18 B. Legislative History of Park Establishing Act: 1901-1902

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

 

CHAPTER FOUR: Establishment of Crater Lake National Park: 1902

B. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF PARK ESTABLISHING ACT: 1901-1902

Finally, on December 10, 1901 , Representative Tongue introduced a bill (H.R. 4393) that would ultimately be enacted into law, thus establishing Crater Lake National Park.[4] As introduced the bill read:

Be it enacted, etc., That the tract of land bounded north by the parallel 43° 4′ north latitude, south by 42° 48′ north latitude, east by the meridian 1220 west longitude, and west by the meridian 122° 16′ west longitude, having an area of 240 square miles, in the State of Oregon, and including Crater Lake, is hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and dedicated and set apart forever as a public or pleasure ground for the benefit of the people of the United States, to be known as Crater Lake National Park.

SEC. 2. That the reservation established by this act shall be under the control and custody of the Secretary of the Interior, whose duty it shall be to establish rules and regulations and cause adequate measures to be taken for the preservation of the natural objects within said park, and also for the protection of the timber from wanton depredation, the preservation of all kinds of game and fish, the punishment of trespasses, the removal of unlawful occupants and intruders, and the prevention and extinguishment of forest fires.

SEC. 3. That it shall be unlawful for any person to establish any settlement or residence within said reserve, or to engage in any mining, lumbering, or other enterprise or business occupation therein, or to enter therein for any speculative purpose whatever, and any person violating the provisions of this act, or the rules and regulations established thereunder, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $500, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, and shall further be liable for all destruction of timber or other property of the United States in consequence of any such unlawful act: Provided, That said reservation shall be open, under such regulations as the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe, to all scientists, excursionists, and pleasure seekers: And provided further, That restaurant and hotel keepers, upon application to the Secretary of the Interior, may be permitted by him to establish places of entertainment within the Crater Lake National Park for the accommodation of visitors, at places and under regulations fixed by the Secretary of the Interior, and not otherwise.

SEC. 4. That the marshal of the United States for the district of Oregon may appoint one or more deputy marshals for said park, who may reside in said park. That said park, for all the purposes of this act, shall constitute a part of the United States judicial district of Oregon, and the district and circuit courts of the United States in and for said district shall have jurisdiction of all offenses committed within said park.

SEC. 5. That all costs and expenses arising in cases under this act, and properly chargeable to the United States, shall be certified, approved, and paid as like costs and expenses in the courts of the United States are certified, approved, and paid under the laws of the United States.

SEC. 6. That the Secretary of War, upon the request of the Secretary of the Interior, is hereby authorized and directed to make the necessary details of troops to prevent trespassers or intruders from entering the park for the purpose of destroying the game or other natural objects therein, or for any other purpose prohibited by law and to remove such persons from the park, if found therein. [5]

With the introduction of H.R. 4393, which was virtually identical to Tongue’s earlier bills, Steel began circulating a petition via Oregon’s newspapers. Addressed to “the Senate and House of Representatives assembled” the petition requested “favorable consideration” of the bill. It read:

Crater Lake is located on the summit of the Cascade range of mountains, in Klamath County, Oregon, and is one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. It is a portion of the unappropriated vacant domain of the Government, and in the opinion of your petitioners should be set apart and maintained as a National Park. To this end Hon. Thomas H. tongue has introduced in your honorable body H.R. 4393, for which we respectfully request your support.

