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University of California Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office 
The Bancroft Library 

University of California 
Berkeley, California 



Interviews with 

Margaret Azevedo 

Peter Behr 
John D. Ehrlichman 
Katy Miller Johnson 

William L. Kahrl 
N. "Pete" McCloskey, Jr. 
Boyd Stewart 

with an 
Introduction by William J. Duddleson 

Interviews conducted by 
Ann Lage 


William J . Duddleson 
1990, 1991 


1993 by The Regents of the University of California 

Since 1954 the Regional Oral History Office has been interviewing leading 
participants in or well -placed witnesses to major events in the development of 
Northern California, the West, and the Nation. Oral history is a modern research 
technique involving an interviewee and an informed interviewer in spontaneous 
conversation. The taped record is transcribed, lightly edited for continuity and 
clarity, and reviewed by the interviewee. The resulting manuscript is typed in 
final form, indexed, bound with photographs and illustrative materials, and 
placed in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, and 
other research collections for scholarly use. Because it is primary material, 
oral history is not intended to present the final, verified, or complete 
narrative of events. It is a spoken account, offered by the interviewee in 
response to questioning, and as such it is reflective, partisan, deeply involved, 
and irreplaceable. 

This manuscript is made available for research purposes . All 
literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, 
are reserved to The Bancroft Library of the University of 
California, Berkeley. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for 
publication without the written permission of the Director of The 
Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication should be 
addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 486 Library, 
University of California, Berkeley 94720, and should include 
identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated 
use of the passages, and identification of the user. 

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: 

To cite the volume: Saving Point Reves 
National Seashore. 1969-1970: An Oral 
History of Citizen Action in Conservation. 
an oral history conducted in 1990-1991, 
Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft 
Library, University of California, 
Berkeley, 1993. 

To cite an individual interview: [ex.] 
Katy Miller Johnson, "Catalyst and 
Citizen-Lobbyist in Washington," an oral 
history conducted in 1990 by Ann Lage, in 
Saving Point Reyes National Seashore . 
1969-1970: An Oral History of Citizen 
Action in Conservation. Regional Oral 
History Office, The Bancroft Library, 
University of California, Berkeley, 1993. 

Copy no. 


Arch Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore 

Photograph courtesy of 
Point Reyes National Seashore 








boundry of seashore 
land purchased 
land not purchased 



scale in miles 

Point Reyes National Seashore, 1969 

Cataloging information 

ACTION IN CONSERVATION. 1993, xxiii, 390 pp. 

Five citizen activists, a congressional supporter, and a presidential 
assistant in the Nixon administration discuss the 1969-1970 campaign for 
federal appropriations to complete the Point Reyes National Seashore in 
Mar in County, California, including the founding and operation of Save Our 
Seashore, a citizen group; managing petition and letter-writing campaign to 
Congress and President Nixon; lobbying congressional leaders, including 
Wayne Aspinall, Alan Bible, Bizz Johnson, John Saylor; position of Point 
Reyes ranchers; influences on Nixon administration figures; dec is ion- making 
process in the White House and Congress; effect of Point Reyes campaign on 
Land and Water Conservation Fund support for other national parklands . 

Interviews with Katy Miller Johnson, Peter Behr, Margaret Azevedo, William 
Kahrl, Boyd Stewart, Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey, John D. Ehrlichman. 

Introduction by William J. Duddleson, participant in Point Reyes campaign. 
Interviewed 1990-1991 by Ann Lage and William J. Duddleson. 

Underwritten by Mar in Community Foundation, Mar in County, Mar in Garden 
Club, and various individual donors. 

The Regional Oral History Office would like to thank the following 
organizations and individuals. Their support has made possible this oral 
history of saving the Point Reyes National Seashore. 


Mar in Community Foundation 

Mar in County 

Marin Garden Club 

Point Reyes National Seashore Association 


Mrs. Frederick S. Allen 

Sally and Peter Behr 

Jane P. Chamberlain 

Mrs. Joseph Cooper, Jr. 

Mrs. Ernest W. Denicke 

Jim and Mollie Eschen 

Joan M. Evans 

Inger J. Fair 

Dr. and Mrs. William J. Ferguson, Jr. 

Jerry Friedman 

Elizabeth F. Hammond 

Miranda Heller and F. Jerome Tone IV 

Ruth and Alfred Heller 

Lillian G. Holter 
Mr. and Mrs. Roger Hooper 

Natalie G. Lewis 

Norman B. Livermore 

Janet S. McLenegan 

Margaret G. Molarsky 

Mrs. Joseph Russell Parker 

Mrs. Kent 0. Seymour 

Virginia M. Smith 

Martha M. Steen 

Anne B. Worth 

In Memory of Katv Miller Johnson 

Clare Southerland Bailey 
Richard S. Hahn, M.D. & Family 

Eunice C. Johnson 

Katharine Miller Lasell and Michael Lasell 
Abigail Miller 

Amey Miller 

Marion D. Miller 

Judith Elias Roberts 

Polly 0. Wallace 
Rebecca Wood Watkin 
Clare Miller Watsky 

TABLE OF CONTENTS --Saving Point Reyes National Seashore, 1969-1970: An Oral 
History of Citizen Action in Conservation 


INTRODUCTION --by William Duddleson 


Katy Miller Johnson 
Peter Behr 

Margaret Azevedo 
William L. Kahrl 

Boyd Stewart 

Paul N. "Pete" 
McCloskey, Jr. 

John D. Erlichman 

Catalyst and Citizen-Lobbyist in Washington 1 

Marin County Environmentalist and Political 
Leader: Spearheading the Save Our Seashore 
Campaign 108 

Civic Leader and Save Our Seashore Board 

Member 163 

CORO Intern for the Save Our Seashore 

Campaign 201 

Point Reyes Rancher and Seashore Supporter 228 

An Environmentalist in Congress: Urging 
Presidential Action on Point Reyes 285 

Presidential Assistant with a Bias for Parks 343 




Saving Point Reves National Seashore: An Oral History of Citizen 
Action in Conservation focuses on a crucial period in the history of the 
preservation of the Point Reyes National Seashore. The seven oral history 
interviews in this series document the extraordinarily successful Save Our 
Seashore campaign of 1969-1970, without which Point Reyes as we know it 
today would not exist. They constitute a case study in citizen action for 
the protection of the environment. 

The Seashore was authorized by Congress in 1962 largely through the 
efforts of Marin County and other Bay Area conservationists, led in 
Washington by Congressman Clem Miller and Senator Clair Engle. In the face 
of rising land values, however, the $14 million appropriated for land 
acquisition (raised to $19 million in 1967) proved insufficient to purchase 
seashore lands. By 1969, key ranches within the designated boundaries of 
the seashore were to be sold for development, one of them alone planned for 
4,500 homes. The National Park Service itself was advocating private 
development of shopping centers and housing within park boundaries. 
Although Congress appeared willing to consider increased appropriations for 
the seashore, the Nixon administration refused to release funds set aside 
in the Land and Water Conservation Fund for parklands purchase. The Point 
Reyes National Seashore envisioned in 1962 appeared to be doomed to 
diminishment or destruction. 

To the rescue came an intrepid band of citizen-activists. Oral 
histories with five of these grass-roots campaigners tell the tale of the 
Save Our Seashore effort from the perspective of Marin County and 
Washington, D.C. The first oral history in the series is with Katy Miller 
Johnson, widow of Congressman Miller, who alerted Marin conservationists to 
the threat to Point Reyes and became a skilled citizen lobbyist in 
Washington in its behalf. Next comes the story of Peter Behr, former Marin 
County supervisor and later state senator, who headed up the Save Our 
Seashore [S.O.S.] organization and defined its goal of one million 
signatures on petitions to President Nixon in support of Point Reyes 
funding. Margaret Azevedo, Marin civic leader and member of the S.O.S. 
board, and William Kahrl, a youthful political intern who worked on the 
S.O.S. campaign, recall how the citizen campaign was organized and 
conducted. Boyd Stewart, a Point Reyes rancher who supported the national 
seashore, adds another perspective to the citizen efforts. 

In addition, interviews with then -Congressman Paul N. McCloskey and 
then -Presidential Assistant John Ehrlichman shed light on how the citizen 
pressure may have been translated into a presidential decision to fund the 
Seashore. Eventually, the campaign not only resulted in increased 
appropriations for Point Reyes, but also precipitated the increase and use 


of the resources of the Land and Water Conservation Fund for many other 
uncompleted and proposed national parks . 

Oral histories such as these, which present pictures of the past from 
a variety of viewpoints, inevitably inspire reflections on the nature of 
reality and memory. The careful reader will see that participants sometimes 
recall incidents and assign motivation quite differently, according to their 
own perspectives or a sometimes faulty memory. Some interviewees had vivid 
memories of events ; some reviewed notes before the interviews to prompt 
their recall; some had fairly vague recollections of specifics, but valuable 
information on general principles and motivations. The final answers to all 
our questions on the 1969-1970 efforts undoubtedly are not here; in fact, 
these accounts have served to raise new questions for the serious 
researcher, not only about Point Reyes but about the genesis of the Nixon 
administration's parks and conservation program. Nevertheless, the project 
has preserved a great deal of historical information that previously existed 
only in the memories of these key participants. The oral histories, in 
conjunction with the written documentation and the informed historical 
imagination, will Kelp bring us as close to the truth of the past as the 
historian can aspire to come. 

At the same time, we hope this oral history project will benefit and 
intrigue a wider readership: those visitors to Point Reyes who may now 
better recognize and appreciate the contribution to the Seashore's integrity 
made by involved citizens more than twenty years ago; and those potential 
citizen- activists of tomorrow who may be inspired and instructed by the 
story of an earlier campaign, well conceived and well executed. 

The oral history project was initiated by members of the Marin Garden 
Club, whose interest was kindled by a talk on Save Our Seashore by Peter 
Behr. Believing that the story of this extraordinary grass-roots effort 
should be preserved, Garden Club leader Roberta Ferguson contacted the 
Regional Oral History Office. Mrs. Ferguson and fellow Garden Clubber and 
Marin County civic activist Natalie Lewis helped formulate the project 
proposal, took the lead on raising necessary funds, and supplied endless 
encouragement to this office. Support for the project came from the Marin 
Community Foundation, the Board of Supervisors of Marin County (with special 
thanks to Supervisor Gary Giacomini) , the Point Reyes National Seashore 
Association, individual donors from the Marin Garden Club, and friends of 
Katy Miller Johnson. 

The introduction to the volume is by William J. Duddleson, who as 
legislative assistant to Congressman Clem Miller was involved in the initial 
authorization of the Point Reyes Seashore. He was also at Katy Johnson's 
side at the May 1969 congressional hearing when she learned of the threat 
to Point Reyes, and he worked with her throughout the 1969-1970 campaign. 
Because Bill Duddleson took part in the Save Our Seashore campaign's eastern 
front in Washington D.C., rather than in the San Francisco Bay Area where 


most of the citizen action took place, the context that the introduction 
provides for these events of 1969-1970 is largely from the perspective of 
the national capital. 

At the present time, Mr. Duddleson lives in Bethesda, Maryland, and is 
writing a history of the Point Reyes National Seashore. We are grateful to 
him for his valuable research and editorial assistance. He provided copies 
of the documents from the White House archives which shaped the McCloskey 
and Erhlichman interviews- -some of which are included in interview 
appendices. In addition, he conducted the interview with John Ehrlichman 
and helped with the editing of the Katy Johnson interview after her death. 
His volunteer assistance has added to the scope, depth, and accuracy of this 
project at every stage. 

The completed volume of interviews in the series is in The Bancroft 
Library, at UCLA, in many Marin County repositories, the Library of 
Congress, and other libraries nationwide with an interest in environmental 
history. The original tape recordings of the interview sessions are in The 
Bancroft Library. We are gratified to have had a role in documenting this 
inspiring story of how environmentally aware citizens of Marin County and 
the Bay Area, led by a band of committed and knowledgeable individuals, made 
possible the completion of Point Reyes National Seashore as we know it 
today . 

Ann Lage 

Berkeley, California 
December 1992 



During a visit to Point Reyes the other day I walked along Coast 
Trail atop the white cliffs that bound the grand sweeping crescent of 
Drakes Bay. My companions included a procession of brown pelicans flying 
alongside in single filenow at nearly my altitude, now skimming the 
shining sea --as they, too, moved down the coast. 

It was May and each petal in the constellation of wildflowers around 
ae was waving and nodding with the winds of spring. Overhead, a hawk (a 
red- tail?) cried keeerrr as it spiraled on the updrafts from the warming 
cliffs. Three black- tailed deer, frozen in tableau, watched me. 
Glancing above them to Inverness Ridge, the peninsula's backdrop as one 
looks east toward "the mainland," I smiled with the thought that up there 
somewhere is the spirit of wilderness itself, the mountain lion I'd seen 
on an earlier visit, stalking deer along the edge of a Mount Vision 
meadow . 1 

At a low point in the cliffs I continued my walk on the beach. 
Right on cue, it seemed to me, a dark arc broke the bay's surface and 
then a spout of vapor- -and alongside another, smaller, spout. Whales, 
California grays, mother and calf I assumed, in mid-passage from a 
birthing bay in Baja to Alaska and perhaps beyond. When I could no 
longer see the spouts and turned to resume my own passage, the round head 
and curved whiskers of a seal rose silently from the water, just inside 
the surf. After its limpid eyes looked at me a long moment, it just as 
silently submerged. 

I remember shaking my head in wonder, yet again, at the marvels of 
this meeting place of ocean and granite, moors and esteros, pine and 
chaparral, of fir-serrated ridgeline and constantly changing sky. 

What You Don't See 

As I walked on I sought to imagine the peninsula other than as we 
visitors find it today- -now that most of it, 100 square miles of it, is 
the unit of the National Park System called Point Reyes National 
Seashore, and most of the Seashore is protected further as part of the 
National Wilderness Preservation System. As I looked around me I sought 
to see, in my mind's eye, another Point Reyes, the one it nearly became: 

1 Jules Evens describes the mountain lion as "the spirit of wilderness 1 * in 
his superb book, The Natural History of Point Reves Peninsula, published in 
1988 by the Point Reyes National Seashore Association. A second edition is 
scheduled for 1993. 

covered with much the same urban paraphernalia as the suburban and 
metropolitan concentrations just over the ridge and beyond the hills of 
West Mar in and just down the coast. 

In one sense the most beautiful vistas on this peninsula today are, 
as one friend of Point Reyes has observed, "what you don't see." 2 
Imagine : 

* Subdivision houses and condos, on the "best view parcels" 
overlooking Drakes Bay, together with motels, gas stations, 
shopping centers. 

* "Scenic roads" along much of the peninsula's ocean shoreline, 
with parking "viewpoints" at Double Point, Tomales Point, and 
along the Drakes Bay cliffs. 

* Limantour Estero dredged and dammed into a fresh -water 
impoundment for motor boats . 

* A cable railway to the top of Inverness Ridge. 

* On Limantour Spit, the barrier of dune and beach that protects 
its estuary from the sea, a marina, store and parking lot, and a 
wall of houses facing Drakes Bay. 

Each of these things you don't see at Point Reyes today was planned, 
and some began to be carried out, by either subdividers or by officials 
of the National Park Service. 

Today, it seems so right, so almost inevitable, that Point Reyes 
should be as it is, with its distinctive landforms, its peninsular unity 
revealed to our eyes, still essentially whole and intact- -and with its 
wondrous diversity of plant and animal communities still essentially 
natural . 

Today's Point Reyes didn't, of course, just happen. Its achievement 
is a story of at least sixty years of tenacity by some determined men and 
women, some of them in government, most of them private citizens. 

This series of interviews by The Bancroft Library's Regional Oral 
History Office is concerned with one of the determining chapters in that 
story: the "Save Our Seashore" campaign of 1969-1970. The seven people 

2 I'm indebted for this thought to Jerry Friedman, a member of the 
citizens advisory commission for PRNS and chairman of the Marin County 
Planning Commission, who expressed it during remarks at a celebration of the 
Seashore's thirtieth birthday in September 1992. 


interviewed testify to a citizen-action enterprise that succeeded far 
beyond the dreams of those who set it in motion and led it. 

This citizen venture was accomplished during the fifth and sixth of 
the nine years of the U.S. war in Vietnam, which cost 58,000 American 
lives and I don't know how many billions of American dollars. Whatever 
the amount, federal funds available for other purposes were curtailed. 
The tragic ordeal of the war and the accompanying domestic turmoil did 
not make it easier to get agreement of national leaders to reorder budget 
priorities to save one park. 

A Troubled Patchwork 

In the spring of '69, nearly seven years after it had been 
authorized by an act of Congress signed into law by President John 
Kennedy, Point Reyes National Seashore was exactly what a New York Times 
reporter said it was: "A patchwork park in trouble." Severe trouble: 

* Less than half the land within the park's boundaries- -ten 
scattered parcels --had been acquired by the government, and only 
a third of its eighty- four miles of shoreline. 

* The money had run out. Rapidly escalating land costs, spurred by 
creation of the park, had absorbed not only the initial $14 
million appropriation, but an additional $5 million provided in 

* Within the park's boundaries, on Inverness Ridge, primeval 
Douglas firs were being cut by logging crews while a sawmill 
whined- -activities county and state officials said they were 
powerless to halt. Subdividers had no difficulties getting 
building permits from the Marin County government. In addition 
to eighteen houses already built on or adjacent to Limantour 
Spit, the adjacent upland had been surveyed into 3,500 lots. To 
the south, on the 2, 400 -acre Lake Ranch, "jewel of the 
peninsula," bulldozers were scraping streets. One real estate 
firm advertised ocean-view lots "from $5,500," and added the 
assurance, "The National Seashore is Washing Away in Washington." 

That line in a "Drakes Bay Estates" newspaper ad wasn't an entirely 
inaccurate summary of what was happening in Washington early in '69. 

It had been two years since the Park Service had been able to buy 
any land at Point Reyes. President Richard Nixon, who took office in 
January of '69, sent his first budget message to Congress soon 
thereafter. It included a cut of nearly 40 percent in the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund, sole source of land- acquisition money for national 
parks . 


Rather than the $200-million annual Fund level authorized a year 
earlier to get on top of the parkland cost -escalation problem, Nixon 
supported $124 million. At that level the Park Service share, for all 
its parks, would be $17 million, of which nothing was earmarked for Point 
Reyes. Previously, the Park Service had estimated the cost of completing 
Point Reyes alone at $38 million. 

Nevertheless, for a few weeks in the spring of '69 it appeared the 
inaction in Washington might be about to end. Reacting to the 
construction and destruction going on at Point Reyes, twenty-eight 
California members of the House, of both parties, sponsored a bill to 
authorize the $38 million. On the other side of the Capitol, Senator 
Alan Cranston, a Democrat, introduced the same bill- -for himself and for 
its co -sponsor, George Murphy, California's senior senator, a Republican. 
Despite the Nixon administration's initial cut in the Conservation Fund 
program, some hoped that could be changed. After all, six months earlier 
candidate Nixon had said "investments for conservation" should "escape 
the budget knife" because this is "the last place for Americans to be 

In April, in response to the California congressmen who wanted 
action on Point Reyes, the chairman of the House Interior Committee, 
Wayne Aspinall, a Democrat from Colorado, announced his national parks 
subcommittee would hold a hearing on May 13th. As is customary, he asked 
the administration for its recommendation. Prospects for favorable 
action appeared good. 

The Budget Bureau's Surprise 

However, as subcommittee chairman Roy Taylor, a North Carolina 
Democrat, called the hearing to order on May 13th, Wayne Aspinall erupted 
in indignation. Aspinall on occasion displayed chairmanship style that 
could be described as that of an angry wasp. That day he had cause to be 

He had, Aspinall said, just been handed the Nixon administration's 
"departmental report" on the Point Reyes legislation. It meant, he said, 
that while the day's hearing might produce some facts and thus "is not 
exactly a waste of time, it comes about as near to it as can be." The 
report, in the form of a letter to Aspinall signed by Russell Train, 
undersecretary of the Interior Department (of which the National Park 
Service is a part), recommended enactment, provided the dollar amount was 
limited to $28 million, $10 million less than the pending bill called for 
and the Park Service had said was needed. 

What angered Aspinall wasn't the $10-million shortfall, but rather 
the omission of a Bureau of the Budget clearance statement, whichuntil 
then (and since) --had been included in all such reports to Congress on 


pending legislation. This standard paragraph says, in effect, that the 
report has been cleared with the Budget Bureau (a part of the Executive 
Office of the President) and is consistent with the president's program. 
Instead, in this instance the report said the Budget Bureau "will express 
its concern with the implication of the Point Reyes legislation in a 
separate letter." That, the chairman said, "says nothing at all." He 
asked for an unambiguous statement of one coordinated administration 
position, and said that while the day's hearing could go ahead, the 
legislation itself would not until he received such a statement. 

After hearing testimony in support of $38 million from five 
California congressmen- -including Don Clausen, a Crescent City Republican 
whose district included Point Reyes, and Jeffery Cohelan, a Berkeley 
Democrat who had enlisted most of the twenty-eight House co-sponsors, the 
director of the National Park Service, George Hartzog, testified. He 
gave those in the hearing room who wanted to see the promise of Point 
Reyes realized their second bad news of the day. 

The Sell-Off Plan 

Hartzog expounded on a Park Service/Interior Department plan to sell 
9,208 acres (more than fourteen square miles) inside the Seashore's 
boundaries to developers for private residential subdivisions and related 
commercial uses. He estimated the government would "recoup" about $10 
million by buying land on the slopes of Inverness Ridge from its rancher 
owners, and then selling it to others for development. Coincidentally, 
Hartzog explained, the latest Park Service estimate of the cost to 
complete land acquisition at Point Reyes was now only $28 million. 

Hartzog said the selloff -for -subdivision plan (not his term) had 
been developed by the Park Service based on experience of some public 
utilities that had recovered part of reservoir project costs by selling 
reservoir shoreline land for subdivision. "We can do well at Point Reyes 
because we have a more active market . . . and a more attractive 
environment," he said, adding: "At some point we have got to try it, and 
I believe this is the place." 

Among the spectators at the hearing was Katy Miller Johnson, a 
former resident of Mar in County who then lived in Washington. She was 
forty- two years old and the widow of Clem Miller, a California member of 
the House from '59 to '62 and prime -mover in Congress of the legislation 
that authorized this national seashore in '62. 

During the hearing's lunch break following Hartzog' s startling 
testimony, Katy and I returned early to the empty hearing room. 
Noticing, in a corner of the room, what appeared to be several Park 
Service exhibits not used during Hartzog' s presentation, we looked at 


them and saw a perspective drawing of one of the planned subdivisions 
inside the park. 

Hartzog's presentation on the plan had, naturally enough, been cast 
exclusively in positive terms. Development would be "low density." 
Restrictions would "assure compatibility with the Seashore's objectives." 
And so on. The plan's full implications were not immediately apparent to 
all at the hearing because it was presented as part of a "private 
development zone," consisting mostly of ranchlands where ranching use 
would continue- -a non- controversial provision of the '62 act. 

The drawing, by contrast, communicated with unambiguous clarity. It 
showed streets, houses, stores, a gas station, with country club and golf 
course to boot. And, lest there be any doubt this was to be up-scale, a 
polo field. 

Twenty- one years later, during her oral history interview, Katy 
remembered that day's revelations, including the impact of the 
unexhibited exhibit-. She was, she recalled, "just staggered." She was 
also outraged- -most noticeably when she first saw what the sell-off plan, 
being promoted as compatible with the Seashore, would actually look like. 
Her first moments of outrage ("cold fury" were the words she used at the 
time) were, I suggest, the genesis of the Save Our Seashore campaign. 

Outrage to Action 

Before the day was over, Katy had begun to turn her outrage into 
energy. That evening she began to write a letter. She addressed it to a 
member of the national parks subcommittee who had been a stalwart friend 
of Point Reyes during the 1959-1962 legislative struggle, and who was her 
friend: Harold (Bizz) Johnson, of Roseville (Sacramento County). 

"Dear Bizz," she wrote, "I am terribly worried about Point Reyes 
. . . Never has it been as threatened with so little time to protect it 
as it is today." She soon closed in on the sell-off plan: "At this exact 
point of crisis in the land acquisition program, the Seashore faces a 
wholly new threat posed by its guardian, the Interior Department." She 
attacked both the scheme's legality and its validity as public policy. 
She reported what she'd seen that the subcommittee hadn't: "During the 
luncheon recess I saw in the hearing room an elaborate drawing, prepared 
by the Park Service, of one of the two private commercial subdivisions 
contemplated at Point Reyes. . . . Mr. Hartzog spoke of 'low density' 
development. This drawing depicted high density . . . complete with a 
shopping center, motel, marina, and country club with golf course ..." 

Katy mailed hundreds of copies of that letter, her first venture in 
lobbying. She sent it to every Californian in Congress and every member 
of the House Interior Committee, to other key members of Congress, and to 

other friends in Washington including congressional spouses. She sent it 
to leaders of national conservation groups, to people in the Bay Area she 
thought might have an interest in Point Reyes or ought to, and to friends 
(and, she hoped, soon- to-be friends) in the working press. With each 
copy she included a personal note, and news stories reporting the 
May 13th hearing and the damage being done at Point Reyes. She also 
asked citizens to send "individual thoughtful letters" to four people in 
Washington: President Nixon, Senator Murphy, House subcommittee chairman 
Taylor, and Alan Bible, chairman of the key subcommittee on the Senate 
side. She said she was convinced "the whole of the National Seashore at 
Point Reyes will be saved if citizens who care mobilize themselves in its 
support --NOW." 

Senator Murphy, never closely identified with conservation causes, 
was on her target list on an assumption Nixon wanted to see him remain in 
the Senate. Murphy, a former actor, movie industry publicist, and 
resident of Beverly Hills, had not run well in northern California when 
he was elected to the Senate five years earlier. He was up for 
re-election in 1970. Through June, and hot July, and into hot and muggy 
August Katy sought to stimulate press interest in the Point Reyes crisis, 
and called on people in Washington she thought could do something about 

When she and members of her family (Katy and her second husband 
Stuart Johnson had nine children between them) , plus friends and 
neighbors, gathered for an envelope -stuff ing evening, copies of the 
latest news stories provided the bulk of the stuffing. Her idea was to 
show public support and media interest, so as to, in her words, "validate 
what we were doing" --while the stalemate triggered by the Budget Bureau's 
silence on Point Reyes continued in Washington. One of the high points 
in press coverage was when the New York Times sent a reporter and 
photographer to Point Reyes and a splendid full-page article resulted. 
Katy set that coup in motion by talking Point Reyes to a friend, the wife 
of the chief of the Times' Washington Bureau. 

In visiting with people in Washington, she had most success in 
seeing who she wanted to see on Capitol Hill regardless of political 
affiliation. Her interview includes a description of how she used her 
status as the widow of a well -regarded member of Congress to gain access 
to just about anyone in the House or Senate. Access, of course, isn't 
necessarily agreement. The senator who would have most to say about the 
future of Point Reyes was Senator Bible, a Nevada Democrat. He heard her 
out, and wouldn't budge from his stance that on Point Reyes it was the 
turn of "the other body" (the House) --me an ing of Interior Committee 
Chairman Wayne Aspinall--to act first. He told her he wouldn't even hold 
a hearing until he had in his hand a House -passed bill. 


By August, as Aspinall continued to wait for the Budget Bureau to 
drop the other shoe, and the Budget Bureau continued to refuse to explain 
its "concern with the implication" of the Point Reyes legislation, it had 
become clear time was running out. In ninety days or so Congress would 
adjourn its 1969 session, and that probably would mean another full 
years' delay- -a year that would see more of Point Reyes paved and logged. 
Katy and her co- conspirators decided their only hope, in her words, to 
"unstick the stalemate" was undeniable evidence of citizen concern on a 
massive scale. This could only be done by those who knew Point Reyes 
best, people of the Bay Area. 

One of Katy's friends had been keeping her informed of the fate, in 
Sacramento that summer, of a bill to make permanent the still -temporary 
San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission- -BCDC. Some 
legislators and Governor Ronald Reagan were blocking the BCDC bill. In 
response, a "Save the Bay" movement swamped the state capitol with 
letters, petitions and busloads of irate citizens. On one occasion, 
hundreds of people holding petitions, fastened together in a long chain, 
formed a ring around the Capitol building. The uprising worked. Enough 
nay- saying legislators and the governor finally decided they'd rather 
switch and become Bay savers too. The bill was enacted August 7th. 

Starting a Citizen Campaign 

Katy knew of the Save the Bay victory when she began to gather up 
her papers and pack her bags. The next week she flew to San Francisco to 
sound the alarm, with a hope that some of the cadre of seasoned 
conservation activists who had saved the Bay might now be available for 
another cause. She hoped to set in motion a citizen campaign on the Save 
the Bay model, broadly based, nonpartisan, and audacious. And, inasmuch 
as the principal problem in Washington was a Republican administration's 
budget priorities, it could be advantageous if the leader of such a new 
campaign was a Republican. 

In the Bay Area Katy called on conservation leaders. One of them 
was Peter Behr, a fifty- three -year -old most happy warrior in the Save the 
Bay battle, a former Mill Valley city councilman and Marin County 
supervisor who happened to be a Republican. They discussed the rapidly 
closing window of opportunity in Washington, and the need to act quickly. 
Fortunately for all that was to follow, Peter Behr, after thinking it 
over for a few days, volunteered to chair what he suggested be called 
Save Our Seashore. In his first note to Katy he said, "Now that San 
Francisco Bay has obtained a reprieve from the spoilers, a ... 
political victory which represents the triumph of people power over 
pelf," he was looking forward to trying to unlock the $38 million 
required to complete Point Reyes . 


He proposed a single target: "There are too many villains against 
us, and too little time left, to do other than go to the very source of 
power, the president himself ... I suggest, therefore, that the 
campaign (be) exclusively . . . directed to President Nixon, urging his 
personal intervention to save the Seashore." He also proposed a single 
weapon system: petitions. And, he set a goal: a round million 
signatures. Behr knew that Nixon, too, hadn't run well in the Bay Area 
in his last election. Katy responded that while she agreed with a 
petition drive as the campaign's major mode, she considered it essential 
that Nixon, and the key congressional trio she had targeted, receive 
thousands of individual letters. Peter agreed to include letter writing 
in the battle plan. But the petitions were his thing and many of the 
subsequent letters were produced by members of the Sierra Club, whose new 
executive director, Mike McCloskey- -on whom Katy also had called during 
her trip west took on that task as well as circulating petitions. 

The Curmudgeon and the Bureau of the Budget 

Upon her return to Washington Katy continued her face -to -face 
lobbying, including a visit with Wayne Aspinall, who was, as Katy 
understated it in her interview, no darling of the conservation movement. 
Aspinall was one of the most curmudgeonous congressional chieftains of 
modern times; happily, Katy rather liked curmudgeons. She was 
experienced in this realm, she said in her interview, because her father 
was something of a curmudgeon himself. From the beginning she approached 
the crusty chairman- -who probably held life or death power over the 
future of the Seashore --not as an opponent, but as a potential ally. 

She hadn't included him on her list of targets for letters, not 
wanting to get his back up any more than it already was, and she figured 
he'd know of the mail his subcommittee chairman, Roy Taylor, was getting. 
At one point she asked the S.O.S. campaign not to attack Aspinall, as one 
of its spokesmen once did. She saw him not only as a terrible tempered 
chairman with an anti-conservationist reputation, but also a 
seventy -three -year -old man who had just lost his wife and brother. As 
she told her interviewer, "I was in a cold rage over the whole situation, 
but I was not translating that into relationships with individual 
people. " 

The gist of her approach to Aspinall was, "Why should you continue 
to take public criticism when the fault is with the administration? If 
you advance the bill, citizens then will concentrate the heat where it 
belongs: on the president." 


She felt her relationship with the chairman might be improving 
when- -after she'd given him two books about Point Reyes 3 - -he wrote to 
say he'd enjoyed reading them, and addressed her as "Dear Katharine." 
However, so long as the president's Budget Bureau continued to stonewall 
him, he refused to move on Point Reyes. 

Recently Aspinall had suffered the humiliation of seeing a bill 
approved by his committee and sent to the floor of the House with his 
support, go down to defeat. He was determined never to let that happen 
again. To subject a bill with a $38 -million price tag to a vote of his 
peers in the House, when he didn't know the president's position, was a 
risk he didn't have to take. Committee chairmen who lose floor votes 
lose influence. This early in a new president's term, particularly, he 
would expect almost all the Republicans, as well as some of the more 
conservative Democrats, to follow Nixon's lead if the administration 
chose to make the Point Reyes bill a "spending" and "inflation" vote. 

On September 10th Senator Murphy sent a letter to the president 
requesting a favorable Budget Bureau report on Point Reyes and asking for 
a meeting with him. 

That same day, four months after the House hearing, the Budget 
Bureau broke its silence by sending an extraordinary letter to Aspinall. 
Robert Mayo, Nixon's appointee as budget director, said, in effect, that 
while the administration "would have no objection to the enactment" of 
the pending Point Reyes legislation, funds to buy the land were not 
"likely to become available" for three years, at least. 

That is, even if Congress passed and the president signed both the 
pending bill authorizing the $38 million, and implementing appropriations 
bills, the Park Service would not be able to buy land at Point Reyes 
until 1973 at the earliest. The reality that on the peninsula itself 
bulldozers were busy, trees falling, and land prices rising wasn't 

The letter was an early instance of a threat to take a type of 
executive act ion --impoundment of appropriated funds --that the Nixon 
administration was to use increasingly to kill or postpone programs it 
didn't favor. The device avoided risking override votes by Congress that 
would have been possible if Nixon had used his power to veto, in their 
entirety, bills passed by Congress. Impoundment was of dubious 
constitutionality, and Congress and Nixon's successor agreed to put a 

books were Island in Time. Harold Gilliam's classic (with 
photographs by Philip Hyde), Sierra Club/Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962 
(second, revised, edition 1973), and Wild Peninsula. Laura Nelson Baker, New 
York [Atheneum] , 1969. 


stop to it five years later in the 1974 Budget Reform Act. Meantime, the 
threat to use it, implied in the Budget Bureau letter, raised the ante in 
the executive -versus -legislative confrontation over the future of Point 
Reyes . 

The S.Q,g, Campaigners 

In California, the bad news in that letter spurred on the S.O.S. 
campaigners who had wasted little time getting organized. Peter Behr's 
sense of now-or-never urgency can be illustrated in his rejection of a 
proposal that S.O.S. should form a regional alliance of conservation and 
civic organizations. No time, he said: "Like the Dipsea Race (an 
over -the -mountains -to -the -sea free-for-all that attracts a horde of 
runners to Marin County every year), let's get everybody down to Lytton 
Square, figuratively speaking, shoot off the starting gun, and get each 
runner going as fast as he or she can in the same direction." 

S.O.S. was even more ecumenical than the Save the Bay campaign. 
Margaret Azevedo, a key member of the S.O.S. board, recalled in her 
interview how the campaign's thrust from the beginning was to "reach out 
and pull in others." At the board's first meeting, she remembered 
Peter- -speaking of the conservationist community that traditionally had 
provided the troops for such causes --saying, "You can't get off the 
ground if you depend on the few faithful martyrs . " 

Peter Behr employed what one of the campaign's student volunteers, 
Bill Kahrl, described in his interview as a talent for political theater. 
For one thing, Peter used the S.O.S. petitions as visual props. They 
could not only be signed, but photographed, on cardtables in shopping 
centers all across the Bay Area. Peter, who wasn't shy about starring in 
his own production, could be depended upon for a succinct quote for the 
next morning's paper and that evening's TV news. Once, after noting the 
Bay Area's population was California's fastest growing, he added: "God 
will provide more babies in the future but not more seashore." One of 
the campaign's memorable newspaper and TV images is of Chairman Peter, 
alongside stacks of signed petitions, arms in the air, eyes wide with 
astonishment at their towering height. 

Soon after the Budget Bureau's letter arrived in Wayne Aspinall's 
office, a member of his staff got to Katy a most unusual private message. 
It would be useful, he said, if she sent another of her letters to 
Chairman Aspinall, with copies to all members of his committee. Her 
letter should ask him to convene the committee to consider what should be 
done about all the pending park funding authorization bills, in view of 
the Budget Bureau letter, and emphasize that Congress, too, has a 
constitutional role in setting budget priorities. And, incidentally, the 
letter should ask the committee to approve the Point Reyes bill. 


