National Parks - Fire and Ice | 6
Maginness early evening on may twenty ninth eighteen sixty seven. You sit at a table in tavern in Raleigh, North Carolina room is mingle of townspeople northern union soldiers. You are one of the ladder a soldier under the command of Major General. Daniel sickles sent to the south to help keep order during reconstruction. You're waiting for your cousin, Edgar who's gone to the bar, get drinks at your lips locally, and you've made a point of getting drinks with him each month doing your part to mend fences. You're wrapping up your service soon though. So this will be one of your last meetings. He comes back from the bar slams drinks down on the table. The bartenders name was Seward. Can you believe it just like that idiot in Washington, Amy man, all over again Seward. What are you talking about? Seward who don't you read the papers, William Seward, secretary of state that chowder brain paid the Russian government, seven million two hundred thousand dollars for a frozen wasteland up north Alaska. The name stirs your memory? Yeah. You've heard about this back in April. You read secretary Seward made some treaty with the Russian government and the Senate approved a little while later Seward's icebox. Exactly. We've been scraping along down here since the war and those porridge brain Yankees, though. Offense don't take their pissing away money on big tracks of nothing. They ought to be spending it down here, helping the south, get back on its feet while there's plenty of northerners who agree with you, but nothing I don't know about that Alaska's got polar bears, right. Edgar laughs grimly. President Johnson was born here. Maybe he'll have the could sense of veto this lunacy. As he both sip your beers, a man on the bench. Next you leans over pardon me. I couldn't help overhearing thought you care to see today's paper. He slides a newspaper across the table toward you there in a banner headline. You see it yesterday. Johnson formally ratified the purchase and your hits the table. Fist dammit last not even connected to the United States. It's up in Canadian territory. Well, it's ours. Now you scan the article for the number. You're looking for all five hundred eighty six, four hundred twelve square miles of it. Half a million square miles of what walruses first traders probably to smell you be allowed back on their boats to Russia. The man next trumps my cousin knows someone who did some trapping up there while he said it was the most beautiful territory he'd ever seen while Barron, beautiful gods. Entry called your ears prick up. Edgar isn't impressed. No, thank you. Give me a southern winter any day. I don't know. You say a wide open frontier. Different climate sounds like an adventure. Are you crazy? Well, I'll be done with the army and a couple of months. Don't suppose you wanna come explore Alaska with me some polar bears person and freeze to death, not on your life. It's all pretty much ingest at the moment, but the name stays with you, though. Alaska. The idea of distant wasteland isn't normally something that fills you with excitement. But as you finish your term in the army, you can't get it out of your head who knows what's up their cheap land game oil gold for all. You know, this could be the best idea since Louisiana purchase, or is it as your cousin things and expensive disaster. From wondering, I'm Lindsey, Graham, and this is American history tellers our history, your story. In this episode, we'll see how quick land purchase ten years after the civil war eventually leads to the largest expansion of national parks and US history before eighteen sixty seven. Alaska was an undeveloped piece of land owned by the Russian empire. It was mostly populated by for traders, Russian Orthodox missionaries and the indigenous people. The missionaries were trying to convert while the Russians light having an overseas colony, they had trouble making a go of it. Frozen land wasn't good for forming, and the distance from Saint Petersburg may defense and communication difficult. And so after Russia lost the Crimean war in eighteen fifty, six began looking for a way to sell the territory to raise some cash Russia. I approached the United States about a sale under president, James Buchanan, but the outbreak of the civil war delayed discussions. But after the war secretary of State, William Seward jumped at the chance to renew negotiations. Most of the nation was perplexed though this was less. Than two years after the civil war had ended, much of the country was still getting back on its feet, spending money on distant frozen wasteland that couldn't support farming, didn't make sense to most people, but for Seward the deal was a steel to him. Alaska represented a vast array of possibilities. It could serve as a significant port of future trade with China and Japan and it expanded American power on the global stage. Alaska would be a colony similar to those owned by other world powers who strategic location could help the US control the Pacific. And he was about to get it all for only two cents acre that reasoning didn't catch on though. The purchase was ridiculed in congress and newspapers as Seward's folly. Seward's icebox and wall Russia. A Russian tundra fit only for walruses, but on April ninth eighteen sixty seven. The Senate ratified the treaty between the United States and the Russian empire and on may twenty eighth president Johnson signed it in October. The Russian flag was lowered, and an American one was raised in its place. Alaska belong to the United States, but the value of the purchase wouldn't be understood and Seward's lifetime. It would take decades for William Seward to finally vindicated in the eyes of the world. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, some Americans began exploring Alaska for the first time. One of those men was John Muir in eighteen seventy nine long before his falling out with Gifford Pinchot oh, or the battle over hetch hetchy and only four years after James Hutchings was victim from his hotel in the seventy valley, your ventured north to what eventually became glacier, national park. He wrote about his adventure in his book travels in Alaska. He wrote to the lover of pure wildness. Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world. It seems as if surely we must at length reach the very paradise of the poets, the abode of the blessed. MIR had come to the Alaska territory in hopes of studying it's landscape. He took particular interest in its glaciers. He travelled to parts of the region never before seen by white men in a canoe, paddle by toyah Tae, a chief, but one especially stormy day. His native guides decided to stay in camp. Muir determined to go on by himself. Braving the elements near wrote, pushing on through rain and mud and sludgy snow crossing many Brown boulder choke Torrens waiting jumping wallowing and snow up to my shoulders was mountaineering of the most trying kind all the landscape was smothered and clouds. And I began to fear that as wide views were concerned, I climbed in vain, but at length the clouds lifted a little and beneath their gray fringes. I saw Burg filled expanse of the bay and the feet of the mountains that stand about it and the imposing fronts of five, huge glaciers. The nearest being immediately beneath me. This was my first general view of glacier bay dim, dreary, mysterious. Mere stayed on the peak. Another couple of hours sketching the glaciers in his notebook with numb fingers. When you return to camp at night, he was satisfied with his day's work, but Mears desire to learn about the glaciers was unsettling to his native guides when told MIR had gone out seeking knowledge, she's Toyata replied, your must be a witch to seek knowledge such places this in such miserable weather. That wouldn't be Muir's last trip to glacier bay. He returned twenty years later with more white men seeking knowledge on a scientific expedition organized by wealthy railroad magnet e h Harriman. One of the other men on the trip was George bird Grinnell publisher of field and stream magazine. He and others were part of the Harriman expedition of eighteen ninety nine bringing together. Twenty-three scientists and three artists on a two month, long journey aboard, a luxury steamship to explore Alaska's coastal waters. The cruise covered nine thousand miles and included trips of short, visit eskimo settlements hunt and collect samples of insects plants and fossils. The explorers visit of all k- no shot a bear map, glaciers and discovered a fjord fifteen miles long. The trick photographer. Edward. Curtis took over five thousand images. Grenell was uneasy about what their trip and others like it would mean for the native peoples living in Alaska. He confided to Curtis, white men, uncontrolled and uncontrollable already swarm over. The last can cost in short time, they will ruin and disperse the wholesome hearty Mary people whom we saw at port Clarence and Plummer bay, and those white men did come. The end of the nineteenth century brought more adventures along with miners and businessmen promoting the expansion and development of the region. And next came, the hotels businesses and railroads. Alaska attracted in specially independent and self reliant breed of people, but as their numbers grew so too, did the prospect that development would irrevocably alter the landscape in nineteen ten president. William Howard Taft us teddy Roosevelt's antiquities act take the first step towards preservation in Alaska. He created sitka national monument. A site meant to commemorate the battle between invading Russian traders and the indigenous plant people more than a century. Earlier two years later, congress passed the second organic act formally establishing Alaska as an official US territory and creating an elected legislature for the region, but with Alaska's new legal status, Kim growing concern about the fate of its natural features. One of the most persistent voices was Charles Sheldon. Sheldon was a progressive hunter naturalist in the vein of teddy Roosevelt. He too was a member of the Boone and Crockett club and like Roosevelt. He combined a love of hunting with a sincere desire to protect wildlife. He was also a railroad and mining millionaire by age thirty eight. He had retired to pursue his favorite hobby studying big mountain. Sheep, Sheldon was a scientist at heart and his concern for the North American doll sheep drove him to Alaska in nineteen. Oh six. It was there that he first encountered the highest peak in North America, a mountain native people referred to as Denali. The name had been clips more than a decade. Earlier when gold prospector dubbed the