome to the advocates and Yosemite National Park. Our question today poses a choice between two conflicting policies and philosophies of park management one which leans toward preservation and the other which leans toward supporting the proposal of public use of the national parks should be restricted. Is that because Howard Miller.
Thank you. The national parks are being destroyed. Not by man but by the automobile and by developers of expensive resorts. It is time to save these national parks and by so doing to save ourselves. With me to support today's proposal for preservation is biologist Garrett Harvard Professor of Human Ecology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. And Willie Ansel. A man who has climbed Mt. Everest and also has brought thousands of boys and girls to the wilderness as executive director of outward bound. Thank you.
Thank you Mr. Miller and on the other side of the question is guest advocate Eric Jo'burg.
Thank you ladies and gentlemen. On our side we believe that the people who own these parks and the people have a right to enjoy them. And we believe that there should be more facilities for the American people to enjoy their parks instead of less. My witnesses are Don Hummel who heads the park concession here in Yosemite and Floyd Dominey. Former head of the Bureau of Reclamation. Thank you.
Thank you very much as many of you know Mr. Miller is a professor of law at the University of Southern California and our guest advocate their job or is himself a lawyer from Los Angeles. He's an avid outdoorsman and he is the author of a recent article in the Reader's Digest and titled Let's open up our wilderness. Mr. Miller and Mr. Joyner will be bringing their cases to you shortly but first let me give you some background on the setting for our debate today. Yosemite National Park covers over three quarters of a million acres it's located in central California the Nevada California border. Most of it is wilderness accessible only to hikers and campers and climbers over two million people visit the park yearly but the vast majority of them confine their activities to Yosemite Valley which is where we are now. In the summer in the words of one observer the valley is crowded with people cars trailers campers vehicles tents cabins sleeping bags people. And as well as the natural scenic the lights. Visitors to Yosemite village and its surroundings may enjoy such amenities as a pitch and putt golf course a swimming pool tennis courts a kennel. Barber and beauty shops a luxury hotel restaurants and a cocktail lounge. Is this what our national parks were meant for. Some people don't think so. And earlier this year the Conservation Foundation published a report entitled national parks for the future. It looked at the growing use of our national parks and the impact of that use on our parks themselves. And it concluded that it was time to adopt a new policy for a national park system. One that would have the effect of restricting public use in these parks. Specifically it recommended that automobiles be phased out of the parks. That in park campground should be limited to rustic settings and structures and provide for camping only in tents. That mechanized camping should be provided for outside of park boundaries. That luxury facilities the golf courses and the restaurants and cocktail lounges and the like also should be prohibited inside park boundaries and the product facility is now managed by private concessionaires should be turned over for management to non profit corporations. And it's the sum of these recommendations that constitute the meaning of the question which we're going to be debating today. Please bear in mind that these proposals do not necessarily mean that the numbers of people using our national parks will be reduced. They will however significantly change the character of what you can do when you get there. Should the use of our national parks be restricted. That's the question before us. Mr. Miller the meadow was yours.
I hope it stays ours. In the last three years in this valley and Yosemite National Park there has been smog that has blocked out Half Dome. There have been traffic jams that equal anything in a major city on a Saturday night. There has been pollution and sewage in the Mir said River. It cannot handle the development that is going on. What we have done instead of coming to these natural parks for their beauty and bringing that beauty back into our own lives in the city is that weve taken the ugliness of the city and brought it to these national parks. What are that.
What are the national parks. The national parks are less than 1 percent of the total land area in the United States less than 1 percent. But they are the most geologically unique and irreplaceable part of our country. What have we done in that less than 1 percent we've built a ski resort golf courses here in this valley. There was a hotel a luxury hotel 40 dollars a night for two people. The average accommodation for Yosemite lied for a family of four can run $50 a day for lodging and food. And Yellowstone National Park the rock concerts at Rocky Mountain National Park at 11 and a half thousand feet is a paved road a pavement a gift shop that sells plastic Indians plastic knives plastic trinkets and above all every place there are cars cars and more cars. You know we are to the automobile as the dinosaur was to his car pools. They engulf us and we don't seem to have the wits to back off. What should we do about it. The first thing we have to do is ban all the automobiles. Every place in the national parks and substitute for those automobiles public transportation. Small mini buses that take people around without the momentous increase of automobile traffic that occurs. The next thing we must do is ban the resort development that caters not to the park but to convenience inside the park. Of course we can develop hotels right outside the park. People can come into their mini buses but here inside the park in the center of this beauty there should be nine. The question is simple. Here in the center of the heart of our country. In this stillness of time and place. Where we have automobiles and developments of expensive resorts. Or will we have use that is for the best in man. We stand for a man to tell us why you have it hard. Thank you.
Welcome to the advocates of herd. Thank you nice to be here. Nice to have you.
Garrett Hardin is a biologist he's one of the leading conservationists in the United States. He's also professor of human ecology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Dr. Harding what are these national parks.
Well they're very exceptional places. They've been picked to be exceptional geologically in terms of natural history and so on. And they constitute only about 1 percent of the area of the country on which many of us think there should be restrictions partly because the other ninety nine percent of the country can develop as people want to develop it. But what is the history of development inside these parts. Roughly it's rather sad. Over the past 50 years the development has been largely one of replacement of people by automobiles. And I think it's time to free the parks from the automobile so that people can get back in here in Yosemite as well. Yes it's not as true now as it was two years ago two years ago to reach a crisis situation with immense traffic jams smoggy and so on. The last couple of years the public has been persuaded to a certain extent to leave their cars behind come in and take advantage of the many buses.
