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Mr. JACOBS. Yes, sir.
Mr. O'BRIEN. So, in effect, we would have a maximum loss of the Government of $30,000 of maintaining the only facility there is in the national park?
Mr. JACOBS. Provided they ran in the black on the hotel operations. Mr. O'BRIEN. Assuming the increase wiped out the $5,000 or even produced a profit.
Mr. ABBOTT. Has the possibility been explored in developing through defense operations, notably the Air Force and to a lesser extent the Army, some of the off-season use so as to split up the cost of that heating during that season, using it not particularly as a rest camp but for recreation or skiing activities?
Mr. JACOBS. That was the case for a number of years, but McKinley Park Services excluded the Army. We would welcome the Army in here now. We would be glad to have them here and help us offset the operating deficit. But they were excluded, I believe, 2 years ago, and it was made known to them they were not welcome and they didn't want that type of business here, and they have withdrawn. We don't know if they will request use again or not. If they do, I say we will welcome that.
Mr. ABBOTT. Proposals have been made in the past that perhaps there has been actual operation by the military, and as I recall the conversation with some of the people at Elmendorf, there was an understandable objection to paying that heating bill as the price of using this part time or perhaps full time during the season. Is that substantially correct?
Mr. HANSON. I think that was one of the main objections.
I might elaborate on Mr. Jacobs' statement in the fact that Mr. Grant Person, the superintendent of the park, absent now for the purpose of attending a conference-the two of us tried last fall and have tried again this year to interest the military in using this facility during the winter season as a rest and recreation center, but they declined to take advantage of it.
Mr. ABBOTT. Do you think that is because it wouldn't be used or there wouldn't be an interest in using it?
Mr. HANSON. I think the high operating costs of heating it, as you mentioned before, is one of the reasons.
Mr. ABBOTT. That can be explored a little further with the defense people.
You people administratively are under the San Francisco office; is that correct?
Mr. JACOBS. Yes.
Mr. ABBOTT. Is that a regional or area office?
Mr. JACOBS. Regional office.
Mr. ABBOTT. Is it true with respect to the other three national parks I believe they are all national monuments-Glacier Bay, Katmai, and Sitka, that they are under this park for administration? Mr. JACOBS. Glacier Bay and Sitka are under another. Katmai, only.
Mr. ABBOTT. Could you state, is it true that some of your national monument areas up here are open to prospecting and mining locations? Mr. JACOBS. That is correct; McKinley is open to prospecting and mining.
Mr. ABBOTT. Can you go to patent if you have a mining location here?
Mr. JACOBS. If it is valid you can.
Mr. ABBOTT. Is there a good deal of mining activity in the park? Mr. JACOBS. Not at present. There is some, but not a good deal. Mr. ABBOTT. Is that a difficult administrative problem?
Mr. JACOBS. I would say not, not in this area. It is considered a part of Alaska, part of the Alaska picture. It is a large area and so far I don't believe it has been a problem.
Mr. ABBOTT. How about hunting within the park boundaries?
Mr. ABBOTT. Have you had any difficulty with predatory animals or increases?
Mr. JACOBS. We are in excellent shape now. There was quite a wolf-sheep problem here a number of years ago, but it seems it has leveled out and our sheep population is at optimum level at the present time. I don't believe we have any problems now.
Mr. PRASAL. Not as far as wolves or any predators.
Mr. BARTLETT. How many sheep in the park?
Mr. PRASAL. Eighteen hundred according to the last count.
Mr. PRASAL. We think there are around 70 grizzlies, Tokat grizzlies, for around 3,000 square miles of park. The number of black bears is undetermined.
Mr. ABBOTT. Are there many black bear?
Mr. PRASAL. No, relatively few as compared to grizzlies. The biggest problem here, as Mr. Jacobs pointed out, was the wolf. But now the wolf is down to so low a number we scarcely see them at all. We consider ourselves very fortunate to hear a wolf howl.
Mr. BARTLETT. Did not the Park Service engage in a campaign against the wolf on its own a few years ago?
Mr. PRASAL. No, sir.
