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STATEMENT OF HOWARD ZAHNISER ON BEHALF OF TRUSTEES
Dr. ZAHNISER. Mr. Chairman, I am Howard Zahniser, speaking today in behalf of Trustees for Conservation, an organization with headquarters at 251 Kearny Street, in San Francisco. I am happy to accept your suggestion of simply filing a statement to appear in the record as though read, and to assure the committee and the individual members of it that I am stationed here in Washington, D.C., and available for consultation or conference at any time and to yield the time here for the benefit of the committee's hearing those from out of town.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to ask you one question. Dr. Smith made a point I thought was a very good point; namely, that this bill is in itself a substantial scaling down from the original proposal. Do you feel that also ?
Dr. ZAHNISER. It is indeed, sir. Senator Anderson, as I recalled the half dozen years of concern with this legislation in which I have been involved and listened to a former witness speak of stampeding it, I thought of the nervous fellow who came home and sat down in the living room and started to read his paper when the house cat came walking in the room, and he turned and said, “So you have to come stomping around here."
The CHAIRMAN. Well, we are now going ahead with all deliberate speed.
Dr. ZAHNISER. As I think of these primitive areas I think of them as part of our wilderness system. We have had a de facto wilderness system for a good many years. The National Wildlife Federation has a fact sheet on it, I helped prepare, that includes a map entitled “Our Wilderness Preservation System.” It is a fact sheet that does not refer to legislation. It includes the primitive areas.
So these primitive areas are all units of the wilderness system that we have, through the years, considered de facto. This legislation would make the wilderness de jure. To be forced into a position of submitting the primitive areas to a gauntlet of consideration, area by area, agency by agency, would be to run a risk of losing something that has already been somewhat secure.
It reminds me of the fellow up in a small town in Pennsylvania where I grew up that used to enjoy getting the younger boys who came downtown to flip nickels on the basis "heads, you keep your nickel; tails, I get it.”. Eventually he always got the nickel away from the boy. I don't think that we should submit our primitive areas to the hazards of a system of that sort. However, I came up here to submit a statement to save time and not to get into a discussion.
CLARIFYING AMENDMENT PROPOSED
What I should like to do now is to suggest a clarifying amendment to make clear that the primitive areas are to be preserved as wilderness until Congress agrees otherwise. As I view it, this proposed amendment would make explicit what I take to be the meaning of the bill. By this act Congress would establish the primitive areas as parts of the wilderness system, subject to review under scrutiny
of Congress. The areas, in my view, then, should not cease to be wilderness-system units without the agreement of Congress. Accordingly I propose adding to line 19 on page 4 the following sentence, at the end of section 3(b) (1): Upon rejection in accordance with said subsection (f) of any such recommendation of the President, the primitive area involved shall remain within the wilderness system in status quo until a subsequent recommendation of the President with respect to the area shall have become effective subject to the provisions of said subsection (f) or until the area shall have been eliminated or modified by act of Congress. I have some maps here that I should later be glad to take
with you or others in the committee that show, to scale, these various areas and include explanatory statements. In New Mexico, for example, the 17/2 percent of the land that is involved is shown here to scale.
The CHAIRMAN. Could you hand those to the committee now so that we can discuss them?
Dr. ZAHNISER. Let me submit them at this time. I have a letter too, that I wanted to suggest for the record. But I will take that up with you, too.
The CHAIRMAN. Fine.
Dr. ZAHNISER. We are very fortunate, Senator Anderson, in the opportunity that you and your cosponsors have created by introducing this measure, S. 174, which provides so reasonably for the preservation of some of our remaining areas of wilderness unspoiled, still representing what America is naturally. We appreciate this.
And I want to congratulate you also, as chairman of this committee, for the promptness with which you have called these hearings, thus taking the necessary steps toward enactment of the measure you have sponsored. We appreciate this, too.
