CHAPTER NINE: Legislation Relating to Crater Lake National Park: 1916-Present A. LEGISLATIVE ACTS

Crater Lake National Park: Administrative History by Harlan D. Unrau and Stephen Mark, 1987

 CHAPTER NINE: Legislation Relating to Crater Lake National Park: 1916-Present

6. An Act to Amend an Act Entitled “An Act to Accept the Cession by the State of Oregon of Exclusive Jurisdiction over the Lands Embraced within the Crater Lake National Park, and for Other Purposes (49 Stat. 422–June 25, 1935)

The purpose of this legislation was two-fold. First, it provided for acceptance by the federal government of exclusive jurisdiction over the 973-acre south extension of the park from the State of Oregon. Second, it was designed to amend the Act of August 21, 1916 (39 Stat. 521) to allow the United States Commissioner for the park to live outside its boundaries. Since the park was closed each winter and the superintendent and other park officials maintained offices in Medford during those months, it was impracticable to require the commissioner to live within the park boundaries on a year-round basis.

The events precipitating this issue surrounded the death of William G. Steel on October 20, 1934. Steel had served as commissioner from 1916 to 1934 and at his death his daughter, Jean G. Steel, was appointed to succeed him effective October 25, 1934. On January 26 of the following year the Comptroller General of the United States ruled that no salary was payable for any period during which the commissioner did not reside within the boundaries of the park, thus disallowing the claim of Jean G. Steel for her salary from October 25 to December 31, 1934. A claim for the salary of William G. Steel from September 1 to October 20 was also disallowed. Thus the new legislation was proposed to allow payment of the accrued salaries. [24]

Senator Charles L. McNary of Oregon introduced the necessary legislation (S. 2185) on March 7, 1935. The bill contained language to amend three sections of the earlier legislation:

SEC. 6. That the United States District Court for Oregon shall appoint a commissioner, who shall reside within the exterior boundaries of the Crater Lake National Park or at a place reasonably adjacent to the park, the place of residence to be designated by the Secretary of the Interior, and who shall have jurisdiction to hear and act upon all complaints made of any violations of law or of the rules and regulations made by the Secretary of the Interior for the government of the park and for the protection of the animals, birds, and fish, and objects of interest therein, and for other purposes authorized by this Act.

SEC. 2. That section 9 of the said Act be amended by striking out the words, “Provided, That the said commissioner shall reside within the exterior boundaries of said Crater Lake National Park, at a place to be designated by the court making such appointment.

SEC. 3. Any commissioner heretofore appointed under authority of the said Act shall be entitled to receive the salary provided by law, which may have accrued at the date this Act becomes effective, without regard to whether such commissioner or commissioners may have resided within the exterior boundaries of the Crater Lake National Park. [25]

The bill received quick endorsement by Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes, and the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry reported favorably on the bill without amendment on April 15. [26] After being approved by the Senate on May 1, the bill was referred to the House where the Committee on Public Lands undertook its consideration on May 3. Earlier on April 17 Representative James W. Mott of Oregon had introduced an identical bill (H.R. 7566), which had been referred to the House Committee on Public Lands. Thus, on May 9 the committee reported favorably on H.R. 7566 without amendment. [27] On June 15 the House passed S. 2185 in lieu of H.R. 7566, and on June 25, 1935, the bill was signed into law (49 Stat. 422) by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


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