She did this, of course. Her letter, intended to strengthen 
backbones of members of Congress not yet ready to challenge the president 
on a "spending" issue, closed with a challenge: "1 hope your Committee 
will decide this is a sufficiently significant issue for the House of 
Representatives to reassert its constitutional authority over funding 
priorities, and that you will persevere with the enduring work you have 
begun for the benefit of all our people." She enclosed, as usual, news 
stories and editorials reporting the growing momentum of the S.O.S. 
campaign, about unfunded park needs elsewhere, and bipartisan support for 
Point Reyes. 

The surprising request for such a letter, which she assumed was at 
Aspinall's direction, suggested that he had decided to act on Point 
Reyes. However, four days later he saw he didn't yet have enough of his 
committee members, Republicans especially, with him- -even though the 
senior Republican, John Saylor of Pennsylvania, was ready to take a stand 
apart from the administration. So Aspinall used the meeting as a sort of 
educational forum, with news reporters present, to inform the country of 
the other uncompleted parks that also needed more money and of the 
proposals for new parks that were on hold because of the impasse. 

"We have," Aspinall said, "a half-billion-dollar backlog in 
authorized but unfunded land acquisition programs in the National Park 
System alone. Because the Executive (branch), having once given its 
approval (to a five-year, $200-million-a-year catch-up schedule), then 
changes its mind, the work we do here is useless . . . The administration 
isn't willing to go ahead. It's time to quit fooling with the people by 
authorizing more." That said, the chairman announced he was canceling 
further consideration by his committee of all national park 
funding -authorization bills, including of course Point Reyes. Now he, 
and John Saylor too, would wait and see how the country reacted. 

An Unexpected Connection 

Another reaction to the Budget Bureau letter was the outrage felt by 
Paul (Pete) McCloskey, a California Republican congressman from San Mateo 
County, who had testified for Point Reyes at the hearing four months 
earlier. When I told Congressman McCloskey of the letter, he immediately 
phoned "someone at the White House" (he explained) to protest. The 
someone turned out to be John Ehrlichman, President Nixon's principal 
assistant for domestic affairs. The two men had been friends at Stanford 
Law School and now they and their families were neighbors. They even 
shared the same carpool; both were driven to work in Ehrlichman' s White 
House limo. 

Responding to his friend's concern about Point Reyes and insistence 
that the policy expressed in the Budget Bureau was a mistake for the 
Nixon administration, Ehrlichman had a member of his staff ask Budget 


Bureau officials to explain the letter, the options for Point Reyes, and 
"how we can get additional funding" for Point Reyes. 4 

In October Katy Johnson learned someone in the administration was 
promoting an alternative future for Point Reyes even worse than the Park 
Service's selloff-for-subdivision plan. She heard rumors on Capitol Hill 
that members of the House were being sounded out by administration 
representatives on a scheme to shrink the park in order to reduce costs. 
A reliable newsman reported that two key sponsors of the Point Reyes 
legislation were considering amending their bill. One congressional 
assistant asked her, "Which parts of Point Reyes are most important?" 
Inside -the -commit tee ally Bizz Johnson asked her to generate mail 
supporting retention of the boundaries set seven years earlier. For 
expert support on this score Katy called on George L. Collins, a Marin 
County resident and retired National Park Service planner who had played 
the lead role in delineating those boundaries. In the main, they were 
based on the lay of the land itself, largely its natural watershed and 
"viewshed" boundaries. Seeking to nail down the rumors, she saw Park 
Service Director Hartzog, who implied that Bureau of the Budget officials 
were the ones pushing for a smaller park. Writing to Point Reyes 
stalwarts in Marin the next day, Katy reported, "Hartzog is clearly not 
committed to the boundaries, but he ... feels terribly pressured by the 

Details of the shrink -the -park proposal became known to her years 
later when she saw an October 1, 1969, memo to Ehrlichman from a Budget 
Bureau official. 5 After noting the "checkerboard pattern" of lands 
acquired by the Park Service, and listing several options, he described 
this one, "if there is a decision to make further acquisitions" at Point 
Reyes: Make "only sufficient additional acquisitions ... to have a 
manageable unit (or units) with largely contiguous Federal ownership 
..." The memo added that this option had been "strongly opposed" a few 
months earlier by Interior Secretary Train and Director Hartzog. 

Before the end of October the pace of events began to pick up. Word 
that the administration-caused stalemate over one park in California now 
also adversely affected the future of dozens of others across the country 
was being widely reported by both the national press and conservation 
groups. Members of Aspinall's committee, administration loyalists 
included, were hearing from House colleagues concerned about the other 
national seashores in the same fix as Point Reyes --Cape Cod, 

4 Document in the Nixon Presidential Materials files, held by the 
Presidential Libraries unit of the National Archives and Records 
Administration, in Alexandria, Virginia. 

5 Nixon Presidential Materials files, National Archives. 


Massachusetts; Padre Island, Texas; and Assateague Island, Virginia and 
Maryland- -and about other uncompleted parks and proposed new parks. Katy 
Johnson saw to it that each member of the committee received news 
articles and editorials from across the country reflecting, she said in 
her covering Katygram, "a remarkable growth, over the past two months, of 
public awareness" of the "misplaced priorities" of Nixon's Budget Bureau. 

On October 10th Pete McCloskey wrote to Ehrlichman's office: "The 
president should indicate now that he will allocate the required funds 
(for Point Reyes) if Congress does its part." Shortly thereafter, 
McCloskey became increasingly involved in anti- Vietnam War actions. On 
October 15 he Joined a huge antiwar demonstration in Washington, and on 
October 23 he introduced a resolution to terminate the Gulf of Tonkin 
resolution of 1965, upon which Nixon, as had Lyndon Johnson before him, 
relied heavily for authority to continue the undeclared war. No further 
communication between McCloskey and Ehrlichman's office is on file in 
Nixon White House material; it appears that this connection, which first 
turned White House attention to Point Reyes, may have been broken as 
McCloskey 's antiwar activities gathered momentum in mid-October. 

The Chairman Makes His Move 

On November 6th Wayne Aspinall began to make his move. He announced 
his parks subcommittee would meet November 13th to act on the Point Reyes 
bill. The six-month stalemate was unstuck. 

The chairman had decided enough of the once -reluctant administration 
loyalists on his committee were now with him. Now he could take the fate 
of Point Reyes to a vote on the House floor with confidence he would 
prevail. Bizz Johnson, that dependable champion of Point Reyes from 
inside the parks subcommittee, told Katy that Aspinall "had decided to 
let the folks downtown (that is, in the White House) feel the heat 
alone . " 

The Save Our Seashore petitions apparently began arriving in 
Washington, en masse, early in November. Although each petition 
was addressed to Nixon ("Mr. President: Only you can save Point Reyes 
. . ."), S.O.S. shipped the bundles of signed petitions to Congressman 
Clausen and Senator Murphy, with a request they be forwarded to the White 
House . 

On November 13th, the same day Taylor's subcommittee resumed work on 
the Point Reyes bill, John Whitaker, a deputy to Ehrlichman, reported 
this event to Ehrlichman. 6 Whitaker also said the House Appropriations 
Committee (presumably anticipating enactment of the authorization bill) 

*Nixon Presidential Materials files, National Archives. 


was about to include more than $30 million for Point Reyes in the 
Interior Department's annual appropriations bill and "make political hay 
of it." 

Thus, he said, the president was about to be "run over" by Congress 
and "the Democrats will collect the credit." Whitaker saw no chance the 
president subsequently would veto the entire Interior appropriations 
bill, although he could veto the Point Reyes bill- -"but at great 
political expense . . . the political pressure on this one is extremely 
high." For example, Congressman Clausen "now has 250,000 petitions for 
purchase of the park." Whitaker recommended "the president beat the 
Democrats to the punch" by announcing that he supports funding to 
complete Point Reyes promptly and "do it in the most dramatic way 
possible." He added a final recommendation: Assuming it's "a real fact" 
that "we have gone through our $192.9-billion budget level" (ceiling for 
the current fiscal year) , then the money should come from some other 
program, e.g., cancel a space shot." 

On the 14th, Taylor's subcommittee reported out the bill to 
authorize the full $38 million and Aspinall gave it a fast track for 
approval by the full Interior committee. 

An Oval Office Meeting and Passage of the Point Reves Legislation 

Four days later Aspinall, Murphy, and Clausen were invited to the 
White House. When they emerged from a fifteen-minute Oval Office meeting 
with Nixon (and Whitaker) they told reporters the administration's policy 
on Point Reyes had been changed. "The president has given us assurance," 
Murphy said, he will support funding to complete the park. Clausen said 
that he (Clausen) had received petitions with some 350,000 signatures in 
support of Point Reyes and that Murphy had 200,000 to 300,000 more. 
Aspinall explained the president had agreed that when Congress passed the 
necessary legislation "the funds will be forthcoming." And, Aspinall 
added, "this great Seashore . . . can become a reality . . . and the 
federal government will have kept its promise to the people originally 
involved" (i.e., seven years earlier). 

Celebration by Seashore savers in the Bay Area and Washington was, 
however, soon dampened. The cold water was tossed by a man who over the 
years had been a friend of Point Reyes: John Saylor of Pennsylvania, the 
Interior Committee's senior Republican. When Saylor, who hadn't been 
invited to the Oval Office meeting, learned of that meeting and of 
Nixon's support for Point Reyes and Point Reyes only, Saylor vowed to 
fight the Point Reyes bill in committee and on the House floor. "It 
isn't going anywhere," he announced. What he opposed, Saylor explained, 
was making an exception to save one park while others, similarly plagued 
by land- cost escalation, remained unfunded. 


over the years have guided funding of the national park program are 
thrown out the window." If a president is permitted to single out one 
park and provide money for it alone- -in order, Saylor implied, to help 
someone from his own home state win re-election- -it "will establish a 
strictly political procedure* for deciding national park priorities. He 
listed some forty other parks that also needed money for completion. 

During Aspinall's meeting with Nixon (Whi taker reported in a 
confidential memo to the Budget Bureau) Aspinall "came at the president 
pretty hard" for not funding other parks also in need of land- acquisition 
money. 7 Aspinall, it turned out, had not only asked Nixon's support for 
full -funding of the Conservation Fund, but had said his price for Point 
Reyes (which he now knew Nixon wanted) would be not only the $38 million 
for it, but also $26 million to buy land at Cape Cod and Padre Island, as 
well as at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona and Nevada. 
Nixon agreed to the $26 million but not to $200 million a year for the 
Conservation Fund. 

Aspinall moved the Point Reyes bill out of the Interior Committee 
December 3rd (with Saylor alone voting "no" and filing a scathing 
minority report), but delayed taking it to a House vote while he- -and 
Saylor --continued their separate negotiations with the administration. 

For two months administration envoys courted Saylor, the adamant 
senior member of their party. One Interior Department official found him 
"difficult to handle." The chief lobbyist for the White House found him 
immovable, and explained: "What really upsets Big John is that the 
Conservation Fund is still frozen and an exception is being made for 
California. He says, ' What's good for the Bear State is good for the 
rest of the country.'" 8 

Katy Johnson, too, called on Saylor. She found him "sorrowful" at 
having to oppose Point Reyes. But, "he had his heels completely dug in" 
on the larger issue at stake," she recalled in her interview. She told 
him she understood his position was a matter of principle which she 
respected. And she made sure her materials sent to members of Congress 
and to S.O.S. and others urged support for the Conservation Fund program 
as a whole as well as for Point Reyes. These materials included a 
monster mailing she, with family and friends, assembled- -together with a 
Sierra Club "Island in Time" poster and a "Dear Colleague" letter from 

7 Nixon Presidential Materials files, National Archives. 
'Nixon Presidential Materials files, National Archives. 

Bizz Johnson- -on the eve of the House vote on the $38 -million 
authorization bill. It was sent to all 435 House members. 

Aspinall held Point Reyes hostage and didn't let that vote take 
place until February 10, 1970, nearly three months after the Oval Office 
meeting. It took that long for him and Say lor --two wily veterans of such 
contests of wills- -to get what they wanted from the administration. 
Aspinall waited, for one thing, until he had proof positive Nixon would 
keep the first of his Oval Office pledges: include in his next budget 
support for a $7 -million immediate appropriation for Point Reyes so land 
buying could resume in 1970. 

On February 10th Saylor announced in the House chamber, with great 
satisfaction, that administration officials that very day had given him 
assurances he needed so he could support Point Reyes. He said the 
president now supported full funding of the Conservation Fund program, 
indeed, he supported appropriating all the accumulated revenues in it- -by 
then $327 million- -for use that year. Further, Saylor said, he had just 
received letters from Interior and Budget officials pledging to support 
funding for all incomplete units of the National Park System. 

With Saylor on board, and with those assurances for other parks 
around the country, saving Point Reyes was so non- controversial the 
"yeas" had it on a voice vote. And there was icing on the cake. The 
bill passed by the House prohibited the government from carrying out the 
selloff- for- subdivision plan proposed by the Park Service, which- - 
opponents had learned- -would have allowed 1,475 subdivision lots, 
including 75 alongside a marina and 150 around a golf course. "As a 
matter of public policy," a proponent of the amendment said, "a private 
country club development should not be created within the National Park 
System. Congress must neither countenance nor sanction the carving out 
of [such] enclaves of private privilege." 

Two weeks later, Senator Bible, good to his word, called to order a 
hearing of his parks subcommittee on the House-passed bill. As they had 
during the House hearing nine months earlier, a Marin County delegation 
testified. Those who spoke included Boyd Stewart, a Point Reyes 
rancher --and one of those interviewed for this oral history project. 
Although previously many ranchers had opposed "formation of a park," 
Stewart said, now "I and my fellow ranchers, without exception, urge you 
to finish the work you have begun. We would rather see it used by the 
people as a park," than subdivided. "Those of us who have loved this 
land . . . and seen it through its many moods and seasons, recognize this 
treasure can no longer remain ours to enjoy exclusively." 

Senators Murphy and Cranston testified, Cranston opposing the 
selloff -for -subdivision plan. When Katy Johnson, also, testified against 
it, Bible assured her he was going to retain the House prohibition. 

xx i 

Bible volunteered that he knew citizens supporting completion of the 
Seashore had written at least 10,000 letters because he'd received that 
many, "all of which were sent personally to me." 

Bible moved the bill promptly. The Senate passed it on St. 
Patrick's Day and returned it to the House, which concurred with an 
amendment Bible had added and sent it to the White House. 

President Nixon signed the bill at a White House ceremony on April 
3rd, 1970. If that act is seen as the last act of the Save Our Seashore 
campaign, it was the first time the campaign departed from the 
determinedly non-partisan character that was a key factor in its success. 
Presidential bill- signing ceremonies traditionally are used by presidents 
as an opportunity to bring together those who have had most to do with 
shaping, and mustering public support for, the legislation being signed 
into law- -for a sort of mutual congratulation for achieving the degree of 
consensus needed to enact the bill. This tradition can be especially 
useful to a president whose party controls neither house of Congress, as 
was to be the case through the four years and four months that were to 
remain of Nixon's presidency. 

On April 3rd, most appropriately, Peter Behr's was among the smiling 
faces in the Oval Office. Senators Murphy and Congressman Clausen, whose 
roles during the bill's journey to enactment had been important though 
not determinative, also gathered round the president's desk for the 
obligatory photograph. Wayne Aspinall was not there. Nor was Alan 
Bible, Roy Taylor, Bizz Johnson, or Alan Cranston. Nor, Katy Johnson. 
When her interviewer asked about this, Katy explained that she "was of 
the other party ... it was a partisan occasion." So it was, and she 
was in good company. In addition to the Democrats who weren't there, Big 
John Saylor and Pete McCloskey weren't invited either. 

(Afterwards, Russell Train, who as Nixon's Interior under secretary 
had been there, sent to Katy the memento pen- -one of those Nixon had used 
to sign the bill- -that Nixon had handed to him.) 

* * * * * 


Readers who have persevered to this point may be interested in a 
look at the impact of the S.O.S. campaign on what followed- -on some 
national policy changes that may not have come to pass, or may not have 
been done as soon as they were done, if the campaign had failed. 


The enthusiastic response of public and press to the saving of Point 
Reyes did not go unnoticed in Washington- -in the White House, on Capitol 
Hill, even at the Budget Bureau. 

Soon after that November '69 White House press conference on Point 
Reyes, an article in the Wall Street Journal had caught Nixon's eye. The 
news story reported, under the headline, "Conservation Gains Political 
Weight," and a San Francisco dateline that: 

Vibrations are presently good among Northern California 
conservationists --the most militant of that species. 
Their spirits hit a new high last week, when President 
Nixon announced the administration will after all support 
spending an extra $38 million to save Point Reyes 
National Seashore from impending development. 

The article also noted increasing evidence that politicians were 
aware of growing national concern over environmental problems and 
"California is leading the way." Specifics included California 
Republican legislative leaders pledging support for an Environmental Bill 
of Rights; Governor Reagan, "an anathema to many conservationists," 
sponsoring a conservation conference, and "top California Democrats" 
vowing that "conservation will be a major issue in their efforts to 
recoup power next year." Nixon wrote, on a summary of this article, a 
note to "E" and "W" (Ehrlichman and Whitaker) calling their attention to 
these passages about the new politics of conservation and asking for 
follow-up, "to preempt the issue." 9 

In his interview for this project, John Ehrlichman described the 
president he worked for as "not your natural, birds, bees, and bunnies 
man." Nixon "had to be persuaded that this (i.e., supporting 
conservation measures) . . . had a payoff down the line in political 
terms. Point Reyes helped to demonstrate that ... to him ... in 
unmistakable terms. He never saw this many people motivated in quite 
this way. " 

Within the Nixon White House, Ehrlichman said, the good experience 
with Point Reyes- -the first such issue to get White House attention since 
Nixon took off ice- -gave "political credibility" to similar programs. For 
one thing, "the whole public recreation lands issue was cemented as ... 
viable and politically useful." For instance, the "politically useful" 
experience of the Nixon White House with Point Reyes set the stage for 
Nixon's support of initiatives by three San Franciscans, Ed Wayburn, Amy 
Meyer, and Congressman Phil Burton, to create Golden Gate National 

'Nixon Presidential Materials files, National Archives. 


Recreation Area in the Bay Area, along with its counterpart in the New 
York City harbor area: Gateway National Recreation Area. 

A month after the president's support for Point Reyes was announced, 
James Schlesinger, then the Budget Bureau's No. 2 man, told a delegation 
of conservation leaders pressing for an increase in the Conservation Fund 
program that a policy change might be unveiled soon, and added: "Point 
Reyes has been instructive on this." 

When congressional leaders introduced legislation early in 1970 to 
raise the annual level of the Fund program to $300 million, the 
administration supported that- -a bit of a bump from the $124-million cap 
it had insisted on a year earlier. This benefited not only acquisition 
of federal recreation lands, for national forests and wildlife refuges as 
well as the National Park System, but also state and local governments 
which receive about half the Fund's money. 

Meanwhile, out on Point Reyes Peninsula, men and women of the Park 
Service, the $38 million in hand, were able to complete the land 
purchases needed to maintain the integrity of the Seashore's original 
boundaries. The whole of Point Reyes National Seashore as we know it 
today became secure. 

The poet William Wordsworth may have been the first advocate for the 
idea of protecting expansive natural and cultural landscapes for the 
benefit of all people when, in 1810, he called for protection of his 
beloved Lake District in the north of England. 10 

To use again some of the words he first employed in that cause, Our 
Seashore today is- -thanks in good part to all those who took part in the 
S.O.S. campaign of 1969 and 1970- -a national treasure in which everyone 
"has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to 
enj oy . " 

Bill Duddleson 

Bethesda, Maryland 
December 1992 

10 I first heard of Wordsworth as conservationist from Charles E. Little 
when we were colleagues at the Conservation Foundation. Charles tells of the 
Lake District and its poet-protector (and includes the words quoted here) in 
his book, Hope for the Land. Rutgers University Press, 1992. 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Saving Point Reyes National Seashore, 1969-1970 
An Oral History of Citizen Action in Conservation 

Katy Miller Johnson 

Interviews Conducted by 

Ann Lage 

in 1990 

Copyright (c) 1^93 by The Regents of the University of California 




TABLE OF CONTENTS --Katy Miller Johnson 



Parental Influences 1 

Clem Miller's Maverick Views 2 

Marriage and Going West to Nevada and Marin County 4 

Getting to Know Point Reyes 8 


Clem's Entry into Politics and Election to Congress, 1958 10 

Role as Candidate's Wife and Congressional Wife 12 

The First Point Reyes Campaign, 1958-1962 15 

Work for the Democratic Study Group after Clem Miller's Death 16 


Marriage to Stuart Johnson 20 

May 1969 Hearing by the House Interior Subcommittee 20 

Crucial Support from Bizz Johnson 22 

Planning Strategy, Generating Publicity 24 


Catalyst for the Save Our Seashore Organization (S.O.S.) 29 

Peter Behr's Leadership in S.O.S. Petition Drive 30 

Working with Congressman Wayne Aspinall 32 

Meeting with Park Service Director Hartzog 33 

Alan Bible, Don Clausen, Jeffery Cohelan 35 


Budget Director Mayo's Letter of September 10 40 

Importance of Personalized, Informative Letters 41 

The Pete McCloskey-John Ehrlichman Connection 42 

California Optimism versus Beltway Negativity 44 

Creative Alliances with Bay Area Conservationists 46 


Further Thoughts on Family Influences 50 

Bill Duddle son's Contributions 52 

Dealing with Curmudgeonly Wayne Aspinall 54 

The Woman's Role, in Family, as Congressional Wife and Widow 55 

Parents' Sense of Responsibility and Public Involvement 60 

Allies and Co-Workers in the East 62 

Coordination between Bay Area and Washington Efforts 64 


Combating Move for a Mini -Seashore 68 

Ryan Amendment to Prohibit Sell-Off Deals 71 

Cooperation with Sierra Club's Tupling and McCloskey 72 

Aspinall's Markup of the Point Reyes Bill, November 13 75 
S.O.S. Petitions and White House Announcement on Funding 

for the Seashore 76 
Congressman Saylor's Insistence on Full Funding of the 

Land and Water Conservation Fund 77 

Congressional Concern about Escalating Land Prices 82 

Conspiracy Theories 84 


Preparing for the House Vote on February 10 86 
Nixon Administration Reversal on the Land and Water 

Conservation Fund 87 

Senate Hearing, February 26; Nixon's Signing, April 3 89 

Battles over Wilderness Protection in the Seashore, 

1971-1976 92 

Seashore Administrators, Ranchers, Conservationists 95 

Citizens Advisory Commission 96 

Opposing Fee Legislation for National Parks 98 

Other Projects in Washington 100 


APPENDIX A - Letter to Congressman Harold T. Johnson, for hearing 

record, May 26, 1969 103 

APPENDIX B - Article generating letters on the seashore, 

Pacific Sun. October 1, 1969 105 

Obituary, San Francisco Chronicle. January 15, 1991 107 

INTERVIEW HISTORY- -Katy Miller Johnson 

Katy Miller Johnson, widow of beloved Congressman Clem Miller, was 
the catalyst for the campaign to save the Point Reyes National Seashore. 
When she heard in May 1969 of National Park Service and private plans for 
housing subdivisions and commercial development inside the seashore's 
boundaries, she was the one who aroused Bay Area conservationists and 
helped support the formation of a citizen group to fight for the 
seashore. She kept a steady flow of information from the capital to the 
Bay Area and engineered an effective lobbying campaign in the halls of 
Congress. Her oral history tells the story of this brief but intense 
campaign from the perspective of the nation's capital. 

Katy Johnson was interviewed on November 16 and 20, 1990, at her 
daughters' homes in the Bay Area. She brought her characteristic 
interest, energy, and careful preparation to the interviews, even though 
she was suffering from the cancer that claimed her life in January 1991. 
Prior to the interview, she and Bill Duddleson, who had been Congressman 
Miller's legislative assistant and later a close associate of Katy 
Johnson in all of her work for the seashore, had reviewed papers relating 
to the 1969-1970 campaign. She had obviously pondered the strategy and 
other elements that made the campaign so successful. Although she had 
not anticipated the inquiries into her personal background that the 
interviewer felt were important to the story, the questions prompted 
interesting reflections which help illuminate the background and 
motivation of volunteer citizen- activists in political and environmental 

Katy Johnson was not well enough to review the transcript of her 
interview. Bill Duddleson and Marion Miller, Mrs. Johnson's daughter, 
made careful reviews for accuracy and clarity; editorial additions are 
bracketed. Mrs. Johnson's papers relating to Point Reyes National 
Seashore have been placed in The Bancroft Library. 

Ann Lage 

Berkeley, California 
February 1992 

[Interview 1: November 16, 1990 Iff 1 

Parental Influences 

Lage: Today is November 16, 1990, and I'm interviewing Katy Miller 

Johnson about the Point Reyes Save Our Seashore battle. But we 
want to start by going back a little bit and getting some idea 
of your background, something that might give future researchers 
a clue to your interest in this subject. So let's start with 
where you were born and what kind of a family you came from. 

Johnson: I was born in Wilmington, Delaware [August 1, 1926], as was Clem 
[Clement V.] Miller, and there was quite a degree of interesting 
politics in my family as I grew up, from rather different 
perspectives. My father [Clarence A. Southerland] was quite an 
establishment figure and was quite involved in Republican 
politics. My mother [Katharine Virden Southerland] was of Irish 
extraction. She was always for the underdog in any given 

Lage: What a great combination. 

Johnson: They were. 

Lage: Was she a Democrat? 

Johnson: Veil, she voted for Al Smith, she voted for Roosevelt. I don't 
know whether she would identify herself that way [as a 
Democrat], but she certainly voted for Democrats at times when 
ay father never did in his life, that I know of. 

Lage: What kind of work did your father do? 

'This symbol (ff ) indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 102. 

Johnson: He was an attorney, later became a judge. 
Lage: But there was politics discussed? 

Johnson: Politics in the air, yes. I remember he was quite involved in 
the [Wendell] Uilkie campaign, and telephones were ringing, and 
so on. He was always behind the scenes, except for when I was 
very little he was attorney general of the state of Delaware. 
But that was when 1 was very small, so I have no recollections 
of that. 

But as I say, there was a sense of being very concerned 
with public events. My mother took World War II so hard it was 
as if it happened to her. She was a person who involved herself 
emotionally in whatever was going on. She hadn't the ability to 
create large amounts of defense mechanisms, so she just suffered 
through every stage of it, even though we actually didn't. Her 
brother was on a hospital ship in the Pacific, but we didn't 
have anybody in Europe, but I remember as Hitler rolled over 
Europe how she suffered at every step, and even after the war 
with the displaced persons and so on. 

Lage: And how did this affect you? 

Johnson: Well, I think it affected me. I put it together over many 

years. I think it affected me very much. I think it heightened 
my awareness of injustices in the world, the suffering- -all 
these things. And it made me very ripe for Clem, because he, in 
his way, who also grew up in the same circles in Wilmington as I 
did, didn't fit in very well, intellectually. I mean, he fit in 
on a personal basis because he was such a pleasant person that 
people liked him, but politically he was totally out of sync. 

Lage: With the social group that he--? 
Johnson: With this group that we both grew up in. 

Clem Miller's Maverick Views 

Lage: And where did he get those maverick views? 

Johnson: Good question. We have a little book that he did when he was 
about twelve or thirteen analyzing the power structure in 
Wilmington. He went around taking the names off the fountains 
There was something called "Fountain Society," and he was 

tracing how the big shots were controlling things through this 
Fountain Society. 

Lage: At twelve or thirteen? 

Johnson: Yes. His father [Clement V. Miller, ST.] had died. His mother 
[(Catherine Dunham Miller] was very involved in the social 
things, although she was also a person of some real awareness of 
herself. She was quite an amazing person. But she was away a 
lot; she traveled and so on. They had Irish maids that Clem was 
devoted to. So I think he picked up some of that subversive 
Irish- - 

Lage: From the maids? 

Johnson: From the maids. I think so. 

Lage: They might even have talked to him about the power structure. 

Johnson: They did, because that's just part of the Irish sensibility. 
I've worked in campaigns, quite a few since my second husband 
died, and this is an awareness that's only come to me relatively 
recently. I was simply amazed to find out how many of our best 
volunteers were Irish. 

Lage: Interest in politics, too, seems to be typical, then. 

Johnson: Yes. Anyway, I don't know where it all came from. He just had 
this, as you say, an Irish point of view. He went to Williams 
[College]; he was very attracted by some quite left-wing 
professors up at Williams. He used to bring that stuff home and 
read it through. He'd throw [these ideas from his reading] out 
at Sunday dinner at his grandfather's house. [Russell Dunham, a 
"rich, powerful head of a large company in Wilmington." --M.M.] 

Lage: Did you meet Clem as a young person? 

Johnson: No, I met him on his thirty-day leave. He came back from 

Europe; he had been in the Battle of the Bulge. He was captain 
of a communications battery. They'd seen a great deal of 
combat. After the war was over in Europe, he was briefly a part 
of the occupation, or at least the combat troops were briefly in 
charge of the occupation until the actual occupation troops got 
there. It was a horrendous situation. There wasn't enough food 
for the refugees. 

He had come back during that thirty-day leave, and he was 
then to go to San Diego and to be sent over to be part of the 
assault troops on Japan. And so when I saw him, he was deeply 

disturbed by what was going on in Europe. He felt that we were 
being run rings around by the German authorities and that there 
were all these people suffering over there and no food, and 
there was still food around, stashed away, that wasn't being 
released, and so on. Anyway, he was in a very disturbed state 
when I first net him. 

But we were brought together by a family friend who 
determined that we should meet. Ve were ten years apart in age, 
and a rather unlikely couple, because 1 was so young; 1 was only 
nineteen, and he was twenty-nine. 

Lage: That's unusual for a family friend to bring together -- 

Johnson: Veil, she liked him herself, and she said to me, "It doesn't 
seem to be working out for me, but I'd like to try this for 
you." Ve were at opposite ends of the beach for two weeks, and 
she came every day to one of us and the other of us and said, 
"Now, come and meet this other person," and nobody would budge, 
and 1 finally gave in after about ten days, and it took 
immediately . It took very rapidly. I remember him giving me 
these lectures on international cartelization [laughter] and I 
don't know what all, and I was Just boggle -eyed. 1 was just 
boggle -eyed. 

Lage: Vere you in college at the time? 

Johnson: I was at Bryn Mawr. I didn't understand most of what he said, 
but his engagement, his sincerity, his commitment, were just-- 


Johnson: Then he went Vest to go to San Diego, and en route the atom bomb 
was dropped. He got out of the army by that fall; we were 
engaged that fall, and we were married in February. 

Marriage and Going Vest to Nevada and Mar in Count v 

Lage: And how did you find yourself out in the Vest? 

Johnson: One of the very interesting things is we have a history in both 
our families of people who went Vest and didn't stay. But 
there's a pull. His grandfather [Charles] Miller actually 
started a railroad in Nevada. My grandfather [George Virden] 
took his little family to a mining camp in Los Angeles, and my 
grandmother [Ellen Brennan Virden] stuck it out for a year or 



Johnson : 

two. Glen's own father took his family to San Francisco, and 
they were there for several years. So there was a long-standing 
pull to the Vest. No one really stayed and raised a family 
there until we did, but there was this pattern. 

So Clem had it in his Bind that he wanted to live in the 
Vest. I thought it was a great idea. He did initially go up to 
Cornell to the School of Labor Relations with the idea of 
getting a graduate degree in labor relations, but after he'd 
been there a few months he decided against it. He said, "I need 
a job after all these years in the army" and so on, and "I'm 
just uncomfortable with this. I don't really want to work for 
either labor or management.* 

So then he set in motion applying for the National Labor 
Relations Board [NLRfi] , which takes quite a while to pull off. 
So there was an interim. You take a competitive exam and then 
you wait quite a long time to hear. The competitive exam is 
only scheduled once or twice a year and so on. Ve had this kind 
of interim, so we just went Vest. Ve threw everything in this 
little Pontiac coupe he had and drove off without a backward 

Sounds very exciting. 

It was. And what was really nice was that my mother, who was 
really so devoted to her two children, cheered us on. And 1 
think his mother did, too. 1 think we had a lot of support from 
the family for doing something fairly radical. It didn't seem 
very radical to me at the time; that's the funny part. Because 
lots of people have said to me, "What a wild and crazy thing to 
do," but at the time it just felt natural. 

I think so. I think so. 
And how old were you then? 
I was nineteen. 

Clem had a tremendous feeling for the beauty of the Vest. It 
was deep ingrained in him, and he had spent a fair amount of 
time with his uncle in Nevada over the years. His father had 
died, so he had to go and--. His uncle lived in Nevada, and 
that's another long story, if you want to hear the Tom [Thomas 
V.J Miller story. Do you know it? 

Lage: A little bit. I interviewed George Collins years ago, 1 and he 
had known Ton Miller and told me about him. 







And told you the whole story of Teapot Done and everything? 

I don't think he filled in the whole thing. He just alluded to 
certain scandals. 

Well, I don't know how much you want of that, but I'm happy to 
tell you about it. 


don't you just in a brief way. 

Well, Tom Miller's father [Charles Miller] was the governor of 
Delaware, and Tom had a maverick streak that seems to run in the 
family. He came up against his father politically and was part 
of a faction in Delaware politics that was against his father. 
There were different Duponts on different sides. It was all 
Republican politics. He was elected to the [U.S.] House of 
Representatives and lost a [U.S.] Senate seat by one vote. (At 
that time the Senate was decided in the state legislature.) 
Then he enlisted in the army, and went overseas, and served with 
distinction in Europe. When he was out, he became one of the 
founders of the American Legion. Then he came back here and was 
appointed alien property custodian. 

This is all Tom, then? 

This is all Tom Miller. He got involved with that crowd that 
was involved with Teapot Dome [scandal during the Warren Harding 
administration, 1921-1923]. According to my father, who made 
quite an exhaustive study of the thing, he felt that Tom had 
protected the other people, that he had this kind of old- 
fashioned code that you don't tell on other people. So he 
basically took the penalty for Albert B. Fall and a bunch of 
other people. But he did have to serve a year in Atlanta, and 
when he came out he gave his wife everything he had and took a 
knapsack and went out to Nevada and joined the CCC [Civilian 
Conservation Corps]. They never divorced for the whole time, 
the rest of their lives. He eventually became a pillar of 
Nevada society. 

A place where you can make a new start. 

'George L. Collins, The Art and Politics of Park Planning and 
Preservation. Regional Oral History Office, 1980, has section on Collins 's 
role in creating Point Reyes National Seashore as Park Service employee, 
Marin citizen, and partner in Conservation Associates. 

Johnson: Clem had visited him a lot during his childhood, so we 

gravitated out there [to Nevada] for this interim that we had, 
while he was waiting for the National Labor Relations Board 
thing to come through. Clem got a job with [the War Assets 
Administration] . Uncle Tom was counseling him about how you 
start with the government to get a- -you get extra points if 
you're already in the government, and the whole civil service 
rigmarole and all of that, so he got a job with the War Assets 
Administration, was out selling surplus property, was out around 
the state selling Jeeps. There was no housing at that time, and 
we wound up blissfully thrilled to find an apartment at the top 
of the Geiger Grade in Virginia City, the ghost town, which was 
like a two-hour commute for him both ways down this precipitous 
mountain in the middle of winter, where you have to stop and 
take your chains off and on about ten times. We had a very 
happy time up there. Amazing people, the friends we made. We 
could see a hundred miles from our bedroom window down the 
valley. It's given me a love for the desert I'll never lose. 
You know, just the air and the sky. 

Lage : And the openness. 

Johnson: And the openness, yes. It was a wonderful experience. So then 
this thing came through for the Labor Board, and he did so well 
that they gave him his first choice as to where he wanted to 
live, and it was the Bay Area. He was very single-minded in 
getting himself to this area, and he knew he wanted to live in 
Mar in. He had this all planned. 