formation mount McKinley in an effort to support his favorite candidates presidential campaign, the following summer Sheldon returned and spent a year observing the sheep and other wildlife. He was concerned that development from the impending railroad over hunting would destroy the region for wildlife that winter in his diary. He I wrote about the idea for Denali national park that could function as a game, preserve and tourist destination Sheldon return to New York determined to make his vision a reality, but you'd need some help. He would need the Boone and Crockett club. Imagine it's January nineteen thousand nine. You're in a ballroom at the Boone and Crockett club's annual dinner. You spot Charles Sheldon, making his way back to the table as he passes you Clapham on the back. Great speech. Well, done, Charles. Thank you figured star close to home. If I can't convince you all, I can't convince anyone takes a c. luckily people seem to have enjoyed it. So will you support the park then you weren't expecting to be put on the spot? Oh, I suppose so. I'm sure the club will at any rate you don't sound very convinced that doesn't raise much confidence. I suppose it all seems just very far away Alaska that he's the club has so many pressing concerns here. You know, I understand and I felt the same way until I went there. There are so many worthy priorities down here. I'm telling you there's no place like this I've ever seen, but I don't have the same mania for sheep that you do Charles. All right, fair enough. But truthfully, it's glorious. You've never seen him out like Denali, but market hunters will destroy the whole area. We don't act fast when I was in Alaska. This last time I met some of these men in the camp. They'd fed half the game. They shot to their dogs before the ever took it to Fairbanks for sale, dear God, that's a horrible waste. Yeah, there's no place for that kind of thing among responsible sportsmen and it's just gonna get worse. Once the railroad Bill, they'll be able to zip in and out and then they'll have the workers to feed to. He sighs shakes his head. I'm convinced a game preserve is the only answer his passion is bringing you around, but there's one problem even if the club throws its weight at this and it probably will Teddy's on his way out Sheldon grimaces don't remind me how do you plan to bring Taff round your mission, Sheldon takes a sip of his drink. Well, James, I'm discovering the conservation means playing the long game. And luckily I have time. It was a long game. Sheldon would have to wait another eight years before congress passed a Bill to create a national park. In the meantime, he lobbied influential people for support including a newly appointed assistant to the secretary of the interior. Stephen Mathur Mathur had just stepped into his role of unofficially supervising the parks. The national park system hadn't yet been created. He was busy trying to grow Yosemite, sequoia and Rocky Mountain, national parks and to establish the Grand Canyon. But Mathur eventually came around possibly under the influence of his assistant Horace Albright and lend Sheldon support eventually in February nineteen. Seventeen, Sheldon. Got his wish congress passed a Bill, establishing mount McKinley, national park Sheldon who had moved to Washington from his home in Vermont for a year to help shepherd. The Bill through congress was given the honour of presenting it to Wilson, but the president had other things on his mind including his upcoming second term. Term and the looming involvement of the United States in World War One Sheldon showed up every day expectant than frustrated that the president hadn't yet signed the Bill after week shell them took a day off and the next day he received a hearty congratulations from Horace. Albright in his absence. Wilson had finally signed the Bill and Sheldon was crushed. He'd missed it. Alright, remembered later, he kicked himself the rest of his life that that was the one day. He didn't go up there. Sheldon had one other regret. He had hoped. Congress would follow his recommendation to use the historic native name for the mountain Denali which means the great one in his nineteen thirty memoir the wilderness of Denali. Sheldon would later write the unions who have lived for countless generations in the presence of these colossal mountains have given them names that are both you phone and appropriate. Can it be denied that the names they gave to the most imposing features of their country should be preserved? Can it be too late to make an exception to current Judy? Traffic rules and restore these beautiful names name so expressive of the mountains themselves. And so symbolic of the Indians who bestowed them, but congress didn't feel the same. The peak would be known as mount McKinley for nearly a century. More new parks soon, followed the following year cat. My national park was created seven years later, nineteen twenty five km glacier bay national monument in the coming years. Although the territory attracted mountaineers climbers, Alaska remained a remote destination to most Americans, but World War Two to retention to its particular importance. During the battle of the Aleutian islands, Japanese troops took over too thinly populated US own islands, just west of Alaska a year later at the US retook the islands. But the point had been made Alaska had geopolitical and military significance. The country was just beginning to understand American interest in Alaska continued to grow. But without statehood, it would remain nothing more than a territory over the next two decades. Two different presidents would play hugely dramatic roles in the fate of Alaska was hailed for welcoming Alaska into the union. While the other was reviled as dictator, tyrant. American history tellers is sponsored by ancestry. My father has avidly researched our family's genealogy for years. He started back in the eighties with no internet to help him. 