We were encouraged by your remarks, Mr. Chairman, when you introduced this bill to the Senate—the statement of your purpose to do all you can to advance the legislation, your recognition of its urgency, as well as your care in seeing to its reasonableness. I trust that your statement on introducing the bill on January 5 will appear in the record of this hearing, and I have appended a copy of it as printed in the Living Wilderness to my statement.
There has been enough delay. It has, of course, taken time to make sure that such opposition as exists has been brought out clearly and that objections have been met as far as possible. But now that we have done this and the results are so well incorporated in your bill, S. 174, we should, as you have well said, proceed to act, and not run the risk of losing our opportunity.
THE PRESIDENT'S ADVOCACY
When the President sent to the Congress his message on natural resources last week, he listed wilderness legislation first among the steps he called essential in meeting the Federal Government's appropriate share of responsibility for fulfilling the Nation's recreational needs.
(A) To protect our remaining wilderness areas, President Kennedy saidI urge the Congress to enact a wilderness protection bill along the general lines of S. 174.
The next day the New York Times, in an editorial entitled "Kennedy on Natural Resources," said "we warmly welcome his endorsement of the pending wilderness protection bill."
Day before yesterday, on its Sunday, February 26, 1961, editorial page, the New York Times said further:
We are particularly pleased by the President's wise words in respect to the great scenic and recreational resources of the country, which are now meeting pressures such as they have never known before pressures that will only increase in the forseeable future. Conservationists will be delighted by his advocacy of the pending wilderness bill, S. 174, a modest effort to preserve for future generations some of the natural quality of primeval America.
I cite this one comment as representative of a general public approval of the wilderness bill and also as representing the sense of its urgency.
In this statement today I should like to stress still further this sense of urgency.
I should like also to emphasize the reasonableness of this present proposal with reference to those who have objected to such legislation in the past, and similarly, the unreasonableness of opposition that refuses to recognize a revision which does deal reasonably with legitimate objections.
I wish further to comment on the fact that in my opinion this is a sound measure for establishing a national wilderness policy and program and, accordingly, one that should be guarded against weakening amendments.
Finally, I want to look on what we are doing as the beginning of a program that can be expected to endure, not a piecemeal proposal for dealing with threats here and there, not a rearguard action to slow down inevitable destruction, but a positive and constructive proposal to establish policies and programs that can be expected to endure.
A SOUND MEASURE
Perhaps I should first of all comment on the soundness of the proposal, as I view it, in the light of our consideration of the requirements of wilderness preservation and my understanding of the conditions under which we must act.
There has been no one whom I have heard testifying at this hearing who has questioned the desirability of wilderness. This is in accord with my general experience during the past 15 years of my intensive work in connection with wilderness. When I first went to work for the Wilderness Society my former colleagues warned me I was concerning myself with something of interest only to a minority. I went to work anyhow because I was convinced that wilderness preservation was something worthwhile and of enduring value. But I soon found out that rather than dealing with a minority concern I was doing something of general interest, something that almost everyone favored and commended when he or she heard of it.
And I am now more confident than ever that when we are working to preserve wilderness we are doing something in which the citizens of the United States are interested. The American people want to see some of our wilderness protected.
Our purpose is a valid and sound one.
I am certain, however, after a decade and a half of experience, observation, and study that if we are to have wilderness areas we must set them aside and protect them. Every consideration I have made confirms the declaration in S. 174 that our increasing population with its expanding settlement and its mechanization is destined to occupy and modify all of our wilderness except those areas which we deliberately designate for preservation and protection in their natural condition. This indeed seems to me to be a sound premise on which to base such legislation as this wilderness bill.
Fortunately our federally owned land areas include much of our still remaining wilderness. It is a further good fortune that areas of wilderness suitable for preservation are contained within our national forests, our National Park System, our wildlife refuges and ranges, because this means that they are in areas already being protected to a great extent from commodity or commercial uses. In other words, in order to provide for wilderness preservation we do not need to interfere with established enterprises—at least not to any significant extent.
S. 174 relates its wilderness-preservation policy and program to these areas already receiving some protection. It avoids interference with the purposes for which these areas have already been established as forests, parks, or refuges. It gives to administering agencies the added responsibility for preserving the wilderness character which the lands to be involved still have, but it does this with respect for the other land-management policies and programs already underway.