Lage: So he'd been familiar with the area from his childhood time when 
he lived out-- 

Johnson: I don't know if he'd been back. His mother had made several 

friends in Vassar that she'd stayed in touch with out here, and 
I don't know how much he'd been out here. That's an interesting 
question. But at any rate, he had this game plan, and he 
carried it straight through. 

Lage: And where did you go in Mar in? 

Johnson: Corte Madera. 

Lage: You went to Corte Madera? 

Johnson: Yes. So we settled in there [in 1948], and we stayed there 
until we left to come to Washington. 

Getting to Know Point Reves 










Jut to focus on Point Reyes, did you visit Point Reyes when you 
lived in Corte Madera? 

Oh, yes, we vent to McClure's Beach all the time and picked 
watercress and everything. Oh, we loved it out there. We used 
to do group camping trips to Heart's Desire Beach and, you know, 
those little beaches outside Inverness, the little county 
beaches. But McClure's was the one we loved the most, which is 
now part of the Seashore. We used to go scrambling down that 
trail with the little girls. 

Was that a common thing for people in Marin to head out that way 
for outings? 

I don't know. It certainly was Clem's idea of a good project. 
We had other friends that liked doing things like that too. It 
certainly seemed very natural for us to do that. 

Was McClure's then a county beach also? 
I think it was. 

Were any of the other areas open to the public besides the ones 
on Tomales, do you remember? 

I'm trying to remember where else we went. Maybe we went to 
Drake's Bay. I think that was a county beach too. [Yes, it 
was. ] 

Yes, I think we went to Drake's Bay. And then when he was first 
running for office, we got our little house in Inverness. 

Oh, you did? So you had a little house out there. 

Yes, we had a little Victorian house out there. 
[Miller Wat sky, daughter] still has it. 

And Clare 

Can you recall how Clem got interested in the Seashore idea? 

Well, he was involved before he was elected. I think George 
Collins would know more than I would about that. It was sort of 
part of the discussion forever and a day. It was so obvious 
that that land was so incomparable, and it was miraculous that 
the development had gone down south [of San Francisco] on the 
Peninsula and this [Point Reyes] was all completely unspoiled 
with nothing out there but dairy farms. It couldn't last like 

that, you know. So I think that early on he had got a feeling 
that this should be a--. I can't say that I recall him actually 
saying to me long before he was in politics, "This should be a 
park," but he could well have. 



Clem's Entry into Politics and Election to Congress. 1958 


Now, how did he happen to run for congressman? 
make this the history of Clem Miller, but-- 

I don't want to 


Oh, I don't mind. It's whatever you want. Well, he was 
"hatched" under the Labor Board. You know, civil service 
employees can't be active in politics [under the Hatch Act]. So 
eventually he resigned from the Labor Board because under the 
conservative Eisenhower administration their cases that they'd 
labored on for two and three years were constantly being thrown 
out by the [NLRB] general counsel. So eventually he was very 
disturbed by the whole thing and said, "It's pointless." You 
know, when they would prove unfair labor practices, and they 
would get the case all the way up to Washington through many 
stages, and [then] on a political basis it would just be dumped. 

So he resigned from the Labor Board, and within about two 
weeks he was doing precinct work. So I will say this, that I 
knew he was going to run for office before he did. I just said, 
"This fellow's going to run for office; it's in the genes." I 
just thought it was comical. He hadn't really quite figured it 
out, but I knew he would. 

And was it something that you welcomed? 

Oh, yes. I just thought it was inevitable. Because -- 

-he had such an interest in politics? 

--he had such an interest, and he was very disturbed at the 
level of representation that we had at that time. It was an 
old-timer there, the incumbent [congressman], who was not able, 
and he [Clem] just saw the needs that weren't being met and 
things that weren't being done that needed to be done, and got 


himself quite roiled up. But he didn't think he had any real 
qualifications for it. So he started out by doing precinct work 
and then he got himself on a committee to find a candidate. 
They ran all over the district trying to get a young attorney. 
By this tine-- 

Lage: It was quite a Republican district, wasn't it? 

Johnson: A conservative district. It had a slim Democratic registration 
ajority, but many of those Democrats voted consistently 
Republican. The farmers and ranchers up in, for instance, 
Mendocino and Sonoma [counties] and so on had a heritage that 
vent back to the New Deal, and they never changed the 
registration, but they voted Republican. So this had been a 
long-term Republican incumbent who was in there. 

Lage: What was his name? 
Johnson: Hubert B. Scudder. 

So [in 1956] he got himself on this search committee. By 
this time Clem was doing something that didn't sound impressive 
at all in terms of running for office. He was doing 
landscaping. He didn't have a degree in it, and he was 
designing people's gardens and installing plants and so on, 
enjoying that very much, but it didn't look good on the list of 
qualifications. So he didn't feel that he had the credentials 
and they should be able to find an up-and-coming young attorney 
or somebody that would be a good candidate to run against 
Scudder . 

So he got himself on this committee and he ran all over the 
state and all over the district, and they couldn't find anybody 
who would run. Finally he said, "Well, I'll run." The 
Democratic leaders tried to talk him out of it. They said, 
This is hopeless, and you'll simply siphon off funds that we 
need for other races." He said, "I'm sorry; somebody has to do 
this, and besides, I'm going to do it twice. It'll take two 
elections to do this." So at that point, then, they began to 
take him more seriously. He had it figured out, and also, we 
had luck, because the second of those two years he-- 

Lage: So the first time he didn't win? 

Johnson: The first time he didn't win. He narrowed the margin. In other 
words, where Scudder had been getting--. I don't have the right 
figures for you, but let's say he'd gotten 60 percent of the 
vote. Clem got it down in one election to, say, 55. That puts 
you in shooting distance. That's the rule of thumb. This last 


lection, I mist say, broke cone of those rules. Districts were 
changing by larger percentages than that, which is unusual, but 
that's the volatile situation we have this year. But in normal 
situations they say that you usually don't change those 
percentages aore than about S percent between one election and 
the next. 

So he got himself within shooting distance for the next 
time. And of course at that point a lot of these sort of up- 
and-coming young attorneys and so on were interested in that. 

Lage: Now it looked possible. 

Johnson: Now it looked possible. But at that point he had it pretty well 
under control, and he got a caucus to endorse him. There was a 
funny Uncle Tom story about that. I'm not sure if this was '56 
or '58, but in one of those two elections Clem decided he wanted 
this caucus endorsement. The Democratic [first congressional 
district] caucus was a little bit of a loose organization, just 
sort of fledgling up in Ukiah. But he said, "No, I want to have 
this kind of blessing from the party." So we did all the 
spadework and homework and got everybody lined up, and everybody 
showed up and he got a smashing endorsement. People who hadn't 
been paying much attention were annoyed and said, "Miller packed 
a meeting." So he sent this clipping off to Uncle Tom in 
Nevada, who called us up in ecstasy. "Clem! When did you learn 
how to pack a meeting?" [laughter] Ecstasy! 

And one of the touching things about Uncle Tom is that even 
though he was a lifelong Republican, he really was totally 
supportive of Clem, who was so much more liberal than he was. 
He would say to all the children as they came of age, "Did you 
vote? Did you vote?" I mean, he had this deep sense of the 
importance of the franchise no matter which way you went 
politically. That was okay. 

Lage: Just get involved. 

Johnson: Get involved, vote, you know, whatever. So that was a nice 
tradition, I think. 

Role as Candidate's Wife and Congressional Wife 

Lage: What role did you play in all this? Were you busy with the 
young ones coming up, or did you get in on the politicking? 


Johnson: Well, I had to get into it, because it was all -envelop ing. The 
first campaign was off our dining room table and I did all the 
scheduling. Ve had no headquarters or anything. I was very 
involved in that, the first one. 

Lage: So you kind of took to politics also. 

Johnson: Oh, I loved it. There were moments when it was hard, because 
you had to fight for time for Just the family, and people were 
demanding, but we rolled with it. There was just a lot of 
happiness in it. The first campaign, I swear the nucleus was 
our Larkspur- Cor te Madera Cooperative Nursery School. I'm not 
kidding. The complete spectrum of politics from liberal to 
conservative, but they loved him, and they thought he'd be a 
good person to be in office. 

Lage: Right. A good representative. 

Johnson: Yes. So, you know, the first campaign was very, very amateur. 
I was extremely involved in it. The second campaign, we had 
sort of hit professional level. There was a headquarters in San 
Rafael, and 1 found myself stuck in the position of the 
candidate's wife, and I hated it. It was distressing to me. 

Lage: What position did that give you, being the candidate's wife? 

Johnson: They're basically afraid of you. You're going to say the wrong 
thing, or you're going to notice something that you shouldn't. 
You're just set apart; you're not part of the organization. 
You're kind of a loose cannon. [Elizabeth Rudel] Libby Gatov 
[former U.S. Treasurer, Mar in County Democratic leader] said 
something to me not long ago. She said 1 was a perfect 
congressional wife. Veil, I wasn't sure if 1 liked that or not, 
because basically I just tried to roll with it. But it was 
deeply upsetting to me that 1 couldn't be involved in the way 
that I'd been the first time. That was impossible. You'd go up 
to San Rafael and everybody 'd be talking a mile a minute, and I 
went up there to try to volunteer. It was like, "Oh, God, 
here's the candidate's wife. Oh- oh, what are we going to do 
with her?" 

But in the meantime, Clem depended on me a lot. He ran 
everything past me. Ve talked endlessly. So there was that 
sense of partnership between the two of us, and I think that 
made it do -able. 

Lage: Now, when you were in Washington--. I'm trying to get a little 
sense of how you picked up the skills you showed later in the 
Point Reyes battle. 







I was always interested in the nuts and bolts. 1 always got 
involved in some level. I used to love to work with one of the 
people that did precinct analysis. There's just a part of me 
that's very interested in nuts and bolts. 

In political nuts and bolts. 

What about in Washington itself? 
the Congress and how it operated? 

How did you come to know 


As a political couple, you're thrown into a lot of stuff, 
meet a lot of people. And I took a great interest in 
everything, all the issues that Clem was involved with, and he 
used to talk to me about his newsletters and show them to me and 
so on, where he was outlining. I don't know if you're familiar 
with those letters that he wrote to his constituents. 

Are they the ones which later ended up in a book? 


I've seen that. 

They're unusual in that he really was just trying to inform his 
supporters what it was like. They're not self-serving at all. 
It's a sharing. He said, "These people don't ask me for 
anything. I'll just try and share with them what I'm 
experiencing." He really was a great teacher, a real mentor. 
So he just wrote these things from the heart and with a lot of 
humor and so on. 

And a lot of perceptive observations, it seems. 

So we were asked out; we went to fascinating dinner 
parties. He was marked as a comer. So people like Chester 
Bowles [Congressman from Connecticut] got ahold of him, and we 
were invited over there for dinner. He was just considered to 
be a very up-and-coming, very bright, very interesting fellow. 
So doors just opened through no credit to me. But I was exposed 
to a lot, and a lot of the issues, and as I say, there wasn't 
anything that was going on that he wasn't telling me about. 


The First Point Reves Canroflien 1958-1962 







Now, on the issue of Point Reyes, getting the seashore 
authorized- - 

Well, that was his priority. When he got there, he said, "This 
is ay priority." He had Bill Duddleson from the Santa Rosa 
Press Democrat, who is extraordinarily able, and he said, "I'm 
delegating this to you, but this is our priority." 

Did he meet Bill when he was campaigning? 

Did Bill come on his 

There was a lovely story about that. Bill wrote a wonderful 
piece about Clem that we obviously noticed. It was so 
thoughtful . 

He wrote it without having had close contact before? 


We had gone to a meeting, and at the end of the meeting Bill was 
there, and we saw him taking this broom and sweeping up. And we 
thought, you know, "This fellow's pretty serious." So we got 
involved with them. They were helping us. I remember Denny 
[Bill Duddleson' s wife] taking care of our children when we went 
to some meeting. So we got involved with them before we ever 
came back to Washington. And then we all came together and put 
our children in the same school in Washington. It was five 
above zero the first day. This little school right near where 
we lived was something out of McGuffie's Reader. They kept the 
door locked until nine o'clock, and we'd gotten there at eight - 
thirty with these little California children all bundled up in 
their new woollies, standing outside the door, and they weren't 
about to open it until nine o'clock. So we went through a lot 
together . 

Let's see, I interrupted you with a question about Bill, and you 
were saying how Point Reyes was the priority. 

But I do recall Clem saying right away, when he was elected, 
this is the priority, because this will not stay. This is 
miraculous that it hasn't been developed. I don't remember as 
clear-cut a statement as that before the election, but I 
remember that once we got to Washington, that was it. He must 
have conceptualized that long before. 


Lage: . Was it * Major issue in the campaign? 

Johnson: No. Because he had a lot of spadevork to do. As we were 

talking about before the interview started, there was not a 
consensus yet. One of the things he had to do was to convince 
the local people out in Vest Marin that this would be 
advantageous. He took a trip down to Cape Hatteras [the first 
national seashore]. He took two tripsone with all of us, the 
children; and one with Bill and Stephen [Bill and Denny's son] 
-to find out how they had overcome the local opposition and how 
they had all decided that it had been very, very beneficial, but 
there had been quite a lot of opposition to start with. 

Then we had to get a vote from the Marin County Board of 
Supervisors and all that. He couldn't just get that thing off 
the ground in all that much of a hurry. There was a lot of work 
to do. Actually, you know, he didn't get that bill through 
until just before his accident. The bill went through in 
September '62. So it was-- 

Lage: --four years that it took to pull it all together. 
Johnson: Yes. 

Work for the Democratic Study Group after Clem Miller's Death 

Lage: After Clem's death [October 7, 1962], did you stay in 

Johnson: Yes. 

Lage: You seemed to continue to follow the fate of the seashore. 

Johnson: I cannot say that 1 did. Bill and 1 have discussed this. What 
we both felt* -and this included him, too- -was that the seashore 
was fine. Ve did know that Clem had said, and been very open 
about it, that the money would be inadequate. They had a 
concept in the Congress that [national] seashores cost $14 
ail lion [the amount initially authorized in 1961 to buy land at 
Cape Cod, the second national seashore]. So Clem said the only 
way to get this thing through was get the boundaries set, ask 
for the $14 million, which is what everybody thinks is an 
acceptable amount for a seashore, then come back later and get 
more money. So we should have known that we were going to get 
into trouble, but 1 don't know. Ve had this sense of the 


triumph, you know, about getting it through. And we were busy. 
I went up to work on the Hill for the Democratic Study Group of 
the House of Representatives, which is a fascinating little 

Lage: Tell a little bit about that experience. 

Johnson: It was at that point just getting started, and it had grown up 
because of the split in the Democrats over civil rights. The 
Democratic leadership was dominated by the Southerners, so in a 
lot of cases they sort of exercised kind of a veto power, and 
you couldn't mobilize your troops in a given piece of 
legislation because you just had this kind of monolithic, 
unresponsive leadership. So Eugene McCarthy [senator from 
Minnesota] and Lee Metcalf [senator from Montana] and two or 
three other people just before Clem got there had started this 
thing called the Democratic Study Group [DSG] . It was a 
separate Democratic organization of liberals [in the House]. 
They had their little basement office down the block from 
Capitol Hill. And after the accident there was a fellow from 
the Congressional Liaison Office [in the Kennedy White House] 
named Chuck [Charles U.j Daly, who's now head of the [John F. ] 
Kennedy [Presidential] Library in Boston, who was detailed to 
come over in a big black limousine to talk me into running. 

Lage: To run in Clem's place? 

Johnson: Right. And 1 had already made up my mind that that was not 

possible. 1 couldn't see how I could possibly do justice to my 
five children under those circumstances. 1 knew what the job 
meant, and of course, I didn't have the sensibility we have now 
that we should keep as many women in there as possible; that was 
not part of our thinking. Maybe it's just as well, because I 
think my instinct in terms of our family was probably correct. 
With the split and the three thousand miles, and the little kids 
were so bereft without their father, and to have their mother 
--. It just seemed ludicrous. So I turned them down, and as he 
left, Chuck Daly said, "If I'd been thinking of my own wife and 
children I wouldn't have come here today." Then he called me up 
and asked me up to the White House mess for lunch. He said, 
What are you going to do?" I said, "I don't know, but I'm 
going to do something.* He said, "What about DSG?" I said 
instantly, "That would be perfect." He said, "They really need 

So I went up there to that little basement office, under a 
very gifted man who's been my friend ever since, who died this 
winter, Bill [William G.] Phillips, and I had a fabulous 
experience. We then later on under [Congressman Richard W. ] 


Dick Boiling [of Missouri] were moved. The day of the Kennedy 
funeral we trundled all our stuff in wheelbarrows up the street 
and aoved into the office building, got ourselves in there. 
Over tine DSG is now completely institutionalized and is kind of 
a big thing, but at that tine it was in its fledgling state, 
which is always the best tine to be in something. 

Lage: It sounds as if you never thought that you would cone back to 
the Bay Area. 

Johnson: I had a lot of trouble with that issue. I had family back East. 
No family out here. I think 1 felt that I could not establish 
myself as an independent person here, that Clem's memory was so 
powerful and so--. It would turn me into a professional widow, 
and I Just couldn't do it. Just coming out here was very, very 
hard for me. Coming out here at all. I just thought, "I can't 
do this. I can't raise these children and come out here and 
carry this. It's too much." And it was hard on my kids. I 
think a lot of them would have liked to have had me go back. 
But I had no family out here [on the East Coast] . I had my 
sister, my father, whom I loved dearly, and I said, "I can cope 
with this where I am, and I'm not going back." So I think a lot 
of people --first of all, a lot of people were very critical of 
me for not running, and I think a lot of people were very 
critical of me for not going back. 

Lage: It's amazing how people can feel they can be critical of you for 
these basic life choices. 

Johnson: Oh, sure. But I could see where they would feel that way. I 

just knew that I had to struggle through it as best I could, and 
I had to keep my morale up for the children and I had to keep 
the spirit going, and I loved the idea of working for DSG for 
all the things that Clem had been involved in. I loved that. 

Lage: It sounds like a wonderful solution. 
Johnson: It was. 

Lage: And you also must have gotten a lot more knowledge of 

Washington, how it worked and contacts in the Congress? 

Johnson: Absolutely. We went to these fabulous. They'd have these 

[DSG] steering committee meetings on civil rights and all these 
different issues, and you'd watch the give and take, the 
compromising, and when to hold the ground and when to 
compromise. Some of the greatest brains, like Dick Boiling and 
some of those people, were just mesmerizing to watch operate. 


We'd go to their little briefings and take notes, and it was an 
incredible education. 

Lage: What did you actually do for the study group? 

Johnson: I was a very girl Friday. Originally 1 was a volunteer, but 
they did later put me on the payroll, which meant a lot to me. 
I just did whatever anybody needed. They gave me special 
projects; sometimes I'd do special research stuff. But we had a 
tremendous amount of scutvork going on there with these great 
big mailings, just like I did for the Seashore. I had a lot of 
practice in that. We were always just moving mail. The spirit 
of the office can be shown when this boss [Bill Phillips] that 
we all loved so would instantly come out of his office and start 
collating with us when we were moving mail. This is what our 
office was like. Everybody came out, and everybody did it. So 
I didn't have a very impressive title. 

Originally, 1 really didn't think 1 could handle full-time 
work, and that was the big transition when they started paying 
me. 1 knew I had to work full time. So as long as I wasn't 
working full time, it made it difficult to give me as much 
responsibility as I might have liked. But I was so happy there 
1 didn't really care what 1 did. It was so interesting. It 
just was fascinating. 



Marriage to Stuart Johnson 

Lage: When did you remarry? 

Johnson: Nineteen sixty-five. Stuart [H.] Johnson [Jr.] had an office 

down the hall from Clem, and they were friends. I had not known 
him. He was a counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, and he 
had lobbied Clem assiduously on the communications satellite 
bill where his boss, Mr. [Emanuel] Celler, of New York [Chairman 
of the House Judiciary Commit tee] --Don Quixote from New York, a 
wonderful fellow- -was one of the very few people that were 
trying to stop, look, and listen on this. So Stuart got Clem's 
vote on that, and I heard all about it. Really not in 
connection with Stuart. I just heard all about this 
legislation, how it was galloping through the House without 
being properly looked at and so on, and Stuart would go up there 
and lobby him early because Clem used to get in the office at 
eight o'clock. So he'd get up there, you know, before the crush 
started, and he just thought the world of him. I didn't know 
him at that time. But that was a nice connection, a nice 

IQfiQ H^Arlnff fcv the House Interior Subcommittee 

Lage: It seems as if he became quite involved in the Point Reyes issue 
also, with this battle that we're going to talk about. 

Johnson: He threw himself into it. He was a person who threw himself 
Into things. In fact, I was recalling--. Bill [Duddleson] 
didn't know this. Going back to the fact that we weren't 
following Point Reyes, neither Bill nor I were following it. We 






should have been, but we weren't. We thought everything was 
okay, and we weren't paying attention. Bill Duddleson had all 
his stuff going with the Conservation Foundation and whatever, 
and I was with DSG and getting married and having a baby and all 
this happening. So we nissed the fact that there were a lot of 
rumblings of trouble. In Jeffery Cohelan's office [of Berkeley, 
California, a Democrat] , there was a staff woman there who was a 
friend of nine, and she called me up before the May 13th hearing 
in '69 and said, "Katy, you'd better get up there." She said, 
"You won't believe what's going on." 

So that's how you were alerted. 

That's how 1 got there. So 1 got up there, and Stuart came with 
me. We went up there, and our blood ran out of our toes because 
this was when they promoted the sell -off. 

When [George] Hartzog [director of the National Park Service] 
presented that idea? 

When Hartzog had his charts and polo fields and hotels and 
everything. We just couldn't believe it. We couldn't believe 
it. Ve came back to the house, and we were Just staggered. We 
sat out on the porch, and Stuart looked at me and he said, 
"Katy, you're going to write a letter." He went inside the 
house and got a yellow legal pad and a pencil. 1 looked at him 
and 1 said, "Stuart, do you realize what this means? There's no 
halfway. If we get into this, there's Just going to be no 
holding back. This is going to be a monster project. What 
effect will it have on our family, on our relationship?" I 
said, "This is kind of tough for you because here's this other 
man, and he's out there, buried there [at Point Reyes], and I'm 
just up to my neck, and I'm Clem's widow." And I'm writing--. 
I saw exactly what it was going to be like. I said, "Are you 
sure?" He said, "What? Are we going to let this thing go down 
the tube?" I said, "No." [laughs] 

It's great to have that kind of support, 
good for you. 

It must have felt very 

I was kind of amused because I thought, "In a way, this is sink 
or swim. We'll either make it through this and we will come out 
much stronger than we were, or we'll be split. There won't be 
any halfway. This is a serious risk to the family stability 
because, well, my whole role in this thing." It just says a 
great deal for Stuart Johnson that he was big enough to override 
and see that this beautiful seashore was not going to be 
despoiled, ruined, wrecked, or anything else. He just viewed it 
very simply. He was very skillful in strategy. I give him 


credit for the first--. I'm sure we would have come to it 
anyway, but I think he was the first to say, "Isn't George 
Murphy [the senior U.S. senator from California, a Republican] 
up for reelection?* [laughs] 

[tape interruption] 

Lage: We've established, then, that the May hearing, the May 13, 1969, 
hearing, was really the first time it was brought to your 
attention that there was a danger. 

Johnson: Absolutely. 

Lage: You hadn't been in touch with people like Barbara Eastman [Bay 
Area conservationist, long-time secretary of the Point Reyes 
National Seashore Foundation] and others who were following it 
along the way? 

Johnson: No. 

Crucial Support from Bizz Johnson 

Lage: Can we go step-by-step over what you did once you were alerted 
to the danger to the seashore? You must have started to 
establish a network. You wrote a letter; who did you send it 

Johnson: Ve wrote a letter for the hearing record, you see, and it was 
addressed to [Congressman] Bizz [Harold T.j Johnson [of 
Roseville, California, a Democrat], who was the Interior 
Subcommittee [on National Parks & Recreation] chairman, was he 
not? [Appendix A, p. 103] 

Lage: No, the chairman was Roy Taylor [of North Carolina, a Democrat], 
I believe. 

Johnson: That's right. But Bizz was on the subcommittee. 
Lage: Was Bizz a friend or someone you had-- 

Johnson: Definitely a friend. You see, his district and Clem's old 

district, where Point Reyes is located, were contiguous, the 
first and second congressional districts, and so he was both a 
co-sponsor [of the pending Point Reyes legislation- -to authorize 
an additional $38 million to complete land acquisition] as a 
Californian, and he was on the Interior committee. He was our 
major, major, major ally. Without him, 1 don't know where we 


could have gotten, because he was so clear about not 
compromising out, and there was lots of waffling going on from 
all kinds of sources: "Veil, we don't have to have quite this 
much acreage." You know, the [Point Reyes] peninsula is a unit. 
You can't hack around with that. He was completely for the 
integrity of the boundaries, and he was completely for going for 
all the money. When you consider that he was not an ardent 
conservationist, I think he just was very devoted to Clem, and 1 
think that something about the project appealed to him, and he 
just took it and ran with it, and counseled us. 

Ve did our big mailings [to members of Congress]; we'd haul 
them up there and ship them out of his office, as inside mail, 
so we didn't have to pay postage. That would have ruined us if 
--. We'd get these great, big, thick packets together, you 
know. Ve didn't have to use any postage on them. We'd send 
them out through his inside mail, franked. 

Lage: Did he advise you any on planning and strategy? 

Johnson: It was always very succinct, fiizz was not one to sit around 
talking a lot, but he'd just say these few well-chosen words. 
"Keep up the heat, Katy, that's the only way you're going to get 
it." Stuff like that, [laughs] 

Lage: Did he advise you on how [Congressman Wayne] Aspinall [chairman 
of the House Interior Committee, a Democrat] was-- 

Johnson: Oh, yes, he'd say that "Wayne is mad because he's been blocked," 
or, "He's had too many of his bills blocked by the Budget 
Bureau, and he doesn't want to hold any hearings because it 
makes him look bad when they don't go anywhere." So you know, 
he'd say a few odds and ends to us. But it was his firmness 
that was so valuable. 

Lage: He never thought about reducing boundaries. 

Johnson: Never. 

Lage: And from the papers, it looks like everyone else did. 

Johnson: And that was completely critical. That was absolutely critical, 
because there was a lot of waffling. Well, it was a lot worse 
than that. Ve had at one of these hearings, Congressman [Joe] 
Skubitz of Kansas [the senior Republican on the national parks 
subcommittee] saying, "I wonder whether or not a project has 
ever been de- authorized." There was a great deal of negative 
thinking inside the beltway about this whole project because no 
seashore had ever cost this much money, and they were furious 


about that. "What? Three tines as much?" That's what it was 
going to cost us, three times what was originally envisioned, 
and they were Bad about that, and they were mad about the Budget 
Bureau . 

So What we tried to do strategywise was to convince them 
that we weren't mad at them; we were just trying to put all the 
heat on the Budget Bureau because it had, in effect, impounded 
the Land and Vater Conservation Fund, which had been set aside 
by Congress to transfer funds from one nonrenevable resource 
into another, which was a gorgeous concept. You take money off 
of oil leases, which is a nonrenewable resource, and you put it 
into parks. It's a lovely concept, and they'd set it up, and it 
had [revenues of] $200 million a year, and the Nixon 
administration wouldn't spend it. Just an Indian raid. Now 
I've lost my thread. 

Planning Strategy. Generating Publicity 

Lage: I want to sort of go chronologically, if we can. You wrote a 
letter in response to this. Now, where did it go? 

Johnson: Yes, we did this letter, and we mailed it all over the place. 
See, we got the letter, and then we sent it with clippings, 
every kind of newspaper clipping and stuff we could find, to all 
the co-sponsors, members of the House and Senate Interior 
committees, other key members of Congress, friends in the House 
and Senate, leaders of conservation organizations, some key 
people. So we sent out a monster mailing, to two or three 
hundred people. That was the pattern throughout this, moving 
these vast amounts of mail. By so doing, you cast this wide net 
and you found support in the most surprising places. You 
wouldn't know that [Congressman] Charlie Gubser [of Gilroy, 
California, a Republican] down in a whole other part of the 
state was very interested and really cared. 

Lage: So you told by your responses -- 

Johnson: The responses would show where people really were with you, and 
you could build on that. 

Lage: Who do you remember getting especially gratifying responses 
from? Is that asking too much to recall that? 

Johnson: Yes, yes. I could answer that question later. If we can get 
our files shaped up back there and get all those letters in a 


folder--. You see, the problem was that after these tremendous 
efforts usually built around a hearing, of getting this mail 
out, all this stuff would get thrown in a box and you'd pick up 
your life. You had a big family. We had, combined, nine 

Lage: Stuart had children, too? 

Johnson: Veil, I had my five children, and Stuart had his three, who 

weren't with us all the time, but a lot. Ve saw a great deal of 
them. And then we had our baby. 

Lage: I don't know how you did it. 

Johnson: A lot of it was done at two or three in the morning, I can tell 

Lage: How did Bill [Duddleson] fit in this stage? 
Johnson: He was just with us every step of the way. 
Lage: Did he come to that first hearing with you? 

Johnson: He did, indeed. He just never--. And we got all these letters 
out by committee [Bill, Stuart, and Katy] . I mean, we hammered 
--. I had to sign them, so I had to have the last word on them. 
That's one of the reasons I knew there 'd be tensions, because I 
had very bright men helping me, and they had to accede to what 1 
finally decided. 

Lage: Bill did remark to me about a couple of sessions of working out 
these letters that got rather tense. 

Johnson: Oh, very. Because it's only natural. It's only natural, and I 
didn't have the degree of expertise that these fellows had, but 
if I signed a letter, 1 had to be comfortable with it. 

Lage: What kinds of thing? Vere they issue-related things or just 
wording that you were working on? 

Johnson: It was a lot of wording and a lot of nit-picking. A tremendous 
amount of nit-picking that went on. Stuart tended to be more 
combative. We were always toning him down. He just loved to 
fight, and that wasn't appropriate. I mean, he had brilliant 
ideas, but we weren't about to get into a fight with anybody we 
could help. That was not my modus operandi. I was in a cold 
rage over the whole situation, but I was not translating that 
into relationships with individual people. 


Lage: So early on I think you mentioned that you decided to focus on 
the Bureau of the Budget rather than on Congress. 

Johnson: We focused on the Congress very hard, but we were trying to give 
the Congress the idea that ve understood and were sympathetic to 
their difficulties. Ve were focusing on them and using mailing 
endlessly to them and getting them involved, but ve vere letting 
them know that they vere not our enemies. They vere our ally. 
They vere the ones who had to pass the bill. They vere the ones 
who had to give us the money. They're not the ones you vant to 
go fight with. And besides, basically, who's against a park? 1 
mean, it vas obviously tangled up in all this bureaucratic 
stuff. They had a point that ve had this major stalemate and 
nobody vould move because the Budget Bureau wouldn't give its 

Lage : You vere dealing vith a Republican administration, and your 
background had been very much allied vith the Democrats. 

Johnson: That's right. 

Lage: Did that affect how you vent about it? 

Johnson: Well, ve certainly lacked contacts in that area. There vas no 

question about that. You see, that is why it vas fabulous. The 
[first] hearing vas in May, and ve did all this mailing in May 
and June, and 1 don't know what else ve may have done in July 

Johnson: The other thing ve vere do ing- -this vas all before S.O.S [Save 
Our Seashore] - -vas stimulating nevs coverage. We got a lot of 
major media stuff going. Ve got a gorgeous story in the [August 
5, 1969] Nev York Times [by Gladwin Hill, headed "A Patchwork 
Park in Trouble"]. 

Lage: Hov did you do that? Vhen you say "ve got," vhat-- 

Johnson: I had a friend that I'd been to school vith, who vas married to 
a fellow vho vorked in the f Times 1 Vashington bureau. She took 
my packet and shoved it to her husband, and her husband sent it 
to John- -and they vere interested. 

Lage: He sent it to John Oakes [the Times 's editorial page editor], 
vere you going to say? Vho vas already on the Sierra Club 
board, I think, at that time. 

Johnson: Yes. And you see, part of this vas the fact that people vere 

for parks. There vas no question but what this vas a good idea. 
As I vas thinking about this the other day, it vas like ve 


really were riding a wave. We were like on a surfboard. The 
wave was there. The people wanted these parks. Ve weren't 
doing anything ultimately very controversial. 

Lage: The controversy was the money. 

Johnson: That's it. 

Lage: Was there any tie-in to the war at this point? The Vietnam War? 

Johnson: No. 

Lage: Did that have any overlay? 

Johnson: No. 

So the other thing we did after the hearing that summer was 
we worked hard to get the media stuff going because that was 
very much part of our mailings, when you want to convince the 
members in the House that there's this groundswell of support. 
So the clippings--. If there's one thing that every 
congressperson pays attention to, it's a newspaper story. That 
is never boring to a congressperson. You can't go wrong by 
sending them a newspaper story. There's something that 
validates you about that. So we stimulated a lot of news 
coverage, and we worked with people that we found who were 
already with us. For instance, we discovered that Leo Rennert, 
who had come to the first hearing from the Sacramento Bee . was 
completely knowledgeable and had the full backing of the paper. 
Ve just discovered that he was already on our team and we didn't 
even know it. So there were people like that that we discovered 
and then put on our list. 

Lage: Did Bill know some of these media people from his background? 

Johnson: Oh, yes, he did. From Conservation Foundation he knew Bob Cahn 
of the Christian Science Monitor. And then I'm trying to think 
who else. I could look back over my notes and see who else we 
might have known. Oh, well, Hal Gilliam and Scott Thurber out 
here [at the San Francisco Chronicle 1 . Bill was constantly 
giving them all the info and the background, and they were 
putting out one good story after another. They were fabulous. 

Lage: That helps. 
Johnson: Oh, yes. 


Lage: And, of course, Hal Gillian had written a book about Point Reyes 
in the previous effort to authorize the seashore. 1 

Johnson: Right. So they were major allies, Gillian and Thurber. 

^Harold Gill lam, Island in Time: The Point Reves Peninsula (San 
Francisco: Sierra Club, 1962). 



Catalyst for the Save Our Seashore Organization (S.O.S.) 

Johnson: But by the middle of the summer it became obvious that that 
stalemate was stuck. I decided that nothing was going to 
unstick it but a massive outpouring of opinion and a lot of 
letters and noise from California. So then we vent Vest, and we 
came out, and we talked to three people. Ve talked to Peter 
Behr [former Mar in County supervisor], to Harold [E.] Gregg 
[president] of the Marin Conservation League, and to Mike 
McCloskey [executive director] of the Sierra Club. The upshot 
was that Harold Gregg agreed to take on the project of saving 
the seashore , and I agreed to fund the salary of the 

Lage: Did he agree to take it on as a Marin Conservation League 

Johnson: Yes. And then I can't remember if it was just at that time that 
I also agreed to financially assist the Sierra Club, who were 
going to- -it might have been a little laterwho were going to 
generate a lot of mass mailing. It's just exactly what they're 
good at. It's the basis of their strength, that they can 
generate large amounts of mail. 

Then, after we left California, everything was mulled 
around back here [in the Bay Area], with a lot of discussion 
between Peter and Harold, and they decided that there really 
should be an independent organization, and Peter really wanted 
to run it. So then they wrote me and said was it okay if Betty 
London's salary be transferred over to this S.O.S. under Peter 
and I said, yes, that was wonderful. 


Lage: I want you to elaborate on the story of how Peter Behr got 

involved. When you originally talked to Peter Behr and Harold 


Gregg and Mike McCloskey, were you seeking out suggestions from 
these three people, or-- 

Johnson: I was telling them that I saw that we weren't going to get 
anywhere without an outpouring of opinion from California. 

Lage: Did they all agree? 

Johnson: They agreed, so we were on the same wavelength. 

Lage: The Sierra Club offered good support? 

Johnson: Yes, and the Sierra Club was interested in generating this nail 
As 1 say, I made a donation to them and I got some more money 
from Joan Roth, who helped with it also. 

Lage: Is this Bill [William M.] Roth's [Bay Area businessman and 
philanthropist] wife? 

Johnson: Yes. So she contributed, and so we got that underway. 

