tv National Park Service Centennial CSPAN May 7, 2016 10:30am-12:01pm EDT
service director robert stanton speaks of the organization of american historians annual meeting about the agency's origin and current challenges. this program is about an hour and a half. >> welcome to the session. we hope more will be coming in. i know you are giving up your cocktail hour. we are going to have a reception right behind the black curtain when our session is over. you are all cordially invited to that. i will make some introductions and fewer marks. this is how we will proceed after the introductions. i will talk a bit about the and carol promised the report, which was commissioned by the national park service, done by four members and issued a few years back.
rightanton here to my grew up in fort worth. he was recruited into a summer seasonal job when he was a student at houston filton college. that began a long career stretching out some 54 years in the nations service. bottom in at the grantee 10 national park and worked his way all the way to the top, when president bill clinton appointed him director of the national park service from 1997 through 2001. he wasthat superintendent of national capital park in the d.c. area. and the virgin islands national park.
he then served as regional director to the national capital region. then he made the mistake of retiring, which meant he was in even greater demand. senioras served as advisor to the secretary department of the interior, and then was appointed by president obama in 2014 for a four year term on the advisory council of historic preservation. --, who is supposed be here, is unfortunately home in bed. -- home in bed with the flu. she sends her regrets. this is no longer a legal session because it is all male, and that is prohibited by the constitution area i tried to remedy that.
some of the best people in this national park service collaboration were sitting in the front row. they will go nameless for a few minutes. they turned me down. but we will proceed unconstitutionally. i will get to president cronin, -- decorated degrees from he served as a member of the executive board from 2008 through 2011. presidents of the american historical association since 2012. nearly everyone in this room has land, orchanges in the natures metropolis in the great west.
probably some of you were asked this morning on the 25th anniversary of that book. and then uncommon ground or reinventing nature. he is a macarthur fellow. he served on the board of directors, trust for public land, the national land conservation group. he has been a member of the wilderness society for some two decades or more. as of 2014 he serves as vice chair of the organization's governing council. my own role in working with the national park service goes back to the first collaborative agreement signed in 1994-1995 when it was president of oah. i have worked in philadelphia with the independence national historic parts and others. i was one of the co-authors of imperiled promise.
i will speak about that after bob stanton talks. i was a member of the second century commission, of which delivered a report to congress and the president on the state of affairs in the national park service. with those introductions i will turn to bob stanton it was going to reflect on all the many years in the parks service and some of the problems he sees. mr. stanton: he or she is a better citizen with a keener appreciation of living here in the united states who has toured the national parks, stephen matthey, the first director of the national park service. good afternoon. it's a pleasure to be with you. let me hasten to thank bill and gary, two pillars, to scholars, two outstanding friends of your national parks national park
service. and he i have known and worked with the settlement for many, many years. i also want to thank the leadership of the organization of american historians for the gracious invitation to be with you. when i think about speaking to such an august body, scholars among all of you, and it couple that with the opportunity to speak about an agency that i've been associated with directly and indirectly for over half of a century, it's difficult to diss -- discipline my long-winded this -- long-windedness because i love to share the national parks and responsibility of the national park service to such an audience. i will attempt to be brief.
we want to allow for some opportunity to interact with you bnbs and gentlemen. i spoke earlier about stephen matthews, recognizing the benefits. one of the entangled benefits of the national parks is that they provide an experience for us to become better citizens. so assuming that each of you has visited a national park, i must conclude that i'm in the company of good citizens. and for those who have not toured the parks, we will chat afterwards. it would be important to briefly reflect on the growth of the national park system and the increased responsibilities of your national park service. we reflect on 1872. prior to then there were states of montana, wyoming, and idaho. they were territories at the time that yellowstone was established, as we often said the first park in the world.
from yellowstone in 1872 of until august 25, 1916, something like 30 parks, monuments, memorials having created. but there was not a single agency that can be held accountable for the stewardship. many outstanding leaders, john merck, homestead, stephen matthew and others advocated that there should be one agency responsible for administering these rich natural and cultural resources. they prevailed and congress did over a period of sessions marked of a bill, signed into law by
president woodrow wilson. it established within the department of the interior national park service the. -- interior the national park service. before there was a national park service the secretaries of the interior had difficulty in maintaining these areas and protecting them. they tried it with a civilian workforce. well, i need to turn to an organization that has a lot of personnel, a lot of help. so obviously that was the department of war, that we know today as the department of defense. the department of defense secretary said i'm willing to help you if congress says it is ok to do that. congress authorized at the request that if the secretary of the interior requested the department afford to provide services, which it did, so you found the cavalry protecting the yellowstone, yosemite, sequoia.
for you who have served or are serving in the military forces of the united states, all of us oh and applause to your predecessors for they were the first two words of the national parks. i applaud you. fast-forward. the parks system continued to grow at the request of the american people. in 1933 president roosevelt authorized a major reorganization that tripled the national parks system overnight. with some 60 new parts being added. not new parks, bookmarks -- but memorials transferred to the national park system. fast-forward again. there was somewhat of a hold on the creation of new parks during the depression and world war ii, korea.
