Hi, I'm Mike Dukakis and welcome to "The Advocates" and Yosemite National
Park. Our question today poses a choice between two conflicting policies or
philosophies of Park management: one which leans toward preservation and the
other which leans toward use. Supporting the proposal that public use of our
national parks should be restricted is Advocate Howard Miller.
Thank you. Our 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
today's proposal for preservation is biologist Garrett Hardin, Professor
Human Ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Willi
Unsoeld, the man who has climbed Mt. Everest and who also has brought
sands of boys and girls to the wilderness as Executive Director of
Thank you, Mr. Miller, and on the other side of the question is Guest
Advocate Eric Julber.
Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, on our side, we believe that the people own
these parks. 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 Dominy, former head of the Bureau of
Thank you, gentlemen. As many of you know, Mr. Miller is a Professor of Law
at the University of Southern California and our Guest Advocate Eric Julber
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 entitled "Let's Open Up
Our Wilderness". Mr. Miller and Mr. Julber 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 on 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, camper vehicles, tents,
cabins, sleeping bags, people. " And as well as the natural scenic delights,
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, restaurant 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 our 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 campgrounds 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, the cocktail lounges and the like,
also should be prohibited inside park boundaries; and that park facilities
now managed by private concessionaires be turned over for management by
non-profit corporations, and it's the sum of these recommendations that
constitutes the meaning of the question, which we're going to be debating
Please bear in mind that these proposals do not
mean that the numbers of people using our national parks be
will, however, significantly change the character of what you
can do when
you get there. Should the use of our national parks be
the question before us and, Mr. Miller, the meadow is
hope it stays ours. In the last three years, in this valley, in 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 Merced River that cannot
handle the development that is going on.
What we have is, instead
of coming to these national parks for their beauty and bringing that beauty
back to our own lives in the city, is that we've taken the ugliness of the
city and brought it to these national parks.
What are the national
parks? The national parks are less than one percent of the total land area
in the United States. Less than one percent!
But they are the most
geologically unique and irreplaceable part of our country. And what have we
done in that less than one percent? We've built a ski resort, golf courses.
Here in this valley, there is a hotel, a luxury hotel, $40.00 a night for
two people. The average accommodation for Yosemite Lodge for a family of
four can run $50.00 daily for lodging and food. In Yellowstone National
Park, there are rock concerts. At Rocky Mountain National Park, at eleven
and a half thousand feet, there's a paved road, a pavement, a gift shop that
sells plastic Indians, plastic knives, plastic trinkets and, above all,
everyplace, there are cars, cars and more cars. You know, we are to the
automobile as the dinosaur was to his tar 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 - everyplace in
the national parks - and substitute for those automobiles public
transportation, small mini-buses that take people around without the
momentous increase in 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 in in their mini-buses, but here, inside the park,
in the center of this beauty, there should be none.
question is simple. Here, in the center of the heart of our country, in this
stillness of time and place, will we have automobiles and developments of
expensive resorts, or will we have use that is for the best in man? We stand
for man. To tell us why, Garrett Hardin.
Welcome to "The Advocates", Mr. Hardin.
Thank you. It's nice to be here.
Nice to have you.
Mr. Hardin is a biologist. He's one of the leading conservationists in the
United States and he's also Professor of Human Ecology at the University of
California, Santa Barbara, Dr. Hardin, what are these national
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 one 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 be developed as people want it to be
Well, what is the history of development inside these parks?
Roughly, it's rather sad. Over the past fifty 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 automobiles so the people can get back
Is that true here in Yosemite as well?
Yes, It's not as true now as it was two years ago. Two years ago, it reached
a crisis situation, with immense traffic jams, smog 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 mini-buses and, as a
result, it's been more pleasurable by all accounts to be here now with more
of the automobiles outside.
Tell me, Dr. Hardin, why can't we run these parks so that everyone does what
he wants to do in his own way inside them?
This is a very important point and 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 and real money, the counterfeit displaces the real
money. So we don't allow free competition. We say freedom has to end at that
In this area, I like to think of the thing I call
"Hardin's Law of The Environment, " And that is that destruction drives out
gentleness. That if one person wants to have a rock concert and another
person wants to play his recorder, only the man who wants the rock concert
gets his way because we can't hear a recorder when there's a rock band
playing. In the same way, the automobile drives out walkers, drives out
bicycling. The motorboat drives out canoes. Motorboats 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 the gentler
uses can have their way.