And as a result it's been more pleasurable by all accounts to be here now with more of the automobiles outside coming back your heart and why can't we run these parks so that everyone does what he wants to do in his own way inside.
This is a very important point I'm going to take some time explaining. In economics. There is a famous law known as Gresham's Law which simply put says bad money drives out good. If you allow free competition between counterfeit money and real money the counterfeit money displaces the real money so we don't allow free competition we say freedom has to end at that point. In this area. I like to think of the thing I call Harden's law of the environment. And that is the destruction. Drives out gentleness. That if one person wants to have a rock concert and another person wants to play as recorder. Only the man who wants a rock concert gets his way because you can't hear a recorder when there's a rock band playing in the same way the automobile drives out. Walkers drives out bicycling in the motorboat drives out canoes motor boats drive out swimming they run at high speeds and so on. Always the more destructive use drives out the gentler use and the only way you can prevent the automatic working out of this tragedy is to rule out of a small percentage of the country like the National Parks rule out the more destructive uses so that the gentle uses can have their way.
I couldn't ordinarily people who support these proposals or many of them are outdoorsman climb mountains like Mr and so. You're here. Disability you obviously can't get. Into the high back country as many people for various reasons can't get into the high back country. Why do you support this proposal we have today.
Well I suppose because I identify myself with mankind and though I cannot climb Everest as my friend Willie here has done. Somehow I empathise with him I feel with him I feel that he's a part of me. When he does it. And I would hate to think that I was so envious that because I can't climb Mt. Everest I don't want anybody to climb Mt. Everest. I think a much better thing to do is to say those of us who aren't so able should take vicarious pleasure in the accounts of those who are. And this somehow integrates this with some of the best people of mankind and they are part of our team then and we enjoy it in that way.
But even with these restrictions I take it that you and others could still come in and enjoy this valley and would want to in your own way.
Yes I could enjoy some of it I could come in in the valley I can walk around a little bit I can take the many buses but I can't climb half dome or any of the other mountains here. So I will just have to take pleasure in what my friends tell me about it when they do it.
Thank you Doctor doctor and this is the time on our show Don't go away don't leave the stump on the job or is going to ask some questions. It's time for you now.
Pleasure seeing your professor harden.
Sir you have been very outspoken on this issue of what people should have access to the national parks and what uses should be made. And I know you've written articles about it and I'd like to refer to one which is a paper that you delivered to the Sierra Club two years ago. So the fact is you feel not only that certain uses should be prevented in the national parks you also feel that certain classes of people should be prevented from even entering the parks isn't that correct.
From not from entering the parks but from entering the more difficult areas the part that is a person like me should not. Well I suppose you might say if I want to try to climb a mountain go ahead and kill myself. By and large you'd say rule me out of the mountainous area.
Sir could I quote from your article the economics right wilderness. Our present national parks should be forever closed to small children to fat people to people with heart conditions and to old people. In a state of physical disrepair. On the basis of their lack of merit. Such people should give up all claim of right to the wilderness experience. You did say that in that speech and in this article did you not yes.
And I will recant somewhat. In other words I think now that the park should include numerous areas from some of the portions of which these people should be excluded there may be other parties which should allow these people to get in.
Most are in this article you said that Yosemite Valley should be open only. To persons who could physically pass a test of walking in 10 miles from the entrance. If you change your mind about that also.
I haven't really changed my mind except in keeping with political realities.
If this were 1870 and we were making the laws for the first time I would urge that the laws be made that way but me and you would like to you if you had your choice would keep out the elderly small children fat people and people with heart conditions. That's because political conditions are such. You know you can get away with that with the voters. So now you say well let the matter Yosemite Valley. Is that correct.
Yes and the point being that it's very hard to roll back the clock. See an eight hundred seventy eight. This had not happened I think one could have done that. But now the people are already here. Remember when I say you know a lot these people I mean I'm saying rule out meat too.
I was at a place where you were also set. And let's create some outdoor slums for the people. But not in Yosemite Valley which is too good for this purpose. You call that use by the American people of Yosemite Valley and outdoor slow don't you sir. What's the definition of.
The definition of Islam is not that it has Americans in it or foreigners in it the definition of Islam is it has too many people and a certain many many people too many Americans will make it a slow circle.
Look around look around. Now Americans have been coming to this valley for 100 years camping out using the lodge having fun here. Has this value been damaged in your judgment as yes it made ugly. Yes it has. Well that's very interesting sir let me read you a letter. Let me read you a letter last year. Life magazine did a story about the alleged problems in Yosemite Valley. And I am so out of it wrote a letter to the editor which they published September 24 last year.
You know when it's a lot of writing which is certain do Izzy and what do you want her answer Latham's is a splendid photographer who has taken most of the famous pictures of Yosemite that you've seen.
Right exactly. Here is and so items letter service. I have lived in Yosemite Valley for 54 years and I have never seen it more beautiful than it is this season. It cannot be locked up as a museum treasure. Would you agree with those sentiments.
Professor Hart I think that Antal Adams was comparing Yosemite with the recent past in spite of his saying 54 years. I think if you went back a hundred years you'd find Yosemite doesn't look as good as it did then but it does look much better now than it did two years ago and that naturally gives him hope partly because there are fewer people coming to Yosemite in the summertime now than they were two years now that you recanted your views about not letting elderly people or anybody you could type hike 10 miles in and you're willing to let the public in.
Are you willing sir to have to let them have modest hotel accommodations so they can they can stay here in the valley or does everybody have to backpack and camp out in the open.
The country is filled with fine hotels and these people that you're so concerned about who want a hotel they don't have to have a hotel here they can have it someplace else.