after that they were brought out of the mothballs but with the legendary leaders of the park service, conrad werth. connie werth. through today what has occurred or difficult times the american people have still set aside the special places to a national park system that represent over 400 areas. every state has a park area. kuan, alaska. -- guam, puerto rico and obviously washington, d.c. i might add because i want to interact here is that with the national park service was established in 1925, it had responsibility of administering one act. the organic act of 1960. plus a policy directive from the secretary lane in 1918. today your national park service has a responsibility and the accountability of responding to
no less than 100 individual pieces of legislation or public laws, perhaps almost the same number of executive orders. the clean air act, the clean water act, the historic preservation act, endangered species act. every law has to be attended to by your parks service. i will conclude that the scope of the responsibilities of the park service is that is beyond that of administering the 400 plus areas. it also administers the land and water conservation act, the historic preservation act as a relates to the national historic registry, long-distance trails, national heritage areas. all in great just because they represent the broad diversity of the cultural heritage.
your national park service is a great organization but it will not exist, it will not be successful without the individual collective support of the american people. and the american people have consistently provided support to the park service. the greatest way i had as the director -- joy i had was to recognize we were trustees of a great legacy given to us by the american people. one of the greatest personal joys i had was to work with the finest men and women of any federal agency. the men and women of the national park service, plus the almost 200,000 volunteers. [applause] >> i think bill will respond to what i'm going to tell you about
this imperiled national park service history of the -- imperiled history of the national park service. i will read a brief underlying premises of this report. it is built on about 1500 electronically sent questionnaires it was sent out to anyone with a history-related job in the park service. we had a good response of over one third. this report is still based on the view from the belly of the beast. many, many segments of the four of us. here we sit at the very beginning of where understandings of what we were about.
or in sense our view of what needed to be done is the parks service would forward. expand interpretive frames beyond physical resources, emphasize connections of parks with a larger history beyond the boundaries, highlight the effects of human activity on natural areas, acknowledge that history is dynamic and always unfinished, recognize the park service's own role in shaping the park's histories, attend to history and memorialization at historic sites, highlight the open endedness of the past. address conflict and controversy both in and about the past, welcome contested and evolving understandings of american civic heritage, envision doing history as a means of skills and development for civic participation, share authority with an technology from the public, and finally better
connect for the rest of the history profession and embrace interdisciplinary collaboration. those were a set of injunctions if you will that we were able to agree on and out report was read, revised, vetted at seven different conferences with focus groups. we try to get as much civic engagement in creating this report. you will find it online, free access online at both the oah website andy national park service -- and the national park service website. type in "imperiled promise." what i would like to do this talk a little bit about this
session and his goals and why i am here. we really are missing john, the one who organized this session. i asked her to unilever questions -- e-mail me for questions. we wanted to have a conversation with bob stanton and follow -- in front of all of you and ask you guys to ask questions especially of him but any of the three of us up here about the issues we will be talking about. if any of you have ever been up in something like this, a rather awkward assignment. we are feeling our way towards what exactly we have to share a peer that will be interest of you out there. what are the somatic areas about the national parks you think you would most like to hear from bob. my background goes a long way back. they are not that related to my work in "changes in the land" or natures metropolis, but has to a
lot to do with my childhood. bob and i discovered that his very first job as a seasonal ranger in 1962-1963 corresponded probably with the very first trip i made to the grand teton's when i would've been eight or nine years old in one of those famous baby boomer road trips that played such an important role in defining not just my childhood but the childhoods of lots of people of my age group. i teach the history of the national parks in my environmental history courses. they are, i think, really important locus for thinking about a topic that matters a lot to me. nature in the meaning of nature in the united states. the challenge of the parks as a place for nature is interpreted is complicated for reasons that bob gestured at when he gave you
that helpful timeline. let me remind you of a couple of benchmarks he pointed at and put them into the frame of environmental history so we can then think about how the environmental history project of the national parks are connected to other kinds of heritage histories that are also in remit of the national park service. the parts service, the 100th anniversary we're so limiting this year, did not commit to being until a good 30 or 40 years after they were national parks, and arguably even longer than that if you count yosemite in 1864 as a federal land designation for a state wildlife park. even before that, 1832, the arkansas hot springs that were set aside as a preserve. they were symbolically important one way or another for the american people.
yellowstone and its organic act was set aside as a "public park in pleasuring ground." think about that phrase. "all the part and pleasuring ground." what those words mean have been much debated and are part of the challenge of the national park service. i would say the pleasuring ground park of the national park says been a challenge for the national parks service for many, many years. what exactly does that mean? what does the recreational aspect of the national parks -- the parts that were created where large and for the most part wildland parks on old indian territory right at the moment that native peoples were being removed from those lands. the creation of reservations in the american west was more or less simultaneous with the creation of national parks. that's one of the reasons why it
was the department of war that was responsible for administering those lands and the opening decades. and why some of the soldiers who engaged in that war, buffalo soldiers, so that some of the first african-american leaders -- leadership and stewardship of the national park dates of those military days. bob is from a generation much later. he should tell you this story. udall led the process of bringing african-americans into the leadership roles in the 1960's. the point i want to make this audience for the organization of american historians, gary has reminded you the organization has a long history of wanting to engage with the national parks in the interpretation of
american history in one of the most important venues are most ordinary americans encounter history and our lives. in the k-12 caps on -- classroom, undergraduate classrooms, museums, parks and especially national parks. how the parts represent history is really important to the quotation he read at the beginning and the first director of the national parks service. going to the parks is about becoming a better citizen. what does that mean? what does it mean to be a better citizen? how can going to a park promote that? there i would argue in the 1960 act which creates the agency is profoundly complicated by the 1933 reorganization act that roosevelt put in place. it was that act that added to this wildland parks. the civil war battlefields for the most part. it gave the parks service this complicated mandate of protecting nature -- nature as a park in pleasuring ground. and protecting cemeteries, protecting battlegrounds, protecting sites of heritage.