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It's apple music, and it's always uninterrupted. Almost one hundred years would pass after Seward's purchase before Alaska would gain statehood factors like the region's low population, and the high percentage of federally owned land seemed to make it unlikely that Alaska would ever become a state. The US government had also never properly addressed how to deal with land ownership claims from the Alaskan natives. But for many Alaskans living under territory status was something they embraced. It meant more freedom, less federal oversight, and in some cases, more money to be made and business hunting and mining. But following World War Two interest and statehood grew, many residents were tired. What they saw as Alaska's second class political status, and the indifference of the rest of the country inclusion in the union would give them fair representation booster industry in Connie and bring an influx of people. The Anchorage Daily Times began to push for statehood and president. Harry, Truman expressed his support as time, went on petitions for vote, came into play in nineteen Forty-six Alaskan. Citizens voted nearly three to two in favor of statehood over the next decade. Alaskan politicians began forming committees drafting resolutions for a formal state constitution on January third, nineteen. Fifty-nine president. Dwight D Eisenhower, signed an official proclamation, making Alaska the forty nine star on the flack. The Anchorage. Daily news ran. The headline I says your in now. The Alaska statehood act transferred. One hundred three million acres of the federally owned Alaska territory to the new state. It also included a clause seating, other lands to the native people who had historically inhabited them and still claim them, but with statehood came questions about how land should be used and about how best to balance the needs of development with the preservation of wilderness. Emotions ran high and mount McKinley. National park was ground zero in nineteen fifty. Seven construction had been completed on one hundred seventy miles of winding gravel road that ran all the way to the park engines for the first time, the Denali highway provided visitors with direct access to the park. It opened up a new world of tourism to the state and many residents. Politicians were excited soon discussions began for an all weather highway that would follow the route of the Alaska railroad connecting Anchorage Fairbanks, and the park. Some people wanted to pave the road through the park and bridge the glacial McKinley river one idea call for develop. In a large hotel on the banks of the wonder lake, where guess would be able to admire the lakes mirror like surface and the crest of mount McKinley from their windows, and they could refu- into gas station nearby. However, others were concerned about what development would do to the region as a letter to the editor in national parks magazine explained, we wish to be reassured the park service's not selling it soul to the public demand for easy comfort and amusement. Many conservationists wanted to land preserved as a place of study carefully balanced ecosystems. They felt mustn't be fiddled with as they had been another parks. Adolph Murray was one of these opponents. A park service biologist who had come to Alaska starting in the late thirties to study wolves, like George Melendez Wright, he concluded that wolves were essential to the ecosystem and urge the park service to stop killing them. Miri was inspired by Sheldon's original vision for the park, and he shared it. He wanted the sheep, caribou, wolves and moose that made their homes in mount McKinley park to endure. He opposed the hotel construction in Rhode plans. And in the end myrie mostly prevailed the park service abandoned plans for the hotel and stop paving the park road. After the first thirteen miles Mary's views were shared among environmentalists. Conservationists gourd f Olson wrote to myrie. The reason McKinley is such a wonderful game sanctuary is because there are no interior developments beyond those at Denali and headquarters start developing elsewhere, and the charm and wilderness will be gone in Alaska Olsen thought the park service had a unique opportunity the chance to do what he felt it should have done from the very beginning prevent all development within national park boundaries. By this point, the park service had nearly a half century experience under its belt and a growing list of lessons learned from parks in the lower forty-eight with Alaska. The organization began changing its approach to how parks had traditionally operated throughout the nineteen sixties. It worked to limit overuse of mount McKinley main park