The surface of the lake is 6,239 feet above sea level, it is nearly six miles in diameter and is completely surrounded by nearly perpendicular walls from 1,000 to 2,000 feet high. It contains a circular island, or cinder cone, 845 feet high, in the top of which is an extinct crater 90 feet deep. The water is clear as crystal, 2,000 feet deep and of the richest possible blue. Adjoining the lake and guarding its approaches the mountains are rugged, of great altitude and of no value for agriculture or mining. In spite of laws to the contrary, wild game in the Pacific Northwest is rapidly disappearing, and unless steps are taken in the near future to provide a refuge for it, many varieties will become extinct. [6]

By March 1902 the petition had been signed by more than 4,000 persons, many of them being political, business, and religious leaders in the state. [7] National periodicals contributed to the campaign effort by printing illustrated articles describing the beauties of the lake. [8]

Responding to publicity engendered by the Steel petition and the national periodical articles, the House Committee on Public Lands unanimously recommended passage of the bill without amendment on March 11. The report contained supporting letters of recommendation from Binger Hermann, Commissioner of the General Land Office; Thomas Ryan, former Acting Secretary of the Interior; Diller, Merriam, Everman, and Colville. [9]

Despite the favorable report by the committee, the bill encountered opposition from House Speaker David B. Henderson of Iowa. Because there were a number of national parks and battlefield bills before the House at the time Henderson refused to recognize any of them. Thus , when Representative John F. Lacey of Iowa attempted to call up the bill for consideration by the Committee of the Whole on March 14, Henderson refused to permit the bill to be debated. [10] Tongue, as well as Steel, took the matter to President Theodore Roosevelt, who supported the bill, and, at the request of the president the Speaker agreed to let the bill be considered by the full House.

As a result of these negotiations Tongue was permitted to bring up the bill for consideration by the House on April 19. After the bill was read it was subjected to considerable debate. Representative Charles L. Bartlett of Georgia requested that Tongue describe the character of the land that was “proposed to be appropriated as a park.” Tongue responded:

I think, possibly, I can best answer the gentleman’s question by reading from the report of Prof. Hart Merriam, chief of the Biological Survey, who has visited the park, and who makes this statement, which will be found on page 4 of the committee’s report:

The proposed park is a very small affair–only 18 by 22 miles, if I am correctly informed–and contains no agricultural land of any kind, but consists wholly of a mountain, a little more than 9,000 feet in altitude, whose summit has been destroyed by volcanic action, and is now occupied by a gigantic caldron nearly 6 miles in diameter and 4,000 feet in depth.

That is the character of the land included in the park. I requested Professor Diller, of the Geological Survey, who has visited this lake at different times, to draw the boundaries of this park so as to include no valuable land. Now, the object of the bill is simply this: Crater Lake is one of the most interesting natural objects on the continent, if not in the world. It is an extinct volcano. The top of the mountain has apparently been cut smoothly off. There is a cavity about 4,000 feet in depth, 2,000 feet of which is water. Along the sides of the mountains there seem to be an unusual variety of fauna and flora, a great variety of timber, of mammal, birds, etc. , rendering this place of great scientific value. The object of this bill is simply to withdraw this land from public settlement. The most of it has been withdrawn already by reason of being in a forest reserve, and also, which is the most important object, to punish mutilation and destruction of the natural objects of interest within the park and to preserve it in its present condition, in its natural beauty and native wildness, both for its great beauty and great scientific value.

This bill has been reported three times in three separate Congresses unanimously by the Committee on Public Lands. It has been recommended by the Secretary of the Interior, by the Commissioner of the Land Office, by the officers of the Geological Survey, by the Biological Department, and two or three others of the bureaus of the Agricultural Department, and is favored by all the scientific offices of the Federal Government. [11]

Thereafter, an extended debate ensued over the matter of mining in the proposed park. Participants in the debate were Representatives John H. Stephens of Texas, Eugene F. Loud of California, John F. Shafroth of Colorado, Joseph G. Cannon of Illinois, Thomas C. MacRose of Arkansas, and Franklin W. Mondell of Wyoming. The course of the debate, which ultimately led to amendments providing for development and location of mining claims in the park bill, proceeded as follows:

Mr. STEPHENS of Texas. Does this [park] contain any mineral lands?

Mr. TONGUE. No mineral lands. Nothing of any value. It will simply preserve the curiosity of the scenery and of the growth of animals and vegetation, trees, flowers, and so forth, for scientific purposes.