Dr. Hardin, ordinarily people who support these proposals. Are many of them
outdoorsmen, climb mountains like Mr. Unsoeld? You're here - disability -
you obviously can't get into the high backcountry as many people for various
reasons can't get into the high backcountry. Why do you support this
Well, I suppose because I identify myself with mankind. And though I cannot
climb Mt. Everest as my friend Willie here has done, somehow I empathize
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 us
with some of the best people of mankind and they are part of our team 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 mini-buses but I can't climb "Half-Dome"
or any of the other mountains here, so I would just have to take pleasure in
what my friends tell me about it when they do it.
Thank you, Dr. Hardin.
All right, Dr. Hardin, this is that time in our show. Don't go away. Don't
leave that stump. Mr. Julber is going to ask you some questions, Mr. Julber,
it's time for you now.
It's a pleasure seeing you here, Professor Hardin. Sir, you've been very
outspoken on this issue of what people should have access to the national
parks, 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. Sir, 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
Not from entering the parks, but from entering the more difficult areas of
the parks. That is, a person like me should not... well, I suppose you might
say that, if I want to try to climb a mountain, go ahead and kill myself.
But, by and large, you'd say rule me out of the mountainous areas.
Sir, could I quote from your article, "The Economics of
"Our present national parks should be forever closed to small children, 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, Dr. Hardin?
Yes, and I will recant somewhat. In other words, I think now that the parks
should include numerous areas, from some of the portions of which, these
people should be excluded. There may be other parts which should allow these
people to get in.
Sir, in this article, you said that Yosemite Valley should be open only to
persons who could physically pass a test of walking in ten miles from the
entrance. Have you changed 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.
You mean that you would like to…You, if you had your choice, would keep out
the elderly, small children, fat people and people with heart
But because political conditions are such, you know you couldn't get away
with that with the voters, so now you say, well, let them enter Yosemite
Valley. Is that correct?
Yes, and the point being that it's very hard to roll back the clock. You
see, in 1870, this had not happened. I think one could have done that. But
now the people are already here. You remember when I said, "rule out these
I'm saying, "rule out me, too. " I'm in that class.
Sir, you also said, "and, let's create some outdoor slums for the people,
but not in Yosemite Valley, which is too good for this purpose. " You call
the use by the American people of Yosemite Valley, an outdoor slum, don't
What's the definition,,,, The definition of a slum is not that it has
Americans in it, or foreigners in it. The definition of a slum is that it
has too many people in it. And too many people, too many Americans will make
it a slum.
Sir, look around, look around. Now, Americans have been coming to this
valley for a hundred years, camping out, using the lodge, having fun here.
Has this valley been damaged? In your judgment, has it been made
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 Ansell Adams wrote a letter to the editor,
which they published September 24 of last year. You know who Ansell Adams
is, don't you, sir?
Oh, indeed, indeed.
Who is he, Mr.,.
Ansell Adams is a splendid photographer who's taken most of the famous
pictures of Yosemite that you've seen.
Exactly and here's Ansell Adams' letter. "Sirs, I have lived in Yosemite
Valley for fifty-four 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 Hardin?
I think that Ansell Adams was comparing Yosemite with the recent past, in
spite of his saying fifty-four 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 than it did two years ago and that, naturally, gives him
hope, partly because there are fewer people coming to Yosemite than there
were two years ago.
Now, that you've recanted your views about not letting elderly people, or
anybody who couldn't hike ten miles in, and you're willing to let the public
in, are you willing, sir, to let them have modest hotel accommodations so
they can stay here in the valley, or does everybody have to backpack and
camp out in the open.
No, I think this is the mistake. To make use of this beautiful area merely
for going to a hotel. The country is filled with fine hotels and these
people who 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 camp here. If they come here, they have to camp
Yes and that includes me.
All right and now, sir, what it if isn't summertime, or early fall. What if
it's wintertime. People can come here 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 motor homes, or anything like that, and campers and trailers
- canvas tents. Sir, you're going to concentrate all the usage of this whole
country of people who come to this valley in the summertime 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 and I have slept in the snow myself.
Have you tried sleeping up here in the snow in wintertime, in a canvas tent,
I haven't, but many of my friends have and I could do it, even with these
Some people like, some people don't and , gentlemen, that's all we have time
for. Mr. Julber, Dr. Hardin, thank you for being with us. All right, Mr.
Miller, and on with this, please.
Thank you, Michael. 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 twenty-two people
here, Mr. Unsoeld's students, who did sleep out last night. Had no trouble
in doing so. Let's hear from Willie Unsoeld.
Welcome to "The Advocates". It's good to have you with us.
Willie Unsoeld has climbed Mt. Everest, not just climbed Everest, but
climbed it up it's "impossible" west ridge. Used to be impossible. He hasn't
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 of. Mr. Unsoeld, doesn't the kind of development that
opponents 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 facility. 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 has taken
place in the past.