This I consider a sound approach to a new policy and program. The very nature of our undertaking is such that we can deal only with areas that are wilderness. And in this legislation only areas of wilderness already being protected to some extent are included. I want to emphasize that this bill deals only with wilderness, and furthermore only with wilderness in Federal areas where special protection is already a purpose.
This proposal also recognizes that there may well be future needs to adapt the program to changing conditions, and accordingly procedures are provided for additions, deletions, and other changes.
There is in this proposal no lock for which the legislation does not also provide a key, to be used as may be necessary.
These are examples of the features of this proposal that seem to me to mark it as sound. Most important of all is the fact that through its provisions we can expect to see wilderness preserved. It will establish à national policy to this end, a practical program for this purpose, and it relates this policy and program to definite areas of Federal land. It provides the instrument with which we can carry out our national purpose to see some of our primeval America preserved for the perpetual use and enjoyment of the people who own it. It improves our prospect for success in realizing this purpose.
Finally, an important aspect of the soundness of this measure is its reasonableness.
A REASONABLE MEASURE
The proponents of the wilderness bill--and I have long been one of them-have seemed to me to be outstandingly reasonable and patient in efforts to devise a wilderness preservation program that respects other interests and fits in with other programs. They have seemed to me to be most accommodating in their willingness to cooperate in revisions to meet objections. S. 174 represents the culmination of such revisions—a measure skillfully designed to accomplish its special purposes without interference with others. I should think that reasonable men would certainly commend its reasonableness.
It seems unreasonable that opposition against this proposal should continue. There are no areas, for example, involved that are subject now to lumber operations. All are at present already set aside from timber cutting. They are within national parks or monuments, wildlife refuges or ranges, or areas set aside as wilderness within national forests. It must be that any lumbermen who oppose S. 174 must want to cut timber in areas already being protected from lumbering.
If so, it is, of course, all the more important to pass this measure as soon as possible.
But it just does not seem reasonable or consistent to me for anyone as a lumberman who claims to be in favor of wilderness preservation to object to making more orderly and more secure the protection of areas that are not available even now for his lumbering.
As to mining or power projects or other waterworks or other facilities that may be needed it seems to me that this bill is as reasonably considerate of such nonconforming uses of wilderness as it possibly could be and still insure the preservation of wilderness.
In fact so considerate is it that some supporters of wilderness preservation are very much concerned with those exceptions. I have had letters asking me if this bill is doubletalk, if it really is designed to preserve wilderness or if its effect is to provide for the exploitation of wilderness; I have been asked by wilderness supporters if I am in favor of it.
In response I do, of course, express my strong support. I point out the improvement in our prospects for wilderness preservation that it provides, and I try to explain why even in wilderness areas we have to face the prospect of possible mining, possible dams, possible other uses that may modify the wilderness.
Certainly no weakening amendments should be tolerated, and if the reasonable features of S. 174 still meet with the opposition of these commercial interests, perhaps it would be better to abandon efforts to compromise efforts that our opponents seem to consider futile anyhow.
In fact, when I heard the testimony in behalf of the mining interests yesterday I began to wonder how it happens that on lands that belong to all of us this private industry can have such profitable privileges that its representatives will work so hard against such a modest proposal as this one to give added protection to so small a portion of this land that we all own.
I began to wonder if we ought not to look into a situation in which this could be true. And I remembered a speech that the Chief of the Forest Service Lyle F. Watts made 10 years ago here in Washington on the subject“Can We Save Our Wilderness Areas ?" I looked it up. It was delivered at a National Citizens Conference on Planning for City, State, and Nation held May 12 to 17, 1950. Mr. Watts pointed out what he called three real dangers, and the first one he discussed was the problem caused by mining. Here is what he said:
All of our wilderness areas are in lands withdrawn for national forest purposes from the public domain. That means that these areas are subject to mineral location under the U.S. mining laws. Under these laws any citizen