Mr. STEPHENS of Texas. Is there any provision for the lease of mineral lands?

Mr. LOUD. It prohibits that.

Mr. TONGUE. There is none.

Mr. SHAFROTH. Does the clause remain in this bill that permits prospecting? We had that matter up when the bill was considered once, I know, and I offered an amendment allowing prospecting.

Mr. LOUD. If I understand the bill correctly, it prohibits that and imposes a penalty, both minimum and maximum, for entering the reserve for this purpose.

Mr. SHAFROTH. I think you will find that it allows prospecting and the locating of mineral claims. At least that was an amendment that was put in the bill at my suggestion one year.

Mr. LOUD. If you think it is there, you had better find it.

Mr. CANNON. I do not think this bill ought to pass, I will say to the gentleman.

Mr. SHAFROTH. I think that amendment must be in the bill.

Mr. CANNON. Does the bill stand on a request for unanimous consent?

Mr. TONGUE. Yes.

Mr. STEPHENS of Texas. Do you not think this reservation ought to be thrown open for the location of mining claims under the mineral laws of the United States?

Mr. TONGUE. There is no mining in that vicinity or in that range of mountains or near that locality

Mr. STEPHENS of Texas. Suppose there should be. We do not want to lock it up perpetually.

Mr. TONGUE. If there should be, I have no doubt there would be means and methods found to get it mined. At the same time, if it is thrown open indiscriminately for prospectors, then it will be of little use to undertake to preserve the natural conditions.

Mr. STEPHENS of Texas. It would be impossible to ascertain whether there are any minerals there or not unless prospecting is allowed.

Mr. TONGUE. This is close to one of the oldest settled sections of Oregon. It is in one of the counties where the first mines in that State were discovered and where the most prospecting has been done; but the mining is in the other range of mountains opposite from this. None has ever been discovered here, so far as I ever heard of.

Mr. LOUD. Why do you prohibit mining if there is no mining there?

Mr. TONGUE. The object is to prohibit people from coming in under the name of prospecting and destroying the natural conditions of the park and the natural objects of beauty and interest.

Mr. LOUD. Then you provide for a deputy United States marshal. Is not that something unusual? Mr. TONGUE. The deputy United States marshal is simply proposed as the cheapest way of arresting people who violate the law. This is simply a provision to give him authority to make arrests. Mr. LOUD. Is not such a provision new in the establishment of reservations of this kind?Mr. TONGUE. I could not say as to that. That provision was placed in the bill by the Department of the Interior.

Mr. LOUD. The gentleman will admit that the prohibition in regard to mining should not be in that bill. The gentleman from Colorado [Mr. SHAFROTH] seemed to think that there was an amendment in the bill allowing prospecting. He has evidently had to do with the bill before. There is not a park in this country set aside in this way that you can not go into for mining purposes. Now, it will not do to say that there is no mining land there, because if this provision is put in the bill they never will be able to enter this park to find out whether there is or not.

Mr. TONGUE. So far as mining is concerned, I am just informed by a gentleman at my right that mining is prohibited in all the national parks, including the Yellowstone. Mr. LOUD. The gentleman is mistaken; that is all. I had occasion to read this law yesterday, in response to an inquiry of one of my constituents. If I did not know, I would not say anything about it.Mr. SHAFROTH. Would the gentleman from Oregon object to inserting after the word “seekers,” in line 3, page 3, the words “and for the development and location of mining claims?”Mr. TONGUE. I have no objection.

Mr. SHAFROTH. And also strike out the words in line 16, page 2, “or to engage in any mining.”

Mr. TONGUE. I have no objection to the amendment the gentleman proposes.

Mr. SHAFROTH. I have no objection to the bill if that is done.

I have no doubt this is a meritorious bill if these amendments are included. I think we ought to have

considerable to say as to what shall be done with these lands.

Mr. TONGUE. I have no objection to the amendments proposed by the gentleman.

Mr. BARTLETT. The gentleman from Colorado stated a while ago that the amendment in reference to mining was in the bill.

Mr. SHAFROTH. It was in the bill one year, I know, but I did not remember whether it was in the bill introduced in this Congress or not.

Mr. MCRAE. I suggest to the gentleman that he permit this bill to go over until Monday. It is unusual and unprecendented, in my opinion, to open national parks to free mining. That carries with it the right to utilize any and all of the public timber in the park in the operation of mines, and you may defeat the very purpose of the park if you allow that to be done. I do not want to object to consideration of the bill, but I hope the matter will go over until that feature of it can be considered. I am opposed to this amendment, and will also ask some other amendments.

Mr. TONGUE. I will say to the gentleman from Arkansas that I am so well satisfied that there is no mining there that I regard any provision on that subject as of no importance one way or the other, and in order to avoid objection to the bill, I am perfectly willing to submit to the amendment.

Mr. MCRAE. The creation of a national park is a very different thing from the making of a public reserve, and we should see to it that the parks are established for public and not private purposes. To set these public lands aside as a national park, and then to allow miners to go into and work it freely and at pleasure may result in dedicating it to mining, if there is mineral there. If there is mineral in the land, it ought not be a park. The two are inconsistent.

Mr. SHAFROTH. Suppose it were discovered that there were some valuable mines on this land, that it was infinitely more valuable for mining than for any other purpose?

Mr. MCRAE. If there is a probability of that, then I say there ought not to be any park created. The idea of a national park and a mining camp are inconsistent with each other.

Mr. SHAFROTH. You can not determine that at this time, nor possibly for ten or twenty years, whether there is to be any mining done there.

Mr. MCRAE. Then if you can not determine that, you ought not to undertake at this time to make a park of the lands in question. Declare it a reservation and wait.

Mr. SHAFROTH. Then you exclude them from the privilege of having a public park there. I think they ought to have a public park there.

Mr. MCRAE. I am not certain but we are overdoing the business of establishing national parks; but I do not arise for the purpose of objecting to this one if the facts stated in the report are true and some other amendments are made as to the administration of the park.

Mr. MONDELL. I hope the gentleman will not insist on his amendment. There is not a national park in the country that is open to exploration under the mining laws. There is no reason why this national park should be so open.

The debate then moved to other topics, such as its prohibition against settlement, cost and expense to the federal government, and provisions for military policing. The course of this portion of the debate went as follows:

The SPEAKER. No amendment can be offered, as the [Crater Lake National Park] bill is not yet before the House. It is pending on a request for unanimous consent for its consideration. Is there objection?

Mr. CANNON. Mr. Speaker, I have hastily glanced at this bill, and I am not prepared to say that I would object to it if I had a little more time to examine it; but I will say to the gentleman that I notice that it prohibits settlement. I notice that it binds the United States to pay all cost and expense. I am not sure but what it binds the United States to extinguish title to any lands that may be owned. It puts a troop of soldiers in there–a superintendent, full fledged. I think that the bill ought to be considered in committee; and I suggest to the gentleman that he modify his request; that it be considered in the House as in Committee of the Whole. And it seems to me that if it could go over until Monday it would be better. I do not want to object.

Mr. BARTLETT. Let the gentleman withdraw his request.

Mr. LACEY. The suggestion that the gentleman from Illinois makes ought to be acceded to, and then these matters of detail could be speedily arranged. I do not think the bill would take very long in Committee of the Whole. It is not at all a complicated bill; and I would suggest to my friend from Illinois that this land is all from six to ten thousand feet above the sea. It is a very high altitude park.

Mr. CANNON. The Government owns all the land inside of it?

Mr. LACEY. The Government owns all the land.

Mr. CANNON. Every foot?

Mr. LACEY. I understand every foot of it. It is not a very difficult proposition. In Committee of the Whole these matters could be considered as separate propositions, and could be readily adjusted.

Mr. TONGUE. I make that request.

The SPEAKER. The gentleman modifies his request and asks unanimous consent that the bill be considered in Committee of the Whole.

Mr. CANNON. Just a word.

The SPEAKER. Is there objection?

Mr. CANNON. One word, Mr. Speaker. I suggest to the gentleman from Iowa that all after section 1 be stricken out. That reserves it as a national park and leaves to the future for Congress to say how it shall be made and policed. There it is; it is not suffering. I do not think this bill ought to pass in its present shape if it is desirable to make it a national park.

The SPEAKER. Objection is made.

Mr. LACEY. Does the gentleman object?

Mr. CANNON. Will the gentleman consent to strike out all after the first section?

Mr. TONGUE. I will not do that.

Mr. CANNON. I will have to object for the present. I do not want to be discourteous to the gentleman.

The SPEAKER. Objection is made.

The debate on the bill rested until April 21 when Tongue requested unanimous consent for reconsideration of the bill with amendments. Tongue agreed to a number of amendments: (1) the minimum penalty as stated in Section 3 was to be removed; (2) Sections 4, 5, and 6 were to be stricken from the bill; and (3) the restriction against mining in Section 3 was to be eliminated and a clause was to be inserted that the reservation would be open, under regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior, to “the location of mining claims and the working of the same.” After adopting these amendments the House passed the bill. [12]

Considerable behind-the-scenes politicking had been undertaken by Representative Tongue to secure House passage of the bill. In a letter to Steel on April 21 he described the maneuvering that he had conducted to secure passage:

I presume you will be gratified at the action of the House on last Saturday in passing the Crater Lake bill. I had secured the endorsement of about every scientific officer in any of the Departments, the Secretary of Agriculture and the President. Before the bill came on the floor I had consulted with Mr. Richardson the leader of the opposition, and had supposed everything was all smooth. But I had reckoned without my host. The idea of a National Park was alarming. Quite a number of gentlemen were on their feet at once, as soon as the bill was read. Nearly half the members have bills pending for the establishment of National Parks. This is the first one that has been permitted to come up this session. When I went to Mr. Richardson, the leader of the opposition, and endeavored to disarm his opposition, his first statement was “why I have a bill for a National Park, why does not the Speaker allow me to bring mine up”? For a while the opposition became too strong, and Mr. Cannon at last objected. I at once went around to interview the different gentlemen, explaining the bill, smoothed down their objections, and at last agreed to several small amendments which did not in any way militate against the bill. In fact, the last three sections were a little inconsistent with the general provisions of the bill. These leave it under the Secretary of the Interior who prescribes the rules. Under the last sections of the bill, the enforcement of these rules were left to the United States Marshal, striking out these sections and also the provision of the Secretary of War can send soldiers, leaves the matter wholly under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, as is done with other National Parks. I cannot see why this is not just as good, if not the best policy. The whole forestry reserve is under his charge. The bill provided a penalty of not over $500 nor less than $50 for violation of the laws. The less than $50 was stricken out, leaving it discretionary with the Court from $1 to $500. There was no objection to this.

The mining people seemed anxious to retain a provision so that if mines were discovered they could be worked, so the provision making it criminal to engage in mining was stricken out, and the provision leaving it under the Secretary of the Interior to arrange rules for the location and working of mining claims is left in. As I apprehend no mines will ever be discovered I regard this matter as entirely immaterial. If you find the congressional record you will find the matter on pages 4669 to 4673. While all those objecting were Cannon, Loud, Bartlert [sic], Shafroth, Stevens [sic]. So you may imagine I felt very much like being in the sweat box and was considerably relieved when the matter went through. I think there is no doubt whatever about its passing the Senate at an early day. Senator [Henry Clay] Hansbrough [of North Dakota] is chairman of the Committee on Public lands, and I think will report it at once. If that is done and the bill signed, I shall now feel like I could join the Mazamas next summer and take some enjoyment out of the visit to Crater Lake. [13]