Well, should we increase genuine use of the park? Use in its natural
Of course, the increase in the genuine use - this 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 that the
colleges give. The Evergreen State College has sent 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.
Mr. Unsoeld, what do you mean by "genuine use", as opposed to something
Well, I'm talking about experiencing the wilderness on its terms, rather
than on our terms.
Mr. Unsoeld, what about old people, as mentioned, for example, by Mr.
Julber. Can we develop Yosemite Valley for older people.
I heard that approach and I'm afraid I have to be pretty emotional. I rate
than an outrageous reference. I'm concerned about old people and I'm not
content to leave it up to a two-week vacation when we can funnel them into
the high country of the national parks. I want a program hitting them fifty
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.
What would you do with
those older folks?
I don't really see that question as relevant to this program. 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 a natural fact, we are opening the
national parks by way of the mass transit. We are not keeping the old people
out as is being claimed by our opponents.
So what you would provide is mini-buses, etc.
Absolutely. That's part of the proposal.
Part of the proposal. I think the objection is this taking people that we
haven't done a thing for in the natural environment and using them as a
reason to ruin this. Mr. Unsoeld, what does the park experience mean to the
boys and girls you bring in. What is that wilderness experience? Why do we
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 herself 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 do the schools.
And does coming into this park. Does it provide an experience that all
It's that element of challenge which allows a young person or an old person
to test himself against his own…
What about you. You climbed Everest - the ultimate - one of the peak
experiences of human days. What did climbing Everest mean to you?
The feel that I get about Everest is that 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 Everett tells me is 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.
All right, gentlemen, if I may interrupt, Mr. Julber, I suspect, wants to
ask you some questions.
Well, if you and Dr. Hardin have a tendency to move off that stump, we don't
want to let you do that yet.
Mr. Unsoeld, a pleasure to see you here, sir. By the way, when you climbed
Everest, did you use oxygen?
Yes, we did use oxygen.
Oh, you didn't do it completely "au naturel", is that right? O. K, O.K., let
me say, sir, 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 two hundred
miles south runs the John Muir Wilderness, doesn't it? I've hiked it and I'm
sure you have too. Right?
Two hundred miles with no roads, no structures. It's just for hikers,
Loaded with them.
Loaded with them, OK. Good, because you have all your students here that
you're teaching and I think it's a great thing. And in this park, sir,
ninety-nine percent of this park is only open to hiker, isn't it?
That is correct.
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?
Now, let me ask you sir…
Does the… we'll get to that…does the use by 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 in that two hundred miles of
wilderness that starts right there at "Half-Dome".
Mr. Julber, I think that's a perfectly fair question, I think that it's
couched 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 reserve wilderness in the United States, we are
talking about less than one percent of the total area open to
Sir, I'm talking about this park.
I'm talking about the United States…
Does the use of the public of this park…
and I'm sorry but we can't artificially limit it to this park.
All right. Let's go to the next question, then. Let's take the spiritual
experience that you described and that you try to instill in your students
for them to get when they go to the backcountry right behind "Half-Dome".
Now, spiritual experience is a subjective thing, isn't it? Something every
man feels and it's not capable of being measured?
All right. 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 and have retired, not just for two weeks,
but retired. They save their money and they come to Yosemite for the first
time. They stay in Yosemite Lodge within sound of Yosemite Falls. They see
the moon from their hotel 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 backpack 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 Falls, your students up there at two hundred miles
of wilderness are going to have their enjoyment spoiled or their spiritual
I'm talking about the total valley experience and I refer to Hardin's Law
that good money drives out bad.
Well, Hardin's Law told us three years ago, sir, you have heard, that no old
people, no small children, no people with heart conditions should be
permitted in the valley at all.
I'm not familiar,., with that interpretation of the law, but the present
version and that version says, yes, old people are allowed in in minibuses
as the plan provides, I see nothing wrong with that.
That's a very good point. Do you, sir, who developed that mini-bus
proposition and who financed it at their own risk? The Yosemite Park and
Curry Company, the private concessioner here that you fellows want to get
out of the park.
I'm asking for an act of supererogation. I really think, Mr. .,.
I'm sorry, sir. You'll have to speak simpler.
Well, I'll make an effort. I think that's great that Curry- Company did this
public-spirited gesture and all we're asking is one more gesture - to remove
themselves to the limit of the park.
Well,., Well, fine, and you would have, in accordance with this report that
Mr. Dukakis mentioned. You would have the government take over that function
of furnishing lodging and meals to the American public, right?
No, not necessarily.
Well, that's what a quasi-public corporation means.
