My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Wednesday—It is disturbing to find how little real enthusiasm there seems to be among our people for the preservation of our national parks. Now we read that Rep. Frank A. Barrett of Wyoming is trying to get a bill through Congress to abolish the Jackson Hole National Monument. The Secretary of the Interior and the director of the National Park Service will, of course, do all they can to fight this bill, as will all those who belong to conservation groups and know the value of these areas belonging to the U.S. Government. It is not only because of the forests and the water supply and the beauty of the country that can give so much pleasure to thousands of our people that these areas should be preserved. It is just as important that these regions be kept up for the preservation of wildlife that they make possible.

Jackson Hole National Monument is situated in northwestern Wyoming, a little south of Yellowstone National Park. The National Park Service administration extends over only 173,000 acres, although the boundaries of the whole area enclose approximately 223,000 acres. A Presidential proclamation on March 15, 1943, set this aside as a monument "to preserve and display its extraordinary wildlife and its exceptional geological exhibits, and to commemorate its long use by the early fur trappers and traders."

As usual, the people who want to develop their private interests are trying to get control of this area and that would mean almost certainly the destruction of the timber, the loss of wildlife, and the destruction of an area that the people of the whole country now enjoy.

Congress has refused to vote any appropriation for the development or maintenance or protection of this monument in the Interior Department's Appropriation Bill of 1949. In plain words the members of Congress are showing here a shortsightedness matched only by their attitude in foreign affairs. It is always easier to listen to the few vociferous people who talk about their private interests and who give very little thought to the public interests of the future.

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The members of the Human Rights Commission last night were the guests at dinner of the World Federation of the United Nations and the American Branch of the United Nations Association.

I could not help being glad that some of the observers who sit and listen to the interminable discussions and speeches that go on in our Commission at last had an opportunity to speak to us and say some of the things that they must often want to say during our sessions!

The church groups watch over us with great care and they were well represented at the dinner. Of course, the churches can do a great deal to awaken interest among the people of the country. They can give the people an idea of the difficulties that arise in this final stage of actually wording a declaration and a convention, and trying to formulate ways and means by which the nations may be induced to observe these fundamental rights and freedoms after they have put them on paper.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL