Photograph by Arthur Chapman.
Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde.
The number of visitors to the national parks has increased from 30,000 in 1906 to 93,000 in 1911. With this increase in the number of visitors the administrative problems have increased, and in order that national park affairs may receive the careful and detailed consideration they deserve, Secretaries Ballinger and Fisher have advocated the creation of a bureau of national parks. President Taft has warmly approved the proposal to create this bureau and in his message of February 2, 1912, referred to it as follows:
I earnestly recommend the establishment of a bureau of national parks. Such legislation is essential to the proper management of those wondrous manifestations of nature, so startling and so beautiful that every one recognizes the obligations of the government to preserve them for the edification and recreation of the people. The Yellowstone Park, the Yosemite, the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, the Glacier National Park and the Mount Rainier National Park and others furnish appropriate instances. In only one case have we made anything like adequate preparation for the use of a park by the public. That case is the Yellowstone National Park. Every consideration of patriotism and the love of nature and of beauty and of art requires us to expend money enough to bring all these natural wonders within easy reach of our people. The first step in that direction is the establishment of a responsible bureau which shall take upon itself the burden of supervising the parks and of making recommendations as to the best method of improving their accessibility and usefulness.
One of the chief functions of such a bureau should be to arrange a series of publications that will deal clearly and in general terms with the geology, the botany and the zoology of these great reservations that are being administered by the government for the benefit of the people. The educational value of such a series of publications can hardly be estimated.