I think in fairness to the proposal, it might be a non-profit corporation,
of some kind, I suppose, the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society might be
Oh, you would have the Sierra Club take over the concession, is that
I think it would be in safe hands, yes.
Well, let me tell you, I was once a Sierra Clubber and I went on their trip
and the Sierra Club is not a competent caterer to give meals to the American
I'd be willing to take it under advisement.
However, the Audubon Society, that's another thought. Maybe we…
…we could do business together.
Now, sir, let’s get back to…
One last question, please, Mr. Julber.
Let's get back to this one percent of the park that the public really has
use of. Do you feel if we increase that to ten percent and let you
backpackers have only ninety percent of the wilderness area that you have
now, that that would be such a terrible deprivation for your students and
We're looking for one percent of the entire United States area and I think
it's a fair percentage for us to request, yes.
Mr. Unsoeld, that's all that we have time for. Thank you very much for being
All right, Mr. Miller.
I think it's clear that here in Yosemite Valley in Garrett Hardin and Willie
Unsoeld, 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 ten percent of
this. You're asking for ten 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 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 mini-bus. 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
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
the 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. Julber who's going to
take the opposite side of that question. Mr. Julber?
Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, we're standing here in the most
beautiful valley in the world. For over one hundred 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 motor homes. 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 European aristocracy used to set aside
vast hunting preserves from which the common people were excluded. I don't
believe that 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 life style on the American people. My first
witness is Mr. Don Hummel, Mr. Hummel. Have your turn on the stump, Mr.
Nice to have you with us.
Mr. Hummel was a ranger in Grand Canyon, been a park concessionaire for
forty years and served under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson as head of all
urban renewal in the United States, Mr. Hummel, 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 park for
development for use of ninety-nine percent of the people. In other words,
one-eighth of one percent is set aside for the great majority of the use of
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 backpackers up in upper Yosemite. The
sewage that comes out of this valley is treated in a treatment plant and
disposed of. The pollution came not from this use that's controlled, but
from the unscheduled use in upper Yosemite.
I suspect, Mr. Hummel, that it wasn't unscheduled, but it was certainly
It's uncontrolled. It's unscheduled, also, I might say.
Sir, do you believe that concessioner facilities, such as hotels for people
who want to come here and stay, damage the ecology of the park?
Absolutely not. I think it's a well known fact that if you have a structure
well managed, a permanent structure, with proper management, in one
location, you can serve more people with less damage than helter skelter
spreading of thousands of campers out through thousands of acres of
What about this idea that hotels should be confined to outside the park
area. What do you think about that?
That's very novel, but you create more problems than you solve because once
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 type of traffic condition. You lose control of what services
are to be provided for the people that come in this park, both as to quality
of service, the price to be paid for the service and whether or not they're
serviced at all in the off-season.
Incidentally, sir, both of the opposition speakers praised these buses. Who
was it that invented and financed the beginning of that bus
The Yosemite Park and Curry Company was the concessioner that put up the
first hundred and twenty-five thousand to test this concept because we knew
we had a traffic problem.
O. K,, 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. 00 for two people in canvas cabins. It
is National Park Service policy to give a range of prices to reach all the
American people, not just one group, as these people would do relegated to
And, sir, what is the average profit of the concessionaires who operate in
the park systems?
In 1970, all the concessioners in the parks made the magnificent sum of 3. 8
percent on their investment and one-third of them in 1970 lost
Sir, we've heard recommendations that people who come up here in campers and
trailers to camp should be prohibited and that all camping should be in
tents. What do you think about that?
Well, those people are so disturbed about the wilderness and the impact on
the land. These are the best campers which you can get.
The people in the campers?
The people in the campers. They're experienced campers. They have their
sanitary system with them. They build less wood fires cause they cook in
their facility and they leave a clean camp, which is more than I can say in
ninety percent of the backpackers.
Now, Mr. Hummel, do you agree that our parks should be preserved for
Absolutely, but what I want to know is when does posterity begin. Tomorrow?
Next year? A hundred years from now? Or does it start today, with this
generation. We've got a perfect right as part of posterity to enjoy this and
all the American peoples who own and pay for these parks have a perfect
right to utilize them.
Thank you very much.
All right, Mr. Hummel. Mr. Miller is coming over here and he's going to ask
you some questions.
Mr. Hummel, I was interested in your reference to Yosemite Park and Curry
Company, which is the concessionaire here in the valley, putting up the
hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars for the shuttle system. You're new
as manager of that company, aren't you? You started in July.