I see so if they can't here. If they come here they have to camp out. Yes and that includes me. All right and now sir what if it isn't summer time we're really for what if it's wintertime people can come here the year round and come to this hotel so we can spread the recreational load aren't you saying sir in effect that by making people camp and that's only in canvas tents isn't it you wouldn't permit motorhomes or anything like that or campers or trailers canvas tents. So you're going to concentrate all the usage of this whole country of people who come to this valley. In the summer time and create that very outdoor slum that you're talking about aren't you.
This is not true because you can live outdoors in the snow in the wintertime without a tent. I have slept in the snow myself.
Have you tried sleeping out here in the snow in winter time at a campus professors.
I haven't got many of my friends.
And I could do that even with these crutches. Some people like it and some people don't judge and that's all we have times right. Jo'burg Herman thank you very much for being with me much.
I am going to live with that when I get my car I'm afraid the cross-examination about the hotels in the wintertime misses the point there's no prohibition in building hotels just outside the park and coming in to enjoy even in the winter what is here naturally. And as for sleeping out in the winter we have 22 people here Mr. Ansell students who did sleep out. Last night and had no trouble doing so let's hear from Lillian so.
I am us. All together.
Thank you very much. William Solis climb Mount Everest not only climbed Everest but climbed it up it's impossible west ridge.
But he hasn't just used to be impossible. He has just done that for himself he's gone out he's brought thousands of young Americans young people into the wilderness through outward bound which he was executive director at. Mr. Ansell doesn't the kind of development that the. Proponents of this proposal talk about hotels and conveniences improve use of this valley for everyone.
Well it multiplies the funneling of human bodies through the facilities. I would not classify that as improving the use in actual fact the legitimate use of the wilderness is utterly destroyed by the development as is taken place in the past.
What should we increase genuine use of the planet for use in its natural state.
Of course the increase in the genuine use is what the whole fight is about. That's why we need more genuine wilderness experiences such as outward bound gives such as the proliferation of outdoor programs from the colleges give the Evergreen State colleges send its wilderness and consciousness down here to monitor this program and I think that's on the right track. And also just the people who really dig the wilderness have to have the opportunity for that sort of self renewal struggle what do you mean by genuine use as opposed to something else. Well I'm talking about experiencing the wilderness on its terms rather than on our terms. But what about was that so what about.
Old people for example as much about us together.
Yeah we got lucky a Semi Valley for older people.
I heard that approach and I'm I'm afraid I have to be pretty emotional. I rate that an outrageous reference. I'm concerned about old people and I'm not content to leave it up to the two week vacation when we can funnel them into the high country of the national parks. I want a program hitting them 50 weeks out of the year. The old people have been dealt with shamefully in this country and I resent the cynical use of this issue in order to accomplish the destruction of our national heritage. The care and support of the old people is a huge problem that is not solved by opening the national parks to them now as an actual fact we are opening the national parks by way of the mass transit.
So we are not keeping the old people out as is being claimed by our opponent was it provides many buses and I'm absolutely not a part of the proposed site of the proposal I think the objection is treating people who we haven't got a thing for in our natural environment and using them as a reason to ruin this. What does the park experience mean to the boys and girls you bring in what does that wilderness experience why do we need it.
My view of the meaning of the Wilderness Experience has to be seen against the background of our national culture. We're a safety conscious world today. You start with mom her self fulfilling her God given function. If you don't believe it just ask her. She has to protect her children. So do the unions.
So to the schools and those coming into this park as a provided experience that all people need.
It's that that element of challenge which allows a young person or an old person to test himself against his own no matter nine years you've climbed Everest the ultimate. Peak one of the peak experiences of human beings what the climbing Everest mean to you that feel that I get about Everest is a sense of perspective on man's place in the universe. And it's a very humbling one. We have the feeling that man is in charge and we could be in charge. That's the danger. We could dam this valley and have another reservoir we could put a hotel on the top of Half Dome. And I think that would be tragic. What Everest tells me is that the absolute need for harmony within the whole unity of things man and his environment. And that's what the parks have to offer us.
Gentlemen let me get a restaurant a job or a suspect wants to answer some questions if you can talk to her in heaven.
I have a tendency to move off that stuff we don't want to let you do that you have to come from the restaurants all pleasure to see you here is served up by the way when you climbed Everest.
Did you use oxygen. Yes we did use although you didn't do it completely. Oh naturally all is alright on the surface sir let me let me say everybody respects your climbing Everest just as we respect the astronauts that went to the moon. But that really isn't relevant here we're talking about the use of this park. Now sir let's have a little perspective on the situation from where we stand. Extending 200 miles south runs the John Muir wilderness doesn't it I've hiked it and I'm sure you have two rights right to 100 miles that's right with no roads no structures it's just four hikers correct loaded with them and they're loaded with the OK and good because you've got you have all your students here that you're teaching and I think it's a great thing. And in this park sir 99 percent of this park is only open to hikers isn't it because there's no roads. Just one percent is open to the American public with accommodations and where they can camp with their automobiles right could I ask how many people use the park. All right now let me ask you sir does the U.S. does it. W spy that one percent of the surface of the park in this valley interfere with you and your students doing your thing and having these spiritual experiences and that 200 miles of wilderness that starts right there at half time.
Mr. George I think that's a perfectly fair question. I think that it's a little awkwardly because what we're talking about is not the national park system we're talking about the United States of America. And when we talk about the reserved wilderness in the United States we are talking about less than 1 percent of the total area open to man time talking about this part does I mean by the United States and I'm sorry but we are now officially limited to a park.
Let's go to let's go to the next question then. Let's say. I.