and that tension between historical heritage, the memorialization, and the protection and stewardship and interpretation of "nature" has led to a very complicated bureaucratic culture in the agency that has been one of the challenges of leading the agency for everyone since stephen mather and bob i'm sure has more experience than anyone in this room with the tensions that exist within that space. we are here to explore what is the relationship of the discipline of american history, a subject everyone in this room cares about the matter where we work or where we practice it or how we explore that. what is the relationship of that to these protected lands that this agency plays an outsized role in interpreting for the american people? what we are going to do is ask
questions of bob and dialogue a little bit. feeling our way towards territory that will be of interest of all of you. one of the things to start with as somebody that is interactive of the parks service multiple times, both professionally as an advocate. i have sat on the governing council of wilderness society since 1995. the society has a long, complicated history with the parks service. they came into being as a criticism of the parks service. the founders of the wilderness society loathed the high country roads like trail ridge road, the blue ridge parkway, those kinds of highways being built into the high mountains of appalachians and the rockies and did not think those roads should be built. they became advocates for this peculiar word, "roadlessness."
nonetheless, the parks service is one of the most important holders of designated wilderness and the united states, along with the forest service. i thought the question i would ask bob as a pump primer for this conversation, i would love to hear him tell the story of what it was like for a young african-american man to find himself as a seasonal park ranger. one of the very first in the middle to late 20th century at grand tetons. and what he asked to share about that. i want a couple that with a question of -- i think it's important for him to share with us, who tends to put history first, for him to talk about just how complicated it is to manage his agency. it's an enormous agency with very complicated mandates that congress has given. just have him reflect a little bit about that management.
mr. stanton: i appreciate that very much. it is difficult to think about the national parks program of the national park service without framing it in the context of perhaps one of the most sweetest, one of the most inclusive pronouns in the english language. simply "we." that is the first word of the preamble of the u.s. constitution. "we." "we." there has been an attempt to make that inclusive. but we as a nation have injured ourselves, and sometimes it is difficult to heal self-inflicted wounds. slavery. separate but equal doctrine.
which persisted in part to 1954. while we had the national parks system, the beautiful preamble "we the people," of that document ratified in 1786-1787, we were just not pretty to look to it -- not ready to live up to it. what is encouraging, and they alluded to this, if you were to take a look at the period that is an added to the park system over the past 2, 3, 4 decades, they represent some of these steps and some of the stumbles we have had moving towards that "we." it represents what all the adults expected of children. that they can mature, immaturity
would indicate that we can recognize that we have made mistakes. mansona, the sand creek massacre, central high, selma to montgomery, brown versus board. we made mistakes. but now we put them on the forefront to say we can learn from the mistakes so we will not repeat them. that is what your national parks system is telling today. we are maturing and these laces will be their perpetuities, giving this -- us lessons and encouragement. we are maturing. one day we will be at that "we." but it was not until 1964 that i
could enter the front door of a small cafe where my mother was a short order cook with bill at my side. prior to 1964i cannot into that front door in my segregated home state of texas. but before the civil rights of 1964, president kennedy appointed a very courageous young kid, 42 or 43, secretary of the interior in his third term as a member of congress. he said, i know what should be done. even though the law did not protect him, he said we will recruit in places where we have not recruited. the historically black colleges and universities. that was the beginning and that was a courageous effort on the part of stewart udall. and the building which the
secretary goes to each day, the director of the park service, authorized by the congress is known as the stewart lee udall department of interior. a legendary director. secretary to have the courage. i would like to leave this thought with you as i look at the cover. it ought to show legendary leaders, not industrialists, not computer founders. there is something -- that is a message here. chavez, shirley chisholm, dr. king, gonzales. let me leave you my definition of leadership as a think about stewart udall. leadership demonstrates an unwavering philosophical underpinning of service to others.
anchored in humility, courage, humanity, and gratitude. if you were to take a look at those who we have honored as people in your national park system, there is a lesson there. there are those we have given of themselves, who have given of themselves. that in the end, that is who we honor most of all. it is interesting. take a look at those individuals by name. those who have been of service to others. that is the american legacy, to honor those who have given to others. before we open up the questions
on this centennial, august 25 is a big day. i know you historians like a traffic in fax. -- facts. i was not there for the signing of that act in 1916. i've been around a long time. with respect of the centennial, the national park service has posted a number of activities on its website. connecting with all america to the national parks is one of the main goals. the other is to accept the importance of the engagement of our young people. there is nothing more important than those of us in position or have been in position a responsibility to connect our young people. obviously the preservation of the cultural heritage and high
standards. and to engage scholarly organizations such as the organization of american historians and others in developing presentation, conservative programs. it is a must. the park service must be the truth bearer in any program. without the scholarship, that cannot be done. the scholarship is only one hand. there was also the park service which has to has the courage that have the cares to tell the truth when you visited national park. the natural resources over the cultural. on behalf of those who have been inefficient years us -- beneficiaries of scholarly work of this organization, it enriches all of our experiences as week for the parts to become
better citizens -- tour the parks to become better citizens. >> we are going to open this up to all of you out there shortly. the national parks service is sometimes described as the world's largest classroom, outdoor classroom usually. it is not just where an awful lot of americans learned something about history that they did not learn in school. if you have been to the liberty bell or independence hall in philadelphia, or if you have been to yosemite or canyonlands, you know there are several million visitors who have brought -- they forget their first listen -- they get their first lesson to the national park service experience. think of the weight of that on the rangers. it does create impressions and they come with very little knowledge of american history. they come with open minds. they are anti-vessels for the most part in which park rangers are pouring something. it's a great way to try to get history as right as possible, balanced as possible. one other thing. and the recommendations of the
second century commission and the oah imperil the promise, everyone notices that park rangers are not a diverse lot. they do not look like the market people. that has always been a problem to attract people like bob stanton into the park service and attract african-americans on vacation to the parks. or latino americans. or asian-americans. one day the commission on the second century sat on the beach in marin headlands, on the north side of the golden gate bridge or about 100 kids came to the beach. they were from san jose and oakland. it was the first time they had seen the ocean. they were there for three days and three nights for a camping experience to march the the heavens to learn about marine biology, learn about the parks service. the questionnaires from the
students typically said, i was bored after day one, excited after day to, and after day three and was not going home. it is that kind of experience. the park service -- one of the recommendations of both commissions i have been on was to try to muscle up the junior ranger program and the youth court in a way --corp because it creates experiences for these kids that first got to the beach. recruiting them into the parks and introducing them to the big world, the natural world out there. it goes on and on. it is limitless with the parks service has to offer and they are trying to do it on a budget that is just not adequate.