Not as manager. I've been connected with the company for two years. I've
been here actively and resident for a short time. No, I wasn't taking
personal credit. I'm talking about Yosemite Park and Curry
But in fact, Yosemite Park and Curry Company, fifty-one percent has recently
been bought out by another corporation, United States Natural Resources, is
And one of the first things in terms of your expenditure in the valley, one
of the first things that corporation did is write a letter to its
shareholders saying that it's now going to spend money outside the valley
for other investments instead of paying a dividend. Is that
Yes, it's only good business, I would think, that if you're taking care of
the other man's property and you have all these people making a sulk saying
it should be, you should not develop in the park, then I think you have an
obligation to go into other areas too. That's just good business
Let's talk about that good business, USNR, the company that owns this, is in
other businesses too, strip mining in Pennsylvania, forest products, oil and
But tell me what this company that's engaged in these activities, strip
mining and the other things in this conglomerate. What perspective does it
bring to development of the park. Would you, for example, put a golf course
in Yosemite Valley?
No, I wouldn't put a golf course. Fact is if the golf courses were there,
they were allowed, just like the one at Wawona.
Where is Wawona?
Wawona is about thirty miles from here in the southeastern section of this
It's in the park?
It is in the park.
Do you think that there's wilderness area, special regions, that ought to be
set aside in this country and not developed?
Very definitely. The fact is that outside the park, there's thirty million
acres of wilderness being designated. Outside of the national
The question, the dispute, then is that you think there are some areas that
ought not be developed, but 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 defined in the
Wilderness Act of 1964.
But what about 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 anyplace?
You are assuming that the development here is adverse to the utilization of
this park and I challenge your premise.
Well, you said there are a thousand and forty acres used. In a peak summer
weekend, how many people are here on that thousand and forty
We'll run fifteen thousand people in an average peak day.
The L. A, "Times" reports seventy-four thousand on a peak July weekend. Is
I think their figures are far, far from the facts.
Well, let's... I'll trust the "Times" on this.
We agree on fifteen thousand, anyway, right?
Fifteen thousand is the park service's figure as an average peak
An average peak day, OK.
An average peak day in July, which is the peak month.
And that's still in the valley, that's fifteen people to the acre.
Well, it's according to whether you're seven hundred and sixty thousand
No, no, you say a thousand and forty acres is what's being used. We've been
taking your own figures - this means fifteen people to the acre.
You can't have it both ways.
There's seven hundred and sixty thousand acres in this park and the people who are
the backpackers unfortunately think that they have to come through this
valley to get to that area instead of coming the other way.
But ninety-nine percent, according to your own testimony, ninety-nine
percent of the people use the thousand and forty acres. That means there's a
density of fifteen people to the acre in the valley on an average peak
That's right and the park service by their planning standards say it can
take twenty-five thousand a day without damage.
Their planning standards - their planning standards for what? Now, Mr.
That's the park service who is responsible for administering this
Would you accept the park service's standards for Yellowstone?
Yes, I think that. . .
That cars should be banned from Yellowstone?
Not, not all recommendations.
Not all, but only three percent of Yellowstone is used.
Only three percent of Yellowstone is used, but Yellowstone is what of what
we have in the United States.
Two and a quarter million acres of land.
Let's talk about this elite now and weather this "aristocracy" of back packing elite.
Anyone can go backpacking, can't they?
No, there are people who are physically handicapped.
I know that, but I mean in terms of economics. You talked about aristocracy.
In terms of economics...
No, actually, a good backpacking equipment. The person who has a family of
five and has to provide the facilities of tents, backpacking equipment and
so forth, is in much heavier financial outlay than the person who comes up
to use one of our cabins.
No wonder you're hooked on development, Mr. Hummel, you're hooked on cost.
Let's talk about an aristocracy.
I'm not hooked on cost.
Is there any reason at all for the Ahwahnee Hotel to be in Yosemite Valley,
forty dollars a night for two. What is the rationale for having a luxury
hotel in the middle of Yosemite Valley?
Because that hotel…
Serves the aristocracy…
the dignity fits in beautifully with the background, I walk every morning
about six o'clock, I can look towards the Ahwahnee Hotel and have a hard
time discerning it because it fits in. I look to the right to where the
backpackers are and I see orange tents, green tents, yellow tents, brown
tents, that offends my sensitivity.
I just think that… I think, Mr. Hummel, that the answer is that your
sensitivities were shaped when you were head of urban development in the
United States, government. I'll even give you a chance to reply,
You show how wrong you are. I started in this when I was a ranger, back when
I was in college, I wasn't in urban renewal.
We all regret our youth…
That was '66 - '69...
But since then you've run concessions and sold them in Lassen. You've been
head of Urban Development, You've come back with this company.
Yes, I consider myself just like many of the concessioners, as good a
conservationist as there is there in the park service.