Thank you. Let's take the spiritual experience that you described in that you try to instill in your students for them to get out when they go to the back country right be half behind Half Dome there. Now spiritual experience is a is a subjective thing isn't something every man feels and it's not capable of being measured. That's right. All right sir. Now I know that you don't want to hear about elderly people but let me give you a hypothetical case suppose there is a couple in New York who have worked all their lives in every tire not just for two weeks but retired. They save their money they come to Yosemite for the first time they stay in Yosemite Lodge within sound of Yosemite Falls. They see the moon from their otel room come up over half dome. Do you feel sir that they don't feel just as much a sense of beauty as your young people who go up and back pack and sleep out in the wilderness.
I'd like to ask them the price that has to be paid for their enjoyment and the price that we have to pay.
Is the exposure of the rest of the humanity in this country to the wilderness experience which they are costing the people of the United States do you mean sir that if at the time that elderly couple is in their hotel room looking at Yosemite for all your students up there in that 200 miles of wilderness are going to have their enjoyment spoiled or their spiritual experience while I'm busy.
People are staying here I'm locking about the total Bali experience and I refer to Harden's law that good money drives out bad yeah it will harden strong cold heartless law told us three years ago you have heard sir that no people no small children know people with heart conditions should be permitted in the value at all. I'm not I'm not it was that it was the law I have my present version in the present version says yes all people are allowed in and many buses as the plan provides I see nothing wrong with that. That's a very good point. Do you know Sir Frank I want to follow up on.
Do you know sir who developed that minibus proposition and who financed it at their own risk. The Yosemite Park and Courier Company the private concession are here that you fellows want to get out of the parks. I'm asking for an act of supererogation I really thank Mr I'm sorry sir you'll have to speak simply.
Well I can make an effort and I think that's great.
Then Curry company did this public spirited gesture. Now all we're asking is one more gesture to remove themselves to the limits of the park or am. I.
I think you would have in accordance with this report that Mr Dukakis or you have the government take over that function of furnishing lodging and meals to the American public not necessarily Well that's what a quasar public corporation means.
Well Miss Dolly I think in fairness to the proposal it might be our own profit corporation tax and I guess the Sierra Club and I decide Alright well operator I mean what do you want out of the Sierra Club take over the concession is that right.
I think it would be in safe hands yes sir.
Sir let me tell you I was once a Sierra Club and I went on their tour and the Sierra Club is not a cot I called but I caterer to give me a list of the American public I'd be willing to take it under advisement. However the Audubon Society that's another co-op maybe well maybe they do business together. Now sir now sir let's get back to last question please. Let's get back to this 1 percent of the park that the public really has you so do you feel if we increase it to 10 percent and left you backpackers only 90 percent of the wilderness area that you have now that that would be such a terrible deprivation very thing when your students were looking for a 1 percent of the United States area and I think it's a fair percentage for us to request yes.
So let's all try out all the time we have for him. Thank you very much for thank you very much. Thank you I.
So but I don't. Think it's clear that here in Yosemite Valley and Garrett hardly unsouled we have men to match these mountains. There are a couple of things that have to be said about the cross-examination the perspective is the entire country. This is all we've got. You begin to ask for 10 percent of this you're asking of 10 percent of all we've got. The important thing is that all we've got is only this infinitesimal amount. And what about the old people this misuse of people who we disregard totally and then use as an excuse to spoil this environment. They can stay outside the park in a hotel and come in in the morning in a minibus for the sake of the convenience of being in the center of the park instead of just outside. Are we going to ruin the experience not for the people in the high country but for everyone else in the valley. God has created this valley but only we can preserve it. Thank. YOU THANK YOU.
Thank you Mr. Miller for those of you at home who may have joined us late. We've been debating here in Yosemite National Park the question of park policy for the future and Mr. Miller and his witnesses have been supporting a policy of restriction on public use of that park and these parks and all of our national parks now we're going to turn to Mr. Gilbert who is going to take the opposite side of the question. Joe over. Thank you very much ladies and gentleman.
We're standing here in the most beautiful valley in the world. For over 100 years Americans have come here to see Half Dome and all the other wonders of Yosemite. They've come here in horse carts wagons steam locomotives. Model T's Model A's and now they come in campers trailers and motorhomes. And suddenly we're told you must not come here in this manner anymore. This park will no longer be for the use and enjoyment of all our people. It must be set aside for a hiking aristocracy. The way a European aristocracy used to set aside vast hunting preserves from which the common people were excluded. Now I don't believe any small group should have the right to take over our national parks. And no small group no matter how well intentioned has the right to impose by law their choice of a lifestyle on the American people. My first witness is Mr. Don HUMMEL. Mr. Holmes thank you.
I'm proud of them I don't like them you know.
Thank you. Mr. Mr. Hubbell was a ranger in Grand Canyon. He's been a part concessionaire for 40 years and served under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson as head of all urban renewal in the United States. Mr. humble in your judgment is Yosemite being overused and damaged. Absolutely not.
When you consider that they've only set aside a thousand and forty acres out of seven hundred and sixty thousand acres in this project for development for use of 99 percent of the people. Another way it's one eighth of one percent is set aside for the great majority of the U.S. the people. And I don't think that's an unfair allocation. And by the way sir there was some mention here of sewage in the river a couple of years ago where did that sewage come from that sewage came from the so-called backpacker's up in Upper Yosemite this sewage that comes out of this ballet and is treated on a treatment that I just post up. They have pollution came not from this huge that's going to kill all but from the unscheduled use in Upper Yosemite the Hummel I suspected wasn't on schedule but it was certainly uncontrolled and it wasn't right.
Right. OK it's on schedule to I'm right to say sir.
Sir do you believe that concession or facilities such as hotels for people who want to come here and stay damaging the ecology of the park.