Peter Behr's Leadership in S.O.S. Petition Drive 

Johnson: It wasn't as clear as it became later how really eager Peter was 
to Just take that ball and run with it. He was just absolutely 
the perfect person. 

Lage: He's another person who loves political campaigning. 

Johnson: Absolutely. And he was willing to give full time. And Harold 
Gregg was all over the map with a lot of other issues. As he 
said- -or Em [Emma] Oilman wrote me a great letter. She was on 
the board of NCL when she explained how they switched this thing 
around. She said that Mar in Conservation League was limited to 
Mar in, and this [S.O.S.] would give it a broader orientation. 
Save Our Seashore really then could be expanding to the East Bay 
and the South Bay and here, there, and elsewhere; it wasn't just 
a Marin issue. But far beyond that was here was one person with 
tremendous enthusiasm and Republican connections who was willing 
to give full time. I mean, it was made in heaven. The whole 
thing was absolutely made in heaven. 

Lage: It was a time where Peter Behr was between jobs, in a sense. 

Johnson: He wanted to run for the state senate, and this was a perfect 

way to get visibility in a superb cause so then he could go into 


the state senate and save all the wild rivers. [Behr sponsored 
the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act In the California State 
Legislature, 1972.] The whole thing was meant to be. It was 

ne ant to be. 

Lage: Did you plant the idea that George Murphy perhaps should be one 
of the major targets? 

Johnson: Ve had that concept, and I think that we certainly used that. 1 
think Peter, who, as we say, had the Republican connections--. 
At the same time, the other side of that coin is, these were the 
people he was going to be working with. So I think Peter had a 
very good, straightforward concept to focus on the president and 
to focus on the petition drive. And he really didn't want to 
take on letter-writing campaigns, and he didn't want to focus on 
any of these other Republican officeholders. But he understood 
that there were others who would. Ve didn't have any serious 
difference on it; it's just simply that he wasn't going to do 
that. It wasn't a natural role for him as a Republican to be 
targeting--. Supposing he gets in the state senate, and he's 
been targeting this Republican senator. I mean, that's not a 
very good situation. 

Lage: But he himself now seems to focus on the role of George Murphy 
in persuading Nixon. 

Johnson: That's true, but I don't think he wanted to generate a lot of 
adverse mail and pressure. 

Lage: He didn't want a lot of mail to go to-- 

Johnson: Well, he didn't mind the mail going there. His organization 

wasn't doing it. S.O.S. wasn't doing that. The rest of us were 
doing it. S.O.S. was petitions, and that was this fabulous 
vehicle for press coverage. Every time you got a Boy Scout 
troop to go and distribute a petition, Peter would get a story 
in the El Cerrito Times, you know. He just generated all this 
local publicity. And then, of course, back to us would come the 
clippings, off to the Congress would go the clippings. Because 
they wanted to see not just the national stories. They wanted 
to see what people were doing out in California- -did they care 
about the seashore? 

Lage: So you had a lot of reports of the effects of S.O.S. that you 
passed on to the Congress? 

Johnson: Sure. The newspaper stories. You bet. You bet. 


Working with Coneressman Wavne Asoinall 

Lage: Somewhere in the correspondence I noted a little disturbance. 
People concerned about some of the things that S.O.S. wrote. 

Johnson: There was only one issue, and that was some negative stuff that 
came out about [Congressman] Wayne Aspinall [of Colorado, 
chairman of the Interior Committee; a Democrat). We did have to 
make a strong push to moderate that, to emphasize that this was 
counterproductive, that basically our strategy was to view the 
Congress as our allies, not our enemies. Because Aspinall was a 
curmudgeon. As it also turned out, he had lost both his wife 
and his brother a couple of months earlier. He was intransigent 
because he'd basically been up against this monolithic Bureau of 
the Budget thing, and he was furious. But we grew to have a 
very nice relationship. He was addressing me in his letters as 
Katharine. The committee counsel, the top counsel of that 
committee became a great ally for us. He'd alert us. For 
instance, he called us the day after the Budget Bureau letter 
and we had this discussion. He said, "I'd like to have a letter 
come in to all the committee members." He kind of told us just 
how to do it. So this would have never happened if Aspinall 
hadn't been feeling friendly towards us. 

Lage: I know that the Sierra Club, for instance, had a lot of run-ins 
with Aspinall. 

Johnson: Right. Veil, he was a curmudgeon and he was not a beloved 

darling of the conservationists. There were only certain things 
that he was interested in doing. 

Lage: But you felt that he was in favor of Point Reyes? 

Johnson: Ve Just decided the only way to work with those people was to 
treat them that way. You weren't going to get anywhere the 
other way. 

Lage: Do you think the counsel that you spoke of-- 

Johnson: Lee McElvain. 

Lage: Did he take a personal interest in this, or was Aspinall- - 

Johnson: It's hard to say, but those fellows are alter egos of their 
chairmen. You're not going to get somebody helping you like 
that if their chairman is cool on you. 


Lage: It seems that- -we 're getting ahead of the story- -but that 

Aspinall really used the Point Reyes controversy to get a lot 
ore than you ever dreaaed of. 

Johnson: Exactly. Both he and [Congressman John P.] Saylor [of 

Pennsylvania, the senior Republican in the Interior Committee] 
used Point Reyes to open up the pot [of the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund] for the rest of the country. That was the 
way it all played out. I think he may at some point along the 
line realized that we could be a good vehicle, because we were 
sufficiently organized. I was in this kind of untouchable 
position as the widow, you know. 

Lage : So you did have to play that role? 

Johnson: Oh, to the hilt. What could you do? 

Lage: Did this give you a lot of entree in Congress? 

Johnson: Certainly. 

Lage: I guess it would, wouldn't it? 

Johnson: You get immediate respect. And it was painful for me. Because 
I'd rather be my own self, you know. But I was not going--. 
Stuart used to have a phrase: "Never see how little you can win 
a case by." Whatever cards you've got, you've got to play them 
when you're up against a lot. You can't go getting too fussy. 
And it was true. I mean, you know, I did care, and all that. I 
mean, I don't say that we beat it into the ground, but if I'm 
introducing myself, if I'm writing these people a letter, I have 
to tell them who I am. 

Lage: Sure. What your interest is, and how you got involved. 
Johnson: Yes. So it had to be spelled out. 
Lage: It did open doors, I can see. 

Johnson: Oh, I don't think there's any question about it. You just get 
respect in that position. There's no question about it. That 
was something we had to work with, so we did. 

Meetlne with Park Service Director Hartzog 


Did you have contact with George Hartzog? 


Johnson: We vent to see him, and I can tell you when, [looks through 
papers] It was early on. I have an indelible memory of that 

Lage: Let's see. I noted a meeting around October. 

Johnson: Okay, let me look at that, [looks at paper] Yes. October 8. 

My husband and 1 and Bill Duddleson and Mike McCloskey called on 
Hartzog to nail down the rumors about the mini -seashore and the 
contracted seashore. 

Lage: Reducing the size. 

Johnson: Reducing the size. And we got a clear picture from him he was 
in no way committed to the boundaries. "He seems sensitive to 
our good opinion of him, and he feels pressured by the Bureau of 
the Budget." [The quotation is from a letter Mrs. Johnson wrote 
to Harold Gregg on October 9, 1969, reporting on the meeting 
with Mr. Hartzog.] 

Lage: Can you recall what his manner was? Vas he defensive? 

Johnson: No, I would call it almost more obsequious. Uncomfortable. He 
seemed to want us to have a good opinion of him even though he 
knew that we weren't at all in sympathy with what his point of 
view was. 

Lage: Did he give you a sense of why he was willing to reduce the 

Johnson: No. The sell-off proposal goes back- -this is what Bill and 1 
were so amazed to reconstruct --to '66. We believed it 
originated in the Park Service. We've discussed what the 
possible reasons for all that is, and it's just very hard to 
speculate what it was all about. 

He was very, very uncomfortable, is the way I would 
remember him. Stuart mentioned that after all, he is the 
spokesman for the public interest as the National Park Service 
head. This is the fellow who is guardian and custodian of our 
parks, and he's promoting a policy to despoil one of them. It 
puts him in a very odd position. You'd think that you could 
expect some proposals like that to come from somewhere else, but 
not out of the Park Service. 

Lage: Did you get the sense that he was responding to pressures from 
above, from [Secretary of the Interior Walter J.) Hickel, or 
even- - 


Johnson: No, we didn't get anything like that that I recall. 
Lage: Did you ever go in to see Hickel? 

Johnson: I never saw Hickel. Hickel was at that time promoting a big 
Parks for the People thing. 

Lage: Right. It's so ironic. 

Johnson: He had all this public relations going on about that. Bill was 
suggesting to press people that he knew to be sure and ask him a 
few questions when he would have press conferences. 

Lage: To get Point Reyes in there. 

Johnson: Well, to demonstrate the split between words and actions. 
Lage: 1 think it might be a good time to take a break, 

Alan Bible. Don Clausen. Jefferv Cohelan 

Lage: Now we're back on after lunch, and to be sure we weren't missing 
anything as we went along, we thought we'd go back to the 
chronology that you and Bill Duddleson worked on and see what we 
may have missed. 

Johnson: On the mail that we sent out in May and June, we got supportive 
responses from more than a hundred members of Congress. We also 
made personal calls on key people in the House and Senate, 
including Wayne Aspinall; Roy Taylor, the House Interior 
Subcommittee chairman; Don Clausen [congressman from Crescent 
City, California, successor to Clem Miller in District 1]; Bill 
Mail Hard from San Francisco and Marin counties. 

Lage: Clausen and Mailliard were both co-sponsors. 

Johnson: They were co-sponsors. And Julia Butler Hansen [of the state of 
Washington] , who was the head of the Appropriations Subcommittee 
in the House and a friend of Jeffery Cohelan [who also was on 
the Appropriations Committee]; they had a good working 
relationship. We also called on Alan Cranston [senator from 
California]. Apparently we saw a Murphy staffer. And then we 
also definitely saw Alan Bible [of Nevada, chairman of the 


subcommittee on Parks and Recreation of the Senate Committee on 
Interior and Insular Affairs], and I remember how austere he 
seemed. Although we had a tie through Uncle Tom Miller, he 
still- - 

Lage: Tom Miller had known him? 

Johnson: Oh, yes. But he seemed very formidable. Distant. Even though 
Wayne Aspinall had this curmudgeonly thing, you felt he was more 
approachable underneath, but Senator Bible seemed very distant. 
I remember this vast room, and this sense of power in there, and 
this was not going to be somebody who was going to take an 
initiative. And indeed, he did not. He said he wasn't going to 
do anything until the House acted first, and he followed that to 
the letter. 

Lage: Did he give a sense of why he wasn't going to move on it? 

Johnson: Yes, he said he had initiated too many things that got killed 
off in the House, and he was discouraged from that, and he 
didn't want to do that again. So it was one of those classic 
House-Senate differences. Probably maybe the relations between 
him and Wayne Aspinall weren't perfect, I don't know, but 
there's this thing that they call each other in the House and 
Senate, "the other body." That can be quite inimical sometimes. 
Clem was very good at bridging those kinds of things. If he 
couldn't make friends with the member that was his peer, he 
would make friends with staffers at a lower level and get things 
done that way. So he just refused to get into an inimical 
position with the Senate people. But at any rate, Bible was 
very clear. 

Lage: I know he'd been out and seen Point Reyes and he knew Boyd 

Stewart [a Point Reyes rancher] and had been taken around. Did 
he show any of this kind of awareness? 

Johnson: I just remember the rigidity of his position. We just felt that 
that door was closed. Aspinall was an avenue, but he was not, 
and that is how it played out. So those personal calls were 
part of that follow-up to the mailings. 

Lage: Do you remember the response from any of the other people you 
mentioned there? Had you had contact much with Don Clausen 

Johnson: Clausen had always gone out of his way to be friendly and kind 
after the accident. So there had been some little contact with 
him over the years --not much, but he was certainly somebody I 
felt I knew. I certainly felt he was approachable. I also knew 


that he was not really a strong conservationist, and he was 
frequently not mich of a detail person. So you didn't feel that 
he was a tremendous resource, but on the other hand, there were 
positive aspects to it and possibilities. It was a friendly 

I gave copies of Island in Time by Hal Gillian- -the Sierra 
Club bookand Wild Peninsula [by Laura Nelson Baker], a book 
for younger readers about Point Reyes, to some key people. 

So then we worked on stimulating the news coverage and on 
formulating the strategy not to criticize either Aspinall or 
Taylor but rather to persuade them to act despite the 
administration's silence in clarifying the administration 
position. Ve had this letter earlier on from Russell [E.j Train 
[undersecretary of the interior] in which he said that the 
position would be spelled out later. So we were kind of waiting 
for the other shoe to drop but we knew we weren't going to like 
it whenever it came. 

Lage: Did Bill [Duddleson] have a direct contact with Train, having 
worked with him? 

Johnson: Oh, very close, because Train had been the head of the 

Conservation Foundation at one point. He was then in the Nixon 
administration. But Bill had been working at the Conservation 
Foundation under Russell Train, and I had known Russell Train 

Did you have any contact with him during this time? 

Yes. More, I guess, as time went on. Things have happened 
since then that have made it clear that Russell Train was very, 
very pleased with our efforts. His position at the time was 
hamstrung by his position in the administration, so he had 
little freedom of action. But he sent me the pen when the bill 
was signed, with a very nice note. He always greets me with a 
great deal of cordiality. I think he feels we did a good job 
and that we were helping him. Ve were helping his position. He 
was in a hard position there, in that administration. 

Lage: I would think so. 

Johnson: So then in July, Julia Butler Hansen, the Appropriations 

Subcommittee chairman, who was a friend of Jeffery Cohelan's, 
gave strong encouragement to Aspinall to press ahead with the 
stalled Point Reyes bill, saying, "When the Point Reyes 
authorization is approved, additional appropriations will 








follow.* So this was helpful. 
Jeff Cohelan initiative. 

This was basically, I think, a 

Were you close with him and his office? 

Oh, I was very close with them, 
up there in the first place. 

They were the ones that got me 

When we did our mailings, as I said, we did most of them 
out of business offices [of supportive House members]. We did 
quite a few out of Jeffery's office, especially to the co- 
sponsors. We were thick as thieves, basically. Jeffery was a 
very close personal friend. He'd been a close friend of Clem's 
and so on. But Jeffery sometimes got a little discouraged, and 
then we'd have to reassure him that somehow we were going to 
work this out. Whereas, as I say, the thing that was 
astonishing about Bizz [Johnson] was that he was determined not 
to give an inch. 

But all the others considered reducing the boundaries, it sounds 
like, from the papers. 

There was quite some noise. Ve never heard that from Jeffery 
himself, but somebody from his staff was quoted as talking about 
it as a possibility. But Jeffery was a tremendous support. 
Tremendous support. And this connection with Julia Butler 
Hansen was very helpful. 

So then going over the press coverage, we got the full- 
page thing from the New York Times as well as an editorial; and 
then a big piece in the Los Angeles Times and the Scripps- 
Howard papers by Bill Steif; and then, of course, Scott Thurber 
and Hal Gilliam, and Tom Benet on the editorial page, at the 
Chronicle were wonderful. And the McClatchy papers with Leo 
Rennert were fabulous . 

So we've covered the fact that we went to San Francisco. 

Let's get the date on that because we didn't put it in. When 
did you come into San Francisco and talk with Peter Behr and the 

August 11 to 15, 1969. Approximate, but correspondence from me 
dated the 17th dates the visit to the Bay Area as "last week." 
That's as close as we can get. 


Time was of the essence. 


Johnson: Very much so. Ve felt very, very urgent because the stakes were 
up at the Lake Ranch; the surveyor's stakes were up. There was 
imminent danger of subdivision within the privately owned 
portions . 

Lage: Did you have any contact with Bill Sweet of the Lake Ranch? Did 
you get into that end of it? 

Johnson: No, not personally. You mean the owner? 
Lage: Right. 

Johnson: No. Actually, those pictures with those stakes were enormously 
helpful because it became very real to people when they could 
see the surveyor's stakes. The Chronicle ran this story with 
the stakes, and that was so tangible, you know, that they really 
were going to break it [the Lake Ranch] up. So we felt it was 
tremendously urgent. 

So we just went through this about Hickel and Parks for 
People. And then on September 5, the S.O.S. had its first 
meeting with enthusiastic TV and media coverage, right after 
Labor Day. 



Budget Director Mavo's Letter of September 10 

Johnson: Then Budget Director [Robert H.j Mayo broke his silence on 

September 10 with his letter to Aspinall and Henry Jackson [of 
Washington state, chairman of the Senate Interior Committee] , 
and says in effect, "While the administration has no objection 
to enactment of the Point Reyes legislation, funds to implement 
it would not be available until 1973 at best." 

Lage: When everything would be gone. 

Johnson: That's exactly right. Under the formula, we figured out that 
because a lot of the--. By the time they had reduced the Land 
and Water Conservation Fund availability the way they had 
decided- -and a lot of that money was supposed to be earmarked 
for state parks and so on- -that there would be $20 million 
available for the whole country, for the National Park Service. 
So it was Pete McCloskey who said to Bill, "This is the 'no new 
national parks' policy.'" 

Lage: That's what it amounts to. 

Johnson: Yes. So the day after the letter came out, Lee McElvain, the 
House Interior Subcommittee Counsel, called and told us about 
the letter. In fact, he talked-- . Stuart had, because in his 
job, having just come out of the Hill himself, was exactly 
comparable to Lee's, since he was chief counsel of the Judiciary 
Committee, so he had established some contact with Lee McElvain, 
who called and told him about the Mayo letter, encouraged us to 
ask Bizz Johnson to ask Taylor to convene this National Parks 
Subcommittee to consider what action to take. In fact, what 
that meant was that the chairman was saying, "You get busy and 
write these letters to all members of my committee, and that 
will help me." This was just enormously encouraging. It meant 
that the chairman, Mr. Aspinall, was enlisting our assistance 


and felt that we were going to be helpful to him. So that meant 
a great deal. 

Lage: That's an interesting concept, that he would ask you to write to 
his own committee members. 

Johnson: Right. That's exactly what he did. That's exactly what he did. 

Imvortance of Personalized. Informative Letters 

Lage: Did you have any indication that Aspinall himself was getting 
letters, starting to get pressure? 

Johnson: Oh, by then he must have been getting letters. Oh, yes, because 
we'd been generating mail all summer. Of course, one of the 
things that I think set our material apart from some of the 
other stuff that goes flowing up there on the Hill- -and here's 
where Bill Duddleson played such a vital role- -was the precision 
and the care, the accuracy, the details. We tried to downplay 
rhetoric. Ue just put a little bit of rhetoric in to heighten 
it or make it strong, but for the most part it was factual. So 
it gave them all things to work with. They appreciate that. It 
was just high-quality material, and Bill with all his experience 
with that legislation for Clem and his very, very precise 
newspaper training and so on, accuracy- -he was just a complete 
stickler for accuracy. So they soon discovered they could 
depend on our material. They didn't have to go look it up and 
check it or anything. 

Lage: That's very helpful. 

Johnson: So I think that was a very, very important factor in the success 
of our mailings. And we tried to take this dignified and 
friendly tone, never adversarial. Never, never adversarial. Of 
course, my particular project was to personalize every cover 
letter, which was an enormous labor. 

Lage: So each person you'd write to, you-- 

Johnson: --you personalized. 

Lage: And you didn't have a computer. 

Johnson: No. What we had was, I found somebody downtown with a very 

primitive robotype thing. You'd have to do these complicated 
little inserts and boilerplate paragraphs, and then add this 


paragraph and so on. Because when you're doing hundreds of 
those, you cannot do then individually. You just physically 
cannot do then, but they sure look like it. I had this little 
blue stationery which stood out. If there had been any previous 
correspondence with this person, that was referred to --if they 
had responded in some positive way or if they had taken any kind 
of action. 

Lage: Was this in letters to Congress only, or letters also to the 
people you communicated with? 

Johnson: In general. We Just did not go in for any type of nemos, form 
letters, none of that. It just did not seem that that was the 
way to go, because that kind of mail does not get the same 
attention as something that is completely personalized. So 
everything that vent out, there were very few memos that went 
out, but mostly it was all done on this personalized basis. 

Lage: What was the mechanism for doing this? Robotype? 

Johnson: It was this funny little robotype machine. I don't know; it was 
pre- computer, but you could feed in blocks of text. They were 
very slow-- 

Lage: --that would be typed automatically? 

Johnson: The blocks of text would be typed automatically, and then you'd 
type in by hand the specialized sections. I discovered this 
shop downtown that would do it, and I was running back and forth 
down there with that. Because it just got very complicated. 

Lage: I wonder how congressmen respond now to the computerized mail 
that looks personal but really isn't. 

Johnson: I know. Veil, I think even if it's individualized to the extent 
that the person can figure out that the person writing the 
letter knows that they did X and Y and who they are, I think 
they'll still get a good response. But you've just got to prove 
that they aren't getting some blanket mail that's being sent out 
to a million other people. Nobody wants that kind of mail. 
They Just don't pay attention to it. 

The Pete McCloskev-John Ehrlichman Connection^/ 

Lage: Was it about this time when you had your connection with 
Congressman Pete [Paul N. ] McCloskey [of San Mateo County, 
Calilfornla, a Republican]? 







It was right after this, September 12 at Alrlie House, Bill 
Duddleson told NcCloskey about the Mayo letter and, outraged, he 
phoned somebody at the White House to protest and called the 
Mayo letter the "no new national parks policy statement." He 
asked for the text of the letter and for a full packet of 
background information to be delivered to his (Congressman 
McCloskey's) office the next working day, Monday the 15th. He'd 
been one of the handful of House members who appeared at the May 
hearing to testify in strong support. 

And he put in his own bill, too. 

Right. And he sent a letter to John Ehrlichman [White House 
counsel, later assistant to the president for domestic affairs] 
beginning, "Here's a starter. The only man who can save Point 
Reyes is the President." We've since discovered materials in 
the [Nixon White House] archives that weren't available to us at 
the time that show that in fact that was a very important 
channel --McCloskey to Ehrlichman to the president. 

It seems that way. 

But at the time, you didn't really know 

We didn't really know that. The interesting thing is that I 
think that Ehrlichman had some interest in the seashore. It was 
obvious that the president really had none and was only 
interested in the politics of the situation. But Ehrlichman did 
have some interest and was connected to his friend McCloskey, 
who also had a very strong interest. 

But I think those papers also showed that the Ehrlichman 
staffmembers were very concerned about the politics. 

But they were very concerned, very concerned about the politics. 
And Ehrlichman himself was very concerned about the politics of 

You had mentioned someone in McCloskey's office that you-- 

Yes, one of the great, lovely dividends out of that was that I 
was talking to somebody in McCloskey's office and asked for her 
name, and she told me Anne Canby. I said, "You wouldn't have 
come from Wilmington, would you?" She said yes, she would, and 
she was the daughter of a very close friend of Clem's who had 
died of a brain tumor when she was very small. I'd just been 
taken to see him before he died, before we left Wilmington in 
'46. She was a great help to us. She was indefatigable and 


interested, and it was lovely to have that, 
friends as a result of the thing. 

Ue became close 

Lage: Did she cone over and help you with the mailing and things, or 
how was she helping? 

Johnson: No, she couldn't do that. She was a full- time staffer in 
McCloskey's office. She was Just, you know, a wonderful 
contact, a friend on a key congressman's staff. I mean, we had 
that already with Bizz and with Jeffery Cohelan, but to have 
that in a Republican member, that was wonderful. 

Lage: So she may have stimulated his interest even more. 

Johnson: 1 think so. She just got fascinated with it, and she was very 
interested in California. She had some of Clem's sense of the 
Easterner blown away by the gorgeousness of California. Clem 
carried that in him, you know. It's like, "You people don't 
know what you have. This is so unbelievably beautiful." 

California Optimism versus Be Itvav Neea t ivi t v 

Lage: I don't want to get you off of our chronology here, but 1 want 
to be sure we don't forget to have you elaborate on something 
you mentioned earlier- -the contrast between some people who are 
very discouraged and discouraging, and someone like Peter Behr 
who is upbeat like yourself. 

Johnson: This was what was such a shot in the arm to us, to go to 

California and find that Peter and Harold [Gregg] and Hike 
McCloskey all shared our point of view, which was this was not 
possible, we couldn't put up with it, it wasn't going to happen, 
it would be turned around. Ve all felt that. It just was 
ridiculous, absurd, and outrageous. Whereas back inside the 
beltway was this attitude of, well, this is the way the system 
works, and too bad. We got a letter from Mrs. Lyndon Johnson 
saying that she just--. Let's see if I can find this, [looks 
through material] 

It's here. Mrs. Johnson said she'd talked with Secretary 
Hickel, and "the Secretary explained that the Department of the 
Interior found it necessary to establish priorities." In other 
words, the money available simply would not cover all they want 
to do. "Because of this, I'm afraid we may not get all that we 
would hope for in funding." So she basically had one 


conversation with Secretary Hickel and decided the ballgame was 
over. That was the kind of thinking that we would run into. 

Lage: What date was that? 
Johnson: This is dated September 9. 
Lage: September 9. 

Johnson: The day before the Bureau of the Budget letter. So this was the 
kind of thinking. In the May 13th hearing, Congressman Skubitz 
of Kansas asked whether a unit of the National Park System had 
ever been de- authorized. 

Lage: That must have made your heart pound. 

Johnson: It was that this was so outrageous that this thing [land 

acquisition at Point Reyes] was costing three times [the cost 
estimated seven years earlier] , that the whole thing should be 
scrapped. So there was a lot of negativity inside the beltway. 

Lage: Why do you think it was different in California? 

Johnson: I think the further you get away from Washington, the more 
different attitudes are in general. I think it's a very 
specialized kind of insider thinking that goes on in Washington, 
that things are always--. I think people are very overawed by 
the big jobs that people have, and they really- - 

Lage: The importance. 

Johnson: Right, and their importance, so when some big person like 

Secretary Hickel says some thing- -this is a perfect example of 
it- -well, that must be the oracle. Now, you come to California, 
you don't get that attitude at all. It's like, what? Who is 
this fellow? He's out to lunch, [laughter] 

Lage: And maybe the success of the Save San Francisco Bay campaign, 
which had been just recently completed, helped. 

Johnson: Yes. The Save the Bay campaign had been a roaring success. The 
petitions had been taped together around the capitol in 
Sacramento. Everybody had won a big one that they'd all been 
told they couldn't win. So there was just this general attitude 
that we don't accept things that we're told we should accept by 
some big shot. 

Lage: That's interesting. And the Sierra Club had come off winning a 
few things in '68. They had a very good year. 





Right. So you just don't swallow things whole. I think there's 
a lot of stuff that gets swallowed in Washington. People don't 
think there are any choices. They don't think there are any 
possibilities. One of the exciting things about this thing was 
to watch that all get turned around. It was very thrilling to 

Here cane this letter from the Budget Bureau which was 
perfect bureaucratese . It said, "We have no objection, but 
funds will not become available." Which Meant you could take it 
any way you wanted. Because of the pressure and the mail that 
he'd been getting, the chairman, Aspinall, decided to move, so 
then he took this letter, which was basically the "no new 
national parks" policy letter, and said, "Oh, there's no 
objection? Fine. We'll move ahead." Which meant that he 
simply used it as a rationale, but the fact was the reason he 
moved had nothing to do with this letter whatsoever. It was 
because of the mail he'd been receiving. 

Right. Actually, the letter sort of confirmed the earlier 

The letter was just saying everything bad, but Aspinall blithely 
said, "Oh, there's no objection? Fine. Well, move ahead." 
[laughter] I thought that was beautiful, because what it really 
means is that when you want to do something, you do it. If you 
decide to get out of that mindset that you're listening to some 
oracle that said that things are impossible and nothing can be 
done and so on, and if you decide to move away from that 
mindset, then you can find a rationale for doing that. Just as 
you can find rationales for doing nothing. 

That's right. Was any attempt made to get people from 
Aspi nail's own state involved? 

I do not believe so. I think that would have been very 
counterproductive. I think that would have made him mad if we'd 
messed around in Colorado. We certainly didn't do that. 

Creative Alliances with Bav Area Conservationists 


You hooked up with various conservationists in the Bay Area. 
The letters show correspondence with Conservation Associates 
[George Collins, Doris Leonard, and Dorothy Varian] . Had you 
known them before that? 







Johnson : 



George Collins, Clem had been in touch with from early on, 
because he was the architect of the [Point Reyes Seashore] 
boundaries when he was with the National Park Service way back. 
I don't know; how far back does it go? Into the forties? 

I think he didn't get involved until the fifties. But it goes 
back beyond that with Connie Virth's recommendation for a Point 
Reyes national park in the 1930s. 

But George Collins of Conservation Associates was a real veteran 
and a strong political player too. He had certain areas that he 
had a particular interest in. An Arctic wildlife refuge was 
one. But he took a big interest in Point Reyes. When it came 
to this question of the integrity of the boundaries, I wrote him 
and asked him if he would please generate mail for us, and I 
made a donation to his Arctic [National] Wildlife Refuge. 

Oh, really? 

Yes. Because 1 said that "you having been so involved with 
setting the boundaries in the first place would be the perfect 
person to generate mail on this particular subject." So we 
asked him to help us on that. We were in touch with them 
throughout the campaign. Bill knew him, too, I think much 
better than 1 did. So they stayed in touch. 

Did you know Doris Leonard also? 

Oh, yes. 

Or just through this mail? 

Veil, through this. 1 had not known her before. But you will 
recall that note 1 wrote to Doris from the airplane on the way 
up to see Katharine in school with little Eunice with me. It 
captures the excitement of that time and all the things that we 
were doing. [Her memo, October 10, 1969, is in the Conservation 
Associates papers in The Bancroft Library.] 

I have that in here. 
10, 1969]. 

I can't remember the exact date [October 

And then George and Doris seem to converse with Republican 
figures in California like Putnam Llvermore [vice-chairman of 
the California Republican Party in 1969]. 


Johnson: Yes, he had excellent Republican contacts. He worked on 

Governor Reagan and eventually got an endorsement through the 
Put Live more connection. 

Lage: Is that kind of thing Important, do you think? 

Johnson: Bill and I were talking about that. We didn't think it seemed 
to be very definitive at that point. It didn't seem to make a 
big difference, but nevertheless, "no stone unturned* was our 
general attitude. If there was something we could think of to 
do, we did it. Because sometimes you can't foresee the ripple 
effect of a given thing. If you can see that it's possible to 
do it, go ahead and do it, and then find out later how much 
difference it made. Don't stop and think it may not be 
productive, because "never see how little you can win a case 
by.* I think it certainly kind of tied up a loose end, to get 
the governor's endorsement. So how much difference that made, I 
don't know, but we did it. We were glad to get it. 

Lage: Do you think it's a good stopping point now, and then go into 
when the House starts up its hearings again after this Mayo 

Johnson: Yes. 

Lage: And what happened through the fall? 

Johnson: Yes. 

Lage: I think so. I think we'll be fresher if we kind of think again 
and then come back to it. Is there anything else you want to 
add about the period up to the Mayo letter? We're now using the 
Mayo letter as a marking point. 

Johnson: It was. It was very much that way. Waiting for the other shoe 
to drop. Just to reiterate that wonderful enthusiasm of the 
Calif ornians , it was just such a fabulous shot in the arm. And 
they appreciated what we did. 

Lage : Oh , sure . 

Johnson: The Pacific Sun, you know, put out a beautiful special 
supplement. You've probably seen that, haven't you? 

Lage: I've seen that. [See Appendix B, p. 105] 

Johnson: One of them called and said, "Where is your central distribution 
depot?" [laughs] I said, "Our dining room table. We haven't 
eaten on it in months." But they did feel that we were 


contributing, and I certainly felt that we couldn't have ever 
done it without that effort from California. We couldn't have 
possibly done it without them. No way. No way. 

Lage: It was a great tie-up of-- 

Johnson: Yes. But I think it was a creative tie-up. And then the fact 
that Peter [Behr] had Republican connections and 1 had the 
Democratic ones, I think that was great too. It just 
complemented itself in so many different ways. And then 
overall, everyone was for parks. People didn't have the gloomy 
feeling they have now that we just can't afford anything. Ve 
were thinking about how much it would cost to buy Point Reyes 
today. It was a window of opportunity. Even though it was 
expensive, it was still do -able. 

Lage: Even though there were those who didn't think it was do- able. 

Johnson: There were those who did not, but it was, in effect, do-able. 
But think what it would cost now. 

Lage: It would be outrageous. 

Johnson: Well, just impossible. You couldn't find public funds for such 
a thing. So all the pieces fell in place. There's so much kind 
of serendipity in these things. 

Lage: That's right. Well, it's part serendipity and part people like 
yourself making it happen. It has to come together. 


[Interview 2: November 20, 1990 ]## 

Further Thoughts on Family Influences 

Lage: Today is November 20, 1990, and this is the second interview 
with Katy Johnson. You had some further thoughts about the 
family background. 

Johnson: Well, I did. The seashore is so connected to me with my life 
with Clem that I had never really given any thought before to 
how my earlier days and my childhood and upbringing and my 
parents would have had any connection. Of course, when you 
start to think about it, everything goes back to those early 
days. So it was a fruitful line of thought. But my comments 
the first day were pretty much off the top of my head, and I 
wanted to expand a little bit because I think I sold my father 
short a bit. 

I agree with what I said in regards to my mother, that her 
ability to empathize with whatever was going on in the world at 
large certainly was a wellspring for me and fueled that sort of 
outrage that really helped me to get moving and work on this 
project effectively. The outrage definitely is connected, I 
think, with the Irish tradition, being, as she would have said, 
"a* gin the government." [laughter] Whatever the authority 
structure is. And also very much, there is that sense of not 
allowing yourself to be overawed by authority. She earnestly 
said to me one time, "Katharine, you're just as good as anyone 
else. If you should ever be invited to Buckingham Palace, think 
nothing of it. No problem." I thought that was a pretty 
strange thing to say out of the blue, but I think that's very 
much part of that Irish tradition. Everybody can trace their 
ancestry back to some king, apparently --the lowliest, poorest 
person. That's imbued in the culture. That's very egalitarian. 

Lage: They've fought the British for so long. 


Johnson: Well, of course, there's that. But there's also a sense that 
they're uch a homogeneous culture, and they go way, way, way 
back, and they really don't believe that anybody is so much 
better than they are. So that helps build a skepticism that we 
were talking about in relation to being told that things are 
hopeless. That helps you to feel more skeptical when people 
behind a big mahogany door with a brass plate on it say 
something to you. You don't necessarily just go along with it 
100 percent. 

Lage: That's very interesting. 

Johnson: I thought about that in expanding what I had said before, that 
all of that was very important for me, because 1 didn't accept 
that this had to be the way I was first told it would be. 

Lage: As Lady Bird Johnson did. 

Johnson: Right. As Lady Bird Johnson. I just didn't accept it. 

My father, on the other hand, was a disciplined person and 
a very fair person, where my mother was emotionally volatile. 1 
think his training--. Throughout my* childhood, he played many, 
many, many games with us and was infinitely patient. He had a 
very good time with us. He never let us win, and we still had a 
good time. He trained you to get beyond your need to win into 
the joy of the game, the joy of the effort. 

Lage: What kind of games? Card games? 

Johnson: We played every card game. All my friends were out learning how 
to do physical things, which 1 never was any good at. We were 
in the little study dealing out the cards. We played all kinds 
of exotic ones- -Russian bank and cribbage and all the rummies. 
We played lots of board games. He just taught us many, many 
different games; 1 don't even remember them all now. But it was 
wonderful training. 

He also had a quality that the more serious a question was, 
the more he was in complete control of his emotions. He could 
blow up over a trifle, but if something serious was happening, 
he instantly moderated his voice. He never discussed anything 
with you in a way that made you personally threatened. He got 
to the heart of what the issue was. He was very, very objective 
and very fair, and kindly, really, when things were difficult, 
when you had a difficult thing to work out. I remember his 
kindness. Although we were afraid of his bad temper in a 
superficial way, in a deeper sense we were never afraid of him, 



and we always could go to him and talk to him if there was 
anything. They were very unusual in the way that they trusted 
us. They didn't monitor us in a kind of way that made you feel 
diminished, like some parents do. 