>> i would be curious to hear bob talk little bit, and i would invite people in the audience to share thoughts about this as well. there, very clear if in fact the parks are partly classrooms for young people to learn about the nation or invoke that, given were "citizenship," visitation to the parks is down in some areas. one thing i'm very conscious of is that over the last 30 years, since the deregulation of the airline industry in the 1970's and the fall of airline ticket prices that happened as a result, many, many more families now fly to the destinations of their vacations. there are a great many units that were visited primarily by families looking for way stations on their way to yellowstone and yosemite, the way to the endpoint destination now fly to a ski resort or a major metropolitan area or to one of the big parks and no longer see the things that are
along the way. the road trip as a family phenomena that help to find middle-class baby boomers has not vanished, but significantly diminished. we have a whole group of inner-city kids who have no way of accessing those big western parks, yellowstone type places. and to add a third element to the ways this experience of childhood is altering the spirits of the parks, there are these things in the video games. all the ways in which virtual reality is now far more vivid, for more seductive, far more all-encompassing and engaging than those long, boring trips to get to these cold, wet places where you sit around and wait to turn on your phone. the challenge of how you engage a generation that is now having
such a mediated experience of the world is something the parks service is not alone in facing, but it's an important challenge. my broad question to you bob, and i would invite will return to q&a reflections from the audience about this, what did the parts look like in the 21st century, especially for young people? especially young people from families that do not have historical it's rinses of visiting parks -- experiences of visiting parks as their family culture. how did the parks remain relevant to american children whose experience of childhood is radically different from what it was 50 years ago? mr. stanton: you alluded to a number of possible causes. the level of visitation. i have to note that is more areas come into the parks system
that reflect the richness and the diversity of our people and our nation, that is beginning to get more attention. i do see a larger number of racial americans, american indians, latinos, and african-americans visit where they can personally relate as it relates to their individual history. if you were to take a look at some of the larger destinations, you do not find a substantial increase in visitation. i don't think there is any substitute for a personal visit, notwithstanding that one can reap a lot of information the of the internet --via the internet and social media. what has taken place is a number of nonprofit as well as
corporate organizations are underwriting youth experiences in national parks. i have been a grand teton national park twice this year for two major youth programs underwritten by organizations that want to give young people and in-depth orientation to the parks. grand teton is a good part to start with. [laughter] that is beginning to take place. one of the things i really want to evaluate and have not dealt with extensively. bill mentioned the family trips. i remember in directing with a lot of my colleagues, talking about their traditional trips of their families and the station wagon. vacation for meat was a very foreign thing. i was either in the cornfield with a cornfields during summer months.
we did not have vacations. the other thing is that i am not quite sure we have psychologically overcome some barriers in terms of additional vacations. when i worked at the station a grand teton they were families that of becoming an out of teton and yellowstone for decades. their kids in the grandkids come. that was not true, particularly the african-american community. how would i dare get in my car in fort worth and drive to yellowstone before 1964? i would have to worry about where i going to sleep, where my going to eat? i was refused service in jackson, wyoming in 1962. they were not compelled to open their doors under the doctrine of separate but equal. they could do that legally. how could a tradition of traveling -- you were not
accommodated in places. that is beginning to break down. there is a little bit more comfortable travel. these places are open to you. it wasn't until 1945 that if i were to have gone into shenandoah, there would have been a campground for colored and campground for whites. talking about courage again. franklin delano was about -- roosevelt, secretary of the interior issued an order in knife and five single facilities in the national parks, whether in the deep south or not will be open and available to all. can you just imagine what the surrounding communities -- you were going to let those black folks go in, let them eat in the park and they can do that outside of the park? if in 1945 i was existing at that time, my parents would not dare take me to that kind of circumstance. why would they? we have inflicted wounds on ourselves.