road by creating shuttle system. Defensely introduce road lottery for the fall off season, which only permitted a few hundred people out of thousands to use the road. The parks was making a conscious decision not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Hotels wouldn't mar beautiful landscapes bears wouldn't be fed. No dams would be built. Indigenous people would be allowed to continue living life as they had, but. When oil was discovered in nineteen sixty eight, the game changed commercial and industrial interests. Swarmed the state in nineteen seventy two. The department of the interior authorized drilling on the North Slope of Alaska near Prudhomme bay largest oilfield ever found, but it couldn't be reached by oil tankers. And so a year later as an oil crisis grip the country plans move forward for pipeline nineteen, seventy four construction began. Suddenly, a war was raging in Alaska eventually rolled over state lines and into the halls of congress. Environmentalists were adamantly opposed to a pipeline. They worried that it would melt permafrost and disrupt the migration patterns of caribou. They came together under the banner of the Alaska coalition, a collection of fifty environmental groups that represented over ten million Americans. It quickly became the largest grassroots conservation effort in US history and began lobbying politicians at both the local and federal levels and many politicians. Listened congress moved to act. By the mid nineteen seventies Morris mo- Udal democratic congressman from Arizona sponsored a built preserved one hundred ten million acres of federally owned land in Alaska udalls Bill passed. Overwhelmingly in the house. However, in the Senate Alaska Senator Mike reveal a democrat threatened to filibuster. If the Senate attempted vote, the Bill died that day on October, thirteenth nineteen Seventy-eight everyone including gravel suspected. What would happen next. Imagine it's December fourth nineteen Seventy-eight. You sit behind the counter of your shop. Great hunting and fishing supplies in Fairbanks, Alaska. Since your husband's grandfather started this shop forty years ago. His family has slowly built a reputation in the area. Some of the best hunting guides in the icy north you and your husband, Bo or proud of this. However, right now you're grinding your teeth any minute, but will be home from four day hunting trip with some rich businessmen from Texas. He's going to be furious when he hears the news. That's him. He looks happy, but he doesn't yet realize that his family business is on the line. Even Maggie. How'd it go, Honey, I'll tell you those. Longhorn businessman. Can't shoot a lick, but they fire enough around that. They end up hitting something eventually well back every year. So we can't complain too much. That's when he notices a strange, Tony, your voice, what is it Maggie? Oh, he did it. He actually did what who Carter. He signed over fifty six million acres of land into national monuments. He what president Carter, but the udall Bill died six weeks ago. The said in town hall, it wouldn't go through Carter, used some antiquities act, lock up the land where most of our prime hunting spots. I don't know what we're going to do. Washington can't tell us what our land should and shouldn't be frontiers, Mun hippies, but it's already done. He's not gonna. Listen, grabs the phone and starts dialing. We'll see about that. Those bloodsuckers in Washington gonna hear us whether they want to or not. And they did here six weeks after congress failed to pass the Udal built protect Alaskan land. President, Jimmy Carter decided the best move was to bypass congress by invoking the spirit of teddy Roosevelt and so on December first nineteen seventy eight Carter used the antiquities act preserve fifty six million acres of land, creating seventeen new national monuments that would join the national park system. It was the single largest national park designation ever made by a sitting president and doubled the size of the national park system overnight. The move followed an action two weeks earlier by Carter secretary of the interior cease Andrews temporarily protecting another fifty, four million acres of federal land from development together. The two parcels made up an area bigger than the state of California Carter explain his reasoning for the radical step in released from the White House because of the risks of immediate damage to these magnificent areas. I felt who is imperative to protect all of these lands. These areas. Contain resources of unequaled, scientific, historic, and cultural value, and includes some of the most spectacular scenery and wildlife. In the world he added in Alaska. We have a unique opportunity to balance the development of our vital resources required for continued economic growth with protection of our natural environment. We have the imagination and the will as a people to both develop our last great natural frontier and also preserve it's priceless beauty for our children and grandchildren. But the Alaskan people did not see Carter's actions as a bold move to protect the environment. They viewed it as an infringement of their basic rights as Americans. Alaskan politicians like Senator Ted Stevens and Representative. Don Young claimed the federal government was at war with their state and many of