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To the hotel and motel operator these tourists are a livelihood. To the mining and timber men, multiple use means a potential reservior of raw materials. To those concerned with present and future water needs of families, industry, and agriculture, it means water development programs to meet an ever-increasing demand.
What are the principal objections to the present administration of our wilderness areas? The best wilderness lands are in the national park system where they are protected from commercial development of their natural resources, for only 5 percent of our national park area is developed at all. The 1916 National Park Act directs the Service to "conserve the scenery and the natural and historical objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
The administration of the wilderness areas in the national forests and wildlife refuges is based on recognition that their primeval character represents their optimum use, and other uses are allowed only when they do not unduly interfere with this wilderness character.
The administration of Federal lands should be sufficiently flexible to allow for changing conditions, and we should not freeze the administration, and remove local jurisdiction, so that desirable changes would be difficult if not impossible as would be the case if lands administered by three Federal agencies for different purposes, as is now the case, are lumped together in a new huge wilderness system. This system would be, moreover, fair game for a future Congress to place logically under one agency specialized in wilderness.
Wilderness areas, then, are not going to disappear, as the agencies now administering them are going to continue to preserve them. Our opposition to this bill does not mean opposition to the maintenance of existing wilderness areas under the present administrative agencies. Passage of this bill could, however, mean that we jeopardize the interests of all by enacting legislation without due consideration, for it is folly to remove actual multiple use from large areas before an adequate study can be made.
Nature and natural resources are dynamic—not static. Even in areas now classified and used in wilderness sense, catastrophic happenings are entirely possible, such as devastating storms, fires from natural or human causes, insect epidemics, and serious overpopulation of animal life.
Preparation for, prevention of, and control of such happenings are of vital concern. For example, the Bridger National Forest Wilderness Area, one of the areas involved in this matter, had, in 1960, one of the most severe fire seasons that it has ever experienced. In this report, they state that "roads, trails, radio communications, fences, and buildings are vital * * * in protecting forest resources.” In this bill under Special Provisions,” it establishes two separate procedures to provide for protection and future possible multiple use. First it states that within national forest areas included in the wilderness system such measures may be taken as may be necessary in the control of fire, insects, and diseases subject to such conditions as the Secretary of Agriculture deems desirable. Then it states that the President may within national forests and public domain areas included in the wilderness system, within specified areas, authorize mining, reser
voir and road construction, and other activities if the specified area will serve the interests of the people of the United States. However, these special provisions are, interestingly enough, in direct conflict with the rest of the bill. But, nowhere in the bill do I find where there is a proviso to take care of fire, insects, diseases, or overpopulation of wildlife within the national parks or national wildlife refuges and game ranges that are incorporated into the wilderness system.
This legislation affects the West more than any other section of the country because the lion's share of the lands involved are situated in the 11 Western States. The feelings of one of the Western States has already been expressed by the signing on February 7 of a memorial to the President and the Congress by Governor Gage of Wyoming. The text of the memorial is as follows:
This memorial proposes to memorialize the President and Congress of the United States to the effect that the people of Wyoming oppose the creation or extension of wilderness areas in Wyoming and that if such areas are necessary and desired in other States that wilderness areas be created in such other States to make the same available to more people of the country than can be the case with wilderness areas only in the West.
The economy of Wyoming is closely tied to the future of forest, grazing, mineral, or water resources in the presently undeveloped primitive and wilderness areas within its boundaries, such areas now totaling about 1,430,000 acres classified as wilderness and 871,000 acres as primitive. And further, there are 2,349,637 acres in national parks and monuments.
Might I digress here and say that this total acreage of 4.6 million acres is approximately 8 percent of the total area of Wyoming; or, if
you take Wyoming, a State where 50 percent of the land is owned by the Federal Government, it is 16 percent of the federally owned land that is in these categories of wilderness, primitive areas, and parks and monuments. When they classified 2 percent and in some cases 112 percent of the wilderness and primitive areas being used for recreation, I can't conceive of where Wyoming is even getting that percentage with the number of acres that are involved. We know this of the Yellowstone National Park. With approximately 5 percent of it developed, that Old Faithful erupts every hour on the hour, a million and a half people drive within a couple hundred yards of it every year to enjoy its wonders. The same thing with the mud spots. So the backwoods of the Yellowstone are still there.