they are beginning to heal. but to the extent we can make our young people aware of the richness and say that you will be accepted in the neighboring communities and at the parks, it will go a long way. they cannot get experiences from their grandparents. they do not have a frame of reference. these are facts, ladies and gentlemen. we don't talk about them a lot, but they are facts. we still have quite a bit to overcome. >> your turn. we have microphones at the front. step right up and please give us your name and institution and stand and deliver. >> i'm linda, then educational historian at wheaton college just up the road. my very first job out of college was with the national park
service. i was an editor for the national register of historic places. i'm very aware of what you are saying. not everything in the parks service is yosemite. or grand teton. why think about your question about how to bring younger people into the parks, i do think schools have a big role to play. i always lived in cities and i know those at rangers and the brownshirts. my question is from a
practitioner point of view and also from the scholars is about financing. over time you have been incredibly passionate about some of the ways in which we open the parks. but over time what has been successful with congress -- what arguments have worked? when did we say let's expand the parks servicing give the more my? it's either over time or over the type of parts we are trying to open a create. from your own experience or for bill and gary, what have we found it has been successful at opening of congressional appropriations? mr. stanton: next question. [laughter] i appreciate your work with the national registry. those folks developed teaching with historic places, a lesson plan teachers can use that speaks to the richness of some of these areas. that question and that debate about how do we as a people finance or fund programs, operations, developments of the park and sustainable ways. it is a given from our perspective that the american people will continue to add parks, heritage areas, long-distance trails as a part of the portfolio of the park service. and funding has not kept pace with that major responsibility. i would salute congress in this sense that they have given some new authorities to the parks service in terms of revenue.
in addition to the direct appropriation which takes place on an annual basis. all fees, recreational fees, campground fees, interest fees, every last penny is authorized by congress for the national parks service to keep. that generates probably between $150 million to $180 million. concessions operating on contract with the national park service -- some are major operations such as hotels at yosemite or the south rim of the grand canyon, they are obligated to pay a fee, a percentage of their gross to the national park service. the parks service by law is authorized to keep all franchise fees paid by the concessions. many, many years ago if you were
to see a movie that "spencers mom" was filmed when i was there -- "spencer's mountain" was filmed there. they had to give credit that it was filmed the grand teton. that was a practice adopted many years ago to promote the parks. now through some evaluative process when hollywood comes in, a producer comes to the park for the benefit of the scenery, they have to pay a fee. it is retained by the national park service. even with those new regards to direct appropriation, there is not that much money. there is enough money. in 1997 congress established the national park foundation, the philanthropic corporate arm if you will of the parks service to raise money from corporate america. they are doing a bang up job. and the american people, very generous. they make donations.
over 200,000 volunteered their service. people donated lands, donated automobiles. long story short, the park service and the park foundation are authorized to accept donations than i would be standing outside the door. i appreciate the question. the thing that is interesting is that when -- i got a tally from the state office two or three weeks ago. on the average, starting with president clinton up to this time with president obama -- clinton, president bush, president obama over a span of time. 24 years. i guess between six or seven new parts for your have been added, or heritage sites.
when a park is authorized it is placed on a direct supervision of the parks service. unless it is written in the appropriation it does not come with new money. each new park is to compete with the yellowstone and the yosemite's and the roger williams providence or the john happy heritage area in rhode island. i hope you visit these parks. we just need more money. >> what i would add to that, because it's a really, question an important question, is that the history of partisan politics in the united states over the last 30 or 40 years has really changed the fiscal challenge. not just of the national park service, but of all the landholding agencies of the united states government.
the park service does better relative to congress in any of the other land agencies, which includes fish and wildlife, blm, and usda and the forest service. don't forget the dod owns quite a bit of land as well. we don't usually count that as the landholding department in the government. there was up until the early 1970's a pretty strong bipartisan consensus within the democratic and republican parties about this kind of work. the park service, more than most of the other agencies, retains at least some of that support so when the government shuts down and it within between the white house and congress over a budget bill, probably the pain of the national park service, the origin of the old washington monument strategy -- shut it down to make the taxpayers unhappy and that brings in more money to the park service -- that's a strategy that works.
i worry a lot that the consensus over what is to be a better citizen and is the park service educating young people in american -- and americans toward citizenship. the fact that the two parties not rather different perspectives on what does it mean to educate citizens means that the consensus between those parties about what an entity like the park service should be doing for citizenship is a challenge. just to name two legislative items. the land and water conservation fund, one of the really great achievements of the 1960's when conservation, signed into law on lyndon johnson on the same day as the wilderness act, actually expired last fall the tour being salvaged from its expiration. that's an interesting example of the clinical compromising congress whereby off-shore oil drilling revenue was allowed and directed toward when
conservation purposes to support things like the national parks. and another legislative future. they are probably not a congressional district in the united states that is benefited from that flow of money over the last 50 years. the fact it is that the benefits are probably diffused across the entire congress over the entire electorate is one of the things that produces political support for such a thing. ironically, probably the end of your marks in the budget process has weekend be supported delegations -- supportive delegations for that land conservation. kind of an unintended consequences of the end of your marks was an erosion of this kind of politics that used to benefit the creation of parks. the last thing i would name is the antiquities act, one of the great engines of creation of national monuments in the united states since 1906, is one of the two parties is pretty deeply committed to, if not the
elimination of the law, the radical cutting back about law. i am not sure how easy it will be to rebuild a consensus around the antiquities act. its loss will be grievous when you think about the protected lands in united states, the parks and monuments created by the act. we live in perilous political times i would say. >> thank you very much for the presentation. i'm from the german historical incident -- institute at a big fan of the national parks. i have visited many with my kids. two things, in my issues are financial. you are saying the breaking down of segregation and other things brought more minorities to the parks. i wanted to bring of the issues of visiting these parts is a matter of class. you have to have the leisure
time to be able to do it road trip or even just go there physically. you need paid time off. germans have six weeks of paid vacation. i am shocked how little vacation time americans have. the average is two. there are lots of americans who do not have any paid vacation. what can one change in terms of having a bigger, broader program to bring kids from families whose parents do not have paid vacation into the parks? the other issue is i just recently heard a program on npr saying just the repair backlog in the national parks is literally hundreds of millions of dollars. and as you were pointing out earlier, the complete budget has not really been increased for decades while the numbers of parks have increased all the time. the national parks service is raising, despite all these little efforts, a financial
catastrophe. i heard that no debates are being made at several parts to privatize things, outsource things, for basically sell up the rights to run things to poor -- for-profit companies. and making it more accessible for not wealthy people, i think that's a very worrisome development and a wonder what you think of that. mr. stanton: the exclusivity that exists on the basis of economics -- i think that is a consideration. if you were to look at the secretary's letter of 1918, he directed stephen maffei to work with the railroads, and it was the railroads that were the principal sponsors of visitation and encouraging visitation to the large parks because of the ridership. these companies that built a large hotels at yellowstone and grand canyon. it was obvious economic benefit to those who had the wherewithal to pay for the trains to these large parks. you are right. there still is some perception
that these parts or -- if you don't have the economic means. i would hope that the man in charge pursuant to contracts or permits by concessioners within the financial range of those visiting the parks. then the question about parks being so remote. again, i don't feel there is a substitute for personal experiences. there was some debate that maybe there would be a larger role on the part of the federal government vai the national park service to provide quality outdoor, nature, history, recreational oriented opportunities -- that debate raised quite heavily in the early 1970's. out of that was created golden gate in san francisco. and gateway in new york. some other urban centers -- that would be good for us. that debate raised quite heavily in the early 1970's.