Sounds very supportive. 

Bill Puddle son's Contributions 




In terms of the seashore, Bill Duddleson was saying that we 
managed to stay on good terms with everyone. I would very much 
like to bring Bill into that end of the equation, because if he 
had an objective, he was going to be very disciplined in how he 
went about it and not allow himself the luxury of popping off or 
getting upset or whatever. Just going to stick to what he was 
doing and work with people. 

He was also very good at explaining complicated things. 
That was apparently one of the sources of his success. He could 
take a complicated issue and boil it down and make it sound--. 

So in the letters that we hammered out with our 
committee , " I remember the issues between us . The two men 
[Stuart Johnson and Bill Duddleson] were both in so many ways 
more well-informed than I was. But one of the contributions I 
made- -well, first 1 had to keep the combativeness out that 
Stuart wanted to inject. And Bill was very grounded in all the 
bureaucratic language that he'd had to deal with and he knew 
what it all meant and so on, but 1 used to like to try to 
simplify and try to boil it down and make it sound more 
accessible and more-- 

-more direct language? 

direct language, and to keep that bureaucratic sound out of 
it. So that I think that our letters had a little bit of 
character to them and were perhaps a little less boring than 
some of the letters were. 

[tape interruption] 

It was more than style, 
real ideas and cut the- 

It's a question of trying to get to the 

Now, I'm sure- -I'm going to be a devil's advocate here --that a 
ore cynical person would say, "Does the wording mean that much 


to a congressman?" Are we talking about letters to congressmen? 
Or letters to the Point Reyes constituency? 

Johnson: No, letters to the Congress. 

Lage: Hov much does the wording mean, do you think? 

Johnson: I don't know. Ve put an awful lot of energy into that wording, 
and it's hard to say, but they were--. We'd go to a hearing and 
we'd see everybody sitting behind the dais. We'd see the 
embers, and we could see my blue stationery up there in front 
of them. 

Lage: So they could use that for information? 

Johnson: Yes, because they were very factual. I wanted to inject real 

genuine feeling into them and to simplify the issues. They were 
very much used, but maybe it didn't make any difference what the 
style was. But when we over not too long a period of time 
developed into a "Dear Katharine" relationship with Wayne 
Aspinall and so on, I like to feel it was of some consequence 
how we wrote. Anyway, 1 couldn't put anything out under my 
signature that 1 didn't like. 

Lage: But 1 think it's important to make the point that you weren't 

writing letters just to persuade a congressman, but also to give 
him information which later was used to persuade others. 

Johnson: Oh, very much so. The persuasion is only--. You don't persuade 
with rhetoric. You only persuade with facts. The most 
persuasive thing we did was give them the newspaper clippings. 
That is the single most important persuasive thing we did, 
because that showed what was going on in terms of support out 
there. The California clips and the national clips both were 

Lage: So getting articles in the newspapers out here, the public 
relations here, was important. 

Johnson: Absolutely. Peter Behr's tremendously effective work in getting 
things in the paper out here and our somewhat effective work in 
getting things in the national press were all--. And of course, 
actually, Bill worked very closely with both Scott Thurber and 
Hal Gilliam out here. They were his special friends from way 
back, and they were very much for the seashore. So he was 
involved in this on the California end as well as the national 


Dealing with Curmudgeonly Wavne Asoinall 







Do you have any more to say about Wayne Asp i nail? He's such an 
interesting figure in the conservation Movement. Here he was 
working with you; in many cases he was opposing conservation 

I know. 

Did you aeet with him directly, then? 

Indeed we did. I felt instinctively- -as I described the 
contrast of the meeting with [Senator Alan] Bible, where both of 
them were taking a hard line when we first met- -I felt 
instinctively that there was more to be hoped for with Aspinall 
than with Bible. Bible had taken that intransigent stand about 
"the other body,* and I knew from experience that when somebody 
had got the bit between their teeth about the other side not 
doing their share, you weren't going to be able to budge them. 
That turf thing between the House and Senate can get completely 
rigid. I just didn't feel we were going to get--. 

Bible did keep his word. As soon as Aspinall moved, he 
moved. But he said he wasn't going to move, and somebody had to 
move first. 

And Aspinall was holding out for the president, 
of the Budget. 

Or the Bureau 

Yes, Aspinall wanted the Bureau of the Budget to move, and 
Aspinall changed his mind before he actually made the public 
announcement. He showed us he had changed his mind when he gave 
us, in effect, marching orders the day after the Bureau of the 
Budget letter came in, to go ahead and write other members of 
his committee. It was obvious then that he had decided to move. 

Was he aware of this petition campaign out here? 

Oh, of course. That's what we did. Ve started bombarding him 
as soon as it all began, with these materials. With the Save 
Our Seashore-- 

So he knew that a major public effort was-- 

Yes, it was revving up and he was already starting to get 
considerable mail. Ve started our letter-writing push in the 
summer, so he'd been hearing from people, and he'd been finding 
out about news clips. Ve had the strategy of saying, "This 


Isn't your fault. You're not the bad person. Why should you 
take the public criticism when the fault is elsewhere? Let's 
just keep the heat on the Bureau of the Budget, and you move 
ahead." So that classically worded Bureau of the Budget letter 
which says, "There is no objection, but funds will not be 
available," he chose to say, "Oh, there's no objection; we'll 
move." But I don't think he would have done so without the 
evidence of the public support that had been generated. 

Lage: In a personal way, could you describe the nee tings with 
Aspinall? I've heard he's sort of a curmudgeon. 

Johnson: Yes, he was a curmudgeon but I think this again goes right back 
to my father. I'm very drawn to curmudgeons. I can always 
usually get going with them [laughs] because they frequently 
have hearts of gold underneath. He just got very friendly with 
me eventually. You just don't go plowing at them head-on, you 
know. The curmudgeonliness is often just a defense against a 
harsh world. They've sort of got their dukes up before somebody 
else does something. My father was short, very small, and he 
went off to college at sixteen and had no money, went to a fancy 
college. So he developed various curmudgeonly tactics to make 
up for his small stature. And then he had to leave college; his 
father lost his job, and he supported his family and had lots of 
vicissitudes, but he developed these curmudgeonly tactics to 
show that he was a person of some substance despite all these 
problems in his life. I think a lot of curmudgeons do that. 
Underneath, they're really- - 

Lage: They're soft-hearted and don't want to show it sometimes. 

Johnson: They're soft-hearted and don't want to show it, and they've 

developed some armor plate, you know, in a hostile world. But 
if you adopt a stance, you know- -like the wolves, say, or 
whatever- -you just make it clear from the beginning that you're 
not fighting. They can relax. 

The Unman ' s Role in Fainilv. AS Congressional Wife And Uidnw 

Lage: Is there a difference lobbying as a woman? 

Johnson: Yes, I think so. Especially as a widow. I think that, again, 
is a favored position to be in. 

Lage: A congressional widow. 


Johnson: Yes. I think it's a strong position to be in. 
Lage: So they showed you every courtesy, I'm sure. 

Johnson: They shoved me absolutely every courtesy. I tried to be very, 
very courteous in response, so that we did manage to have good 
working relationships with everybody we worked with. We didn't 
get into any rows. I just knew that was going to be completely 
counterproductive. These were the people we needed to get the 
bill through. There was no purpose to that. 

Lage: Just to go back to your earlier life, did you have brothers and 

Johnson: One sister. 
Lage: One sister? 
Johnson: One sister. 

Lage: In thinking of the woman's role and what was expected of you as 
a young person, did your parents have rigid ideas of women's 

Johnson: Ve had a completely mixed message. My mother and father were 
both firmly rooted in Victor iana. One funny story about the 
seashore per se was that when I was deep into the middle of it, 
my father looked at me one day and said, "Katharine, I hope 
you're not going to be like Mrs. So-and-so from Dickens"--! 
don't know who it was --"who always has inkstained fingers and 
her hair coming out, and she's always working on causes." 
[laughter] I said, "Yes, that's Just who 1 am right now. 
You're right, Father, and that does not suit your Victorian 
ideal." But 1 just thought it was comical because he had it 
pinned down. That was exactly the state I was in at that point. 
Usually with a pencil I'd be chewing on, and just carrying my 
papers around with me everywhere I went and on the telephone. 1 
was in a somewhat chaotic state. He didn't like chaos. He 
liked order, and everything about a big political effort, 
whether it be for a cause or for a candidate, is chaotic and 

Lage: But did he think it was not appropriate for a woman, do you 

Johnson: Probably, yes. Yes, I think so. Although he nourished us both 
intellectually. That's where I say the mixed message. Ve were 
encouraged at every step of the way to do well in school. They 
took an intense interest in our classes and our grades and all 


of that. So we got a very nixed message. My sister suffered 
ore from this than I did because she vent through college and 
hould have gone to grad school, and they brought her back to 
learn typing and join the Junior League. She said it was the 
worst year of her life. 

Lage: Learn typing and Join the Junior League? 

Johnson: Yes. 

Lage: What a combination. 

Johnson: Oh, it was awful. They just clipped her wings, really they did. 
In my case 1 just got out and flew away early. 

Lage: Was she older or younger? 

Johnson: Younger. And she has a fantastic mind. She's very much more 
like my father. She could have been a real powerhouse if she 
had chosen to teach college or anything, she could have done it. 
They were just thrilled with her at Sarah Lawrence, thrilled 
with her. 

But anyway, yes, it was a mixed message. It was a very 
mixed message. 

Lage: Did that affect you at all, in terms of how you went about this? 

Johnson: I think that the cover, you could say, of being the widow 

lobbying was so safe and secure that it afforded me a chance to 
just break through everything. If I could swallow that position 
I was in- -which I had to swallow because it just was the way it 
was, that was the fact- -then I could go anywhere with it. And I 
felt a sense that this was for me personally a fabulous 
opportunity to break through a lot of barriers that I had been 
up against in my life, including the congressional wife role 
that we spoke of briefly-- 

Lage: Right. Ve didn't go into it too thoroughly. 

Johnson: - -which books have been written about. It's a very hard role 
because really, your main role is just a negative one, not to 
make a mistake, not to say the wrong thing, not to forget a 
name, not to express an opinion. It's all negative. There's no 
avenue in there for you to take a positive thing and run with it 
because it's fraught with--. Now, that's a generalization, and 
there are a few people who've been able to surmount that, but 
for the most part that's about the way it works out. When 
you're successful at it, it's because you haven't made those 


particular kinds of mistakes and you have successfully nuzzled 
yourself in all that. 

Clem gave me a lovely opportunity that plays a little into 
the seashore. During the [1960] presidential campaign with 
Kennedy, he decided not to go to the national convention because 
the California delegation was split in about five directions, 
which made him very unhappy because he couldn't maximize the 
state's clout, and he said, "I'm not going down there and get in 
this free-for-all." So he went down the Colorado River in a 
rubber raft during the convention. He said, "I can be something 
of a healer when it's over, because this is hopeless. There's 
no way you can take charge or make any sense out of it." So he 
invited me to go with him, and I said, "How can 1 do that? The 
children--. Somebody's got to be able to reach somebody on the 
phone if anybody's in trouble or gets hurt or whatever. I can't 
do that, but," I said, "let me come back with you when the 
Congress was--" I think when it was in special session or 

Anyway, there was a time that summer, and the children were 
still out here in camp and visiting friends and so on, and 1 
said, "Let me come back and stay with you for two weeks and come 
down and work in your office." He said, "Certainly," which was 
very unusual. The average congressman would have been totally 
horrified at the idea. He was delighted, and said, "Fine," and 
they gave me the job of--. He did so many of his letters 
individually that it was completely inefficient. I mean, he 
shouldn't have. It was unbelievable, the correspondence that he 
did, just hand- dictated individual responses to letter after 
letter after letter after letter. I went through them all last 
year; it was unbelievable. 

So in the office they said, "You could help us do some 
boilerplate paragraphs and figure out ones that we can use, and 
different issues, and pinpoint them." That turned out to be 
useful, and they used them, apparently, for the next two years. 
They told me that was a useful contribution. But that played 
right into the seashore because we were constantly shifting 
boilerplate language around. 

Lage: Did Clem have a certain style of letter-writing that you picked 

Johnson: I took paragraphs from his letters that could be applicable. In 
other words, there wasn't any point in having to dictate over 
and over again a very similar, practically almost word-for-word 
paragraph . 


Lage: But when you came to the seashore, did any of his approach to 
letter -writing have an influence? 

Johnson: No, I wouldn't say so, because his letters to his constituents 
were frequently full of the Mentor that was so ouch a part of 
him. He used a lot of those letters to refine his own thinking 
and to teach and to explain. Certainly not too often to try to 
persuade them. He was not in a lobbying role. So 1 don't know 
that that would have been too comparable, but certainly they 
were lively. Probably more lively than anything we were able to 
do. He had a very, very lively style. But that may have 
affected me in some way I can't pinpoint. But that was a very 
nice experience for me. 

Lage: And an unusual one. 

Johnson: I told several friends of mine. They said, "What? George would 
never let me near the office." I just thought it up, and he 
said, "Certainly. Good idea. Come right down." 

Lage: And you really had a feel for politics, it seems. 

Johnson: I loved it. And he used to say I had good judgment politically. 
And Stuart used to say the same thing. 

Lage: I know the time wasn't right when they asked you to take his 

seat, but is that something you think you would have thrived in 
if the time had been right? 

Johnson: I don't know, Ann. I'm a funny mixture of extrovert and 

introvert. 1 need both in my life. 1 don't know if I would 
have thrived on that degree of pressure, seven days a week, 
fifty- two weeks of the year. I'm not so sure that would have 
agreed with me. But there would have been aspects. I tend to 
like to get--. Just like the seashore. I tend to like to get 
into something as an all-out effort. That's why, since my 
second husband died, I've been in several campaigns with very 
good results from myself. I like to get into it and give it 
everything I have, and then it's over. 

Lage: And then relax a bit. 

Johnson: Yes, and then get into another side of myself which is different 
and more contemplative. I think that the constant demands of 

1-See Clem Miller, Member of the House: Letters of a Congressman. 
edited by John V. Baker (New York: Scribner, 1962). A new edition of Clem 
Miller's letters to his constituents is planned. 


Johnson ; 

public life which never let up would be pretty tough for ne 
temperamentally. On the other hand, the opportunity to serve 
*nd really do something that constructive would be a great 
honor, so one never knows about that issue. 

What course the life night have taken; that's a hard question, 
Yes, that's right. 

Parents ' Sense of Responsibility and Public Involvement 

Lage: Are there any more background kinds of things before we get into 
the specifics of that fall of '69? Anything else you thought 

Johnson: No. Only in this one issue between the parents, that one thing 
they had in common was a deep sense of responsibility. They 
each ended up being the sole support of their elderly parents 
and helping with siblings. 1 remember one of the things my 
mother would say scathingly was So-and-so was one of these 
people who would let George do it. I think both my parents were 
people who never let George do it. So 1 think that sense of 
there's something has to be done and you don't sit around and 
wait for somebody else to do it was something that really did 
play into this. 

Lage: I can see that operating when you were making the decision, 
Should we take on this battle?" 

Johnson: Right. You just don't really think that it's a good idea to sit 
around and expect somebody else to do it, because they probably 
will not. George will probably not do it, is the point. 

Lage: Everyone else will be waiting for George. 

Johnson: Everybody else is going to wait for George. And that was a deep 
bond between them. 

But to get back to the differences, they each had these 
vicissitudes, and my father, as I say, had to leave college. My 
aether's father was missing most of her childhood years and not 
really providing, and they hit much harder times than my father. 
My mother's family had to separate; just financially, my 
grandmother couldn't keep them all together. When my mother 
graduated--. In fact, I don't know how she did it all through 
their childhood. My mother graduated from high school and went 






down to teach school in a cornfield in the middle of lower 
Delaware, and lived with a farmer's family. Then she went to 
New York, and her first job was a bill collector at Staten 
Island, and lived with relatives. She worked her way up 
eventually in the Curtis Publishing Company, a very nice job. 

But my father, whose father lost his job, they had bits and 
pieces of connections, and somehow it was very tough but they 
survived, and I don't think they ever hit the kinds of hard 
times that my mother's family had, nothing like it. Although 
they had in common this great sense of responsibility in having 
ach looked after their families, my father had been insulated 
to a larger degree, and this again played into her more deeply 
realistic sense of how much injustice there was in the world, 
things like that. His [judicial] opinions 1 read after he died 
mostly came down in favor of the institution over the 
individual. [Clarence Southerland was chief justice of the 
Supreme Court of Delaware . ] Not always . He was not extreme , 
but he liked to think of order and structure and all that. And 
my mother was really into righting wrongs. 

A very interesting combination, 

The temperaments seem very 

They were very complementary in some ways. I think there was a 
side of my father that somewhere along the line he had squashed 
as not being the way to get ahead. But there's something about 
it he liked in my mother. 

So which one did you take after more? More after your mother? 

My mother. But I think there's more--. That's why I think in 
the discussion the other morning that we shortchanged him. My 
mother's emotional volatility, most of which really came out of 
the stresses and insecurities that she'd had as a child- -that 
emotional volatility was sometimes very hard. 


His steadiness and reliability, dependability, all those things, 
were things that I deeply valued in him. So I did identify. I 
think I was to some degree male identified, because I've always 
had this desire to get involved in work that is not--. Charity 
benefits and all that kind of stuff has always left me totally 


The sort of traditional Junior League sort of thing? 


Johnson: Yes. I just couldn't stand any of that, I never could. So 

there's got to be some little bit of ne that's male -identified, 
even though I've had all these children and have this big family 
and everything. And I am a lot like my mother, I think, in some 
ways. But I'm a combo, as we all are. 

Anyway, that's enough. Ve kind of expanded a lot on this, 
but since it's a topic I had never thought out before, I felt 
the need to kind of expand it a bit. 

Lage: And what we are trying to show is some of the personal side, and 
this is certainly part of it. 

Allies and Co -Workers in the East 

Johnson: Right. Now, in another vein, at some point I wanted to mention 
people who assisted me, and how they came into my life, and 
during the seashore [campaign] people just miraculously appeared 
to help there. 

Lage: Let's do that now. 

Johnson: There was an enormous amount of work, and I did a lot myself, 
but when we were moving these big mailings and so on there was 
plenty of opportunity for help. One key person was Clem's 
former secretary, Mary [Margaret Burke] Brown, who remained a 
close friend. She is a marvelous person who is very dedicated 
and interested in helping. She helped me with correspondence, 
she helped me with mailings, she'd help me with anything. She 
had little children and I tried not to take advantage, but 
anyway, that was a resource that was always available to me if I 
was in a jam. She was just fabulous. 

And then I got a call out of the blue one day from Judith 
Elias, whom I'd never heard of. She was a Califomian who loved 
the seashore and had heard about it's being in trouble. She was 
temporarily in Washington with her husband, who I think was in 
NIH [National Institutes of Health] , and she called Alan 
Cranston's office and said, "I hear the seashore's in trouble. 
What can I do to help?" They said, "Go and see Katy Johnson." 
So she called me up and became an incredible help. She had a 
lot of time, and I think eventually I finally insisted that she 
be on a small stipend of some kind because she just gave me too 
much of her time. But she turned out to have fabulous lobbying 
skills. She was very good, person-to-person. 




Johnson : 



So she'd go to Congress and visit? 

Veil, sometimes. Towards the end there, there were some times I 
remember we had her on the Hill, and she was fabulous. We 
didn't even know she had those abilities. But for a long time 
he was Just helping me with all the paperwork. Judy was 
wonderful, and also has remained a friend. 

Has she stayed involved in political issues? 

No, she put herself through law school and is doing, not 
arbitration, but-- 


Yes, mediation. She's a very savvy, wonderful person. That 
Just dropped into my lap, and then Clem's mother's friend's 
daughter who lived in Washington whose husband was a diplomat, 
Florence Gibson, would call me up and say, "Katy, do you need 
any help? Call me if you do." If I did, she'd Just shoot over 
and start stuffing envelopes or whatever. She's developed her 
own recording studio and has all kinds of abilities. But she'd 
come over and stuff envelopes for the seashore at the drop of a 

So these were the kinds of resources. And then we used the 
children up to the nines whenever they were around or available. 
They all helped. The night before the last big mailing [to all 
members of the House] before the vote on the floor of the House, 
we took the mailing to the [House] Judiciary [Committee] room. 
Stuart's old boss let him have one of the big rooms, and we 
assembled it there, and all the kids were there and everybody 
else would get dragooned and had a real party in there putting 
it together, and then we put it in inside mail. Bizz Johnson 
would let us have his franked envelopes, and we could dump that 
stuff right in inside mail. 

Vas there any coordination with the Sierra Club lobbying office? 
Lloyd Tup ling in Washington? 

Oh, we worked with Lloyd all the time. We were on the phone and 
talking to Lloyd constantly. 

How did that work? 

We were all on the same wavelength. We were all trying to 
complement each other and let each other know what we were 


Lage: Was the Sierra Club there lobbying too, or did they kind of 
leave it to you? 

Johnson: No, no, they wanted to have their own. In fact, 1 don't know if 
I Bade this clear in the first interview. When I went out there 
in August, there were three people I saw: Harold [Gregg], Peter 
[Behr], and Mike NcCloskey. McCloskey told us they'd already 
started a petition drive. They had already gotten going and 
they had stuff already happening. The Sierra Club always wants 
to maintain its independence, but they also do believe in 
liaison. And we were very pleased because they were very much 
focused on a letter-writing campaign. They basically, once 
Peter got going, I think they dropped their petition thing. 

Lage: Peter used the Sierra Club mailing [list] in the Bay Area, and 
sent to all the members of the club a petition or something. 

Coordination between Bav Area and Washington Effor t s 

Johnson: Veil, we were all working together. Everybody. I'm not sure 

exactly how that worked for S.O.S, but I know that at one point 
I donated to their mailing out to all of their [Sierra Club] 
members to generate mail. Joan Roth did too. 

Lage: Did you know Joan Roth before? 
Johnson: Yes, I did. 

Lage: Is that how you made the contact and got them to be 

Johnson: I'm trying to remember how I met them. Ve saw each other in 

Washington; we had known each other, and Abby, one of my girls, 
babysat for their little girl. They lived not far from us. 

Lage: Did you make the contact with them, then? 

Johnson: I made the contact with Joan Roth for the Seashore. Yes. 

Lage: Did you know Varren Lemmon? There are several letters about the 
seashore from Doris Leonard to Varren Lemmon. 

Johnson: That's very familiar to me, but my memory needs to be jogged. 
It's a very familiar name. 


Lage: He worked with Roth Properties in San Francisco. Did you have 
much contact with Barbara Eastman during this campaign? 

Johnson: I got to know Barbara really later. I wasn't in on the early 
days, you know, when Clea was working with her. 1 was back in 
Washington. I found out more and BO re about her as time went 
on. And of course, she was still living in Los Gatos. Now 
he's full-time in Inverness. Later on, I remember driving down 
to Los Gatos and asking her if she would be interested in trying 
to head up an organization, a private organization of pro 
se ashore people such as many parks have. It's like an advocacy 
group. Friends of, or whatever. She felt she couldn't do it on 
top of everything else, but we had a wonderful talk. I just ran 
into this morning a very nice letter from her acknowledging my 
work to finish the seashore. We did become acquainted 
eventually, and I certainly was very impressed with her. She 
was an amazing person. 

But 1 started out quite cold. 1 mean, there were big gaps 
in what 1 knew about the history there. 

Lage: You'd been away from the area for a long time. 
Johnson: I'd been away from the area, exactly. 

Lage: Vere there any turf conflicts related to that? People who 

thought it was kind of their seashore and why was this woman 
from Washington coming in? 

Johnson: 1 think they needed help [in Washington]. I was far enough away 
geographically so they could run their operation exactly as they 
saw fit. There may have been some of those feelings, but they 
just really hardly filtered through to me. I didn't really pick 
them up because we weren't together geographically. The people 
I was in touch with on an almost daily basis were Peter [Behr] 
and Betty London, the S.O.S. coordinator, and Harold Gregg and 
Mike NcCloskey. And George and Doris. Those were the people 
that we kept on a very close, continuing communication with. 
Then 1 also had some other friends on the board. Libby Gatov, 
who is a very dear friend, and Becky Watkin [former Mar in County 
Planning Commissioner]. In fact, I think it-- 

Lage: On the board of--? 
Johnson: S.O.S. 

So sometimes I'd include them in my mailing. Sometimes I'd 
include the whole board. It depended on what we were doing. 


But I don't remember being told at some point that I was out of 
line or-- 

Lage: I found no evidence of that. I just wondered if you-- 

Johnson: I Just don't remember having stepped on anybody's toes. It 

would be hard to believe that I didn't at some point, Just out 
of the sheer logic of the situation. But 1 think the 
geographical removal, I'm sure it would have happened, because 
my experience with campaigns is that, for instance, you've got a 
local operation going, and they send somebody out from 
Washington to "help" you? It basically means to run it. That's 
Just a recipe for hate on all sides. But there wasn't any 
problem about that because I wasn't out there. 

Lage: You were running the Washington end of it. 

Johnson: I was Just running the Washington end of it, and they knew they 
needed somebody to do that. So it just felt complimentary. I 
got some very nice letters from some of those people. I got a 
telegram from the Mclntyres that I Just found in the files. 

Lage: Who are the Mclntyres? 

Johnson: I think they were on the board. Hal Mclntyre. I don't know who 
they were, and they sent me this beautiful telegram thanking me 
and wishing I were there to be with them. They were marching 
across the bridge; I don't know what was going on. Anyway, it 
was just a beautiful telegram. So there were some very positive 
messages reaching me. I just don't remember any negatives. 

Lage: Everything went so well that there may have been no negatives. 

Johnson: It did go well. It did go well. There was that little bit of a 
flap about Aspinall. That was the only one, and that was really 
Peter. He was partisan, and we were partisan too sometimes. I 
mean, you know, he wasn't doing anything different than we did 
on our end as Democrats, but he just needed to moderate that and 
he did. 

Lage: And maybe he didn't realize how you were working with Aspinall, 
what your strategy was. 

Johnson: No, he didn't. But other people talked to him, and it just all 
got straightened out. I don't mean to gloss anything over, but 
I Just honestly don't have any recollections like that. But I 
think I was geographically insulated from it. If I had been out 
there on a day-to-day basis trying to interfere with what they 
were doing, there would have been sparks all over the place. 


But that wasn't where they needed me. They needed me back where 
I was. And I had no desire to do that. 

A "Katy-gram" : Fact Sheet on Point Reyes for Congressmen 

Subdivision is ianinent in the Lake and Pierce finches , and quit* possibly 
elsewhere, vithin the boundaries Of the Point Be ye* Rational Seashore as authoritad 
by Congress in 1962. The owners of these lands art unwilling aad/or unable 
to hold them end Government fu&ds are not iaattdiately available to purchase them. 
At this time the Government owns lass than half of the land authorised, these 
parcels being in an 'unadainistrable patchwork pattern. 

The earmarked Land * Jfeter Conservation Fund (Source: offshore oil revenues, 
aotorboat fuel taxes, park admission fees,) as authorised by Congress at $200 Billion 
per year, contains sufficient funds to ensure the completion of Point Reyes and 
other urgent conservation opportunities* However, the lixon Budget for fiscal 1970 
allows expenditures from this fund at only $124 Illlff 1 *, vhich, after fixed 
coBBitBents, leaves only $1? Billion for all astioaal Park Service land acquisition 
not previously programed. The bleak prospect for Point Reyes and other such programs, 

even the premise of the hold up on this earmarked fund, is spelled out in the 
tter of Budget Bureau Director Msyo to Bouse Interior Committee Chairman Wayne Asplnall 
on September 10th. It is not clear what, if any use is beingoade of these specifically 
earmarked funds (see Senator Helson in the Congressional Record, enclosed.) 

The Bouse Interior Committee has held hearings on numerous identical bills 
providing for $38 million additional authorization on May 13. Up to nov, ChairBsn 
Aspinall has taken the position that he will not aove any new authorisations 
vhile the Administration refuses to release all of the earaarked Land Water 
Conservation Fund. However, it appears he Bay have shifted his position in regard 
to Point Reyes. The Interior Coomittee has Just announced further subcoamittee 
consideration of Point Reyes on November 13 (see attached Coomittee press release 
and that of Congressman Don Clausen). Chairman Aspinall has also written to the 
Department of the Interior for Information relating to the values of specific 
parcels of land nov in private ownership. 

There are persistent rumors that there is sooe support both in the Department 
of the Interior and in the Congress for a reduction in the boundaries to carve out 
a "compact, administrable unit". Such a position Bay be presented at the November 
13 Subcommittee meeting by the Department of the Interior or by a Member of the 
Committee. Congressman Harold T. Johnson (D. 2nd Dist.) who was instrumental in 
establishing the original boundaries and has been a leading spokesman vithin the 
Interior Committee for the Seashore (also having considerable seniority and an 
excellent working relationship with Chairman Aspinall) remains firmly opposed to 
any change in the original boundaries. Such a change would almost surely Involve 
excluding the Pierce Rsnrh, including McClure's Beach and a substantial percentage 
of the ocean and bay coastline vlthia Itaa Seashore* 

At the May 13 hearing, National Park Service Director George flartzog presented 
as a money saving proposal a program to first condemn and then to sell off over 9/000 
acres, 1/6 of the authorized Seashore, to private and commercial subdivision* 
Mr* Hartzog claims the authority to do this without further leave of Congress under 
new authority granted the Park Service under the land and Water Conservation Fund 
Act Amendments of 1968, but he is clearly violating the Intent of Congress as 
spelled out in my letter to Congressman Johnson submitted for the hearing record* 
There is evidence of substantial opposition to this program vithin the House Interior 
Committee. This question, of far reaching precedent-setting importance for the 
entire National Park System, may or Bay not be under consideration at the Subcommittee 
eeting scheduled to consider Point Reyes on November 13* However, this November 13 meeting* 
vill certainly be, in effect, a confrontation between the Congress, which has shown bi 
partisan support of conservation measures, and the Administration which thus far 
has given the lowest priority to the preservation of our natural heritage. 

Chairmen Jackson and Bible in the Senate Interior Committee have been unwilling 
se far to aove 31530 (Cranston -Murphy) until the House Completes action. 



Combating Move for a Mini - Seashore 

Lage: Why don't we go back to the chronological approach, and then 

other issues will come up. Shall we return to that chronology 
that you looked at? 

Johnson: Yes. 

Lage: Ve last time brought ourselves up to September 10, when the 

letter came from the Bureau of the Budget. And you were told by 
Aspinall to go ahead and write to the committee members, which 

Johnson : 




-which tipped us off that Aspinall--. He didn't actually make 
a public announcement for quite some time, but it tipped us off 
because he had obviously decided to switch his position. 

But there did seem to be a backdrop during October of fears on 
your part that several members were beginning to look at the 
idea of reducing the size of the seashore. 

That's right, 

Ve got very worried about that, [looks through 


That's where I ran across the letter from you to Conservation 
Associates, Doris and George. 

Right. On September 27 one of [Congressman] McCloskey's aides, 
and I'm sure it was Anne Canby, came from the Hill to 29th 
Street [Mrs. Johnson's home in Washington] to pick up copies of 
Island in Time and Wild Peninsula. She explained, "We're 
working on someone in the White House," and I wrote a friend the 
next day saying, "We hope it's the president." Who it was, was 

That's what was discovered through the archives. 






Yes, we've since discovered. And then in October S.O.S. sent 
that special issue of the Pacific Sun, cartons and cartons of it 
by air. I had a little piece in there saying, "Here's exactly 
how to help the Seashore with letters," and who to, and so on. 

Did you distribute that issue in Washington? [Appendix B, p. 

Oh, we distributed that issue all over the place. It ended up 
in the "every member mailing" at the end. Ve had enough. And 
then we sent it out in the interim with many mailings. 

Did you get feedback? People commenting on that? 

Yes, 1 guess so. 

It's a little hard to remember these details. 

Yes, that is hard, and one of the things I'd love to do, we 
really haven't segregated the correspondence. You asked me 
before about some of the responses, so it would be nice to give 
you a little more of the flavor of some of the responses. But 
that'll take a little digging that we haven't really pulled 

But on October 7, Bizz asked me to come into his office for 
help in retaining the integrity of the boundaries, so that's 
when we were alerted that there was a move on to really change 
the boundaries. The Budget Bureau and others were going to say, 
"Let's have a mini -seashore." One of Jeff Cohelan's assistants 
had asked me which parts of Point Reyes are the most important. 
Ve found this absolutely alarming. There were newspaper stories 
that [Don] Clausen and William Mailliard were considering 
amendments. 1 wrote them, and I saw Mailliard' s response 
recently. He said that they weren't considering any amendments. 

Did you work closely with Mailliard? 
about him. 

Ve haven't talked too much 


Ve tried to. I mean, he was right there in the area, and we had 
an ongoing relationship with him. He never got deeply involved, 
but he certainly was courteous and played his part. His style 
was not one that was very activist, but he was very much on our 
side. He was certainly supportive. 

Just not-- 

Yes. He wasn't doing anything very dramatic about it, but on 
the other hand he was dependable. 


Lage : Now, would Clausen have been considering reducing the size, do 
you think? 

Johnson: Did we ever get any evidence of that? There were these 

newspaper reports. It was an idea that was floating around, and 
Clausen wasn't doing anything to squash it, and Clausen wasn't 
doing anything to say that he was for the full size. 

Lage: Not like Bizz Johnson. 

Johnson: Right. See, this is where this shows how critical Bizz was, all 
the way through. He never wavered, ever, in wanting the full 
size and the full amount of money. That was from day one, and 
it never changed. He was absolutely to be depended upon. 

Lage: He was on the subcommittee? 

Johnson: And he was on the Interior Committee. He just counseled us and 
encouraged us and exhorted us to hang in there and "Keep up the 
heat, Katy, it's the only way you're going to get it," and so 
on. He was just completely staunch; that's the only word for 
it. He was totally staunch. I would say that his support was 
absolutely critical. Absolutely critical. I just don't know 
where we would have been without somebody like that to rely on, 
who never waffled, never got discouraged, never acted gloomy. 
It was just like, this is what you've got to do. You've got to 
keep up the heat. While I won't say that he ever got off any 
great optimistic things, he never said anything negative either. 
Determination, was his motto, which fitted right in with ours, 
[tape interruption] 

Lage: All right. We were talking about Bizz Johnson. Before that we 
were talking about the efforts in October to diminish the size 
of the seashore. 

Johnson: Yes. Bizz called us in, so that's where my letter to Doris 
[Leonard] from the airplane was specifically zeroing in on 
getting them to help us write to other conservation 
organizations and get up a concerted campaign to defend the 
boundaries. Since George [Collins] had been involved in setting 
the boundaries from day one, he was an ideal person to be 
involved in that very particular issue of why those boundaries 
were important to defend, what the integrity of them was. Of 
course, here we have this peninsula that had migrated up the 
coast from Los Angeles over eons, which has completely its own 
patterns of flora and fauna and geology that are unique to it, 
and it would have been a crime to excise part of that. 


Lage: These were natural boundaries, which seem easier to defend than 
maybe some other more arbitrary boundary. 

Johnson: Exactly. So I asked Doris Leonard to activate a flow of mail, 
and then Bill [Duddleson] was very involved. He helped draft 
the letter that was later signed by thirteen national 
conservation organizations, a joint letter to the president 
asking full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, 
reminding him of his campaign promises, using Point Reyes as an 
example of the need for urgent action. 

Lage: This letter broadened the issue from Point Reyes to the Land and 
Water Conservation Fund. 

Johnson: Right. The letter of the organizations focused first and 
foremost on the Land and Water Conservation Fund and then 
brought in Point Reyes as an example. So it was really 
addressing the Mayo letter. They also asked Nixon to reverse 
the administration's unfortunate plan to raise revenues by 
selling off private subdivision rights, as proposed in the House 
May 13th hearing. So that issue was important for them to 
address . 

