JULY 12, 1954
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I have a letter from the president of the Sierra Club in San Francisco, Richard M. Leonard, about our national parks, and I quote from it here because our national parks and our natural resources belong to the people of this country as a whole, no matter in what part of the country they may be found.
The whole National Park system and State Park system, our nationally-owned and state-owned forests, and all of our natural resources, mean the future of our country. If they are wasted or wrongly used, our children and grandchildren may inherit bare mountains and a land no longer able to support them. Therefore, anything that happens in any of these areas is of interest to all of us.
Part of Mr. Leonard's letter reads:
"From time to time our National Park system has been threatened with schemes for dams and other inappropriate developments within the boundaries of areas dedicated for the enjoyment of all Americans. Today the Bureau of Reclamation has plans, big plans, to drown Dinosaur National Monument with two dams that would inundate its mighty canyons for a hundred miles.
"This plan is the most serious and determined effort we have ever seen by a government agency to appropriate unnecessarily a unit of the National Park system to make it a part of a huge irrigation, power and flood control project.
"We think that you will be interested to know of this threat to Dinosaur, for these treasured acres are yours and you will want to help preserve them for another generation to explore and admire. Under an avalanche of letters and prodding from conservationists, some Congressmen have looked into the facts more closely and not liked what they found—inadequate engineering data, incorrect arithmetic on evaporation, huge tax subsidies, and a needless sacrifice of Dinosaur National Monument.
"Does your Congressman know that these dams could be built at other locations outside the monument without sacrificing their effectiveness? You should tell him that his vote can save an outstanding unit of our National Park system from destruction."
Those of you who care about preserving our National Park system will look into this, I feel sure, and write your Congressmen. I have written to mine because the Sierra Club sent me two pamphlets. One put the question: "A Great National Park or Two Wasteful Dams?" I decided I would prefer the national park. The other pamphlet is headed, "Don't Dam the National Park System," and that is important, for it tells you the wrong ideas which have been circulated among the people of Utah, where this park exists.
Both Colorado and Utah are interested in getting more water for irrigation, and so is Mexico, since we have an interstate compact whereby Mexico, too, would profit. I think it is these wrong ideas which are most important for the people of the country to understand so as to make the right decisions. I urge you to get these pamphlets from the Sierra Club, 1050 Mills Tower, San Francisco 4, California. On these facts you may decide to write your Congressman as I have done.