Why have a ski resort in Yosemite National Park. There's so much land in the
United States for ski resorts. Why do you take part of this park to have a
Why shouldn't a skier come up and enjoy the scenery at Yosemite National
Cross-country? Absolutely right. We want cross-country skiing opened
Wait a minute. Why should you decide what kind of use. This belongs to the
people of the United States, not to you.
No one's against skiing. Every ski resort in the United States is being
built, in Utah, Colorado, outside of national parks. No one's against
skiing. Why do you need ... Slow down or stop?
No, I'm going to let Mr. Hummel answer that and then.
Why do we need it inside this park?
Why do we need a ski resort inside this park - very quickly, Mr.
Because you spread the use of this park through many seasons and stop the
intensive use in just the summertime.
No, I cannot allow another question.
Mr. Hummel's for it and Mr. Miller is against it and, with that, gentlemen,
I have to break in. Thank you very much.
You allow those people to enjoy their national parks in the way they like to
OK, thanks, Mr. Hummel.
That was a lively exchange. All right, Mr. Julber, another witness,
My next witness is Mr. Floyd Dominy, a lifelong outdoorsman, former head of
the Bureau of Reclamation under four Presidents.
Welcome to "The Advocates", Mr. Dominy.
A pleasure to be here.
Mr. Dominy, do you think we're presently using our national parks
No, I think it's a shame we're not developing more of the great natural
areas so people can get into them and use them the way they'd like to use
Is that by backpacking or by automobile.
It certainly wouldn't interfere with backpacking if you developed twice as
much land in Yosemite, twice as much land in Yellowstone and twice as much
land in Glacier for those who don't like to backpack.
Let's take Yellowstone as an example. We've been told that three percent is
developed in Yellowstone, that is, with hotels and with access to the
public. Would you recommend doubling that figure?
And do you think that'd be unfair to the backpackers who would have the
enjoyment of the remaining ninety-four percent?
Getting back to Yellowstone, now, what would you suggest as a means of
improving the access to the public to the wonders of Yellowstone?
Well, I want to say that I've been to Yellowstone many, many times. I was
actually appointed one of the ninety-day wonders there in 1930, but I didn't
accept it because I thought I'd have to buy my own uniforms.
For those of us youngsters who were …
The ninety-day wonders were summer rangers who worked for ninety days during
the peak season.
And what would you do about Yellowstone?
Well, I would develop Yellowstone by opening a great many additional areas.
There's no reason to confine total visitation of a park of almost four
thousand square miles to the loop, which occupies only three percent of the
total acreage of two and a quarter million and there are many, many areas in
Yellowstone that could be developed by additional roads. 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 and look at the
elk and the moose and they can enjoy the park and have some outer camps away
from this congested area.
And, sir, would that in your judgment interfere with the use of ninety-four
percent of the park by backpackers.
I don't see how anyone could say that.
And do you think it would hurt the animal life?
Not at all. My experience in the parks 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 in Yellowstone.
By the way, sir, have you yourself been a backpacker.?
I certainly was. In the late 20's and early 30's when I couldn't afford to
get into the parks and into the mountains any other way. I enjoyed it
thoroughly, but now I prefer not to backpack to get into the
All right. Now, do you find that if you sleep in a clean bed and have a good
meal in a restaurant, that that at all interferes with your sensitivity? To
the beauties of nature?
Quite the contrary, I think I enjoy it more after a leisurely sleep and a
leisurely breakfast and a warm bath.
And do you think, sir, that any one group such as the back- packers, 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 that all the
rest of the public has to be confined to one percent or three
Well, I can only say that when I was going into the mountains with my
backpack and on my ski trips in the wintertime for cross-country skiing.
There were no ski tows in those days. I didn't feel that I was depriving
anybody else of that pleasure, nor did I think that anyone else was
depriving me of the pleasure by sleeping in a good hotel and in some other
Don't you think that whether people want to backpack or stay in a hotel
should be a matter of individual choice, and not something that is imposed
by the federal government, which adopts the new laws and
Well, I certainly think that all this wonderful acreage that belongs to the
people, and it was selected as one of the prime areas of scenic value,
should not be converted into wilderness for the few. 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 that's being preserved in their
And, sir, do you think that the average American working man after working
fifty weeks of hard work during the year, is about, on his two-week
vacation, to put a pack on his back and a pack on his wife's back, and packs
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 at?
I think the answer's very obvious.
O. K. Thanks, Mr. Dominy.
All right, Mr. Dominy, Mr. Miller would like to ask you some questions. Mr.
Mr. Dominy, as head of the Bureau of Reclamation for many years, you were a
dam builder, one of the nation's leading dam builders.