Rvan Amendment to Prohibit Sell-Off Deals 



I don't think we've yet clarified that over the summer 
Congressman William Fitz Ryan of New York, who was on the 
Interior Committee and was, of course, on all our mailing lists, 
became particularly involved in that issue and drafted an 
amendment to the authorization of the new funds. He stayed with 
it, and [it] was eventually enacted, saying no property or 
interest acquired within the boundaries of the Point Reyes 
National Seashore shall thereafter be leased back or sold back 
under any existing authority for residential or commercial 
purposes, except for public accommodations and facilities. So 
he took that on as his special project and stayed with it, and 
it wound up becoming part of the law. 

Was that a difficult one to get through? 
congressmen were not-- 

It seems as if the 

No, I don't think so. It was just that there wasn't enough 
focus from our standpoint on what a terrible, terrible bad 
precedent that was, this sell-off. So we were very grateful for 
Mr. Ryan, who put a very particular, precise interest in that, 
saying, "This absolutely has to be scotched." He stuck right 


with it. We didn't think people were exercised enough about it, 
just on principle. Beyond the issue of Point Reyes. 

Lage: Did it ever become a part of another park proposal? 

Johnson: We never heard of it. It had such a bad reception. And George 
Hartzog was sensitive to public opinion. I think he just 
totally misjudged the public reaction. I think that he must 
have gotten a lot of adverse mail. I just think he felt burned 
by the thing, and I don't think it came up again. But up to 
that time, the idea had been floating around, we later 
discovered, since 1966. And he hadn't been getting that much of 
an adverse reaction because people weren't paying attention. We 
were all asleep at the switch. So he just thought that it was 
in good shape; [that] the idea was a viable one. 

Lage: A clever new idea. 

Johnson: A clever new idea. So this letter from the thirteen 

conservation organizations also dealt with that issue of the 
sell -off, which is great. 

Lage: Bill drafted the letter, and then was it sent out to the heads 
of the organizations, or was there personal contact there, do 
you know? Was it hard to get the thirteen conservation 
organizations together, get them to sign it? 

Johnson: I'm sure that that had to be bicycled around and so on. Bill 

drafted the letter for the first signer, who was Joe Penfold of 
the Izaak Valton League. From then the letter took off and went 
off on its own. I don't have a copy of Bill's original draft, 
but he probably does. So it will be interesting to compare that 
to the finished letter. 

Cooperation with Sierra Club's Tupline and McCloskev 

Lage: How much of this working with your constituency- -the various 

people you were in touch with to help on the Point Reyes issue 
how much of that went on over the telephone, or was it mainly 
in writing? 

Johnson: A lot of it vent on the telephone, and some of it went on in 
person. I remember numbers of meetings with Lloyd Tupling in 
person. A lot of it was in person and phone, and not that much 
writing. And Lloyd was very important to us. 1 don't think 












there's nuch to chow on paper as to what we were doing. We were 
just strategizing all the tine. 

Did you know Lloyd before? 

Mo. I think Bill nay well have. I did not know him before, but 
he was a gold nine, and he had so many years of experience up on 
the Hill, I had enormous respect for him. He had just been 
through so many wars, and he just knew what was-- 

Was his point of view in terms of the approach similar to your 

Very much so. Very much so. And he was a very principled 
person, so he was always thinking not only of your own specific 
agenda but what this would mean on a broader basis, what this 
would mean to other parks, what this would mean in the future. 
He had a broad viewpoint, and yet he was very goal -oriented. He 
was very, "Let's win this one." As 1 recall, he was a little 
dour to start with because he'd been losing some. As time went 
on and we did better and better, 1 think he became very enthused 
and happy with what we were doing, so that cemented a bond. 
Because he had been through so many wars and had to swallow a 
lot of things that he hated. 

I've always heard very good things about him. 
Great person. Is he still living? 

Yes, he is. I did a short interview with him for the Sierra 
Club. Not as long as I would have liked. 

That fellow really would have a headful of stories to tell. 
Because I used to listen to him mesmerized. I wish I'd taken 

Anything you can remember in specific? When you say you 
listened to him mesmerized, stories about past efforts? 

Old fights. You know, his battles were fresh in his mind, and 
he'd bring them up in connection with strategy and tactics and 
so on. 


I just thought Mike was wonderful. From day one he was always 
candid, and he clearly had lots of other things going on. We 


Johnson : 





were not by any means the only thing on his plate, but he gave 
you a straight story, and if he said he was going to do 
something, he did it. He gave us good advice and he followed 
through, and he was a fabulous resource. 

He had Just become executive director of the Sierra Club in May 

Oh, really? 
wonderful . 

Veil, we were very lucky to have his help. He was 

And he was not pessimistic or looking for a compromise? 

1 don't think so. 1 don't think so. Remember we talked about 
the difference between the Washington outlook and the California 
outlook? Lloyd epitomized the burned out- -not burned out, but 
weary- -the weary activist in Washington for a good cause, with 
huge, moneyed forces on the other side, who'd been beaten down a 
lot of times. He couldn't afford to go around with too much 
optimism because he just had been banged around too much. 
Whereas Mike was out in California where everything's do -able. 
That's the attitude out here is, everything's do -able. 

The Sierra Club's not being a Washington organization may give 
them a lot more strength. 

I think so. I've heard it said that the Wilderness Society has 
at one point- -it may have changed- -got too top-heavy in 
Washington. And then it gets into these power games, you know, 
you have to have as nice an office as the next guy, and too many 
resources get funneled into that, and the field suffers, which 
is where the heart of the operation is. 1 know the Sierra Club 
has always had very grungy offices in Washington. They make no 
attempt to be fancy, absolutely none. 

And then they pull their people back periodically- - 

They pull their people back, they get their mail out, they get 
the people to mobilize before a vote. They get instant 
attention because they have this big membership organization 
behind them. Other people try to go the other route, have the 
fancy offices and play the power games without the field, and 
they're not nearly as effective. 


As D I nail's Markup of the Point Reves Bill. November 13 

Lage: Okay, now we're moving along through October. I have a note 
that on November 6, Aspinall said he would nark up the Point 
Reyes bill, that he was tired of waiting for Nixon. 

Johnson: Yes, Aspinall said that Taylor's subcommittee will hold a markup 
session on November 13th. 

Lage: Do you think this is a way of putting pressure on Nixon, or 

Johnson: Veil, it was his reaction. He bore out our strategy, basically. 
He decided it was good for him to move ahead and let his 
committee not get all the pressure, and move the pressure on 
over to the White House where it really belonged. Yes, 1 do. 
So they held two days of closed executive session hearings and 
just heard one witness- -Hartzog. 

Lage: Two days of closed hearings? 

Johnson: Yes. In those days almost all markups were closed. 

Lage: What does "markup" actually mean? 

Johnson: Marking up a bill is when the members sit around, and they've 
held their hearings, and the members have the bill as it's 
originally drafted. Then the whole concept behind holding 
hearings is to get input from the public before you move ahead 
with legislation. You start out with a bill, but then you hold 
hearings to get additional ideas. So a markup, in the old days 
before they were public, could be extremely informal. People 
were trading ideas back and forth, and they put in things and 
they took out things, and whatever. 

Since then people have decided that it was such a critical 
part of the legislative process that it should be held in the 
open rather than in private. So that was one of the major 
reforms that went in. I'm sorry to say I can't tell you just 
when that happened, but I know it was all brewing; when I was 
working for DSG we were all talking about it, but I don't think 
it had happened yet. I think we still had closed markups. 

Lage: So did you have a sense of what went on behind the closed doors? 

Johnson: That was the great game, and the reporters and everybody would 
hang around and talk to members as they came out of the markup 
and ask them what it was like and what they said, and so on. 


Everybody was trying to get a sense of what occurred. 
was definitely behind closed doors. 

But it 

Lage: But all you really got was how they marked up the bill, what 
final bill cane out of it. 

Johnson: That was the only thing that had to be publicly released. And 
then it was a question of what anybody chose to tell you about 
the process. 

Lage: Did you get any inside Information on that? 

Johnson: Bill has summarized the markup session for me here. Now, I 

don't know where his information is coming from, because, as you 
say, all that's publicly released usually is a bill, as marked 
up. So when he says Hartzog testified on the current status of 
subdivision threats and current estimates, and he's asked how 
much could NFS effectively spend in the current year --so where 
that information came from, it would be interesting to ask Bill. 

Lage: Yes. It must have been printed somewhere. 

Johnson: Veil, not necessarily. Maybe we talked to somebody who was in 

on the session, from Taylor's subcommittee. 1 think Bizz was on 
that subcommittee, so we probably got this out of Bizz. 

Lage: Was it marked up in such a way that you were supportive of it? 

Johnson: Yes, and it included the Ryan amendment. Yes, and with the full 
$57.5 million, and no changes in the boundaries. So that's 
exactly what we wanted. That's exactly what we wanted. 

S.O.S. Petitions and White House Announcement on Funding for the 

Johnson: Now, we believe that on November 14, the S.O.S. petitions are 
delivered to the White House by Clausen. At the November 18 
press conference, Clausen said he has down in his office some 
350,000 signatures on petition. So our dates are a little 
fudged. One of the things Bill was looking for and he probably 
didn't find, that I just remembered, was a fabulous news story 
written by Leo Rennert at the time those petitions came to 
Washington. Leo captured the disarray of the Clausen office and 
others in dealing with these boxes of petitions. It was like, 
"Horrors, horrors! What are we going to do with this?" 


Lage: They came to Clausen's office and then he was supposed to 
present it to the president? 

Johnson: Yes. And then Clausen didn't know what to do with them, but he 
eventually took them up to the White House and dumped them up 
there. But the physical boxes were Just very frightening to 

Lage: That's a lot of pieces of paper. 

Johnson: Exactly. And Leo just captured the whole thing, and it was a 
perfect little image of people power entering an orderly, you 
know- - 

Lage: The halls of Congress. 

Johnson: The halls of power, and the halls of power being disrupted by 
people power. 

Lage: Did you see it happen? Did you see the boxes? 

Johnson: No, we didn't see the boxes. But Leo brought it all to life. 

So then on the 18th, the president has a happening at the 
White House with Senator Murphy and Congressman Clausen and 
Congressman Aspinall. And then a press conference. Aspinall 
takes the lead role in announcing that he and the president are 
of the opinion that if we, meaning the Congress, go through with 
the authorization for Point Reyes, which is all ready for final 
consideration, then the funds will be forthcoming as needed, and 
everything can be taken care of during the next two and a half 
years, and this great seashore can become a reality. And the 
federal government will have kept its promises to the people who 
were originally involved and to all the people of California who 
desire it so much. 

Congressman Savior's Insistence on Full Funding of the Land and 
Water Conservation Fund 

Johnson: The empty chair, so 'to speak, at this occasion was that of the 
ranking Republican on the Interior Committee, in other words, 
Aspinall 's exact counterpart on the Republican side, who would 
have been chairman if the Republicans had been in power. John 
Saylor of Pennsylvania by every right should have been there. 
We don't know whether he--. Someone had said that possibly he 
had originally been on the list and taken off. Other people say 


it was Just a complete blunder that he was left out. By now the 
Nixon administration had become so worried about the adverse 
effects of not getting this through- -the consequences for 
Murphy, the consequences for the administration- -that they were 
obviously playing politics with Mr. Aspinall. He was the guy, 
as the ranking majority chairman, that they had to work with. 
So it's not at all impossible that they just forgot about Mr. 
Saylor, because he didn't seem very important to them. 

Lage: It was a new administration, nine months into office. 

Johnson: It's perfectly possible that they forgot about him, even though 
it's ludicrous because he was of their party and so on. But Mr. 
Saylor was not a person to be trifled with. He was a staunch 
conservationist, had worked for years on behalf of the National 
Park System. The day before Point Reyes legislation was put 
before the House in September of 1962, he mailed out material in 
favor of Point Reyes to every Republican in the House, the 
representatives. He had worked with Clem and liked Clem and so 
on. He was a person that should have been considered by the 
White House as they were working along with this, but as you 
say, they were a new administration and they really weren't 
interested in parks to begin with. That's why they had a "no 
new national parks" policy, right? So they just didn't give it 
any thought, I think, is probably what happened. 

Lage: Had you given Saylor any special attention up to this point? 

Johnson: No, in all honesty. I think we included him in all our 

Lage: But didn't call on him or-- 

Johnson: I don't think we had called on him up to that time. In 

hindsight, that wouldn't have been a poor idea. But no, I think 
that's part of that Washington mind set. Who were the key 
players to help you get your--? We weren't getting anywhere 
without Aspinall, so we were basically very focused in on 
Aspinall. He was the one to decide whether or not that 
committee went ahead or not. And as you can see from this 
chronology, it was only a very short while before that he had 
decided to move. So our energies were very much centered on 

Lage: So were you worried when Saylor came out, really, with quite a 
strong statement? 

Johnson: Yes. We were worried. Of course we were worried. We were 

shocked. We'd all fallen asleep at the switch, but of course, 


the White House was the worst. Saylor was totally outraged and 
aid that this was a blatantly political move to--. I don't 
know that he said it was to help a sitting senator's reelection 
campaign, but he knew it was. At any rate, it was completely 
unfair to the rest of the country that there were all these 
other pending parks that had been authorized but had not yet 
gotten the funds for completion, and the Land and Vater 
Conservation Fund was blocked up, and you couldn't just select 
out one park that happened to be from the same state as the 
president and this particular senator, and Just say, "Well, 
we'll Just fix this one up," and then leave everybody else out 
in the cold. It was not to be borne. 

And I think it might well have been Mr. Saylor 's position 
anyway, even without being left out of the press conference. 1 
don't think the press conference was crucial, but I'm sure that 
didn't help any. I can't see Mr. Saylor sitting still anyway, 
and it may have even been that he was invited and didn't go, or 
let it be known that he wasn't going to be part of it. That's 
the other scenario. 1 haven't seen anything in writing to tell 
us, but 1 don't think it's impossible that feelers were put out 
to him about attending the press conference and he rejected 

Lage: Based on his response, did you get together and strategize how 
you were going to respond to this? 

Johnson: Oh, we all talked about that, of course, and 1 did eventually go 
and call on him before the Congress adjourned in December. But 
we felt that we probably had the votes without him, but we 
didn't like having to be in a fight with somebody who was on our 
team to begin with and we liked. So we tried to think what we 
could do about it, but the fact of the matter was that we really 
couldn't do very much. He was the one who was in charge, and 
his intransigence eventually brought him exactly what he wanted. 
So it was his unwillingness to compromise that was important. 
There really wasn't much we could contribute to the situation. 

Lage: Should you take the tack that you're going to focus on Point 
Reyes, or should you join in a broader battle? Did that come 

Johnson: I don't think that we tried to shift our emphasis. We were 

already working with other organizations, and all our material 
made constant reference to the Land and Vater Conservation Fund 
and so on, so we obviously had a perspective that had respect 
for other parks, but I think it was too late at that point for 
us to suddenly make some kind of total shift. I mean, certainly 
S.O.S. out here couldn't have done that. They had to be focused 


in on the seashore. The only thing we could do was to let Mr. 
Saylor know that we shared his concern for the Land and Water 
Conservation fund. I think it probably was of some help to him 
to know that we understood his position as a natter of 
principle. I made that very clear to him when 1 went to see 

Lage: How did you find him at that nee ting? 

Johnson: He was very, very courteous and gentlemanly, and sorrowful, 
really, to be in the position he was, but he had his heels 
completely dug in. I knew [that] just as well as I knew when I 
talked to Bible that day, although Bible was distant. This 
fellow was not distant at all. He was very concerned, but he 
just said, "This can't be." And looking back on it, there was 
no way he could have stood still for that. It was totally 
outrageous. It was just a political fix, you know. I mean, it 
was wrong. 

Even though it was what you were working for along. 

Right. But 1 mean, it was absurd to single out one park in 
order to save one Senate seat of the same party as the 
president. I mean, it was ridiculous. 

It's interesting to hear you say it, because really, that was 
the strategy of your whole campaign. 

You have to start from where you are, and move ahead with the 
power that you have and the leverage that you have. And you 
have to express, in order to get attention, a very strong 
determination. In order to mobilize your people, you have to 
mobilize them around something. There was no way you could 
mobilize S.O.S. around the parks for the entire country. 

Lage: Or around opening the Land and Water Conservation Fund. 

Johnson: No. 

Lage: It is sort of an abstract concept. 

Johnson: No. We had to have the surveyor's stakes at the Lake Ranch and 
all that. This is a good example, isn't it, of one -issue 
politics and what eventually always becomes the reductio 
absurdum at a certain point, where people get narrowed down onto 
something and then wash everything else away as if it didn't 
exist. And then they become very effective in that way. Say 
it's the handicapped, for instance, or whatever; getting ramps 
in. It's very, very valuable, but at a certain point they have 







to face up to where they fit into a bigger picture. So I don't 
think you can start out from this widespread viewpoint. You've 
got to start with your very narrow objective. Because that's 
what galvanizes. If you're using people power, what galvanizes 
people is a very specific issue that affects them very directly. 

[tape interruption] 

We had talked about John Say lor, and I don't know if there 
ore to say on him. 


It was just that I had called on him, and that he let me know he 
was completely firm, that he could not approve Point Reyes solo, 
that there had to be funds released from the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund for the entire country. 

Did he ask at all for you to help with that effort? 

I don't know that he asked. I think that I responded in 
correspondence to him by saying that we were working on behalf 
of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I think I sent him 
some materials that showed that we had been aware of the issue 
and so on, that we would continue to support--. I remember 
saying something to the effect we would continue to support with 
all our effort as much as possible the full funding of the Land 
and Water Conservation fund, so I definitely made that 
commitment to him. We in effect had been doing that, but we 
probably did emphasize it all the more now that we had this 
particular situation with Mr. Saylor. 

Mr. Saylor 's intransigence, which had such a good result, 
reminds me of the issue of compromise that 1 think exemplifies 
how important it is to know when not to compromise. I think so 
often you see people compromising out too soon. Nothing was to 
be gained, from Mr. Saylor 's point of view, by compromise. He 
simply had to take some heat, but he wasn't going to get 
anywhere with his overall aims if he had [compromised] . Blzz 
Johnson's unwillingness to compromise was another example of how 
important it was to just stick to a position under some 
circumstances. Whether or not everybody else around you was 
wobbling, you hold on, and that's what Bizz did. The more other 
people wobbled, the less he did. In fact, he at that point 
became more definitive. 

Now, Mr. Aspinall compromised when he decided to change his 
position and hold hearings, and it was to his interest. I think 
he decided he had some allies to help him with an intransigent 
administration. Why not go with them? He correctly analyzed 
the situation, and he had people to help him get what he wanted, 




which ultimately was the sane thing Mr. Saylor wanted. He, too, 
wanted parks for [other parts of] the country as veil as Point 
Reyes. He was by no means just committed to Point Reyes; he 
wanted parks-- 

He always seemed to tie it to the broader issue. 

Absolutely. And I think he realized that this citizen power 
could work for him and there was no point in putting himself in 
opposition to it. So that was the case of a sensible 
compromise, because it was increasing his likelihood of getting 
what he wanted. But in the case of Mr. Saylor and Bizz, only 
their intransigence was useful. If they had wobbled, neither 
one of them would have gotten what he wanted. 

We thought we had the votes without it, but we didn't like it 
because we didn't want all that unpleasantness. Mr. Saylor had 
mailed out- -did I say this already?- -to every Republican member 
of the House, the night before Clem's bill passed in September 
of '62, Mr. Saylor mailed out a mailing in support. He was 
basically a friend, and we didn't like to have him be in 
opposition to us, so it made us very uncomfortable, even though 
we did feel we had the votes. 

Congressional Concern about Escalating Land Prices 

Lage: There seemed to be a lot of suspicion on the part of Congress 

that something funny was going on with the land prices out here. 
Land speculation, wondering whether somebody was getting rich. 

Johnson: Did you say that that was a feeling in Congress? 
Lage: I noticed it brought up in testimony. 

Johnson: I think the main thing that they were concerned with was that 

the seashore was costing three times as much as any seashore had 
ever cost. How could this be? Were there profiteers involved? 
I think that concern was to some degree legitimate. The 
situation was ripe for that. There wasn't any solution for it. 
The boundaries had been set; the thing to do was get in there 
and buy it as quickly as possible and put a stop to all that. 
But 1 think the members did feel that some people must be 
getting rich, and they were right. It was a legitimate concern. 


The longer that land vent unpur chased, the more of that there 
was going to be. 

Lage: Did you think there was anything mishandled, say, on the part of 
the Mar in County supervisors or anyone else? 

Johnson: I don't remember. There were some issues involving 

condemnation. The government wanted the power to take the land 
and not pay for it right away, and that was rough on individual 
landowners because that put their land in limbo; they couldn't 
sell it. They were still responsible to pay the taxes on it, 
and yet it was tied up. So there was something about that 
process that was a bit inherently unfair. 1 think they were 
supposed to be paid interest eventually. We have quite a few 
voluminous files on some of those issues. My husband Stuart got 
involved in some of them where there were legal issues, and he 
researched exhaustively some of that stuff. Frankly, 1 just 
didn't have the time to get involved in that legal minutiae, and 
1 could see the dimensions of the thing, 1 could see that a 
certain amount of this kind of situation was going to be 

Lage: It does seem to be the pattern. 

Johnson: Yes, but 1 didn't see that--. I Just took the position that it 
was simply more Justification for moving ahead quickly and 
getting this land bought. So 1 didn't get get into that. 

Lage: That was one of Pete McCloskey's contributions to the hearing, I 
remember. He had been a Bay Area attorney who specialized in 
condemnation cases on behalf of landowners, and he testified 
that the rise in land prices at Point Reyes wasn't unusual; this 
was happening in California. 

Johnson: Oh, yes, that's right. 1 do remember that now. That was very 

helpful because [he testified] it wasn't Just Point Reyes. That 
was a very helpful contribution, you're absolutely right. He 
put that in perspective, and the fact that he was a Republican, 
that was helpful, because the Republicans were quite concerned 
with those issues. The Democrats tended to be more into the 
parks for the people, and the Republicans who were concerned 
with these issues emphasized fiscal responsibility, as we 
thought of Republicans in those days. Times have changed, 
right? But at that point they were, and so they would bring 
those issues up. It was, considering the gold mine that was 
there, I think it's surprising there wasn't more of that. 

Lage: More complaints about it. 
been so expensive. 

And then also the redwood park had 


Johnson: Veil, the redwood park was very expensive, and there was some 

feeling definitely that California was getting too much money in 
relation to the rest of the country. When we made our last 
ailing before the House action, our lead item- -I have an intact 
packet --at the very top was this article from the Dcserct News 
in Utah calling for [support for] our seashore; we were trying 
to show that we had people caring about the seashore from all 
over the country. And in fact, it's true. Seashores are a 
deep-felt need, I think, for people. The more landlocked you 
are, the more you need to feel that you can get to the sea. 

Conspiracy Theories^ 

Lage: 1 don't know if this would be something you would have heard, 
but I've heard people analyze the interest in Point Reyes, and 
they connect it to the proposed nuclear power plant at Bodega 
Head, saying that PG&E [Pacific Gas & Electric Company] wanted 
Point Reyes a seashore because that would leave the downwind 
area from Bodega Head relatively uninhabited. Vas this 
something you ever--? 

Johnson: No. 1 never heard of it, and after 1 saw your question 1 talked 
to Bill about it, and he hadn't either. We both really don't 
feel that there was much to that. They certainly never got 
involved in our campaign to assist us in any way. 

Lage: I think the interest, if it existed, would have been in the 

earlier campaign to create the seashore because the Bodega Bay 
nuclear plant was no longer under consideration in 1969. 

Johnson: Veil, of course, Bill was present for all that. 

Lage: Right. And he didn't hear anything. 

Johnson: He had never heard of this. Ve both drew a blank. 

Lage: I always ask about it because it seems very far-fetched to me, 
but there are people who firmly believe that. 

Johnson: Who firmly believe that Point Reyes was going to be kind of a 
buffer zone? 

Lage: Right. It's easier to establish a nuclear power plant if it's 
not in an area where there are a lot of people. Since Point 
Reyes was downwind from Bodega Head, you'd have this open area. 


Johnson: In fact, Bill was asking, "Is it downwind?" Bill was even 
questioning that part of the rationale. "Is it actually 
downwind?" he said. 

Lage: When you think of the winds as coning from the west-- 
Johnson : Exactly . 

Lage: I think it night have been sone rather conspiratorial thinking 
of the tine. 

Johnson: There is conspiratorial thinking, and I've always been quite 

opposed to that. I am less so than I used to be. I'm more open 
to listening. If somebody has an interesting conspiracy theory, 
I'll listen to it more than I--. I think Iran-Contra had quite 
an effect on me in that way. So if somebody has a conspiracy 
theory that they've thought out or know something about, I'll 
always listen. I used to just phase right out; I wouldn't 
listen to it. Just to show the change in my thinking, whoever 
puts this forward, I'd be fascinated to know what they know, and 
talk to them. 

Lage: I don't know whether it was just an idea someone had, or it may 
have been the Doris Leonard connection, her interest in Point 
Reyes, and then she went on the board of PG&E. 1 I think a lot 
of people felt very suspicious about that, which I personally 
don't think was valid. 

Johnson: They really weren't that much an integral part of our project, 
although they were certainly helpful. And they had so many 
other things going, and the Arctic was their special thing. I 
don't know if PG&E has anything to do with Alaska? 

Lage: Not to my knowledge. 

David Brower, Environmental Activist. Publicist, and Prophet. 
Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley, 1980, pp 



Preparing for the House Vote on February 10 

Lage: Is there more to say about the vote in the House and the Senate, 
the final vote? 

Johnson: Let's look back at the chronology and see if there's anything 
here we're leaving out here. We're up to the point where the 
bill was reported to the full House. Congressman Saylor says no 
in the House report, writes a minority report, [saying he] felt 
the National Park system is being subjected to political abuse, 
implying that Nixon had done it to help Murphy's campaign for 
reelection. And money needed for other parks' urgent needs 
would be diverted to Point Reyes at their expense. 

In January the administration's supplemental budget 
includes some money for Point Reyes to begin land acquisition. 
And that we saw as a first step by the administration to follow 
through on its commitment made by Nixon to Aspinall [before] 
the [White House] press conference. 

On February 10, as the House prepares to vote, Bizz sends 
out a "Dear Colleague" letter to all the members asking for 
their votes. With each letter is included a Sierra Club Island 
in Time poster, which we got from the Sierra Club and took up 
there and so on. So every member got, in addition to our 
mailing, a poster from the Sierra Club of Island in Time, which 
was beautiful. 

Lage: Through Bizz? 

Johnson: It came through his office, but I got the posters from the 

Sierra Club. I remember the tubes; I had tubes in my basement 
for years from that project. We got them all up there in tubes. 
And then we did this giant mailing that I described where we had 
all the children and everybody else in the House Judiciary 


[Committee] room, processing the thing the night before the 

Lage: What would have been included in that? You had some newspaper 

Johnson: Oh, yes, we had the Pacific Sun supplement. And we had a big 
collection of newspaper articles. I remember that we put the 
Utah Deseret editorial on the top of the packet. Of course, we 
had this gorgeous thing we were so proud of from the New York 
Times --the full-page "Patchwork Park in Trouble" by Gladwin 
Hill. We just picked and chose the best things we thought we 
had to offer. Sometimes we'd put in some testimony on the House 
floor or whatever we felt would help to buttress the case. 

Nixon Administration Reversal on the Lund and Water Conservation 




Johnson : 

Did you get around to call on some of the members of Congress? 

Ue did some of that. Although by that time, with Aspinall 
firmly on board and the positive [Interior Committee] report and 
the full -funding [agreement] and so on, we had pretty much 
confidence that we didn't have to lobby individual members 
personally. And we weren't going to get anywhere with Saylor, 
but he was busy working on his end. And the morning of the vote 
he stood in the well of the House and pulled out of his pocket a 
letter from the president in which the president committed to 
increase funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, so he 
withdrew his opposition. 

Now that was quite a coup. 

Yes. So that's why I say, his compromising out would have never 
achieved anything for him. It was only by his intransigence 
that he got that. 

Do you know anything about how he got that? 
story on it? 

Did you ever get a 

I think he must have wanted it. I don't know, Ann, but Saylor 
must have been working hard to get it, because to reconstruct 
it, it looks like he didn't really like to be in that position 
any more than we liked him to be in that position. So he had 
his own methods of communicating with the White House. By this 
time they must have been treating him with respect, in contrast 


with having the empty chair at the press conference. So he was 
at that point getting paid attention to, and he oust have 
developed some liaison, but the story of just how that was von 
night be wonderful. If we could find an aide or somebody still 
living- - 

Lage: John Ehrlichnan might know some of it, if we do get to talk to 

Johnson: Yes. That would be a good avenue to pursue. Because Mr. 

Saylor, while he was not compromising, neither was he doing 
nothing, as it appeared. He must have been working to get the 
White House to modify, so that he could then support the bill. 

Lage: It looks as if this public outpouring of support for Point Reyes 
must have taught the Nixon administration something about the 
strength of feeling behind these issues. But that would be nice 
to actually document. 

Johnson: It would be wonderful. Really wonderful. So John Ehrlichman 
might be a source. But if there was a living former aide to 
Saylor, that could be a tremendous source. Also, somebody who 
was with the Republican minority staff, for instance, of [the] 
Interior [Committee]. Not necessarily an aide from his 
congressional office, but from the committee staff. 

Lage: Now, February 10th was the debate in the House. 
Johnson: Yes, February 10th the bill went through the House. 
Lage: And did it go through fairly easily? 

Johnson: By voice vote, complete with the Ryan amendment. Ryan spoke up 
on the floor, and said [reading from notes] of the 9,200 acres 
of the sell-off there would have been 1,475 subdivision lots, of 
which 75 would have marina frontage and 150 alongside a golf 
course. As "a matter of public policy," Ryan said, "a private 
country club development should not created within the National 
Park system. Congress must neither countenance nor sanction the 
carving out of enclaves of private privilege within the system." 
So he never quit in his focusing in on that one issue and then 
dramatizing it right there at the end from the House floor. 
That was a very important contribution. 

Lage: There's another place where the issues on Point Reyes have 
impact beyond the local area. 

Johnson: Right. Exactly. The floor debate was a love feast. (laughs] 
John Saylor announced that very day he'd gotten the assurances 


he needed. Nixon had announced that he supported full funding 
of the Land and Water Conservation fund. That is, he asked for 
appropriation, out of the fund, of all the monies then in it, 
$327 aillion, to buy park and recreation lands and facilities 
that year. Saylor added that both Hickel and Budget Director 
Mayo had pledged all the uncompleted units of the National Park 
Service would receive a share of this money, so far as the 
administration is concerned. So a few months later the 
administration joined with the Congress in increasing the size 
of the fund from $200 million a year to $300 million a year. 

Senate Hearing. February 26: Nixon's Signing April 3 

Johnson: Then on February 26, as he had promised, Senator Bible promptly 
held a hearing to act on the House-passed bill. Hartzog, as the 
administration witness, no longer advocated the sell-off, but 
pressed for repeal of the prohibition [in the 1962 PRNS 
authorization act] against use of the government's condemnation 
authority in the ranching area. He said that the Park Service 
had to have this power to act in time . 

Lage: The power to condemn? 

Johnson: Boyd Stewart testified that he and other ranchers didn't object, 
and Bible said he would do it. So that apparently was not in 
the House bill, but they put it in, in the Senate. "The 
ranchers would not object to the government's condemnation 
authority in the ranching or pastoral area." 

Cranston criticized the sell-off, saying its effect would 
be to de- authorize one -sixth of the Seashore. Murphy and 
Clausen are silent on the sell -off. 

Lage: Do you think for a reason, they were silent on it? 

Johnson: Veil, they were silent. Cranston urged the creation of a 

Citizens Advisory Commission, which we had been already working 
on and had talked to him about. He had instantly agreed on 
that, and it was just very much in line with his thinking. He's 
always been one to want to have citizen involvement in things. 
So this was an issue that came up quite soon after the major 
effort was over. 

Lage: But that wasn't in the bill? 


Johnson: It had not been in the [House -passed] bill, so we were hoping 
then to get it into the Senate bill, and Cranston was our 
spokesman for that. But we didn't press it when Bible demurred 
that introducing a new elcnent could cause delay in conferencing 
with the House. So we backed off. 

During the testlaony, Senator Bible himself observed that 
he knew the campaign had produced "at least ten thousand 
letters, all of which were sent personally to me." 

Lage: So this is another bit of evidence of how much they were hearing 
from California. 

Johnson: Right. I testified for Mar in Conservation League, and talked 
about the status of the imminent subdivision, and reported the 
extent of the public reaction to the Park Service and Budget 
Bureau's proposal to create commercial subdivisions, and said no 
one could comprehend how polo fields and shopping centers could 
be compatible with this land. Bible responded he was going to 
retain the Ryan amendment. 

Lage: Did anybody object to it, do you recall? 

Johnson: I don't think so. 1 don't think so. It's a simple matter to 
look that hearing up, but I don't think so. 

Lage: I think they were pretty horrified by the Park Service's 

Johnson: It just had been sliding through, and nobody paying attention. 
But nobody, when they thought about it, was for it. And I 
talked about an advisory commission, and spoke of Cranston's 
support but said that I didn't want to bog the bill down with 
the amendment and if necessary we'll try to persuade Congress in 
a separate bill. So we did try to go that route later, and we 
tried several routes before we finally got it. 

So the Senate passed the [House -passed] bill with one 
amendment only, which was the removal of the prohibition against 
the use of condemnation to acquire agricultural land. That was 
the only amendment, other than what was already in the House. 
Because, of course, the Ryan amendment was already incorporated 
in the House bill. 

On April 3rd the President signed the bill into law at a 
White House ceremony, and Peter Behr was there for that 


Did you go to that? 


Johnson: No, we weren't invited. We were of the other party. It was a 
partisan affair. 

Lage: So Peter Behr was invited. 

Johnson: Right. There were some mini- Seashore noises in July. The San 

Rafael Independent Journal wrote an editorial saying "there's no 
special magic in a 53,000-acre park. Nothing says that a 
30,000-acre park would be disastrous. 

Lage: Why in July, after it had already gone through? 

Johnson: We couldn't imagine where that came from. Ve were just aghast. 
I mean, it was just amazing to have that suddenly come up. 
Here's the legislation through and in lav. 

Lage : Right . 

Johnson: Yes, it was bizarre. We wondered if they were local people that 
had pretty exciting development schemes afoot or something. 

Lage: It seems that even after it was authorized and signed, the Sweet 
land was still not secure. 

Johnson: Veil, because it hadn't been bought. 

Lage: It hadn't been purchased, so there was still that threat. 

Johnson: Yes. Nothing was really secure until all the money was 

appropriated. Because even though the authorization had gone 
through, the appropriations process still had to wind its way. 
All that money had to be appropriated out of the appropriations 
committees, and had to get in hand. I don't know how long that 
whole process took, but it was a while. 

Lage: Did you ever have contact with any of these people that were 

getting ready to develop, like Bill Sweet or some of the others? 

Johnson: No. So, you know, I wrote a letter to the editor defending the 
[53,000-acre] boundaries. So that was the kind of funny little 
coda there, but nothing really came of it. 



Battles over Wilderness Protection in the Seashore. 1971-1976 




A year- long battle, really, is what it amounts to. 

Almost a 

Yes, that was the monster. And there were lots more to come-- 
how the Park Service would develop it, {whether] it would treat 
it as a natural [area] or as a more recreational area. So we 
had these very long, protracted debates about the master plan, 
and that led into the wilderness issue. We finally concluded, 
when we saw some of the rationales that were used for some plans 
that we didn't like, [that some] of [the] Park [Service's] 
administrative policies were really just the creations of 
particular bureaucrats at a particular time-- 

At a time when development was a little more acceptable. 

At a time when development was acceptable. And under a system 
of classification that the Park Service had worked out 
[administratively], which was not in any law, the [national] 
seashores were automatically categorized as recreational areas 
rather than natural areas. We began to see more and more 
clearly that only the Wilderness Act protection for a big hunk 
of the seashore was going to absolutely guarantee that it would 
remain natural. Plans were revving up for the Golden Gate 
National Recreation Area, which would have lots of suitable 
recreation area space that was all spread out in different areas 
and places where there had already been quite a bit of 
development of the land. Ve just felt that it was a natural 
complementarity there between those two parks so that we could 
successfully take the position that the Point Reyes area should 
remain as pristine as possible. So starting from [the Park 
Service's] rather small proposals of 5,000 acres, we eventually 
came to a 32, 000 -acre wilderness, which is very, very 


Lage: What would be the date when that was finally accepted, do you 
" remember, approximately? 