Mr. BARTLETT. Were not some destroyed?
Mr. JACOBS. A few to a slight degree in the park.
Mr. BARTLETT. That is what I thought.
Mr. Hanson, to your personal knowledge, does the National Park Service support your company seeking to renew a management contract for 1956?
Mr. HANSON. No, sir.
Mr. BARTLETT. I was led to that question by the item which appeared in the Fairbanks News Miner yesterday afternoon in the form of an interview with some official of the Alaska Visitors' Association, noting the need of the hotel as a tourist attraction and expressing the hope that the Park Service would announce an affirmative policy by November 1 so the travel agencies and so forth could make plans. Mr. JACOBS. Yes, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. I had one question, Mr. Chairman. I believe the ranger-naturalist told us that the boating portion of the contract was not renewed. What was the one about the boats?
Mr. HANSON. I don't recall any such discussion.
Mr. TAYLOR. You have no river boating at the present time?
the park? good deal
-ea and so
- it has
Mr. TAYLOR. But the former contractor did?
Mr. HANSON. There has never been any boating to my knowledge in the park area. Sightseeing into the park by bus is the means of getting people into the park where they can view the wildlife and Mount McKinley.
Mr. TAYLOR. You have no horses here either, then?
Mr. HANSON. No horses. And our buses are in very deplorable condition. In fact, almost every trip when we send a bus out in the park, I met them at the door to ask how the trip was and did they get to see the mountain and so forth, and they used a few foul words; if it hadn't been for the blankety-blank bus they would have enjoyed the trip all right. Then I decided not to ask any more questions, smiled, and opened the door for them.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Is there any demand or request from visitors for horseback riding?
Mr. HANSON. Only 1 or 2 requests.
Mr. O'BRIEN. That would be rather expensive to maintain, wouldn't it?
Mr. HANSON. Yes, horses in this area would be very expensive to maintain. But our transportation system here is completely gone. I think if we had any complaint at all, we had some complaints, and it was almost entirely traced to the transportation system.
Mr. TAYLOR. I wonder what would happen if you had, say, a half a dozen jeeps that might be rented to individual tourists when they come in here?
Mr. HANSON. I would think it might be an idea, but because Alaska is still in the development stage the people coming from the States, we have found, are not enthusiastic about joining in the pioneering end of it. They would like to have a little more comfortable accommodations and facilities and equipment.
Now the busses we have we have, for instances, busses that are partially operating, and the one you rode up on from the train is the best one. That has cushion seats. The other one has hard seats. When you travel-most of the tourists we conduct into the park are conducted to a point named Mr. Eielson or Camp Eielson, 60 miles in the park, and if you traveled 120 miles on one of those busses over some of the mountain roads on those hard seats and a little cool weather, the attitude of the public when they come back is not too good even though they have seen the mount or even though they have seen the sheep. And let the weather be bad, lo and behold. I can't recall the number of times that the equipment broke down, but more than a dozen times the busses would break down and the motors would burn out or the bearings would burn out, and the people would be stranded out in the park for some times 2 and 3, one time a little over 4 hours in cold weather without any heat or means of getting back, and they missed their train.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Do you think it would be desirable to add that in the figures?
Mr. HANSON. That is included in there.
Mr. JACOBS. $32,000 is in this $100,000.
Mr. TAYLOR. Wasn't the average tourist quite surprised to find the commodious facilities that are here?
Mr. HANSON. Yes, very much so. I would say they were very pleased, in my opinion, with the facilities, with our services, and
with the services of the hotel employees, and with the food as a whole. But their main complaint was the transportation into the park, and I don't blame them.
Mr. ABBOTT. Were some of them a little disappointed to learn. you can't see Mount McKinley from here?
Mr. HANSON. Yes.
Mr. ABBOTT You are not able to palm off the other mountain as McKinley?
Mr HANSON. No.
Mr. ABBOTT. Do you have any people who come in for mountain climbing purposes?
Mr. JACOBS. We do. Of course, McKinley is the climb, and presently we are anticipating a climbing expedition from England. It, of course, is quite an undertaking. We do expect them in the latter part of this month.