The board, representing the State of Wyoming, believes that adequate recognition is now given to the wilderness concept through existing departmental regulations and through legislation already in existence which has established national forests, national parks and monuments, and wildlife refuges and ranges. We feel, and I repeat this, that there is no present need for additional legislation, and that any consideration of a bill such as S. 174 should at least await the report to come out of the National Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission, created by the 85th Congress to study this issue and due to report later this year. Too often, as past experience shows, have areas been assigned to a certain category without sufficient study and investigation. We do not wish to see this happen again.
As to our water rights we know that this legislation does not interfere with the State's water rights. But we do feel on the Natural Resource Board which is developing small projects where we have to look to our mountain areas for these 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 acre-feet reservoirs at the headwaters.
So any legislation that might hinder us in these small reservoir sites makes us very apprehensive. The State of Wyoming and the other States of the West in other legislation do not interfere with the wildlife.
Now, we want our wildlife and we love it in our State and it runs on Federal lands but we also want it to be so that our State and fish commissioners, game commissioners, can regulate and control that wildlife so that the time does not come that overpopulation results and they die of disease. I am wondering whether in this legislation that we can have complete control of our wildlife?
The CHAIRMAN. I thought that was in the bill. Have you read the bill?
Mr. HYATT. I have read it. You say you don't control our wildlife, but they do run on these primitive and wildlife areas.
The CHAIRMAN (reading): Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting the jurisdiction or responsibilities of the several States with respect to wildlife and fish in the national forests.
Do you mean to tell me that you don't think that permits the State fish and game department to regulate forests itself
Mr. HYATT. In reading the other part of the bill, Senator, would that mean that the State of Wyoming could go into your primitive and wilderness areas and build trails and roads so that the game can be harvested? If you can't go back there and hunt the game and keep the numbers down, they are going to increase your wildlife in primitive areas to the extent of where they will die of starvation. We have to have some way to get back there and harvest them.
The CHAIRMAN. That is an old story. I admit they are not going into wildlife areas to build airports so that sportsmen can fly in and shoot ducks. I don't believe we are going to be able to build roads for them so they can travel in. It is quite enjoyable to go into these wildlife areas even on horseback and some people do it very successfully walking
I am trying to say that the State game wardens do have jurisdictions in these areas.
Mr. HYATT. I can't say the exact figures now, but they have a problem in Yellowstone Park even this winter in getting the elk down to the number that next year's feed will take care of.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF WARREN S. MOORE, MANAGING PARTNER,
FREMONT MINING CO., DULUTH, MINN. Mr. MOORE. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am the managing partner of the Fremont Mining Co., an exploration partnership, currently working in Western States, including Alaska.
Your patience and willingness to hear yet another voice in opposition to certain provisions of S. 174 are appreciated.
Fremont Mining Co. has explored for minerals in almost every State in the West. Recently our efforts have centered in Alaska. We hold some hundred claims on Brady Glacier, 150 miles northwest of Juneau, which glacier is a part of the Glacier National Monument.
The staking of claims and the right to mine within the monument is expressly authorized by the terms of an act of Congress passed in 1936, following the passage of the National Monument Act.
We have enjoyed the confidence and have had the complete cooperation of the National Park Service throughout the period of exploration in the monument.
But the united front of Park Service personnel, hoping that we find no commercial ore body there, is no secret.
What is particularly alarming to us is to see in this legislation the specter of losing an investment of some $500,000 to $600,000, for without the express authority, by which we have a right to be there, our brief candle would be out and the definite encouragement, geologically, which we have detected by probing under 600 feet of ice, will be abandoned.
