ABSTRACT

Mather was ill, but Albright fought off the spoilers as well as he could without the support of Secretary Lane, and was successful in keeping livestock out of most of the parks. A few cattle were grazed in Glacier and 5,000 cattle were admitted to Yosemite at a fee of 50 cents per acre-only a fraction of what it was worth. The defeat of the spoilers was largely due to the firm stand of the United States Food Administrators, Ralph Merritt and Herbert Hoover, who declared that food requirements could be met without violating the parks. At the same time the spoilers assaulted the national forests and achieved somewhat greater concessions there.l

The problem of grazing in the national parks and forests is a knotty problem at best, never solvable in precise terms. How much grazing should be allowed? The general rule is that any grazing of a forest is injurious, whether by domestic or wild animals, although there may be exceptions to this. Any animal will eat some wild flowers or shrubs, trample other flowers, shrubs and little trees; any animal will eat the best grass, leaving the undesirable plants to take over, and overgrazing may kill the best forage. Some animals are more injurious than others, sheep and goats being the most destructive. Much depends on the climate, the amount and character of

The Mather Administration, 1917-1928

the rainfall. Where summers are very hot and dry and vegetation in bad condition anyhow, as in much of the West, grazing can be much more destructive than in regions where there is abundant and regular rainfall, as in the higher mountain areas and in the East. Abolition of all grazing by domestic livestock is not always a solution of the grazing problem either, for wildlife, if too abundant, can ruin forage as truly as domestic animals. Aside from this, the problem of the Park and Forest services often is: How much damage are we justified in inflicting on the land for the sake of promoting wool or meat production?2