their constituents agreed one town pass this resolution, the city council of the city of eagle. Alaska does not advocate violence, but we can no more be responsible for the actions of an individual citizen. Then we can be for any animal when it is cornered protests and civil disobedience swept the state within days the Fairbanks post office was being circled by nearly two hundred people carrying signs to writing Carter and his administration with messages. Like when I grow up, I want to live in a democracy, not a dictatorship and antiquities act of a peanut brain on December eleventh. TV cameras rolled the protesters stuff to set a coveralls with strong and attached a photo of the president's face, strong enough by news and soaked it in lighter fluid, an angry crowd cheered as the effigy of the president was set ablaze to follow up on the protests sportsman groups organize the great Denali McKinley trespass participants aim to violate all twenty seven national monument regulations within two days by partaking in prohibited activities like target practice and skydiving attendance, estimates vary, but the demonstration attracted somewhere between one and three thousand people with guns and snowmobiles to- two days. After the trespass in the thick of winter Fairbanks, resident named Mike Hartman set up camp in front of the Fairbanks post office and announced a hunger strike. He promised to refuse food until president Carter and the congress repealed the ridiculous law or until my feet hands freeze keel over -partment ended his fast after twelve days. Alaskans weren't the only ones unhappy with Carter in nineteen eighty Americans frustrated with Iran hostage crisis and the state of the economy overwhelmingly voted him out of office electing president. Ronald Reagan in his place. The Republican party also took control of the US Senate. Suddenly the Lance Carter had set aside looked vulnerable. They were protected under the antiquated act, only so long as congress chose not to pass laws changing their purpose. Two weeks after the election Carter, the Alaskan coalition and their opponents came together on a compromise Bill to settle all outstanding land claim issues. The Alaska national interest lands conservation act signed by Carter on December. Second nineteen eighty provided various degrees of protection to more than one hundred four million acres today, the Bill remains the largest expansion of protected land in the history of the planet among other things created or added to thirteen national parks, sixteen. Life refugees to national forests and two national monuments and protected lands for subsistence used by Alaskan natives. It also officially changed the name of mount McKinley national park to Denali national park. The peak itself though wouldn't change his name till decades later. Even though the battle between president Carter Alaskan coalition, special interest groups in the Alaskan government had come to a close. The National Park Service was still left with the aftermath just because a compromise had been made on paper didn't mean that tension in the region gone away. If anything resentment began to fester and the National Park Service was going to have to deal with destructive even dangerous consequences. Since our founding in every generation in every field of business politics, sports and society. We've watched aghast as corruption, deceit and desire bring down heroes, titans, and those we thought we could trust in the aftermath were left with too many questions. How did this happen? Who's to blame American scandal? A new podcast from wondering, will answer those questions. We tell the stories of America's biggest candles the who, how and why to discover what happened, how they changed our country and what lessons we can learn subscribed to American scandal on apple podcasts or wherever you're listening to this right now. Imagine it's nineteen eighty five. In Rangel Alaska. You're driving back from the market with your new partner. Jamie, he's just arrived in the National Park Service here for he spent time down at the Grand Canyon, but one request for more Rangers Alaska came. He gladly answered the coal as you drive your truck down the icy road. He reaches back and pulls the chocolate bar from the grocery bag filled with supplies for the next month, how much longer to the station. It's about an hour's drive, so we should be there soon after MIT, how surprised by Kohl's wholeness, the cold of Alaska. You ever go to Seattle and say, realize it rains here. No, no. I mean the coldness of the people at the store, but we used to walk into diners near the Grand Canyon in uniform in offering me coffee on the house here, the butcher, the pharmacist, even the sixteen year old girl behind the counter looked at us like we were there steal something. This doesn't surprise you. Hit the nail on the head gas. Any of them did steal something. They think we stole their land ban them from hunting fishing drilling for oil, but they can't blame us for that. I was Washington stewing, wasn't it for four years ago, five five years, and they still blame you, smile at him at wake us, look. Suddenly slam on the brakes in the middle of the road stands on moose. He stares at you languidly totters forward into the woods and darkness. You have to understand Jamie. These are modern frontier people. They