Mr. ABBOTT. But Mount McKinley has been scaled?
Mr. BARTLETT. Mr. Chairman, I am sure the representatives of the National Park Service and Mr. Hanson would join with me in expressing the regret that Mr. Grant Person, the superintendent of the park, is at a superintendents' conference elsewhere and is not here to greet you, because you would find him a truly Alaskan-what should I say-character?
Mr. JACOBS. Sourdough.
Mr. BAITLETT. I think that properly applies. He is one of the people who climbed Mount McKinley. He is. a delightful man and a very efficient superintendent.
Mr. O'BPIEN. We regret he is not here, but I am sure the gentlemen who have spoken have been most informative.
Mr. ABBOTT. One or two other points. Could you comment on your water situation here?
Mr. JACOBS. It is bad. It is very bad, and we are trying to make temporary repairs to it.
Mr. ABBOTT Could you describe the source of supply and how you get it?
Mr. JACOBS. It is a drainage and merely an open pond, earthfilled dam, and subject to everything.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Mention having been made of the water supply, it of course raised in our minds the possibility of a very large additional expenditure. I think perhaps you should explain that.
Mr. JACOBS. The present water supply intake is inadequate, and we are presently planning an underground type of intake which we hope will work. We believe it will. And if it does, it will be relatively inexpensive. We can probably do it out of money we can scrape together. However, that is only part of the picture.
Our headquarters-it is proper to digress, I believe. Your whole utility system in Alaska is a very difficult one. It is my hope that you people could come to headquarters in the bus. It is only 2 miles. We are working on our system up there now. I would like to show you what it looks like and what we have to do to maintain water. That is true, of course, in the hotel area as well. We don't anticipate the line will need replacing other than the present system we are putting in now. It is necessary to lay steam lines where there are waterlines. You gentlemen may be familiar with that. And
when you get a freezeup, something goes wrong-it is a winter operation and a critical one because, if allowed to go on, you are going to lose everything you have got. We have boilers. We fire them up and run the steam up and down. Your sewer lines are presently laid with the waterline, which, of course, is bad. That is the only way we are able to operate. In wintertime that is a daily operation when it is cold.
If you go deep enough with the waterlines in permafrost it freezes up, so there is an arbitrary distance there. We go down about 4 feet. Mr. ABBOTT. How far is that water carried to the hotel from the storage source?
Mr. HANSON. Approximately a mile.
Mr. ABBOTT. How about your own facilities, your ranger housing? Mr. JACOBS. We are in pretty bad shape up there actually. We need a lot.
Mr. ABBOTT. Could you describe it briefly?
Mr. JACOBS. We need $100,000 for entire new facility system at McKinley Park.
Mr. ABBOTT. Mr. Wirth over a period of months has touched on what is known as Mission 66, by which it is proposed-by designing a 10-year program to begin in 1956 on the 50th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service in 1966 to have brought up to standard, in anticipation of the great tourist facility increased usage, have brought up to a substantial desirable standard the facilities throughout the National Park System. We were advised before our departure from Washington it is hoped there may be transmitted in the form of either an omnibus bill or a series of Executive communications those things which would be included to accomplish Mission 66, which would require congressional legislation. Much of it lies within the budgetary and appropriations process. Has the development in Alaska, McKinley and the other areas, been included to your knowledge within that proposed program?
Mr. JACOBS. We have ours in; yes, sir. Öurs goes in. What we call a prospectus has been sent in, and it will be passed from committee to committee and come back to us, and the next step will be to work up estimates on this and that and get it in. Ours will be a part of the overall picture.
Mr. ABBOTT. Have the several items you referred to this afternoon been included in that recommended development?
Mr. JACOBS. Not for the hotel, but for the headquarters area; yes,
Mr. ABBOTT. I believe, Mr. Chairman, unless there are some other questions the members have or you people would particularly like to present, that is all I have.
Mr. O'BRIEN. The hearing is adjourned.
(Whereupon, at 2 p. m., the subcommittee adjourned to reconvene at the call of the Chair.)