out of that was created golden gate in san francisco. and gateway in new york. some other urban centers -- that would be good for us. we have tioga, santa monica, los angeles. most card out of at least the two gateways at a surplus military bases. they are now larger recreational areas within walking distance in the high density urban areas. there is still not a substitute of getting people to the larger destination parks. i don't have a solution to that. yes sir? >> my name is steve. i met pretty university northwest. -- purdue university northwest. the largest part from our campus in indiana, and i've been taking my students from my post 1877
u.s. history class for 16 years. i was very pleased when last year it was made a national park. when it's at my students there last saturday, there was still no federal presence. there was not a single park ranger. you were saying a little earlier, does that have to mean we will wait for a while to get any money from the national park system? my second question is i have been an academic advisor. when i had students who wanted to become history majors and said i don't want to teach, what other jobs within the? i always said presumably you might be attracted to the national park system, to be a ranger at a battlefield park. in fact, can you tell us whether or not the national park system does higher history majors to be park rangers?
mr. stanton: you reference the new national monument in chicago, proclaimed by president obama. i think there are two responses. one is, obviously, for the new area they have to compete for money to get the kind of uniform presence, but i think in terms of public positions for historians and others, i think there has to be more done. this is true of all directors, that the are all trying to deal with. there is a mandate in the organic act to establish parks. it should promote and regulate every unit in the national park system, but unfortunately, when i say national parks or park services, what conjures up is some of the larger parks. they do not think of roger williams, if you will. we have to do more to promote
every unit in the park system. the other is, we have dealt with this for years. the park service, in terms of its workforce is more than the ranger or the interpreter or others that are on the front line, and we haven't, i say "we" but the park service has not done enough to talk about the press of every opportunity. architect, historian, titus, photographers, graphic artist. i have met every discipline under the sun represented in the workforce of the parks say perhaps a neurosurgeon. we need to do a better job of helping the young people. you can be in engineer or a landscape architect. we have many different jobs. i appreciate that. >> i will try to be brief since we are getting low on time. i was driving through shenandoah national park last summer and it was a very hot day. mr. stanton: which part?
you can be in engineer or a landscape architect. we have many different jobs. i appreciate that. >> i will try to be brief since we are getting low on time. i was driving through shenandoah national park last summer and it was a very hot day. mr. stanton: which part? >> shenandoah. it was a hot day in august and i went into the visitor center and discovered a history exhibit which was possibly one of the most remarkable history museums i have ever had. it is a phenomenal exhibit. it talks about how land was
appropriated to create the park and the creation of the skylight drive and conservation in the park and watching children in the exhibit with this parents was a very emotional moment for me. i felt like something i did professionally was connecting to the public in a deep and meaningful way. it got me thinking about that space as an indoor space. most people go to the parks for outdoor experiences, and there seems to be some dissonance there. i did not know it existed at all. i hadn't read articles about which direction i should hike, but i had no idea, even though i am historian, that there was this exhibit.
on the one hand, how do we make these visitor centers, these indoor spaces become an essential part of every visitor's experience, how do we make it a first page when the google shenandoah? on the other hand, how to reincorporate this kind of history with the outdoor experience as well. there are a lot of hikers and most of them seem dated, and they're also not very interactive. are there any efforts underway to make this a more central part of the experience or make other outdoor spaces? mr. stanton: that is an interesting question. i remember speaking to some group about the importance of the educational experience in the parks, and they said, the hell with that. i just come here to have fun. they do not want to avail
themselves of the educational experience. they are just there to have fun. i do not know. it is a real concern. >> what i would add, the shenandoah exhibit is remarkable. the history of the agency itself is really fascinating history, and that exhibit is one that makes it so striking, it is criticism of nps embodied in the full complexity of all the things that happen in that space. inevitably, any bureaucratic agency, especially one with a strong a culture as nps. nps has one of the strongest cultures of any federal bureaucracy, and i mean that as praise. any agency that takes ray pride, it is complicated how to tell a story in which the agency is not the hero of the story, or if they are, a very complicated hero. bob has been gesturing to those
types of figures with everything he says, but how to tell those stories is not easy. it is easier for academics to do it than it is for public agencies that have to serve the whole range of the political spectrum. one of the questions i was gone to ask bob, but i do not think i will, so the voters that are currently voting for donald trump and the voters currently voting for bernie sanders and ted cruz and hillary clinton represent very different swaths of the american electorate, but all are supposed to be served by the national park service, all are supposed to recognize in the national parks some anchoring symbols of the value of what they care about in their nation, that they feel good about what it means to be an american, or not always what it feels good about being american, but at least feel, this is my experience and i need to take responsibility for what i am experiencing. what i have said is not trivial. it is difficult. i will raise this again and say, i think we could be doing way more, not just with the national parks but all of the public history exhibits to make sure the indoor experience of the museum and the outdoor experience where this can help me navigate the outdoors and bring the outdoors indoors.