Absolutely not. I think it's a well known fact that if you have a structure well-managed. Permanent structure with proper management in one location you can serve more people with less damage than the helter skelter spreading of thousands of campers out through thousands of acres of wilderness.
What about this idea that a hotel should be and should be confined to outside the park area what do you think about that.
That's very novel but you create more problems in your song. Because of what you do you create a horrendous transportation problem because everybody has to come in in the morning. Everybody has to go out in the evening so you have a commuter crime type of traffic conditions. You lose control of what services are to be provided for the people that come in this park. Also as to the quality of service the price to be paid for the service and whether or not there's service at all and in the off season.
Incidentally sir both of the opposition speakers praise this bus system. Who was it who invented and financed the beginning of that bus system.
You know somebody parked in current company has the concession or not put up the first two hundred twenty five thousand to test this concept because we know we had a traffic problem.
OK sir. And incidentally there's been some reference here to prices at Yosemite Lodge do you in fact have low cost accommodations.
We have accommodations as low as $6 for two people and canvas cabin cabins. It is nice for Proctor of US policy to give a range of prices to reach all of the American people not just one group as these people would do relegated to the back backpacker. And serve what is the average profit of the concessionaires who operate in the park system and nine thousand seven day all of the concessionaires in the Drive-By made them a nice night Neff's and sub three point eight percent on their investment. And one third of the 1970 lost money.
Now sir we've heard recommendations that people who come up here in campers and trailers to camp should be prohibited in that all camping should be in tents What do you think about that.
Well those people who are so disturbed about just about the wilderness and the impact on the land. These are the best campers you can get you the people you care for people living in pairs they're experienced campers. They have their sanitary sanitary system with them. They build last what five because they cooked in their first facilities and then leave a clean cap which is more than I can say and 90 percent of the backpackers.
Mr. HOLMES Do you agree that our part should be preserved for posterity.
Absolutely but what I want to know when does posterity began tomorrow. Next year 100 years and now I'm going to start today with this generation. We've got a perfect right as part of posterity to enjoy this and all the American people who own and pay for these parks have a perfect right to utilize it.
Thank you very much for the only time I was coming over here he's going to ask you but you know one.
Time I was interested in your reference to the Yosemite Park a curry company which is the concessionaire here in the valley putting up one hundred twenty five thousand dollars for the shuttle system. You know new is manager of that company until you started in July.
And not as manager I've been connected with the company for two for two years I've been here actively and resident for a short time I wasn't taking personal credit I thought about your salary but incorrectly but in fact a semi company 51 percent of it has recently been bought out by another corporation.
That's natural resources is that right. Yeah and the one of the first things the terms of your expenditure in the valley one of the first things that corporations get is write a letter with shareholders saying that it's now going to spend money outside the valley for other investments instead of paying a dividend is that correct.
Yes it's only good business I would think that if you are taking care of the other man's property and you have all these paid people making those songs and saying it should be you should not develop it in the park then I think you have an obligation to go into other areas too.
Yeah that's just good business just to talk about good business U.S.A. or the company that owns this is another business is to strip mining in Pennsylvania and forest products and oil and timber. That's right. Tell me what this company that's engaged in.
These activities. Strip mining and the other thing this conglomerate what perspective does it bring to develop in the park would you for example put a golf course in somebody that I know I would put a golf course but the fact is if the golf courses were there they were allowed just like them want it warmer.
But it was one of the 12 that were around and about 30 miles from here in the southeast U.S. The worst part is that in the park it is in the park and it is in the park. Do you think there is a wilderness area special area that ought to be set aside in this country and not developed very definitely outside the park alone there's 30 million acres of wilderness being designated.
Well but the National Guard and the question the dispute then is you think there ought to be some area that ought not to be developed. The question is should these places like the Valley of Yosemite the center of Yellowstone Lassen glacier should these places these beautiful places be included in that area. That's really what we're talking about yes I say no that's not necessary for the wilderness as it is defined in the Wilderness Act but not for this experience where in the United States where in the world does anyone get an experience of being in this valley without development so long as there's development in this valley is there anything else like it. Anything. Place.
You are assuming that the development here is as adverse to the utilization of this part and I.
Challenge your problem you said there are thousand of 40 acres used in a peak summer weekend how many people are here on that thousand and will run 15 15000 people at a peak average peak the L.A. Times report 74000 on a peak July weekend is that and I know I think their figures are factual Yeah OK but that's trust the times on this because we agree on 15000 to 16000 is the Park Services figure is an average day an average present an average or whatever they say in July which is the peak month and that's still in the valley that's still 15 people to the acre.
I mean that's well it's a question of whether you know seven hundred sixty.
No no you say a thousand forty acres is what's being used to even taking your own figures it's 15 people to the acre but can't have it both ways.
There are seven hundred seventy seven hundred sixty thousand acres in this park and the people who are the backpackers unfortunately think they have to come through this valley to get to that. But in 99 percent of according to your own testimony 99 percent of the people use these thousand and forty acres that means there's a density of 15 people to the acre in the valley on an average peak week at right and park service while they're planning standards so they can take 25000 a day without without damage that Atlantic current services planning standards for right now Mr. Jobs That's the Park Service who is responsible for administering this. Would you accept the Park Service's recommendation for Yellowstone. Yes I think that might be done on your own right. Not all not all but only 3 percent of Yellowstone that use 3 percent of Yellowstone is used but Yellowstone is what and what we have in the entire United States when a quarter million acres. Let's talk about this elite now and whether this is an aristocracy a backpacking a league anyone can go backpacking camping. Well no there are people who physically and I know that I mean that in terms of economic we talk about aristocracy in terms of economics at all actually a good backpacking equip the person who asked to have a family of five gnashed provide the facilities of tents that backing up and so forth isn't much chance of financial outlay that the person who comes up here is one of our cats no wonder you're hooked on the valley Mister how well you're hooked on cost.