Yes, I'm very proud of the fact that I've helped the parks a great deal by
opening up many areas for recreation and taken some of the pressure off the
Well, tell me. I want to ask you, Mr. Dominy, would you dam the Yosemite
Valley. Would you dam the Merced and dam Yosemite Valley?
Well, there's many reasons why you wouldn't dam Yosemite Valley.
Mr. Miller, the Merced is what?
That's the river that goes through the valley.
There’re many reasons you wouldn't even consider damming the valley, even if
it wasn't a national park in the first place. It has a very steep gradient,
so you'd have a very poor reservoir area and you don't have a very heavy
flow of water.
Well, that's a very interesting answer, especially in terms of our emotional
reaction to Yosemite, because of course, just north of here, in Yosemite
National Park, there is another Yosemite Valley. A twin.
Not on the Merced.
No, not on the Merced, on the Tuolomne. It's Hetch Hetchy Valley.
Well, I don't think…
Let me ask you the question…
...by talking about that. That was built when I was five years
Well, but I was...
Mr. Dominy, let's let Mr. Miller ask the next question first.
We're arguing about this irreplaceable resource. There was another one, a
twin, Hetch Hetchy Valley. It was dammed, with Hetch Hetchy Dam. It's now
totally under water. That other Yosemite is gone. Do you agree with the
building of Hetch Hetchy Dam?
Like I say, I was five years old. I wasn't consulted, I think probably I
might have done just like I did in Ram Park and in Marble Canyon. I might
have been against it.
But I want to know what you feel about it, because here you see, the real
question we're asking is which of these valleys has really been dammed, and
what I'm asking you. . .
Well, I think, I think the question is completely out of focus to this
discussion, Mr. Moderator, but I would say,,.
I don't understand why you think it's out of focus.
I think it's clear that Mr. Dominy would oppose the Hetch.
Dam had he the responsibility for doing that, and it's clear he couldn't
have because he was five years old. How about another question.
O.K. I'll take your five year old. Tell me. What we're talking about now,
Mr. Julber keeps talking about having to backpack in and everything. But
really we're talking about whether these kinds of developments are in the
center of the most beautiful places or outside the parks, where people come
in in the mini-buses. What's wrong with keeping them outside? Our man who
works fifty weeks a year can still go with his family to the hotel, outside,
and he takes a mini-bus in. Why not do that?
It's an entirely different experience.
Well, it certainly is.
In Yellowstone, in all 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 at
the north gate or over at the west gate and go in on a mini-bus.
Why would it have been ridiculous?
Well, it's just. It isn't the way you visit a park if you've got your kids
and you want to go in and show them the park.
Why isn't it the way?
And you want to camp at a family campground.
Why isn't it the way? Why isn't it the way you visit? You still camp.
There's no restriction on camping. You can camp all you want. You just have
to do it in a tent instead of in a motorized monstrosity.
I'm not talking about a motorized monstrosity. I've never had more than a
station wagon, myself, but, for example, when you go to the park with small
children, it'd be a little funny to be riding in on a mini-bus, changing
diapers and this and that, you know.
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 up. The people keep out. The people get fenced in and
you can only drive in any of those parks on guided tours, in the car in a
You've never been to the ones I've been in.
Well, I've been to the ones that are preserved, and preserved, 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 development, don't we. We don't let the Yosemite Park and Curry Company
build any number of units it wants.
No, but there ought to be more development.
But we do regulate?
Well, we regulate, but I'm saying the park service is at fault. They haven't
been willing to develop other areas in the park. They've concentrated. .
What other area. There's.. .fifty miles from here, there's the largest
alpine meadow in the western United States, Tuolomne Meadow. Would you
develop Tuolomne Meadows with another Ahwahnee, or Yosemite
But there's many other areas...
Why not? Why not?
Well because that's a… That's... My dear sir, I'm only saying that you don't
need to confine it to one percent of those areas.
But what about the babies in their diapers going in on a mini-bus to see
You don't need to confine your campgrounds. You don't need to confine your
facilities to one percent.
Now, what's the difference between Tuolomne and Yosemite Valley? Tuolomne is
exceptional, but Yosemite Valley is... it can't be described. You'd preserve
Tuolomne, but develop the Valley?
I think if we started all over again in Yosemite Valley, we might have
scattered the facilities more than putting them all in one spot.
Then why not start all over. Take them down and start out all
Take them down and not have anything? No, indeed, this would defeat the very
purpose of the national parks,
Well, let's talk about the purpose. I want to talk to you about Tuolomne
because we have these two areas here yet you want to save that. Don't all
your arguments hold? People don't want to go in on a mini-bus. It's a
beautiful place. We have to expand the use. It's necessary. It's a small
area. Seeing an alpine meadow is a lovely experience, walking across those
meadows is one of the greatest experiences in life. Shouldn't we build
hotels - Hilton Hotel - so people can stay up there to enjoy that?