that is what the virtual is good for. we are way behind in doing that. the park service website is web 1.0 and is as far behind as it can be. to go back to the earlier question, what is appropriation? it has been around for a long time. remember, the antiquities act allows the president to create new monuments. it does not mandate the congress will appropriate a single dollar for staff or do anything to interpret that, so in between to congress and the white house over the creation of parks is a huge political problem. >> thank you. i am jennifer anderson, stony
brook university and i have worked as a consultant to many public history sites involved in interpreting the history of slavery. i have two questions. one, in your experience, your tenure with the park service, have you seen challenges with how history is being interpreted given depoliticized environment that we are in in recent years, and this idea of a history that americans can feel good about, and how have you approached that challenge of interpreting challenging issues? secondly, this amazing report that has been put together regarding the past, what impact do you hope to see that investment and examining the park service and how they are utilizing historic resources, how do you hope that support is going to have an impact?
>> do you want to respond? >> you start and then gary. >> i think the question was, the first part of the question was respect to providing an educational and interpretive experience into some of the difficult periods and chapters of our difficult history. mr. stanton: let me mention as a part of one's leadership is one of courage. admittedly, when there is an absence of facts we really cannot present a factual orientation or overview or interpretive program with respect to the experience. that we have known the facts and answers, but we did not have the courage because of possible pushback from the constituency of the public of whom we serve.
sometimes that was an assumption on our part. good men with jack nicholson and who was the other one? you can't handle the truth. my experience tells me the american people can handle the truth, some more than others, so based on the scholarship that is available through the fine work of the organization of american history, there is no excuse of not to know the truth. what i have noticed is there is courage on the part of the superintendents to be out front and say, this is a story we are going to tell, not only the primary story that exists but some of the layers and layers of history that have taken place in the parks.
i had a superintendent at the martin luther king historic site in atlanta, georgia anyone it to talk about the difficulties of the american experience in days past, with which there was a lot of lynching going on, including my home state of texas. without sanctuary, talking about the deplorable days of lynching in this country, a lot of people say, we do not talk about that happening in this country. but if you want to understand the depthness and the pain we are trying to erase why telling the full story, we have to deal with the truth and put it out there. the american people can deal with it. >> thank you, bob for that. it is a very important question, but let's recall 1995. it was a firestorm.
congress was threatening to cut off the smithsonian funds. the gate had been in the planning stage for five years and it was canceled and it led to a lot of self-censorship among the directors all over the country. they were supported by funds and funders and sometimes they felt they could not offend, and maybe now, 20 years later, there is a 20 anniversary of the history standards of the 1960's and we may be going through this again. i think bob's comment is very brave. i know very well if i was wearing the smokey bear hat and i am a northerner and i am telling my story as i understand the history, i better have a jacket on. mr. stanton: i have your back. >> we did not have that problem in the colleges and universities and classrooms.
in all my years at ucla, i never had parents come to me and say, i do not like you're reading assignments. i do not like what i hear about your lectures for my daughter. i think it brings me back to the point that everyone one of us has to be a public historian to some extent. we have to keep engaging with the public over and over again. there are a lot of people out and are unwilling to believe there are historical revisionist who are tried to steal the history. we have to be up there all of the time or we will have another firestorm. >> i have the pleasure of
working here at the blackstone historian service park and i welcome you back because you are here in the summer of 1998. one of the positive things i think we can talk about is the idea of creating partnerships with the many nonprofits that are out there, and i think the relationship with national park service and foundation, particularly the ticket to ride program where parks put grant applications in for transportation money to go into the neighborhoods, to bring the kids that would not normally be a part of the park experience and have that experience, because i believe that is how you create that tradition. we get letters all the time,
taking kids to the parks, jose torres, the first time he ever saw a turtle was on the field trip. we know those things work, the partnerships are very valuable and important aspects that we need to continue to build on. mr. stanton: i appreciate that. you are right on point. on the national heritage, i saw one of the leaders. the heritage areas represent the richness. they are rich in history. they are another way of getting people close by into areas not administered by the park
services but to the park industry that is so great. the youth program of 1970, land management agencies were allowed to hire young people. in the early 1990's, the public land core, getting young people engaged. as a result of the 75th anniversary, congress gave the park services perpetual authority to use his own money and donated money to transport youth from neighborhood communities into national parks for organized recreational programs. there is the continued effort, so i really appreciate you supporting that very much. >> let me just say that she chaired the committee that created imperiled promise and poured her heart into this. she may have stayed up past midnight more than she wanted to.