Let's talk about another stock be on is there any reason at all for the Ahwahnee hotel to be in Yosemite Valley forty dollars a night for to spend what is the rationale for having a luxury hotel in the middle of Yosemite Valley.
Because our hotel serves no matter how much of the day and beautifully and what the background I walk every morning about 6 o'clock. I can look to the left turns the Ahwahnee or tell I have a hard time just joining us because I look to the right to where the backpackers are and I see orange Tench green can't yellow brown that offends my sensitivity. Oh I just think that.
I think was the only answer is that your sensitivities were shaped when you were head of urban development in the United States government.
I'm going to get a chance to reply you know as you leave and you show how wrong you are. I started a list when I was a Ranger.
Back when I was in college I wasn't an urban radio where you already had you know sort of Sensei not that but but but since then you've run concessions and sold in the last and you've been head of urban development to come back.
For this comp you know I consider myself just like many of the concessionaires. As good a conservationist as there is in the picture.
Why have a ski resort in Yosemite National Park to somebody land in the United States for ski resorts. Why should we take part of this park to have the resort.
Why should the skier come up and enjoy the same kind of someday national right wants to cross-country someone about why should you decide what kind to you.
Oh I'm sure the people I know I say it's not that you know once again skiing every ski resort in the United States is being built now Utah Colorado outside National Park snow once again why do you need to slow down or stop.
No I'm going to let Mr. Hummel last answer that you gotta understand I have to write it I need it inside this part. Why do we need to skiing inside this park very quickly just because. You spread the use of this park. Too many seasons and stop the intensive use in just the summer time. Why do you want to I don't know I can't have our can allow another question Mr. Mom allowed only Hummels for it and Mr Bell is against it and with that gentlemen I have to write thank you mister you can reroute those people to enjoy their national parks in a way they like to do it. OK thanks Mr I want very much for being with us. Thank you.
That was a lively exchange Ibis job or not a witness but my next witness is Mr. Floyd Domini. A lifelong outdoorsman. Former head of the Bureau of Reclamation under four presidents. Welcome to the Advocate my dear Mr. Domini. Do you think we're presently using our national parks wisely.
No I think it's a shame that we're not and developing more of the great natural areas so people can get into them and use them the way they like to use. Is that by fact packing or buying automobiles like you would in an affair with backpacking if you develop twice as much land in Yosemite and twice as much land in Yellowstone and twice as much land in Glacier for those who don't like it that way.
Let's let's take Yellowstone as an example where we've been told that 3 percent is developed in Yellowstone. That is with hotels and with access to the public. Would you recommend doubling that figure at least. And do you think that would be unfair to the backpackers it would have to you know I'm one of the remaining 94 percent not at all. Getting back to Yellowstone now what would you suggest as a means of improving the access of the public to the wonders of Yellowstone.
Well I want to say that I've been the honest on many many times I was actually appointed as one of the 90 day wonders there 1930 but I didn't accept it because if I don't have to buy my own uniform my 94 debt for those of us youngsters who were not a wonder it was the many wonders that this will surface for 90 days during the peak season. What would you do about Yellowstone. Well I would develop Yellowstone. By opening a great many additional areas. There's no reason to confine the total visitation to a park of almost 4000 square miles through the loop which occupies only 3 percent of the total acreage of two and a quarter million. And there are many many areas in the Isle of stone that could be developed for addition by additional roads and I don't mean highways with four lanes I mean a gravel road capable of two cars passing one another going in the same direction so people can stop in and look at the elk and the moose. And enjoy the park and have some outer camps away from this congested area.
And serve with that in your judgment interfere with the use of 94 percent of the park via backpack I don't see anyone could say that.
And do you think it would hurt the animal life. Not at all. My experience in the parks in the in Africa where the animal is the chief reason for the park they put roads everywhere and you ride along you're not allowed to get out of the car of course and you're not allowed to feed them and all that but you can take pictures and the animals pay no attention to you and that's the same way they do and deal with them.
By the way sir. If you put yourself in a backpacker.
I certainly was in the late twenties and early thirties when I couldn't afford to get into the parks in the mountains any other way I enjoyed it thoroughly. But now I prefer not to backpack to get in the park.
All right and do you find that if you sleep in a clean bed and have a good meal at a restaurant the fat off of it that all law interferes with your sensitivity to the beauties of nature.
Quite the contrary I think I enjoy it more after a leisurely sleep in a leisurely breakfast in the warm bath.
And do you do you think sir that any one group such as the backpackers no matter how well intentioned they are no matter how good they think backpacking is for the American people. Do you really think that they should impose their standards by law on the American people and say all the rest of the public has to be confined to 1 percent or 3 percent.
Well I can only say that when I was going into the mountains with my backpack and with my ski trips in the winter time for cross-country skiing there were no ski trails in those days. I didn't feel I was deprived of anybody else of that pleasure nor did I think. Anyone else was depriving me of the pleasure by sleeping in a good hotel and in some other area.
Good don't you think that you know whether people want to backpack or stay in a hotel should be a matter of individual choice and not something that's imposed by the federal government which adopts the new laws or regulations.
Well I certainly think that all this wonderful bakeries that belongs to the. People. And it was selected as the primary is of scenic value. Should not be converted in the wilderness for the food. I think it ought to be developed more than it is for the average family that loves to come to the park and show their kids the natural wonders it's being preserved in their name.
