ABSTRACT

Some concessioners were in dire financial straits. In 1930 the Park Service had asked them to submit plans for operation and expansion over a five-year period, and most of them complied, but with the deepening of the depression many of them were obliged to drop plans for expansion, and some had to curtail service or even close down. The Park Service tried to help, encouraged changes in the type of service, substitution of cafeteria service for regular service, for instance, and low-priced cabin accommodations for hotel rooms, special rates for longer visits and "club" rates for groups. Attacking the problem from a different angle the Park Service, in 1937, forbade any advance in salaries of concession managers or officers who were receiving more than $5,000. In 1934 the Park Service put on a big travel promotion campaign through the co-operation of concessioners, railroads and other transportation agencies, automobile associations, oil companies, chambers of commerce, and civic associations. The press helped and the radio companies gave free time to the enterprise. The railroads, also suffering from reduced traffic, helped by offering reduced rates. Even so, the concessioners had tough pulling for several years. In 1933 the Mammoth and Lake hotels in Yellowstone, the Cut Bank and St. Marys chalets in Glacier, and the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton were closed. There was some discussion of government operation of the services-a plan favored by Secretary Ickes.2 The private concessioner at Mount McKinley Park was not prospering. He had a small hotel at the railroad station, built by the government, and operated buses to a tent camp at the foot of the mountain, and there were complaints of excessive charges for the bus trip. Early in 1940 Representative Magnuson introduced a bill for government purchase of his property, in buses, tents and other facilities, reported to be worth perhaps $20,000-$40,000, and purchase of new facilities, but in the debates there were objections from many of the defenders of private enterprise, and the bill finally passed the House by the narrow margin of 173 to 170.3 A similar

bill introduced by Senator Bone was debated a little and passed the Senate, but was passed over in favor of the Magnuson bill.4 A bill for government purchase of facilities in all national parks by Representative Voorhis of California was not reported.5