There are no Hilton Hotels anywhere in the parks. There shouldn't
Well, shouldn't we build another Ahwahnee Lodge?
There should be more campgrounds up there, perhaps adjacent to Tuolomne
Not build another Ahwahnee Lodge so people who can pay 50 dollars a night
can enjoy the meadow?
I don't think you need any more Ahwahnee Lodges, You've got enough now, 40
dollars a day. There's not many people who want to go there.
You may have one more than is necessary. Let's talk about regulation. The
park not only…talking about regulation of use…this park… now, this park now
regulates use. Isn't that right? You can only be in for seven days for some
purposes and fourteen days for others.
Well, I think that's all right, but I think perhaps they ought to consider
another regulation in a park like Yosemite which is so closely aligned to
large centers of population that use it regularly.
What's that other regulation?
Well, we ought to say to the local folks that they have. ..they're limited
to so many days a year up here so the other guy who's coming from Michigan
can get in.
We limit everyone. Let's talk about the park service's recommendation for
Yellowstone. The park service has a general philosophy and now it is
recommended for Yellowstone, cut out the cars, what they call wilderness
check 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
Why do you think the park service is going around making these
Well, because there's a lot of people that believe that way, but there's
more people that believe the other way. You'll find that out before this
get's carried 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. You
hear the traffic? Maybe the cameras aren't picking it up. You know what this
traffic sounds like in July? Do you know how many people are going down the
Merced River on their rafts in July? You can't get into the river because
you're bumped out. Is that an enjoyment of Yosemite Valley?
There's just one more response, Mr. Dominy. We're going to have to end it.
How about a quick one.
Well, that wouldn't be a good visit for me and I wouldn't do that sort of
No, you certainly wouldn't and you would come in if it were otherwise
developed and so would millions of other Americans...
Gentlemen, at this point I have to break in. Thank you very much, Mr. Dominy
for being with us. All right, Mr. Julber, your summary, please.
Thank you, sir. Ladies and gentlemen, the traffic that you just heard was a
snow plow coming up from Wawona and the smog 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. I'm from Los Angeles and I know
what smog smells like, Campfire smoke smells good. Now you, you ladies and
gentlemen, not those right here, but those in the 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
see that they want to restrict your use of the parks. They already have
ninety-seven percent of the park areas for their exclusive use. And I know
what I'm talking about because I was a backpacker once, too.
want to do is cut down on your access to the very last one percent or three
percent. In Yosemite, it's one 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 w hen one small group
has the exclusive use of ninety-seven percent of Yellowstone or ninety-nine
percent of Yosemite, that small group has taken over the park. No one small
group in our country should impose their life style on another by law. Sure,
talk to 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.
Mr. Julber, I'm going to have to break in at that point. We have to go to
Mr. Miller for his summary, Mr. Miller, how about your summary.
Mr. Julber has these endless amounts of time to explain what his position
is. Let's see who this small political group is. My God! In favor of this
proposal, we have one of the world's leading biologists, and a man who
climbed Mt. Everest. And against it an executive who runs concessions and
the former head of the Bureau of Reclamation. Now I understand the positions
of those men, but I don't think this program indicates any small
conspiratorial, spiritual or other group. It's simply people who want to
save Yosemite Valley. If we can't save Yosemite Valley. If we can't save our
other parks, we can't save anything. If we can, we have a chance. We can
begin to save these things.
Now, we're not saving the
valley for the sake of the valley. We are saving the valley and these parks
for ourselves. What a man preserves tells us what he is. What we preserve
will tell us what we are. That's why we say, and why we've always said, that
in preserving this valley, we are not simply preserving a human experience
that cannot otherwise be duplicated, we are indeed preserving ourselves.
Thank you, Mr. Miller. And now you've heard the debate and it's time for you
to express your views on what you think our national park system should be.
The national park system was a triumph of democratic ideals in America and,
in the future, it should be no less so. Should public use of our national
parks be drastically restricted? That's the question. Please send us your
yes or no vote on a letter or postcard to "The Advocates", Box 1972, Boston
02134. We'll tabulate your views and make them known to the members of
Congress, to the White House, to the Secretary of the Interior and to the
Director of the National Park Service, all the people who are going to have
make these important decisions in the coming months and years. So remember
that address. It's "The Advocates", Box 1972, Boston 02134 .
with thanks to our Advocates, their very distinguished witnesses, and with
special thanks to 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.