National Geographic : 1966 Jul
National Geographic, July, 1966 promotion ladder. Other Government agen cies can send personnel for instruction, if space is available. Classroom study, discussion groups, field trips, after-hours bull sessions -a wide variety of educational methods crowd the 12-week sessions. An FBI agent may teach marksmanship and how to disarm a gun-toting troublemaker. A Park Service expert may conduct sessions in fighting forest or structural fires. (One class got real-life experience when a blaze swept employee quarters at Grand Canyon.) Even down to such things as putting together a nature talk with color slides, movies, and sound effects, trainees learn by doing. Thus today's ranger steps into his career with a far better grounding than his counter part of yesterday. And the public benefits. Cave Air Cools a Visitor Center I could go on and on with Mission 66 ac complishments: A new water source for Grand Canyon that will eliminate need for hauling in supplies by tank car; new lighting to dramatize the Washington Monument at night; cooling an above-ground visitor center with air pumped up from Mammoth Cave; preventing beach erosion by stabilizing sand dunes with grass and fences at Cape Hatteras; replacing quickly fading printed cards with handsome interpretive signs of aluminum at park after park. One more accomplishment must be listed: the influence Mission 66 has had on agencies and people outside the Park Service. By dramatizing park needs, we have won unstinting support from person after person. Perhaps I shouldn't mention individuals, for to do justice to all would take a book. So I beg forgiveness if I cite but two as examples: Representative Charles E. Bennett of Florida and former Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia. Representative Bennett's enthusiasm, person al research, and even monetary gifts helped in the reconstruction of French-built Fort Caroline near Jacksonville. And Senator Byrd not only fathered the Blue Ridge Parkway idea, but, as Virginia's Governor in 1928, was instrumental in his state's gift to the Nation of the land for Shenandoah National Park. A watchdog of Government spending as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Byrd once commented that his group's investigations had convinced him that the National Park Service got $1.20 worth out of every $1 Congress appropriated to it. It would be unjust for Mission 66 to seek all credit. But I am certain that our pebble in the pond set off at least some of the ripples that swept other agencies dealing with the inspirational and recreational needs of the people. Parallel development has come in the Forest Service's "Operation Outdoors," in county and state parks, wildlife refuges, Indian reservations, public lands and recrea tion areas, and in the studies of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission, whose chairman was Laurance S. Rockefeller, a National Geographic Society Trustee. Yes, Mission 66 has accomplished much. But it owes more. It owes its success to the efforts of a host of people-from Presidents making major decisions down to the all important park visitor using a litter bag. Mission 66: Legacy to the Future I think back now to Bradley Patterson, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, whose sug gestions were helpful in shaping the presenta tion that launched Mission 66. To our "thank you" letter came a moving reply. It touched a note surely echoed by every American: "If there was a pinch of added enthusiasm, and a few extra hours on my part, let it be in remembrance of some of those days which have enriched my life beyond measure. "From my bank account will never come an inheritance for my children, but let there be bequeathed to them, and to their children to come, Lake Solitude, Camp Muir on Rai nier, a swim in Tenaya Lake, a stroll in Cres cent Meadow, a campfire at Elizabeth Lake. With these safely in trust for them, Midas could not give them more." THE END Amber fingers of dusk touch the dunes of Cape Cod National Seashore, but still the beachcombers linger. Acres of salt marsh await exploration; each wave rolls up shells yet unsifted. One of the newest jewels in the Nation's diadem of parks, the 45-mile stretch along the sandy hook of Massachusetts entices the visitor to face seaward and, like Henry Thoreau, "put all America behind him." To save this unspoiled shoreline, the Park Service has acquired scores of privately owned lots under a continuing land-purchase program. EKTACHROMEBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHERBRUCE DALE© N.G .S .