Johnson: No. But I can get that for you. [Congress passed the Point 
Reyes Wilderness legislation in 1976.] 

The debate on wilderness started out [in 1971] with a lot 
of our bureaucratic correspondence and whatever. It wasn't as 
much of a people power issue. It eventually became so. The 
wilderness issue did galvanize quite a constituency. Bill had a 
big role in unifying that constituency in California. He came 
out here and got all the groups together that were for it, and 
got them to agree on a position. Because he knew, and we both 
knew, that the Congress was not interested in any division in a 
local constituency. If they're going to move on something, they 
want a unified, local position. Because there are plenty of 
other places that have that, so they're not going to take on 
something where there's division. 

Lage: Was there a lot of division? Vere there people who didn't-- 

Johnson: Not a whole lot, but there were differences, and they needed to 
be hammered out. A position needed to be hammered out and 
adhered to by all the groups so that we could go to Congress and 
say, "This is what we all want." He did a very, very good job 
and showed a lot of initiative in coming out here and getting 
that going. 

And then we had a big hearing in San Rafael which was 
unforgettable. It had this tremendous local California flavor 
to it, and very colorful. We had a man with a beautiful bird 
headdress speaking in behalf of the wild creatures , how they 
needed protection. Very eloquent. And we had a wide, wide 
variety of people that were involved. 

One key person I'd love to tell you about that we 
discovered through a small little piece--! think a letter to the 
editor or a tiny little squib in some newspaper- -we saw a 
reference to an organization in Davis, California, and the name 
of a man named Jim Eaton, and we didn't know anything but there 
was a reference to Point Reyes. We didn't know who these people 
were or what they were involved with. 

Jim Eaton turned out to be a graduate student in geology 
who personally had walked over most of the seashore. He had 
been at this for years, coming down weekend after weekend after 
weekend from Davis. He knew more than the Park Service people, 
he knew more than anybody. So when we came to define the fine 
points of what the wilderness boundaries should be and why to 


defend them and how the watersheds worked and all of that, this 
fellow turned out to be this incredible resource. He was one of 
the very few witnesses that we had in the big Washington 
hearing. He was the only witness who was not in the real sort 
of establishment. He had very nruch of a student look about him, 
but he spoke with so much authority that he was just an 
invaluable witness. 

Lage: Was there a sort of a purist view of how pristine does 
wilderness need to be? 

Johnson: Offhand, I would have thought not, but one of the things we 

learned and that fascinated me in the process of the wilderness 
struggle was that the Park Service had adopted a policy the 
general gist of which was- -if you're stuck with a policy you 
don't like, enforce it to such a degree that nobody else will 
like it either. In other words, put wilderness in disrepute by 
having such an incredibly strict construction of what it means. 

Veil, we went back to the original Wilderness Act language, 
and it was flexible. 

Lage: You mean the way they would define wilderness? 

Johnson: The idea of saying we can't have wilderness because there's a 
tiny dirt track road here, you see. And oh, no, that wouldn't 
qualify for wilderness because this and this and this. Well, it 
turned out that that again was one of these administrative Park 
Service decisions that really wasn't rooted in the Wilderness 
Act. The act that Congress passed made no such kinds of overly 
strict interpretations, because what really happens is that the 
minute you leave something alone, it reverts right back very 
quickly, including concrete. Plants just push their way right 
up through concrete. You can go and see it in jungles in 
Central America, where these vast structures have basically just 
been destroyed by the vegetation. So that was one of the things 
that we fought for, and said that we didn't accept that 
definition of wilderness criteria. 

Lage: Was the Sierra Club unified with you on that issue, too? 

Johnson: We all got together on it. There was an odd occasion on which 
Edgar Wayburo seemed to feel we needed less acreage than we had 
thought we'd all agreed on that we needed, but it passed over 
and nothing came of that. 


Was this his effort to compromise, you think? 


Johnson: Ve were unprepared for it. Ve didn't understand where that came 
from or what happened. Ve just heard him with astonishment. Ve 
had not been prepared for the fact, saying that we could get 
along with less acreage. Ve thought everybody was in agreement. 
Nothing came of that, and we got the full acreage, eventually, 
that we wanted. 

Lage: So that made it a very different park from the one-time 
conception of a marina and a dredged estuary. 

Johnson: One of the last unspoiled estuaries on the Vest Coast, if not 
the last. That was one of the worst proposals of all, to get 
into the estuary. 

Lage: 1 think it educated the Park Service at the same time. 

Johnson: They did come up with some pretty poor proposals along the way, 
but they have really, really changed. They're much more 
conservative now, much more sensitive to the natural concerns, 
and at the same time they work very closely with the ranchers. 
I think they've done a wonderful Job out there. 

Seashore Administrators. Ranchers. Conservationists^/ 

Johnson: I think we've been extraordinarily fortunate to have John 

Sansing as superintendent out there for a long number of years. 
He's really spent most of his working life out there. He has 
developed such good working relationships with the conservation 
community, with the ranchers, with all the local people. He 
works closely with the GGNRA people. He's Just invaluable. At 
one point there was--. 1 think the Park Service has a policy of 
rotating park administrators. He was to be moved, and Boyd 
Stewart went to work to help on that with, 1 think, Alan Bible, 
and they stopped it. He's been able to remain there, because he 
just was irreplaceable. So 1 think almost everyone agrees that 
he's been extraordinary. 

Lage: Do you think the conservationists respect the position of the 
ranchers, their point of view? 

Johnson: When you say "the conservationists," I think that issue has-- 
and it doesn't just involve the Seashore, it involves the Vest 
Marin community- -has become quite controversial in the last few 
years, and there is a big division within the conservation 
community. They're split between some very purist people who 
feel that, really, ranching has no place, not only within the 


seashore but even in Vest Mar In in general, that basically cows 
and the pollution that they bring and so on are Just inimical to 
keeping streams clean and doing things the way they want them 

There are other members of the conservation community who 
feel that is a very short-sighted point of view, because the 
ranches out there present a tremendous buffer zone to keep off 
the development. Nobody's making money ranching anymore, and 
they're laboring under tremendous handicaps. Also, the 
community has a certain character and viability. If the 
ranchers go, what are you going to get? You're just going to 
get a lot of subdivisions, with all the problems that entails. 
So I would certainly count myself among those who feel that this 
very purist point of view is very, very short-sighted and 
unfortunate . 

Now, John Sans ing has done very well in having good 
relations with the ranchers. That's why 1 say you could find 
among the conservationist community purists who would line up on 
this other side who would probably say that John was too pro- 
rancher. I certainly don't feel that way. That's just an issue 
that's going to be ongoing, I'm afraid. 

Citizens Advisorv Commission 






Does the Citizens Advisory Commission represent the various 

The Citizens Advisory Commission, which we finally got through, 
and we got it through piggy-backing it onto the Golden Gate 
[National Recreation Area] authorization legislation, is for 
both parks. 

I see. 

They don't represent views per se, exactly. They are more a 
sounding board for others to present views to. They don't, for 
the most part, take very strong positions, although there have 
been people who are identified with strong positions on the 
board, I know. Edgar Wayburn and Amy Meyer from GGNRA were on 
it from the beginning, and certainly they had their point of 






view. But there were other members of that commission who were 
not identified as having a particular agenda. 

It's more a question of a framework in which these issues 
that have come up --proposals by the Park Service or proposals by 
the citizenry- -can be aired for all to listen, a public forum in 
which people can come- -the agenda is published ahead of time- -so 
then people can come in and hear it, and I think may even be 
able to speak. I'm not sure about how that exactly works, but 
it's not an advocacy organization. It's a very efficient way of 
heading problems off, and first of all informing people as to 
what's happening, because sometimes proposals may be gathering 
steam, say, within the Park Service that the public would know 
nothing about. As it is now, this procedure has become so well 
established that the Park Service just automatically, whatever 
they may be planning to do, they instantly Just present it to 
the Citizens Advisory Commission. 

So here's this vehicle in which everybody finds out what's 
going on. It's very, very valuable, and it's been done all over 
the country. We studied the Cape Cod one in particular before 
we proposed ours. But all over the country it's been done with 
great success. The Park Service wasn't all that much for it, 
and now they like it, because it's clean. It's Just an orderly, 
clean way of getting the issues out and acknowledging that the 
public has an interest, acknowledging that the public has a 
role. There's this initial thing of "Oh, my Lord, if we let the 
public in everything will be a mess," but it's actually much 
messier when people have to find out things at the last minute 
and are furious and so on and so on. When they know that 
there's this orderly machinery and they are not going to be kept 
in the dark, everybody behaves much better, and the public 
behaves better, and things Just go better. It's been a big 

So it sounds as if you keep on top of how things are going. 

But you haven't been on the advisory committee. It's mainly 
local people? 

Oh, no. I live in Washington. I wouldn't be appropriate for 
that. And they're appointed by whatever administration is in 
power, so for the most part they've been preponderantly 
Republican. But there 've been some--. 

Ve had Frank Boerger [former San Francisco district 
engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers] as chairman, who died 


not long ago. Frequently, they are retired people who've had 
administrative experience and so on, and a public service 
orientation. He just gave very generously of himself and his 
tine and so on. I don't think he had a tremendous Park Service 
orientation to start with, but he was a cracker Jack chairman. 
He was very, very good. 

Lage: It's interesting that the appointments are political. 

Johnson: That was the way the whole thing was structured to start with. I 
think we got involved and changed the formula of how the 
appointments were to be made. I've got a boxful of material on 
this. Ve got involved in that because it was too political, so 
we injected some safeguards in there to have a certain 
percentage from this source or that source. I forget, but we 
got involved in that a little bit. 

Lage: I'm glad you kept your hand in. 

Opposing Fee Legislation for National Parks 

Johnson: Oh, yes. It seems like there's usually something to keep going 
on. Just three years ago or so there was fee legislation that 
would have rescinded the prohibition against [admission] fees 
which was written into the original Point Reyes and GGNRA bills. 
It was part of a much bigger package to institute fees in parks 
all over the country, and the rationale was that the fee money 
would go straight back to the parks, which was unconstitutional, 
because you have to authorize and appropriate funds from the 
general treasury under the constitution. You can't have it off 
the books, in effect. You can't have your separate financial 
thing going off in a corner somewhere. All monies that are 
received go into the general treasury, and all money that goes 
out has to go through Congress to be appropriated. 

But in this bill, there was a magic formula that somebody 
thought they'd figured out, and under the arguments that the 
parks were beleaguered and needed funds, a big compromise was 
engineered which was bipartisan, Republican and Democratic, and 
all the big conservation organizations went on board. Two days 
before the House vote, which was just about the time I found out 
about it, it was acknowledged that it was unconstitutional and 
that the whole rationale was impossible, and they had to change 
the language of the bill. 

But the momentum --this is the way Congress works sometimes 
the momentum gets going; they just couldn't stop it. There's 


the inertia phenomenon, when you can't get anything started, and 
* there's the momentum phenomenon when you can't get anything 
topped. And this was the perfect example of the momentum 
phenomenon. So the bill just galloped through the House anyway, 
with people standing up and saying, "We mean for the money to go 
to the parks" and things like that, which had no binding force 
whatsoever . 

So I went over on the Senate side and testified before 
Senator [Dale L. ] Bumpers [Democrat from Arkansas] about this on 
behalf of Environmental Action of Vest Mar In for the seashore. 
And he'd been out there, and he loved the park and didn't really 
think it was all that good an idea to rescind something that was 
in the original legislation. He removed that rescinding of the 
prohibition. In other words, we went back to square one, the 
way the bills were originally written for those two parks. But 
this had no effect, of course, whatsoever on the bill in 
general, which was galloping through. It Just went galloping 
through . 

Ve were out here [in 1989] for the dedication of the 
environmental education center which is named for Clem at the 
seashore. Howard Chapman, who was retiring as the regional 
director of the Park Service, spoke at that occasion, and he 
made a very specific reference to this fee legislation, so I got 
in touch with him and he sent me copies of letters he'd written 
and so on. He felt this was very, very unfortunate legislation 
that was going to drive policy in new ways, that the amount of 
money taken in by a certain park would entitle them to more 
[appropriations]. There were various things there that he just 
thought were completely very, very poor policy. Very bad 

But I came into it late, and it was a juggernaut. We 
didn't do anything, but we did protect, at least, our two parks 
from that. Fees are a complicated subject in the case of some 
parks, say, like Yosemite, where they have enormous police 
expenses and all kinds of things, but in the case of urban parks 
they're really designed for local people, and the people who 
need them the most are the ones who can't afford to take 
expensive vacations. The idea of people driving out there and 
being turned away because they didn't have the fees made me Just 
sick. So at least we stopped that, but there's usually always 
something going on out there that you need to kind of keep track 

Lage: Now, are you going to get out to Point Reyes this trip, or have 


Johnson: I haven't yet. I've only been here for a few days, but it's my 
dear love to go there. There's so nruch to see than I've ever 
ven been able to- -there's so much out there; it's so big. 
There's a tremendous amount of usage in certain snail areas, and 
then there are vast areas that are not explored by most people. 

Other Prolccts in Washington 

Lage: Let me ask you, unless you have more to say on Point Reyes? 
Johnson: No. 

Lage: Very briefly, what other kinds of things have you been involved 
with in Washington? You mentioned that you like to get involved 
in things and then you take a rest. Have there been things that 
aren't related to Point Reyes? 

Johnson: Well, I've gotten involved with two of Alan Cranston's 

campaigns, out here. First, for his presidential campaign in 
1984, I started out in Maine for the Maine straw poll and then 
came out here with it. And then for his Senate race, the most 
recent Senate race, I was out here the whole time. 

Lage: Are there other things that you've gotten involved in? 

Johnson: I wrote a book that interests me. That was a campaign in its 

own way for me. I've worked with a man who was a doorman at the 
White House under five presidents. It was sort of his oral 
history, so I did the written manuscript. 

Lage: Did you tape record? 

Johnson: Yes. Originally, our concept was to be a biography, but when I 
went to sell it, the editor wanted- -then we did sell it to 
Morrow- -they wanted it in first person, so I did two manuscripts 
on it. But I just learned an enormous amount from that. It was 
a wonderful experience. 

Lage: What is the title? 

Johnson: From the Door of the White House. We did it for upper Juvenile, 
but we didn't write down, so adults have enjoyed it too. 

And who was the person? 


Johnson: His name was Preston Bruce, and he is a very special, nurturing 
an who formed these deep relationships with all the presidents. 
They grew to depend on bin, and he was there as a witness to a 
lot of extraordinary things. He was riding the elevator with 
President Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy the night of the Cuban 
issile crisis. So it involved for e researching a lot of the 
background of these various events because you had to bring in 
what was going on with, say, the Cuban missile crisis in order 
to provide a context for his remarks. And of course he 
experienced the Nixon downfall, the Kennedy assassinations, the 
whole Johnson-Vietnam thing. 

Lage: Sounds fascinating. 
Johnson: Yes, it was a great project. 
Lage: When did you complete that? 

Johnson: Well, I completed it, and then the editor, who loved the book, 
and she was chief editor, took a long time to get it moved out 
because she didn't want to give it to anyone else and she was 
busy. And it finally came out about- -after Stuart died, so it 
came out about '83 or '84. But it was really written quite a 
while before that. So that was a project. That was another one 
of these things that had some big cavalry charges in it, but 
there were some periods there where it could be quieter. 

Lage: Sure. How did you know him? 

Johnson: I was brought into it out of a writing class that 1 was in. 1 
was writing something else, and the woman who ran the writing 
class said, "1 have a project for you. There's this fellow 
who--." She knew him. "There's this fellow who wants to have 
help in getting a book out, but he has gone through two writers. 
But 1 know there's a book there and 1 think you can do it." So 
then she brought in a third person who interviewed him on his 
childhood. He is a black person, so she brought in this young 
black woman to do the interviewing for the childhood. So there 
were three of us involved. But I wound up doing the writing for 
the whole book. 

Lage: That sounds fascinating. 

Johnson: People enjoy it. 

Lage: Anything else you want to add? 

Johnson: Veil, I can't think of anything offhand, Ann. 


TAPE GUIDE- -Katharine Miller Johnson 

Interview 1: 
tape 1 
tape 1 
tape 2, 

November 16, 1990] 
side A 
side A 

tape 2, aide fi 

Interview 2: 
tape 3 
tape 3 
tape 4 
tape 4, 

November 20, 1990] 
side A 
aide B 
side A 
ide B 

tape 5, aide A 




103 Appendix A Letter to Congressman 

Johnson, May 26, 1969 

Mr. TAYLOR. The Subcommittee now stands adjourned. 
(Whereupon, at 4 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.) 
(Information submitted for the record follows:) 


May t6, 1969. 
U.B. House of Rcprc*entotivet, 
Washington, D.C. 

Do Bin : I am terribly worried about Point Reyes National Seashore. Never 
has it been as threatened with so little time to protect it as it is today. 

It is sad to think that nearly seven yean after Clem rejoiced at the enactment 
of the original authorisation, less than half of the land within the Seashore 
boundaries is actually owned by the government The 2400-acre Lake Ranch, 
called the "fern" of the Seashore, with two miles of ocean shoreline, is to be 
offered for subdivision this month. Grading has commenced. The owners cannot 
continue to pay the taxes. 

And, at this exact point of crisis in the land tctjolsition program, the Seashore 
faces a wholly new threat posed by its guardian, the Interior Department 

Congressman Aspinall, Chairman of the full Interior Committee, and Con 
gressman Taylor, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks and Recrea 
tion, recognised the urgency of the land acquisition crisis by scheduling the 
hearing on May 18th before the Subcommittee to consider bills to increase the 
authorization for the Park by $38 million dollars. 

At the hearing, it was reassuring that the Members were clearly aware of 
the threat of imminent subdivision within the Seashore and gratifying that the 
same concern was unanimously expressed by other Members of Congress who 

testified, by Marin County landowners and officials, and by representatives of 
conservation organisations. 

In contrast, the Interior Department proposal came as a great shock. First, 
the Department requested $10 million dollars lets than House sponsors of both 
parties deemed necessary from figures originally emanating from the Depart 
ment of Interior. This inadequate amount would be spent over five years, at a 
time of wildly escalating land values. Having made no attempt to make up this 
deficit, the Department then proposed that over nine thousand acres, ont-tuth 
of the National Seashore, (subject to condemnation from the original owners 
for creation of a public recreation area, be told to new and different private 
owners to raise money. That money would not even be returned to Point Beyes, 
but would go instead into the Land and Water Conservation Fund. ' 

The response of the Marin County witnesses was extremely heartening. Both 
county officials and landowners testified that they were opposed to any sell 
off. Mr. Douglas Maloney, County Counsel of Marin County, said the proposal 
would be considered simply a reduction in the sice of the Park, to which the 
Board of Supervisors was on record as being opposed. Supervisor Louis Baar 
said be felt it would be poor judgment at this time to try to intermingle resi 
dential and commercial use with the park use. When asked if he would not wel 
come an increase in the county tax rolls, he replied that the Park would help 
the County tax base by increased revenues from tourism. 

The Ban Francisco Chronicle reacted to this proposal with an explicit editorial : 
"TO RAI8B MONEY, JUST SELL A PARK." The editorial began, "National 
Park Director George Hartsog was involved in a public act of despair . . ." 

Clearly, behind this proposal is the desperate need for funds for the beleaguered 
Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Interior Department which Clem 
called the "stepchild" among the Executive Departments. Contrast the Interior 
Department budget for 1970 of $488 million as compared to that of the Depart 
ment of Defense (military expenditures only) for $80.2 billion. 

But whatever the pinch, the expressed Intent of Congress should not be vio 
lated, nor can one group of citizens be expressly favored by their Government 
over another group. 

In 1962, when it created Point Reyes National Seashore, the Congress stated 
its purpose: "to save and preserve, for purposes of public recreation, benefit and 
inspiration, a portion of the diminishing seashore of the United States that 
remaini undeveloped." (Emphasis added) 

During the luncheon recess, I saw in the Hearing Room, an elaborate drawing 
prepared by the Park Service, of one of two private commercial subdiviftion* 
contemplated at Point Reyes. In his testimony, Mr. Hartsog spoke of "loir- 
density'* residential-commercial development This drawing depicted high den 
sity 1-6 and 1-10 acre sonlng complete with a school, shopping center, motel, 
marina and country club with golf course (presumably open to residents only). 

The Interior Department, in its prepared statement, claims it has the au 
thority to create these new subdivisions within the Seashore, without asking 
leave of Congress, under the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act Amend 
ments of 1968, PL 90-401. But Section 5 (a) of this Isw specifically limits the 
authority of the Secretary to sell or lease property "subject to such terms and 
conditions as will assure the use of the property in a manner trhirfa is in the 
judgment of the Secretary, oontittent with the purpote for which the area ra* 
by Conffrtu." (Emphasis added) 


The Senate Interior Committee Beport (#1071, 90th Congress, 2nd Session) 
oo PL 90-401 explicitly states: 

"While the Secretary la authorised to convey such freeholds or leaseholds In 
a manner which is, In his judgment, consistent with the purpose for which the 
tree was authorised by the Congress, the Committee wishes to make clear He 
lepitlativ* intmt that new commercial tevelopment, tvc* midentfal wfc- 
tfoirfofw, within national park*, teathonx, rfrrraffon crea*. w*f the Hire, in rtnt 
to be oontidered vrtthin the prpo*f for which **ch mreai were, and trill e t 
nthorited by Conpre**." (Emphasis added) 

In sum, Congress granted some discretion to the Department of the Interior, 
and the Department now declares Its intention to do exactly what Congress 
expressly forbade. It proposes to deautborlse, by administrative action, one- 
sixth of a National Seashore which Ooncress took pains to create. 

Dearly as Clem loved Point Reyes, and would hare been horrified at com 
mercial subdivisions inside Its boundaries, he would have felt far greater dtiminv 
at the possible establishment of a far reaching disastrous precedent affecting 
seashores and recreation areas all over the nation. 

In addition to the harm to Point Reyes and other places not yet designated,, 
the Department of Interior proposal can only discriminate between citizens 
whose lands are taken. 

Wot example, Mr. Joseph Ifendoxa, a second generation rancher at Point 
Reyes, testified at the hearing that he passed up the tax saving offered by the 
California Farm Conservation Act, and the consequent restriction on its use, 
with respect to the part of Ms land which would be in one of the two- tracts the 
Park Serrice proposes to sell off for "low-density" residential and commercial 

It the Park Service buys tikis parcel for the price it would command as farm 
land and resells it for residential-commercial development, the Park Service 
would pocket the difference and Mr. Meadoza would fare the same as other 
landowners within the Park. If , on the other hand, the Park Service pays Mr. 
Meodosa the full value of bis land for residential and commercial development. 
Mr. Mendoza would get premium prices for his land, unlike other landowners 
whose property was not selected for development, and the Park Service would 
get nothing. If Mr. Mendoza negotiates a higher price for this parcel, somewhere 
between its value for residential and commercial purposes and its value for 
ranching, to that extent Mr. Mendosa will be favored over other citizens whose 
land is not so selected by the Park Service and the Government will pocket the 
narrowed difference. 

So, to the degree that the Government realizes a profit through its power of 
condemnation, the original owners of the land will be the innocent victims. On 
the other hand, to the extent that the original owners are actually compensated, 
other landowners are discriminated against Once the Government goes into 
the business of reselling public land for development, it inevitably will be en 
meshed in just this sort of discrimination. 

The Congress should reject out of hand this unfortunate Interior Department 
proposal. It should reassert its authority over Point Reyes. It should institute a 
legislative taking to freeze land values, followed by appropriation of the full $88 
million needed. 

$88 million is a great deal of money but Point Reyes Is beyond price. 
It is located less than two hours away from a metropolitan area of nearly five 
million people and there will be double that many by the end of the century. 
Half a million visitors came in 1968 alone. They were drawn there not by fancy 
facilities, nor by any specific famous attractions, but by a unique "Wild Penin 
sula" (the title of a new book for younger readers describing Point Reyes and 
its history, by Laura Nelson Baker). Many came from all over the United States 
and foreign countries as well as from the San Francisco Bay Area. 

$88 million is not too large a sum when one projects the number of 
men, women* and children who over many years to come will gratefully appreci 
ate the foresight of the Congress in setting aside this beautiful land. 

I would be grateful if you would forward this letter to Chairman Taylor with 
the request that it be included in the record of the Subcommittee hearings. 
With best regards, 



v ^ liz BPaclflc_Sun 
October 1, 1969 

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San Francisco Chronicle 
January 15, 1991 

Koty Miller Johnson 

Funeral services were held in 
Washington yesterday for Katy 
Miller Johnson, a noted California 
conservationist who died there last 
Wednesday of cancer. She was 64. 

Her first husband, Representa 
tive Gem Miller, who represented 
a district spanning the north coast, 
sponsored the legislation that cre 
ated the Point Reyes National Sea 
shore. He was killed in a plane 
crash in 1082, but she remained the 
unofficial Washington lobbyist for 
the seashore. She was also active in 
many Democratic political cam 

In 1965 she married Washing- 
'ton attorney Stuart Johnson, who 
died in 1062. 

Survivors include Mrs. John- 
laon's six daughters, Abigail Miller 
{and Clare Watsky, both of San 
fjYancisco; Marion Miller of Eure- 
fka; Amey Miller of Chapel Hill, 
W.C.; Katharine Miller of Boston; 
and Eunice Johnson of Washing 
ton; and eight grandchildren. 

A California memorial will be 
held at a date to be announced, the 
family said. 


Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Saving Point Reyes National Seashore, 1969-1970 
An Oral History of Citizen Action in Conservation 

Peter Behr 


An Interview Conducted by 

Ann Lage 

in 1990 

Copyright (c) 1993 by The Regents of the University of California 

Peter Behr 






Authorization of the Park, 1962 113 

The Situation in Congress, 1969 114 

Proposed Development inside Seashore Boundaries 115 

Katy Johnson, Catalyst 116 


Gathering a Group: "The Best Procurable" 117 

Campaign Outline, Petition Drive, Funding 118 

Special Edition of the Pacific Sun. October 1 121 

Sierra Club Poster, Book, and Film 122 

Senator George Murphy's Key Position 124 

The Brass Plate, Museum Exhibits, Ocean Beach Cleanup 125 
Endorsements from National Audubon Society and Governor 

Reagan 127 

Sierra Club Mailing 128 

Publicity on Local Television and Radio 129 


May 13, 1969, Congressional Hearing 131 
Presidential Turnabout on Point Reyes and Full Funding for 

the Land and Water Conservation Fund 132 

Underestimating Costs of Seashore Land in 1962 134 

S.O.S. Success: "An Angel on Everybody's Shoulder" 135 


Point Reyes and the County Supervisor's Election, 1961 137 

Density Provisions and Planning for West Marin 138 

Viability of the Dairy Industry 141 

Escalation of Land Prices, 1962-1969 142 

Handling the Hamlets in the S.O.S. Campaign 143 

Difficulties in Acquiring the Lake Ranch, 1970 145 

Remembering Bunny Lucheta 146 
Further Thoughts on Nixon, Erhlichman, Murphy, and the 

Seashore Campaign 147 



APPENDIX A - Letterhead of Save Our Seashore 

APPENDIX B -- Letter from Stewart Udall, October 6, 1969 

APPENDIX C -- Petition to the President 

APPENDIX D - Campaign Outline for Save Our Seashore 155 

APPENDIX E -- Proclamation from San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alloto 160 

APPENDIX F -- Media Coverage of S.O.S. 161 


It was a Peter Behr presentation to the Marin Garden Club that was 
the catalyst for the oral history project to document the Save Our 
Seashore campaign. His cogent and witty tale of the citizen campaign and 
its far-reaching impacts caught the imagination of Garden Club members. 
Through their efforts, this project was launched, with Peter Behr as its 
first interviewee. 

When Katy Johnson sounded the alarm for Point Reyes from Washington 
in the summer of 1969, Peter Behr was in a perfect position to come to 
the rescue. He had recently retired after seven years on the Marin 
County Board of Supervisors, where he had been a strong spokesman for 
parks and the environment. He was considering a run for the state 
senate. In the meantime, he had the time and the commitment to provide 
leadership for the Point Reyes campaign. 

His oral history, recorded at his home in Inverness on April 5, 
1990, provides a record of the campaign and its principal participants 
from September 1969, when Save Our Seashore was organized, to November 
1969, when as many as 450,000 signatures on petitions to President Nixon 
were delivered in Washington. Behr's recollections of the campaign's 
efforts to arouse citizen interest, involve key political figures, and 
focus media attention on the crisis at Point Reyes provide a case study 
of a classic grass-roots environmental campaign. Some key Save Our 
Seashore documents from his files are appended to the interview. 

Peter Behr went on to serve for eight years as California state 
senator (1971-1978), where he authored a wide variety of legislation in 
the areas of environmental protection; legislative reform; health, 
welfare, and education issues; and insurance and property tax reform. He 
was named California Conservation Legislator of the Year in 1972, 
following the passage of his Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Mr. Behr's 
years in the California State Senate have been documented by the Regional 
Oral History Office for the California State Archives State Government 
Oral History Program [Peter H. Behr, Environmentalist and State Senator. 
1971-1978. oral history interviews conducted in 1988 and 1989]. 

Ann Lage 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

Room 486 The Bancroft Library 112 Berkeley, California 94720 

(Please write clearly. Use black ink.) 

Tour full name Peter Hwell Bthr _ 

Date of birth f/14/lf _ Birthplace Nt* 

* r 

Father's full name KvJi H**<H B4ui _ __ 

Occupation .f/frqftntWt tfuJLy _ Birthplace g/t*ffe/y, f 
Mother's full name Httt* 


Your spouse &* CU^ii^ C irti 


Your children L*L B4, Utski** . Mir <& GJ* Jr.. C*rtr**- **** 

Where did you grow up? AW V/crK City 
Present community 


Education \lji l/rttvtnJ 1117 /.A 

Occupat ion (s) 

Areas of expertise 

Other Interests or activities 


Organizations in which you are active M&u*. C*nstrr*t'+ 
it****. , Fr^iM 4 tfce flt/v . 


[Interview 1: April 5, 1990] If 1 

Authorization of the Park. 1962 

Lage: This is April 5, 1990, and I'm interviewing Peter Behr about the 
Point Reyes National Seashore and the Save Our Seashore campaign. 
You were going to start out with the eve of the battle and give us a 
little background on how it came about. 

Behr: A little background. The Point Reyes National Seashore was actually 
first authorized on September 13, 1962, with President Kennedy's 
administration. Senator Clair Engle was very important in the 
establishment of the park, along with a large number of other 
persons. The idea for the park goes way back to Franklin D. 
Roosevelt and Conrad Wirth, who was the National Park Service 
director [1951-1964]. He recommended the seashore [when he was 
assistant director of the National Park Service]. 

Lage: Back in the thirties. 

Behr: Back in the thirties. In 1937, the county master plan showed the 

seashore as set aside for public use- -at least all the wooded hills 
and all the beach areas along the frontage of the ocean. Then Fred 
Seaton, who was the secretary of the interior under Eisenhower, also 
recommended the establishment of the park, but that didn't happen 
until September 13, 1962. The purpose was to acquire 53,850 acres 
for the park, and only $14 million was appropriated to acquire this 
large acreage. After a few years, actually in 1966, the 
expenditures were increased by another $5 million to pay off 
judgments on condemnation suits which had been brought by the 
National Park Service- -some three thousand acres at the time. 

1 This symbol (f|) indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 150. 


The Situation in Coneress 1969 

Behr: By the tine Katy [Katharine Miller Johnson] cane to talk with me at 
the very beginning of September 1969, the money had long since been 
exhausted. Some 31,000 acres were still in private ownership, and 
an additional $38 million was needed. While there were many bills 
for this purpose, none of then were moving. There was a bill by 
both U.S. senators, George Murphy and Alan Cranston, pending in the 
Senate. On the House side, seven bills were before the Committee on 
Interior and Insular Affairs under [Chairman] Wayne Aspinall. But 
they were going nowhere, because the Bureau of the Budget had 
refused to authorize more than $124 million out of the $220 million 
that was expected to be appropriated each year for five years under 
the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. 

Lage: So even if the bill passed, the thought was that the Bureau of the 
Budget wouldn't spend the money? 

Behr: All the money authorized was earmarked for ongoing projects, except 
for $17 million, and that would be what was left over to acquire 
parks for the entire United States. We were competing with all 
sorts of other projects, such as Cape Cod National Seashore 
[Massachusetts], Padre Island [Texas], Assateague Island 
[Maryland/Virginia], and many others. Both the Cape Cod Seashore 
and Padre Island each needed $17 million apiece to get going. Cape 
Cod preceded us. Another problem was that we had recently acquired 
the Redwood National Park, which was also in the congressional 
district of Don Clausen. This created enormous jealousy, because 
putting these two new national parks in the one congressional 
district was a little much for many of the senators and congressmen. 

Lage: Did the people involved in the seashore battle have a sense of 

competition with Redwood National Park, or a sense that it should 
take a back seat so that Point Reyes could be completed? 

Behr: No, because Redwood National Park was a whole new deal. At the time 
the bill was signed by the president, every bit of that land became 
the property of the federal government, and from then on they merely 
paid interest on the parts that hadn't been paid for. 

Lage: The concept of legislative taking. 

Behr: It was a legislative taking. The first time used, and by far the 
best way to go about it. [Without a legislative taking, actual 
purchase of park lands occurs over a period of years following 
authorization of the new park, while costs increase because of 
inflation and land speculation. --Ed.] 


Proposed Development inside Seashore Boundaries 

Behr: The Point Reyes Seashore, in the neantlme, vas unusable because it 
was a patchwork quilt of private and public ownership. The public 
couldn't trespass on the private land to get to the public land that 
had been acquired. The public pieces were small, in general, and 
unusable. In addition, there was a tremendous explosion of 
development taking place inside the park boundaries because, of 
course, all the land that hadn't been acquired was up for 
development. Maps had been filed for ten subdivisions, more than a 
hundred lots had been sold inside the seashore boundaries, twenty 
subdivision houses had been built or were under construction, and we 
had this problem with Limantour Spit, where those houses were 
actually going into private ownership. 

The Lake Ranch, which was 2,500 acres and said to be one of the 
jewels of the park, was owned by a gentleman named Bill Sweet from 
Oregon, who was a timber man. He began timbering and stated that he 
was dividing it into forty-acre parcels for sale. In addition to 
that, we had the Pierce Point Ranch, which was owned by a real 
estate syndicate; another 2,500 acres which was about to be 

Lage: It was already sold to real estate interests? 

Behr: Yes! They owned it for some period of time. That's one of the 
gems --the farthest northern part. Have you been on it? 

Lage : Yes . 

Behr: It's beautiful. Five miles of seashore and five miles along Tomales 
Bay. The tule elk are roaming free there at present. 

Lage: Vas there no protection- -legal protection- -aside from purchase, to 
keep these things from being developed? 

Behr: No. We had a meeting with the National Park Service director, 

George Hartzog, and his representatives, when I was still on the 
Mar in County Board of Supervisors around 1966. He said, "Why don't 
you just zone it all agricultural?" The answer was that the zoning 
of all of Vest Marin was A- 2, which allowed for excessive housing 
density, and we couldn't carve out some of these acres, obviously, 
and put them into a different zoning, because it would be a form of 
inverse condemnation. Ve explained this, but from then on we'd 
earned the undying enmity of George Hartzog. 

So in any event, the whole situation seemed very dour, and in 
fact it seemed unbeatable because while Robert Mayo, who was 


director of the Bureau of the Budget, finally agreed reluctantly to 
allow Congress to Move forward with its bills for the seashore, he 
aid there 'd be no money, and Wayne Aspinall said that not a bill 
would aove through his committee unless the appropriation had been 
Approved in advance. 

Lage: Was Wayne Aspinall not sympathetic to the seashore? 