Insert do you what do you do you think that the average American working man after 50 weeks of hard work during the year is about on his two week vacation to put a pat on his back and a pack on his wife's back and packs on the wall on the backs of his kids and hike off into the wilderness.
Or does that man just want a nice place to camp or a nice hotel to stay I think the answer is very obvious. Oh thanks Mr Domini Domini don't you. Want to.
Know what a. Nominee is head of the Bureau of Reclamation for many years you are a vandal or one of the nation's leading band of it.
Yes I am very proud of the fact that I've helped the blacks a great deal by opening up many many areas for recreation and taken some of the pressure off town but I want to ask you Mr nominee is which then has any value to damn them or said Jamieson. Well there's many reasons why you wouldn't know somebody that Mr. Miller Merced the lemur said is wherever that goes through the ballot. For many reasons you wouldn't even consider damning it even to one the National Park in the first place it says a very steep gradient so you have a very poor reservoir area and you don't have a very heavy flow.
Well that's a very interesting answer especially in terms of our emotional reaction to Yosemite Mr. Daubeny because a question north of here and Yosemite National Park there is another Yosemite Valley not all the way. No not in the reset on the 12 and it's Hetch Hetchy Valley.
Well I don't think we can I mean I get an impression by talking about what I was built when I was 5 years old but I've done a lot of passionate religion I think what have you are arguing about this irreplaceable resource.
There was another one twin Hetch Hetchy Valley it was dammed with Hetchy Dam it's now totally underwater that other Yosemite is gone.
Do you agree with the building of Hetch Hetchy dam like I say I was 5 years old I wasn't consulted I think probably I might have done just like that in Rampart and Marble Canyon I might again.
Then against But I want to know what you feel because here you see the real question we're asking is which of these valleys has really been them. And what I mean I think I think. I think the question of when my. Out of focus for this discussion Mr Moderator but I. Understand why you think it's not a problem I was taught.
That's about all you could lay on this other you said Oh I think you know I think it's clear that Mr Germany would oppose the Hetch Hetchy dam had he responsibility for doing that and he couldn't have because he was 5 years old coming out of going to take your 5 year old.
Well tell me what we're talking about now is to keep talking about having to backpack and everything. We're really just talking about whether these kind of developments are in the center of the most beautiful places or outside the park with people coming in the minibuses what's wrong with keeping them outside. Hard man to work 50 weeks a year can still go with his family to the hotel. Outside and takes a minibus it why not do that.
It's entirely different experience the private sector Yellowstone. Oh my travels in and out of there it would have been ridiculous to take your family and expect to stay out on the east gate or up at. The north gate of Robert the west gate. And I went on to many but why would it have been ridiculous. It's just that isn't the way you visit a park if you've got kids and you want to go right on the mark and you want to camp where your family can't figure out why isn't it the way you visit you get into the biggest camp there's no restriction on camping in camp all you want.
Just have to do it in a tent instead of a motorised monstrosities.
Talk about much. Thankfully I've never had more than a station like myself looking. For example when you go to park with small children. Be a little off.
Funny to be riding in a minibus and changing diapers in this imagine though it's kind of it's you think it's better to bring them in let's talk about the African parks I've been to the African Parks I'm not sure.
In fact in the African parks the signs are that people keep out the people get fan stay in and you can only drive in any of those parks on approved guided tours in the car in a special way. Never been to the ones I've been well we've been there I've been to the ones that have preserved and preserve that seems to be our various prejudices. Tell me about regulation. We do regulate you say why not let people come in and stay in the hotel. We do regulate the amount of the development Don't wait. We don't let the semi part and carry company built any number of units at once.
No but there ought to be more development don't but we do regulate what we regulate but I'm saying the park service is at fault. They haven't they haven't been willing to develop other areas in the parks they've concentrated either here or there.
Fifty miles from here there's the largest alpine meadow in the western United States twal in the meadows which you developed while in the meadows with another or windier Yosemite lives of course not but I know many other areas. Why because that's.
That's. My dear sir. I'm only saying that you don't need to confine it to one but what about the babies in their diapers going to marry but don't seem to dominate and confine your campground you don't need an exorcism for just 1 percent now what's the difference between Twala mean Yosemite Valley quality is exceptional but you Semi Valley is can't be described you preserve quality but the vellum Valley. I think if we start all over again in Yosemite Valley we might have got into facilities more than putting them all on one star Why not start out all over take them down and start out all over.
Me. This would defeat the very purpose of the National not the purpose. I want to talk about quality because we have these two two areas here yet you want to say that don't all your arguments hold people don't want to go out on a minibus It's a beautiful place. We have to expand to use it's necessary it's a small area. Seeing an Alpine Meadows a lovely experience walking across those meadows one of the great experiences in life. Shouldn't we build hotels of people so people can stay up there to enjoy that. No shells anywhere in the park anywhere shouldn't be what should we build another want to ride some campgrounds up there perhaps adjacent to the film why not tell them I don't want to live with people who can pay $50 and I can enjoy the meadow.
I don't think you do the more I want to know I just got enough now 40 dollars a day that many people want to go there you may have. You may have.
You may have won more than is necessary and if you're in the park you just talk about regulation the park not only would talk about regulation if you use the park now this park now regulates use isn't that right you can only be in for seven days for some purposes and 14 days for others. I think that's all right that's right. So what I think perhaps they ought to consider.
Another regulation in a park like Yosemite which is closely. Aligned to large centers of populations that use it regularly.