>> i got up early in the morning, actually. i am more of a morning person the night. my question is more of a comment and ties into the previous question about challenging histories in the recommendations that we make. one of the things we observed in that study was that many of the practitioners on the front lines throughout the park service who were trying to take up some of these challenging stories felt very isolated, alone and it is frightening to try to do it in the face of all the pressures. two of the recommendations we made in the imperiled promise had to deal with the developing of organizational leadership that would've strengthened and centralized history across the agency. we suggested the creation of a history advisory board for the park service, historians and museum professionals, people largely outside of the agency but who could be a bolster and
support for the historical work, and we also suggested that internally history leadership council, some of the most forward thinking historians across the agency be put together, cut across silos, provide support for each other, do the difficult work and create some cover at times when things are happening and you are under attack. i have to say, we have been somewhat dismayed. i do not know if our co-author is here today. we have found those recommendations, i do not think have been followed through and we have had trouble getting traction. i know there was interest in the leadership council and considerable work done on that, but we have had a difficulty getting top leadership into the park service to embrace those recommendations. i welcome your thoughts. mr. stanton: i appreciate that very much. [applause]
mr. stanton: i have not been able to read the report in depth. i have been out of the service for a number of years but i certainly will get to it. i was given a copy to her three days ago. this was given under the former president of the history agency. if i understand the recommendation in terms of advisory committee, to have a body independent, it body independent of the national park service board because normally with special committees dealing with a single issue, it always has been placed under the national park service advisory board. i will just pass it on to the director, john grisham and see where it leads. i feel i agree with your recommendation very strongly. let me just say, he has served as chair of the park advisory board and i told him i would like for him and his group to
develop support, but john was also a keynote speaker at a major conference i had in st. louis in 2000. i keep john's remarks, because i like to quote from them, and he talks about leadership and he said in his speech that those and i told him i would like for him and his group to develop support, but john was also a keynote speaker at a major conference i had in st. louis in 2000. i keep john's remarks, because i like to quote from them, and he talks about leadership and he said in his speech that those places that commemorate,
otherwise reserve difficult sectors in her history are not places in which we are to allow ourselves to wallow in remorse but rather be moved to a higher resolve to become better citizens. i mean, that is why we have this board. that is the bottom line. what have these parks motivated us to do as americans? that is the bottom line. that is the only reason we have these parks. >> one thing i would add about the question. it is up to the vice and the virtues of the board, which, when you think about the structural makeup of the boards, one of the things we need to keep in mind, it is dealing with the challenge of being a hierarchal organization that is a very dispersed unit, but somehow has to regulate the behavior in a way that keeps
them within certain boards, and one of the devices the park department has relied on is a great deal of power for the superintendent. the superintendent is a key figure. that person has enormous power within the boundaries of that particular unit. secondly, if you are ambitious and want to move up in the national park service, the way you achieve upward mobility in the agency is to move around. you move from different postings to different locations, which is at variance with place variance of what needs to happen in every geographic unit relative to the local communities. you have superintendents, who are hoping to move up to a larger park or different located parks or looking for the opportunity to move elsewhere, and that is in considerable tension with building relationships with local
communities and constituencies which are part of the local who are hoping to move up to a larger park or different located parks or looking for the opportunity to move elsewhere, and that is in considerable tension with building relationships with local communities and constituencies which are part of the local politics, and they are within the boundaries of the federal government, so this is something that should appear within the government. you are not answering to the local within that hierarchal structure. boards add another layer of complexity and if you are a superintendent, you want the
outsiders who are advising you to be, i don't know quite the right adage, but you want them to be well behaved, let's put it that way. there is a lot of anxiety on who was around the table in that space. >> we are almost out of time. i have one announcement to make. ok, we will take one more question and then bob once you have a moment for wrapup comments. >> there is a reception behind us. >> this is all that stands between you and a glass of wine. [laughter] >> please know that tomorrow at the award ceremony, which i believe is in the morning. >> now, 3:30. >> ok, 3:30. one of the awards will be the first annual porton stanton award in their name for the ranger that best exemplifies the very best historical practices in the national park service and all of the nominees, all of the nominations remain from within the park service and the prize
is awarded by the committee. >> thank you very much. mr. stanton: let me say, it has been in honor to be here with you ladies and gentlemen, and one that has been a benefit. i am certainly indebted to you. in 1962, mr. douglas and i met at the national park service in the same year. it was truly wearing the park service uniform and president kennedy, 1962. signing into law, the public measure proclaiming the frederick douglass home as a unit of the national park unit, located in washington dc.
as i leafed through the pamphlet, there was a theme of inclusiveness and diversity. let me show you the wisdom of frederick douglass washington, which has given me comfort, because the expression of diversity and inclusion did not present a problem to me. mr. douglas's wisdom sums it up. our best and most valued acquisitions have been obtained either from our contemporaries or from those who preceded us in the field of thought and discovery. we have reaped what others have sown and that which others have sown we have given.
it must be a true sin that no possible force of character or wealth of originality can lift a man into absolute independence of his fellow man, and no generation of man can be independent of a preceded generation. brotherhood and the interdependence of mankind are guarded and defended at all points. i believe in individuality but individuals are to the mass like waves to the ocean. the highest order of genius is as dependent as it is free. it is like the lofty waves of the sea deriving its power and greatness from the grandeur and vast mass of ocean of which it forms a part.
we differ as the waves, but we are as one as the sea. mr. douglas. ladies and generally, having been on this chair, it is true, we are as one. [applause] mr. stanton: thank you very much. >> we will exit this way. >> interested in american history tv? visit c-span.org/history. you can see our upcoming schedule and watch a recent program.
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cold war back to world war i and challenges some of the general narratives about conflict. he focuses on the role of dwight d. eisenhower. both as a military man and as president. the newark historical society hosted dissipated. -- this event. is one hour 15 minutes. mr. black: ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for coming out on a wet morning. i will try to do my best to warm us all up with solace. what i want to try and do is to use eisenhower to look at the cold war and look at the cold war to look at eisenhower.