pride themselves on their independence when the government suddenly came in telling them what they could and couldn't do on their own land. They were pissed the things really went south with Doug Vadim. Doug Vaden. Yeah, a home center. Couple months ago. Vaden's land in with Scylla was flooded by the white river. When Vaden tried to divert the rivers flow, we had to stop. It really caused massive damage to property. Why did we stop him our service policy? You can't just change the course of a river. I was back in Cincinnati with family during all of that, but it did not go over well ever since then locals of turned on us. Jamie starts open his talk about her. I can deal with a couple of nasty Clair's here. And there you pause. He's young. And he's excited about his new post here in the icy north, you don't wanna scare him. Things happen badly. I won't sugarcoat forty kid. Glares might be the nicest reaction. You see for some time while back so and burned a cabin. You're strolling down south buddy. Mine Cessna was vandalized see those point two, three pieces of duct tape on the inside door, truck nose, covering bullet holes. Someone shot up my door while I wasn't in the truck. But their point was made an adventure into town that often any Jamie looks shaken, not trying to scare him. Just trying to give you God's honest facts, you need to be careful. These are good people. If we smile at them every day at the store, greet our neighbors, friends, they'll be hell of lot harder for them staying. Really believe that. I know it treat them with respect and they'll learn to respect you. We've made some mistakes, but so they and we'll get back to where we need to a, what's that he points up the road to your cabin and you see light through the trees. You don't like the feeling this when you make the turn to your parking spot. You see it. The ranger station is ablaze. It's going to be quite some time before things settled down Lasca. After the creation of the Alaska national interest lands conservation act in nineteen eighty. One of the most disputed areas in the state was the newly created Rangel Saint Elias, national park initially after its establishment, there was little trouble between the park and locals. Unfortunately, the incident with home set are Doug Vaden caused in a rupture of anger from the public towards the park service and his protective mandates. One chicken resident j Cesky compared the situation of Alaskans to that of American colonists. The American revolution was fought against similar tyranny that congress and the federal government imposed on our docile as yet citizens. And I'm sure you've already felt that the National Park Service is unwelcome here, Tim Jacobson a minor who worked inside wrangles, Saint allies, vented Christ, the park service has four hundred years to drive you out and keep their same salary. As they find you and delay you and permit you to death. They. They have total power. They can keep you in court forever. They wanna close you down. They'll do it. I look at them as an adversary. The arsonist who burned down the Jack lake ranger station in Rangel was never caught. And tensions continued a year later. The parcel has made a proactive attempt to improve relations with locals many, Alaskans believe the agency was stripping them of the rights to access and use lands that were meant for them. The parts of tried to make it clear, this wasn't their intention. So in nineteen eighty six, the organization initiated outreach programs to allow locals better access to Park Rangers. The hope that better communication would improve the situation was well-founded. And for several years, things were better visitors to the state and parks increased bringing dollars into the pockets of local businesses. Some critics who had once denounced, the parks were quietly changing their tunes in nineteen eighty-seven. The wrangle Saint Elias division of the park service was invited to join the local tourism community. Local businesses even began promoting the Glenallen area, calling it the gateway to wrangle Saint Elias. Unfortunately, things to turn for the worse when. Another ranger station mysteriously burned down in nineteen Ninety-two. Many parts service employees feared this would on others with anti park sentiment. And tensions increase the following year as the park service worked to acquire Kennecott an early twentieth century copper mining town. Plenty of Alaskan saw grim irony in the park service working to carefully preserve a way of life. They seemed eager to get rid of Rick Kenyan publisher of the wrangle Saint Elias news wrote. It's hypocritical depar- service to spend millions of dollars, running miners out of business, then to turn around and manage Kennecott as ghost town park service superintendent, Karen Wade became a flash point for these kinds of hostilities, but she maintained the part service had no secret agenda. It's not my intention to create another Denali or to destroy the unique qualities of the communities and lifestyles that pre existed. The part she wrote in a letter to another resident, she called for constructive recommendations within an atmosphere that is free of retribution. But people like Kenyan didn't find ways defense of the park service persuasive. He argued, they say, they don't want another Denali here, but apparently they