What's that other regulation maybe you want to say to the local folks that they have their limited to so many days a year up there so the other guy coming from Michigan can get the limit everyone let's talk about the Park Service's recommendation for Yellowstone Park Service has a general philosophy and now that is recommended for Yellowstone. Cut out the cars what they call wilderness. Shed facilities take down the massive hotels and open up Yellowstone to the way you say it could not be seen. Do you disagree with that recommend they very definitely. Why do you think the Park Service is going around making these recommendations.
Well because there's a lot of people like to believe that way but there's more people believe the other way.
Well find that out before this week's get out sir but isn't one of the reasons there's more people is because we've excluded that experience you can't come here and enjoy the valley as it was. We hear the traffic maybe the cameras I forget you know what the traffic sounds like in July. You know how many people are going down the mayor said River on their wraps in July. You can't get into the river because you're bumped out. Is that an enjoyment of Yosemite Valley.
MILLER Just one more response Mr. Donnelly we have to end it now but it wouldn't be a good visit for me and I wouldn't do that.
So now you certainly wouldn't and you would come in if it were otherwise that on the other hand when he made him go by the Americans and coming out of this point I have to break in thanks very Michael Dunn I think.
Thank you very much. I've just gotten your summary please.
Thank you sir. Ladies and gentlemen the traffic that you just heard was a snowplow coming up from one of. The endless Smaug that was referred to earlier is the campfire smoke campfire smoke that is here in summer because there are a lot of people camping here including a lot of backpackers and people in tents and they want to burn wood campfires. As far as I know I'm from Los Angeles and I want to know what smog smells like campfire smoke smells good. Now you know you ladies and gentlemen not right here but those in our listening audience you've often been told that you should get out and see your national parks. Well take my advice and do it very very soon because you can see right now from this program that there are people in this country who are soon going to severely restrict your use of the parks. And these people happen to be a very well-organized political lobby and they're not just kidding when they say that they want to restrict your use of the park. Now they already have 97 percent of the park areas for their exclusive use. And I know what I'm talking about because I was a backpacker wants to. Be what they want to do is cut down on your access to the very last 1 percent or 3 percent in Yosemite it's 1 percent here in the valley where the American public can come. Now I don't feel that we should let any small group in our country take over our national parks and when one small group has the exclusive use of 97 percent of Yellowstone or 99 percent of Yosemite that small group has taken over the park. No one small group in our country should impose their lifestyle on another. By law. Sure talk with people try to get them to backpack. Tell them the glories of hiking but don't impose those standards by law in a democratic society. Every person has his own freedom of choice which I don't like about the job I may have to break it at that point we better go to Mr. Miller for his summary.
Mr Miller How about yourself.
So jumping is endless amounts of time to explain what his position is. Let's see how this small political group is MY GOD in favor of this proposal we have one of the world's leading biologist a man who climbed Mount Everest. And against an executive who runs a concession in a former head of the Bureau of Reclamation. Now I understand the positions and I was man but I don't think this program indicates any small conspiratorial spiritual or other group simply people who want to save your Samedi Valley. If we can't save your Samedi Valley if we can't save our other national parks we can't say anything.
If we can't we have a chance. We can begin to say these things. Now we're not saving the valley for the sake of the valley. We are saving the value of these parks for ourselves. What a man preserves tells us what he is what we preserved will tell us what we are. That's why we say and why we've always said. That in preserving this valley we're not simply preserving a human experience that cannot otherwise be duplicated. We are indeed. Preserving ourselves. Thank you. Thank you. Very much.
Now you are going to thank you.
Christ you're going what you think our national park system should be a national park system was a triumph of democratic ideals in America and in the future it should be no less so should the public use of our national parks be drastically restricted. That's the question. Please send us your yes or no vote on a letter a postcard to the Advocate's box one thousand seventy two Boston 0 21 34 We'll tabulate your views and make them known to the members of Congress to the White House. The secretary of the interior to the director the National Park Service all the people that are going to have to make these important decisions in the coming months and years to remember that address is the Advocate's box 972 Boston 020 134 now with thanks to our advocates they were distinguished witnesses. It was special thanks Mr. Lynn Thompson the park superintendent here at Yosemite and his very fine staff who have so ably cooperated with us on this broadcast. We conclude our debate.
The advocates as a program takes no position on the issues debated tonight. Our job is to help you understand both sides more clearly.
This program was recorded.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
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- In Yosemite National Park, mediator Michael Dukakis discusses the National Park Services dual role of sharing and protecting the land protected by the government agency. One guest discusses the destruction of national parks by cars, development, and unrestricted access in order to advocate for the preservation of the parks. Another guest advocate says that people own the parks and believes there should be more facilities to foster the use of parks by the public. Guests include Howard Miller, Eric Julber, Garrett Hardin Professor of Ecology, University of California Santa Barbara William, Don Hummel, and Floyd Dominy.
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- Unsoeld, William Francis, 1926-1979; Dominy, Floyd E.; Hummel, Don, 1907-; Hardin, Garrett James, 1915-2003; Julber, Eric; Miller, Howard E.; Dukakis, Michael S. (Michael Stanley), 1933-
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Publisher: Supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundations.
Writer: Dukakis, Michael
Writer: Miller, Howard
Writer: Julber, Eric
Writer: Unsoeld, William
Writer: Hummel, Don
Writer: Dominy, Floyd
Writer: Hardin, Garrett
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Identifier: 7e4291f02c80f71a4e16c354664f7ee0103169fe (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
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- Chicago: “Advocates; Should public use of our national parks be restricted?; 312,” 1972-12-28, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 18, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-862b853n6h.
- MLA: “Advocates; Should public use of our national parks be restricted?; 312.” 1972-12-28. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 18, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-862b853n6h>.
- APA: Advocates; Should public use of our national parks be restricted?; 312. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-862b853n6h