On April 21, 1902, the legislation was sent to the Senate, where it was assigned to the Committee on Public Lands. [14] The committee chairman, H.C. Hansbrough, was concerned about the issue of whether there were railroad grants within the proposed park. If such grants existed the question of lieu lands for the grants would have to be addressed. On April 29 General Land Office Commissioner Hermann assured Hansbrough that there were no railroad grants in the proposed park and the nearest land grant was the Oregon military road which was ten miles distant and some seven miles from the indemnity limits of that grant. With the question of land grants settled, the Senate committee recommended that the bill pass without amendment on April 29.[15]

The Senate passed the bill without debate or amendment on May 9, 1902. [16] Upon hearing of that event, Steel wrote a letter to President Roosevelt expressing his thanks for the chief executive’s aid:

Please accept my sincere thanks and grateful acknowledgement for the great assistance rendered in this matter by you. When I tell you I have labored for seventeen years to bring this to pass, paying every expense, except one single item, and all as a matter of love for the grand region in question, you may comprehend the depth of my gratitude.

He concluded the letter by inviting Roosevelt to join him as he led “a party of eminent men–and women, too”–to Crater Lake for a two week outing that summer. [17] On May 22, the President signed the bill, creating Crater Lake as the nation’s sixth national park. [18] The establishing act for Crater Lake National Park (32 Stat. 202) contained three sections: Section 1 described the boundaries and the purpose of the park:

That the tract of land bounded north by the parallel forty-three degrees four minutes north latitude, south by forty-two degrees forty-eight minutes north latitude, east by the meridian one hundred and twenty-two degrees west longitude, and west by the meridian one hundred and twenty-two degrees sixteen minutes west longitude, having an area of two hundred and forty-nine square miles, in the State of Oregon, and including Crater Lake, is hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and dedicated and set apart forever as a public park or pleasure ground for the benefit of the people of the United States, to be known as “Crater Lake National Park.”

Section 2 provided that the reservation would be under the custody of the Secretary of the Interior. He was authorized to establish “regulations and cause adequate measures to be taken” for the

preservation of the natural objects within said park, and also for the protection of the timber from wanton depredation, the preservation of all kinds of game and fish, the punishment of trespassers, the removal of unlawful occupants and intruders, and the prevention and extinguishment of forest fires.

Section 3 contained prohibitions and penalties for infractions in the park as well as provisions for the admission of visitors, location and working of mining claims, and establishment of visitor accommodations. The section stated:

That it shall be unlawful for any person to establish any settlement or residence within said reserve, or to engage in any lumbering, or other enterprise or business occupation therein, or to enter therein for any speculative purpose whatever, and any person violating the provisions of this act, or the rules and regulations established there under, shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, and shall further be liable for all destruction of timber or other property of the United States in consequence of any such unlawful act: Provided, That said reservation shall be open, under such regulations as the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe, to all scientists, excursionists, and pleasure seekers and to the location of mining claims and the working of the same: And provided further, That restaurant and hotel keepers, upon application to the Secretary of the Interior, may be permitted by him to establish places of entertainment within the Crater Lake National Park for the accommodation of visitors, at places and under regulations fixed by the Secretary of the Interior, and not otherwise. [19]

The issue of mining in the park bothered officials in the Department of the Interior, although it was considered to be of negligible impact on the operation of the reservation. In his annual report in 1902 Secretary of the Interior Ethan A. Hitchcock noted that Crater Lake’s establishing act differed from that of other national parks in that it provided that the reservation should be open “to the location of mining claims and the working of the same.” It was not believed, however, to be the purpose of that provision to extend the mining laws to the reservation without limitation. Rather the provision was intended “only to authorize the location and working of mining claims thereon in such manner as not to interfere with, or prejudicially affect, the general purpose for which the reservation was established.” [20]

 

Appendix A4: Act Establishing Crater Lake National Park May 22, 1902