17 July 2008

Hartzog's National Park Service

The NY Times has a nice obit for George Hartzog, an important director of the National Park Service who served multiple administrations. Under his leadership, the number of parks nearly doubled and led the establishment the National Register of Historic Places.

One of his important talents was the ability to garner political support for the NPS. His famous response to one round of budget cuts was to close all of the National Parks 2 days a week until the budget situation was remedied. Imagine driving you family all of the way across the country in a 1968 station wagon with AM radio and no A/C only to arrive at the Grand Canyon and find it closed. That would make a great movie.

As the Time reports, it was still politics that ended his tenure as Director:

In the summer of 1972, unbeknown to Mr. Hartzog, the superintendent of Biscayne National Park canceled a permit allowing Mr. Nixon’s friend Bebe Rebozo to dock his boat in the park. Mr. Rebozo complained to the president, who fired Mr. Hartzog.

“The interior secretary, Rogers Morton, went over to the White House and tried to talk him out of it,” Mr. Utley said. “Nixon refused.”

It doesn't seem like he quite deserves to sneak onto the Top 10 Shapers list, but he does probably deserve a spot on the "almost" list. And I say that as a very high compliment since that list includes people like Edison, Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Ford, McHarg and Manning.

Thank you Mr. Hartzog.

1 comment:

Puk said...

A. Thank Dog, you referenced "Vacation.
B. He seems like he would have been a bigger PITA to Floy Dominy than even David Brower managed.
C. Glen Canyon is at least a NRA.
D. Chuck Colvard taught me everything I know about Public Lands.