Under S. 174 the park supervisors will have no choice but to show us the gate, for the bill expressly provides under section 3(c) (1) that there shall be incorporated into the wilderness system: each portion of each park, monument, or other unit in the national park system.
Knowing the attitude of the Park Service, we can anticipate what their recommendation will be even before the bill is passed.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, did you pay any attention to the part on page 11, line 12: except as specifically provided for in this act and subject to any existing private rights? Mr. MOORE. Yes, we have speculated about that, Senator. The CHAIRMAN. You do not think that gives you any protection? Mr. MOORE. I think that would be the minimum of right. The CHAIRMAN. It does not give you any protection, you say?
Mr. MOORE. That would be the minimum protection. For instance, in the case of such strong argument that follows that, what about the right to mill, the right to have townsite, the right to have, to bring in power, the right to have a dock, the right to have roads of access?
We think that the words “subject to any existing private rights' are some protection, of course, but there is much more to a mining operation than the mere holding of claims or the right to a property.
We think this leaves much to be desired.
I have in mind preparing an amendment which will stiffen this out but we think to lean on those few words alone would be a rather weak crutch to protect our rights.
The CHAIRMAN. We thought it would give you sufficient private rights, but it may not.
Mr. MOORE. But there is more to this business than a financial loss to the Fremont partners. It so happens that these claims on Brady Glacier represent the only first-class nickel prospect within the continental United States. Our country is in short supply of this strategically important mineral. Russia has ample reserves of nickel, also Scandinavia, Africa, and our good neighbors to the north.
So serious did the Office of Defense Mobilization count our deficiency in nickel as to encourage, if not lead, our country into the following ventures:
1. To loan Cuba $80 million to construct and equip the much touted Nicaro nickel project now in the bloody hands of one Guevara.
The CHAIRMAN. Did they loan that to Cuba?
2. To execute a Government purchase contract for nickel with Freeport Sulphur in order to encourage multimillion-dollar investment, by banks and others, in the now confiscated Moa-Bay nickel project, also in Cuba.
There were two, then, Senator. One was a loan and one was merely a contract.
The CHAIRMAN. I just remember they came to the Senate Finance Committee seeking some relief.
Mr. MOORE. They have both gone by the wind.
3. To loan the M. H. Hanna Co., for the development of low grade nickel ores of Oregon, $25 million. This one, of the three, is operating successfully.
Now, I submit, gentlemen, does it make sense to spend millions in an effort to make our country self-sufficient in nickel, on the one hand, and then, in one stroke of legislation, knock down the one known, remaining chance, and it is only a chance, to secure for this country an important supply of this mineral and, at no cost whatever to Uncle?
To incorporate the Glacier National Monument within the wilderness system will not only confiscate our investment, deny to our country what would, geologically at least, be an important new source of nickel, but possibly ruin the chances for a distinct gain to the economy of our new State, Alaska.
The discovery of oil and gas in Alaska has come forward with leaps and bounds. But in base metals and bullion, the value of Alaska's mineral production is a poor third to canned salmon and forest products.
There are many good mineral prospects in Alaska, to be sure, and I, for one, believe that the prospects for new mines there are bright.
But as of the moment, except for Kennecott's new copper find in the western part of the State, I know of no major base metal prospect in Alaska, unless it is the one in the monument.
Alaska needs to have this possibly important find go forward. A successful operation here could easily employ 1,200 men.
We have new tools today with which to explore, to venture into the bleak vastness of mountainous Alaska, to assault ranges never before examined by geologists. Within the last 15 years no less than a half dozen new geophysical methods for mineral detection have been perfected.
The geologist has now acquired a twin, the geophysicist. If these twin scientists with newly developed instruments mounted on fixed wing planes and helicopters are not permitted to evaluate heights heretofore unattainable or to penetrate the valley bottoms to unseen depths, as this bill, in part, proscribes, our country and, Alaska in particular, will be the tragic loser.