want something even worse now the Yellowstone or Yosemite. Way generated more backlash when she addressed congress in nineteen ninety four to request more funding for park operations. She seemed to criticize Alaskans who after nineteen eighty suddenly found their private land was now surrounded by national park. She said in this great northern kingdom arranger workforce deals with threats to park resource values generated by one million acres of dispersed in holdings upon which timbering hunting mining and commercial activities of all kinds take place in order to protect park resources. These Rangers need trained backups to ride shotgun while they patrol for poachers and contact locals with frontier mentality who scoff at rules and regulations. Alaskans were less than enthused by her comments. The copper river county journal called Wade's tone decidedly superior and said, she portrayed Alaskans as lawless Wade's common seem to reveal. She believed her main job was to keep local in holders, miners and hunters and check. The paper said in a letter to voice of the times will Sherman wrote while it's true that there aren't too many copies of Amy Vanderbilt's etiquette up here, I know of no park ranger who's ever been shot. I do however know of scores of Alaskans whose businesses have been ruined and whose rightful land property and access have been regulated out of their hands by Karen Wade and her predecessors is there no way that we can stop having to help pay the salaries of these people. They come from thousands of miles away. Tell us what our values should be complicate. Our ability to make an honest living tear apart communities, then have the temerity to wine the, we don't pay them enough. Wade, never returned to Alaska. After reactions to her testimony, she transferred became superintendent of great smoky mountains, national park in Tennessee. She was replaced that Tober by Jonathan Jarvis who previously been superintendent of craters of the moon national monument in Idaho. When he arrived Jarvis made it his first priority to improve relationships with the locals. Once again, he opened up communications and made a point of speaking with the media about welcoming input from the public. In his first interview, he said, I've got an open door if anyone wants to come down and talk to me about any of these issues or any other issues they can call me as things got better Jarvis insisted he wouldn't impose national park standards on local residents. We're starting to develop a relationship. He said, I want to continue with that. Have an open relationship. This park is a neighbor and can be a very good one Jarvis's tactics worked and resentment for the parks. Gradually started to dwindle his appr-. Coach set a course for his successors, though. Tensions over land use continue in Alaska today by the time Jarvis left in two thousand. The relationship with local residents had markedly improved. Jarvis eventually went on to serve as the eighteenth director of the entire National Park Service. The American national park system holds a unique place on the world stage. No other country can boast so many places of such very beauty. So open to the public Americans can walk into any national park in the country and proudly say to themselves that they own piece of these remarkable places writer and environmentalist Wallace stagner call them the best idea we've ever had absolutely American. Absolutely democratic. They reflect us at our best rather than our worst. But since their creation, the national parks have been like the country. They represent an experiment, we made mistakes. Many of them disastrous indigenous peoples were slaughtered. Animals were hunted to near extinction, valleys were flooded private interests battled and sometimes feed it the public good, the fight to balance preservation and conservation still continues today as our country has grown and changed. So have our parks, what's. Started out as an idea to protect land animals as volved into a desire to teach others about their world, their country and themselves. In our next series, we head back to World War Two as the roots of a new movement are taking hold in the country's black communities. Join us in two weeks as we start our six part series on the civil rights era. But first an interview with the head of one of the least visited national parks in the United States. I hope you enjoyed this episode if you did subscribe now on apple podcasts, Spotify, Google podcast tune in wondering dot com or wherever you're listening to this right now, if you're listening on a smartphone, tapper swipe of the cover art this podcast, who find the episodes, including some details. You may have missed. You also find some offers from our sponsors. Please support this show by supporting them. If you like to hear more of American history tellers and other wondering shows in addition to extra content, early access, exclusive perks. You can subscribe to one tree plus go to wondering dot com slash plus that's a PL US and thank you. American history tellers hosted sound design and edited by me. Lindsey, Graham for airship additional production assistance, Derek Barron's. This episode is written by Jared Palmer edited and produced by Jenny lower produce. George lavender. Our executive producer is Marshall Louis created her non Lopez for wondering.