Behr: He was a very powerful man, and I think he was as sympathetic as he 
could be, but he also had the burden of every other seashore and 
park in the whole United States waiting for money. We were the 
Johnny -come- late lys of the people with our hands out. The feud was 
with the president, because Mayo spoke for the president, and the 
president had cut down the budget for the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund to $120 million instead of $200 million. So the 
argument was at a very high level and impossible to resolve, or 
seemingly so. 

Katv Johnson. Catalyst 

Behr: Katy Johnson came, and she had always dreamed of the seashore being 
in memory of her deceased husband, Clem Miller. She offered a paid 
secretary and a paid publicist if we would do something, but she 
didn't know what to do. She said, "Just start some drive; because 
otherwise everything we've done is going down the tubes." 

Lage: She came to you individually? 

Behr: Yes, she did. By this time I was off the board of supervisors, 

after seven years, and able to take the time to try this. But it 
had to succeed between the time she came, which was in early 
September, and the end of the year, because the federal budget can 
be changed, but it's a very, very difficult procedure to change the 
budget once it's finalized and get something extra into it that's 
not authorized by the president, who can always veto every bill that 
comes in he doesn't like. 



Gathering a Group: "The Best Procurable* 

Behr: So that was the situation; we were stuck, but we wanted to do 
something. So we formed this organization, Save Our Seashore 
[September 2, 1969], a name stolen from a little group in Sausalito 
which had been buying up tideland lots, and that was their "Seashore 
Off Sausalito. " I felt better when I learned they'd stolen the name 
too. [laughter] So we started off-- 

Lage: Now when you say "we," how did you-- 

Behr: Veil, what I did was to begin to gather around a group, mostly 

women, who were not simply the best procurable, but the best, from 
my experience. Ve had Margaret Azevedo, who for a long time was on 
the Marin County Planning Commission, and a tremendous person. 
Still is. Jean Barnard and Aline McClain, both of whom had put me 
on the board of supervisors [in 1961] by taking over the running of 
my campaign, my recall campaign, were said to dislike each other, 
but they stayed working ten hours a day, day after day, on that 

Lage: This was Aline and Jean? 

Behr: Aline and Jean Barnard- -Mrs . John Barnard. Then we had Libby Gatov, 
who was a former treasurer of the United States. Em Gilman, who was 
a widow and former president of the Marin Conservation League. 
Harold Gregg, who was also a former president. 

Lage: Your token male. 

Behr: My token male. Grace Vellman, of course, who is chipper as a 

sparrow and a tremendous go-getter. Also Bunny Lucheta and Joan 
Polsdorfer. In any event, these were persons who'd worked together, 
who knew how to work together, who got down to work and didn't waste 
any time, and that's what we needed. And there were many others 
like them as well. 


We put together a very prestigious advisory board, mainly to 
use on our letterhead [Appendix A, p. 151]. One that we needed, or 
wanted, was Stewart Udall, because he had been the secretary of the 
interior during Kennedy's adainistration and a really, truly great 
man. I heard he was going to be at the Oakland Museum. I'd never 
met him, and decided to go for him, and went there with a letter 
which I'd prepared for him to sign. But he was making the 
dedicatory speech for the opening of the Oakland Museum; I couldn't 
get near him. So I found who was driving him to the airport, some 
young man whom I'm indebted to, and I told him that just before he 
left the secretary, give him the envelope and the letter, which 
happened . 

Very soon afterwards, we got a letter back stating that he was 
delighted to become a member. I still have that letter, which is 
kind of fun [Appendix B, p. 152]. He hadn't changed my draft very 
much, but added enough to color it with his own overlay. He sent it 
back on October 6, which wasn't too bad, really, when you consider 

Lage: So you didn't even talk to him personally, but just approached him 
by messenger? 

Behr: That's right. Never saw him. But it worked. Then we decided that 
we'd have to have an office, so we got an office for $60 a month and 
took it for three months, knowing it was now or never, as we say. 
That was paid for by the Marin Conservation League, which put up 
$180 dollars. That was a very large contribution. Ue moved on the 
telephone company for redtagging and they agreed to give us their 
highest priority, so we got our telephones installed in jigsaw time, 
brought in borrowed furniture, and were open for business in San 
Rafael in about three days. 

Then, in order to get some order into this, since nothing had 
happened yet-- 

Canroalen Outline. Petition Drive. Pundinp 

Lage: Did you yet have an idea of what you were going to do? Katy Johnson 
didn't bring you the idea? 

Behr: No, she had no thoughts about it. She was just nervous. So I 

decided that the person who was making the problem and could solve 
it was the president, and that we should have a petition drive 


Addressed to him, and also a letter -writ ing campaign and an effort 
to stir up the nedla, and other events that I'll mention in passing. 

So we drew up a petition which said only this: "Dear Mr. 
President, please help us save Point Reyes from the bulldozers. 
Only you can preserve this aagnif icent seashore for all generations 
of Americans. It's now or never I" [Appendix C, p. 153] I figured 
that was easy to read, quick to understand. In order to get enough 
signatures we felt that everyone should be allowed to sign, not just 
registered voters, because we all had a part in the park. That 
included children, if they were old enough to understand. Some of 
our best circulators were children. 

Then we drew up an outline of the campaign, which was quite 
detailed and ran for three or four pages, to hand out to any other 
organizations that wanted to help, and indicated how we thought the 
campaign should go forward [Appendix D, p. 155]. 

Lage: So you were hoping to enlist other organizations to circulate this 
petition also, or to start their own? 

Behr: Oh, yes. The outline was broken down into [going through pages] 

two, three, four, five pages on legal -sized sheets, and wound up by 
saying that all basic points contained were officially approved by 
the executive committee of Save Our Seashore at its open meeting of 
Thursday, September 11, 1969, at the Civic Center, San Rafael, 
California. "The press was in attendance at this meeting and was 
formally notified in advance of all meetings of Save Our Seashore." 
So we got together, and everybody approved the campaign outline and 
the fact we would go for petitions. And we were in business. 

Lage: Did you have a model in mind? Was there something that caused you 
to think a petition drive would be a good idea? 

Behr: I was chairman of the Alliance to Save San Francisco Bay, but that 
didn't have much to do with this. This was a seat -of -the -pants, 
off-the-cuff, let's -go kind of operation. Then we needed 
circulators, and we needed money, and we didn't have any money; we 
didn't have any circulators. But like any campaign, you also need 
up- front money, so I got up a promissory note for $8,000, and I had 
it signed by people who could afford it, each in effect taking 

Lage: Now tell me, what exactly does that mean? Do people donate the 

Behr: No, they signed the promissory note we got from the Bank of America, 
so they became individually, jointly, and severally liable for the 
full $8,000 if it wasn't repaid. 


Lage: And who comes up with the $8,000? 

Behr: Hopefully, all the contributor* ve didn't have. 

Lage: I see. 

Behr: Veil, by December '69 ve paid that down to $2,247.33. On July 1, 
1970, it was paid off. So that worked. 

The nicest story about that was Charlotte Riznik. Charlotte 
was a longtime reporter for the Chronicle who is loved by everybody 
who knows her. She said, "I want to sign that." "Charlotte," 1 
said, "I'm not sure you want to do that." She was really quite 
poor. "Well," she said, "I've got $1,000 in the savings bank; I'm 
going to sign it." So she did. She later became our PR [public 
relations] person for $250 a month, which was one of the best gifts 
we received, for she was invaluable. 

Then for the petition drive I called up the Coro Foundation, 
and I said, "Have you got any Coro interns who are free for a 
wonderful undertaking?" They said, "We don't have a single one." I 
said, "Are there any who've just graduated who don't have a job 
yet?" They gave me the name of Jim Williams, who was a quiet, 
sleepy -looking, handsome young man. I called Jim and he came over, 
and he said, "Sure, this sounds like fun." So there was our first 

Lage: Now, was he a paid--? 
Behr: He didn't get a dime. 
Lage: He didn't get anything. This was volunteer for him. 

Behr: So then I said, "Now, you're a graduate of Coro. You go back there 
and talk to those interns formally or informally and come back and 
tell me who is the best of them." So he did. And he said, "There's 
one that's so outstanding that I don't even have to describe him." 
Bill Kahrl, who was a Yale Scholar of the House and had written a 
movie which had been shown at the Cannes Festival and could do just 
about anything. So I bully-ragged Coro into giving me Bill. 

Lage: Even though they said they didn't have any available? 

Behr: Yes, well, Bill was helping me. [laughter] He was a strong 

character. He told Coro he wanted to get out of "this blank-blank 
supervisor's race. It's dull. This sounds like more fun." 


Then Huey Johnson called me about a young lady named Francia 
Velker. He said, "I've got this gal who's been my secretary. She's 
not with me any more." I later had a feeling that she was too 
strong a character for even Huey. 1 mean, she was a very strong 
person, and very smart and attractive. 

So she came along, and the three of them asked me what to do. 
By this time we had some petitions printed up. I said, "Go forth." 
[laughter] They said, "Don't you have any instructions?" I said, 
"Of course I do. Get signatures." They went through all the 
colleges and universities and high schools in the Bay Area. It was 
just the time when everything was bubbling in the universities and 
colleges and high schools and the younger generation. So they got a 
welcome reception and an enormous number of signatures. I hardly 
ever saw them; but the signatures kept floating in by mail. 

Lage: Did they distribute petitions for others to circulate as well? 
Behr: Oh, sure they did. Absolutely. 

Special Edition of the Pacific Sun. October 1 

Bahr: Then I got ahold of the Pacific Sun because we needed some better 
publicity, and we couldn't afford it. They started up a special 
edition, Save Our Seashore. 

Lage: Now, how did you arrange that? Did you have a long-term connection 

Behr: Yes, I knew the publisher, Steve McNamara. By October 1, '69, they 
began to get all this advertising from all the conservation 
organizations throughout the state. Every time they got a good 
advertisement they increased the size of the special edition, 
[laughter] By the time they were finished, it was a paper that was 
really quite colorful and went on to two sections of sixty- four 
pages . 

Lage: Was it a special edition, then, or an insert? 

Behr: It was a special section of the Pacific Sun devoted to the campaign 
[October 1, 1969). It was really a beautiful edition, filled with 
all sorts of lovely pictures and articles. 

Lage: I'd like to collect some of this material from you. 


Behr: We can handle that. But look at this photograph. This reminds me 
of something else. Cathy Stone--. Isn't that a fine photograph? 

Lage: Yes. That's the Lake Ranch. 

Behr: Well, Cathy Stone was the young daughter of my internist, Doctor Tom 
Stone, in Mill Valley. She was working for the magazine Rolling 
Stone . and she said, "You ought to get Perkle Jones to work." I'd 
never heard of him, but he turned out to be a famous photographer. 
I said, "I don't know Perkle Jones." She said, "I do. He works for 
us, and I'll get him going." So he came out over one full weekend, 
went all around the seashore and got a great many beautiful pictures 
and took them back and developed them himself. So he gave us a 
number of large photographs that we used in a variety of ways , which 
I'll mention later. And this was another welcome gift. 

I made a deal with Steve McNamara that I would take fifty 
thousand copies of that little newspaper for the price of printing 
them. So I paid him $4,000; that's what some of this money we 
needed was used for. Then we started to distribute them. One place 
we wanted them was in Washington. We didn't have the money to send 
them there (they were heavy as lead), so I had another friend, who's 
died since, who was well up in a major airline. His name was Tom 
Barbour. I talked with Tom and told him this dilemma. He said, 
"Give me the number you want to send." And I've always believed 
they went "lost luggage." 

Lage: [laughter] Oh, you're kidding. 

Behr: All I know is we never were billed. But Tom was way up there, and 
he said, "Oh, that's a good cause." So Katy Johnson was at the 
other end, and she distributed this special edition of the Pacific 
Sun all over Washington, to all the congressmen and people that 
counted. Then we started selling them for fifty cents apiece, as 
souvenirs. We got back just a shade under $3,000, so the whole deal 
cost us $1,000. 

Sierra Club Poster. Book, and Film 

Behr: Then, this was at a time when all the kids loved posters. You know 
the book, Island in Time by Harold Gilliam [Sierra Club, 1962]? 

Lage: Yes. 

Behr: Well, they have that lovely picture of the seacliffs, the Dover-type 
cliffs on the cover? So I went over to the Sierra Club and said, 


Look, you've got a poster program for all your books. How about a 
poster for the Save Our Seashore campaign? We can use that one." 
Veil, they said they didn't have a poster program which was in 
effect at that time. 

Lage: This was right after [David] Brower had left [as executive director 
of the Sierra Club] . 

Behr: Yes. 1 said, "Look, we've got to have that. Why don't you find out 
what the cost of a minimum run is on this new poster that I'm 
suggesting, and I'll take half of the minimum run." So they agreed, 
and we got the "Island in Time" poster. We paid $1,366.40 for a 
couple of thousand of them, and we got back $1,856.68; we made money 
on it. Those were sent all over to people who were interested. 

Lage: Did you send those out of the area? Or did you sell them-- 

Behr: No, we didn't send them out of the area. We sold them in all the 
schools and got them used in booths and events that were put 

Then we had the Island in Time books. I wanted to get those, 
in the worst way, to Washington, so I bought a hundred copies of the 
hardbacks and a hundred copies of the paperbacks, and we shipped 
those off to Katy to put where she felt they would do the most good. 

Then there was the Sierra Club's wonderful "Island in Time," a 
documentary film, which we wanted to use. But there was a dispute 
between the two ladies who had done it. 

Lage: I remember hearing something about it. 

Behr: It was being revised at the time, and I talked with Larry Dawson, 
who was in charge of the film side of the Sierra Club program. He 
was very sympathetic, but he said these two ladies had absolutely 
forbidden the use or distribution of this old film until it had been 
revised. So we winked together, and in time I got some of those. 

Lage: Did you get the two ladies together, or how did you--? 

Behr: They never knew. So we sent some of those off to Washington, for 

Lage: So some of these things were in place, in a sense. The book had 

been written and the film made, I guess, for the first campaign [to 
get the seashore authorized in 1962]. 


Behr: When you think about the Sierra Club contributions. The "Island in 
Time" poster was not in place, but the film was, the book was, and 
we used them in another way which I'll describe later. 

Senator George Murphy's Kev Position 

Behr: The key person in this whole effort turned out more and more to be 
the person I thought would be the key to it. That was Senator 
George Murphy. He was running against John Tunney [for reelection 
in 1970]. I knew that George was a close friend of the president's. 
He was having a neck-and-neck race, and he needed votes in the 
north. We figured that he would be a powerful influence on our 
side. So I wrote him a letter on September 22, which was quite 
detailed. It ran for four pages. [looking at letter] I got it 
hand delivered by a Mr. Joseph McKeown, who was going to Washington 
on business. 

Lage: Did he have a connection with George Murphy? 

Behr: No, but he was going to Washington, and we had to move quickly. Our 
letter described how wonderful we were, how much we cared, gave him 
some background on the seashore, which he probably didn't need. 

Lage: He had been one of the sponsors. 

Behr: Yes, he was one of the two co-authors on the Senate side of the bill 
and was working very hard. It wasn't a question of his intense 
involvement. It was a question of thanking him for his help for us 
and [letting] him know we existed. 


Behr: We sent him an eight-foot map, through Mr. McKeown, with circles 

showing the number of the estimated population within each 25 -mile 
circle, out to a hundred-mile radius from the seashore, which 
indicated that five million of his constituents lived within a 
hundred miles of the seashore. We thought this would be a strong 
hint of the importance of it to his reelection. 

We sent him also the original land- use survey and economic 
feasibility report, the one done by George Collins [for the National 
Park Service in 1959], It was almost out of print and even back in 
1965 was just about unavailable, but we got one. This report 
collected a lot of accurate, interesting facts on the seashore. 


We presented him at the same time with a photograph of one 
small part of the Lake Ranch, soon to be subdivided into forty-acre 
parcels and sold on the open market. That was one of the 
photographs by Perkle Jones. It had a Morgan horse in there, and we 
knew he loved Morgan horses. 

Lage : Where do you get these little bits of information like the fact that 
he loved Morgan horses? 

Behr: That probably came from Boyd Stewart, who was a great Morgan horse 
breeder and fancier, one of our most fascinating ranchers out here. 
We told Senator Murphy we were coming along well with our petition 
drive, and thanked him for everything he'd ever done. It was all 
very sincere, and it helped. 

Lage: Did you make any bold suggestion, like "Will you approach President 

Behr: He'd already done it, and he continued to do it. I mean, he was 
right in there punching. 

The Brass Plate. Museum Exhibits. Ocean Beach Cleanup 

Behr: Then there was the brass plate, which had been residing in The 

Bancroft Library since it was first found. 1 It had been declared 
genuine, but it wasn't on display. So we got permission through The 
Bancroft Library to exhibit it at the De Young Museum for a week and 
the Oakland Museum for a week. We sent replicas of the brass plate 
to Governor Reagan and Secretary [of the Interior] Hickel. 

Lage: Was that before its authenticity had been called into question 

Behr: Oh, yes. It may still be genuine. That's another story. But in 

any event, we put it up in the De Young, and that helped induce our 
friend Joe Alioto [mayor of San Francisco] to declare by 
proclamation, which I think is lovely--. [holds up proclamation, 
Appendix E, p. 160] Look at that. God, you know that's important. 

1 In 1936 an engraved Plate of Brass, dated May 17, 1579, and signed 
Sir Francis Drake, was discovered in Marin County. Since then there have 
been continuing controversies regarding its authenticity, as well as 
whether Drake landed in San Francisco Bay or in Drakes Bay on the Point 
Reyes peninsula. 


Lage: Beautiful. Proclaims the week of October 18 to 25, 1969, a Save Our 
Seashore Week. And urges everybody to write the president. 

Behr: We thought that was nice. He was a lively mayor, and full of 

energy. He came to the exhibit trailed by all the television media, 
who were anxiously making this an historic event. 

Mayor Alioto wanted to keep the brass plate for another week, 
but by this time Oakland had gotten all warmed up, and they wanted 
it, and they had a right to it. He was sore as hell, but we got it 
away. We surrounded both exhibits with all of Perkle Jones's best 
photographs so people could see what it was like. Afterwards we 
took Perkle Jones's photographs and sent them to the most important 
senators and others in Washington as little tokens of our 

Then Diana Wayburn, who's the daughter of Ed Wayburn--you know 
Ed; everybody knows Ed [former president and longtime director of 
the Sierra Club] --decided on an Ocean Beach [San Francisco] cleanup. 
She said that she wanted to prove that high school youngsters really 
cared about beaches and could take care of them. So it was all set 
for a certain date and time, and the media was informed, needless to 
say. Ed called me up steaming mad, and he said, "That chief 
administrative officer [of San Francisco], Tom [Thomas J.] Mellon, I 
don't know what's the matter with him. He says they can't do it." 

I said, "I can't believe that. Tom's a terribly decent chap, 
nicest man 1 know. I'll call him up." So I called him; I said, 
"Tom, what's going on with this Ocean Beach cleanup?" "Well," he 
said, "they told me they were going to pick up everything that they 
find on the beach and dump it in front of City Hall as a protest for 
not keeping the beach cleaner." [laughter] Well, I said, "Tom, if 
I can promise you they'll put it all in nice little piles along the 
Great Highway [which runs along Ocean Beach] , will you agree to have 
it picked up by city crews?" He replied, "Of course." So that was 
over, and they had a nice event. 

Lage: And did they tie that in to the Save Our Seashore at Point Reyes? 

Behr: Oh, sure. That was the reason it was being done. Oh, yes, indeed. 
Then we got endorsements from all the local boards of supervisors in 
the Bay Area. We got a joint resolution from the state senate, 
which covered both the senate and the assembly, and we had all the 
conservation organizations' endorsements. 


Endorsements from National Audubon Society and Governor Reagan 

Behr: The one amusing thing about this Save Our Seashore edition [of the 
Pacific Sunl was that they'd gotten advertising from all the 
conservation organizations except the National Audubon Society. 
Steve McNamara said he felt 1 should try to get them. So 1 made a 
cold call to New York City,. where they had their stately 
headquarters on Park Avenue, and asked to speak to somebody about 
it. They said, "It's a Jewish holiday; there's nobody here." I 
said, "There must be somebody there." "Well," they said, "there's 
Dr. Elvis Starr; he's our new head, but he's just come." I said, 
"Put him on the phone." [laughter] 

So I persuaded him to take two full pages of advertising for 
Save Our Seashore. He said, "Well, send me the bill; nobody else 
will know anything about it." He also added, "Get rid of all that 
bird stuff. We're expanding now into habitat and other things. 
Look at the last issue of the Audubon magazine." That was when I 
asked him, "What about the copy?" He said, "Put it together! I've 
got no time for that. But remember, no birds." 

Lage: No birds. That's very interesting. It just seems like an 

incredible array of different kinds of things you were off doing. 
Did you have these energetic Save Our Seashore board members doing 
different portions of the campaign? 

Behr: Oh, yes. I mean, this is just an overview, but everybody was 

detailed and worked steadily and accurately on these things. They 
were just a first-class team. It wasn't a pick-up team at all; it 
was the best procurable. 

We kept all the incoming petitions in a vault at the Bell 
Savings and Loan in San Rafael. The reporters were becoming 
interested in how we were doing, and we refused to tell them, 
[laughter] So that created sort of the Greta Garbo approach to a 
little bit more publicity. Then we went down to Los Angeles for the 
Governor's Conference on the Changing Environment, which Reagan had 
set up. By this time he'd endorsed the effort also. 

Lage: Was it difficult to get his endorsement, do you remember? 

Behr: I never knew how it was received. We just got it; he endorsed it, 
but I didn't approach him. Somebody may have, but he came along. 

Lage: Was any of the Livermore family involved in Save Our Seashore? 

Behr: Not in any major way. They may have been; that's not fair, but I 
didn't know about it. 


Sierra Club Mailing 

Behr: Well, we were short of signatures, obviously; we claimed we were 
going to get a million. We had two months to get them in- -three 
months. So I went through a Mr. [Warren] Lemmon, who was Bill 
Roth's [San Francisco businessman and philanthropist] right-hand 
man, and asked Mr. Roth for money sufficient to mail out petitions 
with a letter to all the members of the Bay Area chapter of the 
Sierra Club. By this time I had two young ladies, Barbara Rosen and 
Sonya Thompson, acting as liaison with the Sierra Club. That 
mailing was very important and quite costly, because we would be 
getting twenty thousand petitions into the hands of persons who 

Lage: This would be members of the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra 

Behr: They all were members of the Bay Area chapter. But 1 had to get the 
money; we didn't have it. Lemmon said that Bill Roth was short of 
cash this month and couldn't make it. By then I was feeling very 
despondent because we needed the mailing so desperately, but it 
turned out that somebody approached Roth's wife, and she put the 
money up. So we went ahead and got those out to the membership. 

At that time there was a rift in the club. Phil Berry had just 
been appointed president. Ed Wayburn and some of the others thought 
he was much too young for a job this important, and there was quite 
a schism. So 1 drafted a cover letter to go with the petitions, and 
they both agreed to sign the letter when we sent them out. So we 
took care of both sides of the schism. We sent out twenty thousand 
of those, and that helped an enormous amount. All we had on the 
back of the petitions was the return address. 

Lage: Did you have some way of keeping track of where your petitions were 
coming in from? Were the Sierra Club ones marked in any way so you 

Behr: It wasn't that well organized. We just wanted them. 

Things were beginning to move pretty well at that time. We 
were beginning to make some inroads, and 1 can't tell you how 
important Katy Johnson was in the whole effort, or her husband, Mr. 
Stuart Johnson, who knew exactly what she was doing, why she was 
doing it, and was behind her 100 percent, 1000 percent. Which is 
quite touching, I think. 

Lage: I think so too. 


Behr: Shows he was a big man. 

Lage : Was it in Washington, primarily, that Katy Johnson was active? 

Behr: The whole effort in Washington, she was it. 

Publicity on Local Television and Radio 

Behr: We also got an enormous amount of publicity on all the local 

television and radio stations; we did keep track of that [Appendix 
F, p. 161]. We got television programs on all the channels --Channel 
5, Channel 4, Channel 7, Channel 9, at least the big Bay Area ones. 
I guess Channel 4 set the pace because they had a fifteen-minute 
original film featuring spectacular seashore views from the air. 
They had me being interviewed by Phil Wilson as we walked along the 
beach. Actually, KRON hired a plane and went five or six times to 
Point Reyes with cameramen. That was a target for everyone to reach 
for, and Channel 5 went on an editorial by Mario Cotruvo, an 
interview with myself with excerpts from the "Island in Time" film. 
Another editorial by Mario Cotruvo, "Island in Time" excerpts with 
myself on "Electric Impressions" with Ron Majors on November 14. 
These ran from September 22 to November 14. 

Then Channel 7 had a half -hour talk show on Jim Dunbar's show, 
7 A.M., September 18; we phoned in questions. I was one of the 
participants in a panel consisting of myself and Al Bianchi and 
Cindy Patterson, who was a youth worker in the campaign. Prettier 
than a picture, lived in Inverness and was one of I don't know how 
many children. Cindy had a cake bake for us, and raised $57. She 
was lively as a cricket. 

We showed the first quarter of a million signatures on 
petitions being shipped out of the office when Wanda Remay was 
interviewing me. More shots from "Island in Time" on November 10 
from Channel 7. Channel 9 had a one-hour discussion of the Point 
Reyes Seashore, and we had, aside from myself, George Collins with 
Conservation Associates, who was the one who prepared all the 
surveys up and down the entire coast for the best seashores and had 
formerly spent a lifetime with the National Park Service. John 
Chambers, from the Mar in Assessor's Office, was with us --the number 
two man there. And Gordon Pusse, who was president of Land 
Investor's Research, which owned the Pierce Point Ranch. 

Lage: Was this a debate, or were they all in favor of it? 
Behr: They all were in favor of it. 


Lage: Including the land developers? 
Behr: The Land Investor's Research? 
Lage : Yes . 

Behr: Yes, they were. They had divided the Pierce Point Ranch, I guess by 
this time, into forty-acre lots, and they were anxious to sell them. 
The two big parcels that were left untouched were Pierce Point Ranch 
and the Lake Ranch. After the whole matter was decided and 
President Nixon had agreed to appropriate the funds for the 
seashore, there was a supplemental appropriation of $7 million to 
take care of these two big ranches, which went through quickly. 

Lage: So they got a fair return on their efforts. Did they do as well as 
they would have if they'd subdivided, do you think? 

Behr: It's hard to say. I can't answer that. 

Lee Raskall was the key broadcaster at KGO, or key editor. He 
drew up editorials and we went over them together. They ran them 
six times a day for four days, starting September 18. He was 
pleased as punch. So were we. They helped greatly. 

Lage: You really got tremendous support. 

Behr: Oh, we did. KQED interviewed me on the street on October 20. KTIM, 
which is our local station, gave us a panel on September 25. We'd 
phoned in questions. KCBS featured spot announcements and news 
items on November 2. KFOG in San Francisco ran an editorial October 
20. KPFA in Berkeley used all our spots. KPAT in Berkeley ran an 
editorial and spots. KFAX in San Francisco ran their own editorial. 
And so it went. 

We sent spot announcements to nineteen radio stations other 
than the ones I mentioned. At least two -thirds used them, and 
possibly more, but we couldn't check it accurately. These covered 
Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Pittsburg, Burbank, and so forth. 

Lage: Was this so successful because Charlotte Riznik had the connections, 
or why? 

Behr: I think Charlotte helped a lot. Everybody loved her, everybody 

wanted to help her. She knew a lot of people, so she helped a great 



Mav 13. 1969. Congressional Hearine 

Behr: So then, going back instead of forward, to the terrible moment on 
May 13, 1969, when there was a hearing of a subcommittee of the 
Interior and Insular Affairs Committee on the House side. Ue had 
sent our people--. I was no longer on the Board of Supervisors, but 
the county sent a supervisor, Louis Baar, and Boyd Stewart, who was 
our great Point Reyes rancher, and other Marin County witnesses. 

That was the terrible moment when [National Park Service 
Director George] Hartzog proposed that some 9,208 acres of land on 
the western slopes of Inverness Ridge be sold at public auction for 
development. There would be two tracts of 4,600 acres each, 
subdivided into lots up to ten acres. Both areas would include 
small communities with shopping centers and polo fields and riding 
stables and golf courses. The estimated sale would bring in about 
$10 million. 

He wanted the bills amended to read, instead of $57.5 million, 
$47.5 million, amended to allow this sale to go forward. He said he 
wasn't going to be using any of that money to buy any other parts of 
the Point Reyes seashore; he was going to put it back in the Land 
and Water Conservation Fund. 

Lage: Do you have any understanding of how that idea came about? It was a 
new concept. 

Behr: He never liked us, and he felt we'd done him wrong. He sent his 
people out here with the same concept around the middle of '67 or 

Lage: I think in '66 it was brought up before. 

Behr: Sixty -six. And we just would have nothing to do with it. He wanted 
us to have a special zoning for the areas, and we refused it. He 
was miffed. 


Lage: But if you'd had that special agricultural zoning, he couldn't have 
done this. 

Behr: He wanted a zoning that required that everything in here be 

compatible with nature, including, 1 guess, polo fields and golf 
courses. But it was an indication, clearly, from the 
administration, that they weren't going to budge. That was the 
point at which Wayne Aspinall [chairman of the House Interior 
Committee] said, "Nothing's doing on the seashore until we get an 
appropriation authorized by the president." 

Presidential Turnabout on Point Reves and Full Funding for the Land 
and Water Conservation Fund 

Behr: I think what happened, which broke the deadlock, was a [November 18, 
1969] meeting between George Murphy and Don Clausen and Wayne 
Aspinall, with the president, four days after the president received 
our 450,000 petitions. 

Lage: When did he get the petitions? 

Behr: November 14, I think. 

Lage: So you kind of sent the first installment of petitions? 

Behr: We sent them all at that time. 

Lage: But were you continuing the campaign? 

Behr: Oh, yes, but that was the bulk of it. And at that point, Nixon 

said, "We will see to the appropriation of the funds necessary for 
the seashore." Now, this, of course, wouldn't have gotten our bills 
moving at all because we couldn't possibly move with the rest of the 
representatives of all the other districts in the United States 
getting shortchanged. What happened, though, was that on February 
10 of 1970- -and this isn't generally understood- -but on February 10, 
1970, Mr. Saylor- -Congressman John Saylor- -received two letters, one 
from Robert Mayo, the Budget Bureau director, and the other from 
Walter Hickel, secretary of the interior, pretty well outlining what 
the president had in mind. 

On that very day, according to the Congressional Record, 
members heard read by the reading clerk the president's message 
dated February 10, 1970, where he stated on page 10: "I propose full 
funding in fiscal 1971 of the $327 million dollars available through 


the Land and Water Conservation Fund for additional park and 
recreational facilities." Nobody had expected any more than $200 
million, which was all the law required. He had taken all the money 
that had previously not been spent, tied it into the $200 million 
appropriation, and that's where they came up to the $327 million. 

Lage : So he really went beyond what you were hoping for. 

Behr: Went way beyond. That was it. I mean, the floodgates opened. 
Everybody was funded. 

Lage: So this allowed you not to have to compete with the other parks and 

Behr: And we couldn't compete, because we were really such Johnny-come- 

latelys, and unless we broke the dam, it was impossible to move on. 
So it was a very good campaign. 

Lage: Was this something you didn't expect? This increase? 

Behr: I don't think anyone expected him to go above $200 million. When 
this happened, 1 mean, it was time for great rejoicing. 

Lage: Do you have any background on that, or any inside information on how 
that may have come about? 

Behr: 1 have a feeling- -which is not provable, but it's been hinted at by 
others who know more (How do you like that?) [laughter] --that George 
Murphy came to his old friend Richard Nixon, and in the Oval Office 
said to him, "Dick, I've got to have it. I've simply got to have 
it." While this is apocryphal, I like to think Nixon said, "Well, 
why didn't you tell me sooner?" [laughter] It didn't do it for 
him. George lost to Tunney, but he felt it was the best procurable 
thing to do for his campaign, which was foundering a bit. 

But I got into terrible trouble when they had a testimonial 
dinner for Senator Murphy. 

Lage: In the next year, during the campaign? 

Behr: In Mar in County. I said what was simply true; I read a letter from 
the Sierra Club to George Murphy, which I had a copy of. I said it 
was the closest thing to an endorsement the Sierra Club has ever 
made. And no Democrat's every forgiven me for that. Even the 
Sierra Club remembers it. And it was true. They knew damn well he 
was the one who caused it to happen. But I didn't know the details. 
But I was loudly berated by all the good Democrats around. After 
all, I felt I was a titular Republican who was trying to stand up 
and be counted. 


Lage: [laughs] Veil, you did sort of owe Murphy something for his 
pressure on President Nixon, 1 guess. 

Behr: I think so. I felt setting the record straight was worthwhile. 

Underestimating Costs of Seashore Land in 1962 

Behr: You know, it was interesting, and one thing that hasn't been brought 
out, is how they ever got to that $14 million figure at the 

Lage: The figure setting the cost for the seashore when it was authorized 
in 1962? 

Behr: Yes. There's a 26, 000 -acre pastoral zone within the boundaries of 
the seashore, and they came to the conclusion that little, if any, 
of the land would have to be acquired to preserve its character. So 
in the original plan there were 26,000 acres that they sort of 
sloughed off. 

Lage: That they thought would remain in ranching and would be fine. 

Behr: And wouldn't need to be bought. Well, that quickly proved not to be 

They also thought that there was a certain portion of land that 
could be acquired by exchanges rather than paying cash, and the 
governor of Oregon squashed that as far as the Lake Ranch was 
concerned. Because the Bureau of Land Management--! think it was 
the BLM--had a lot of forest lands in Oregon which were going to be 
exchanged for the Lake Ranch, but the governor of Oregon did away 
with that. 

Lage: And this Bill Sweet was an Oregon lumberman. 
Behr: Yes, he was. 

Lage: Do you know anything about how he happened to buy here? Did that 
used to be Boyd Stewart's property? That Lake Ranch? 

Behr: No, it was owned by a Yale man, a Mr. Tevis. At one time it was a 
camping spot for wealthy San Franciscans, a hunting camp. 

Lage: It doesn't look like prime lumber terrain, really. 


Behr: It turned out the lumber was no good. 

Lage: It just seems an odd purchase for an Oregon lumberman to come down 

Behr: He may have had second thoughts. But he was ready to subdivide. 

And the Pierce Ranch was ready to subdivide, and the Marshall land 
-the Laguna Ranch- -was ready for subdivision- -1500 acres. Things 
were in pretty bad shape. 

Lage: And then the Park Service, under Hartzog, was ready to subdivide 

Behr: Oh, Hartzog. Oh, yes, he was ready. When he came down to be at the 
dedication of the seashore with Lady Bird Johnson, I reminded him 
when they landed the helicopters that they were landing on Drakes 
Beach, which the county had given free to the federal government for 
inclusion in the seashore. He grumped and grumbled, but he didn't 
acknowledge anything. And you know, the state gave 11,000 acres of 
tidelands to them all around the entire perimeter of the seashore. 

Lage: I didn't realize that. 

Behr: Yes. So they were nicely treated. 

S.O.S. Success: "An Aneel on Everybody's Shoulder" 

Behr: It all worked out, finally. We [Save Our Seashore] closed out in 

early February; we signed off with the Division of Charities when we 
gave our first and last report to them. Because we were all ad hoc, 
meaning we'd never become 501(C)(3). We were just a joint venture. 

Lage: You didn't make it a formal tax -deductible organization? 

Behr: No, we had no time. So in the end we had to explain that to the 
attorney general's office of charitable something or other. 

Lage: Does that create problems? 

Behr: It didn't because Aline McClain was our treasurer, and she was there 
for a purpose. There wasn't a single "i" that hadn't been dotted or 
a single "t" that hadn't been crossed. Her books were in smashing 
order and I think they were off by $2. The whole campaign cost-- 
excluding that gift by Mrs. Roth, which was made directly about 
$24,000 or $25,000. All that money came back. 


Lage: In contributions? 

Behr: Yes, little contributions. It really is quite remarkable. All the 
organizations came through, and individuals with $5, $10, $15, $23, 
$8. I never saw small contributions amount to so much. They just 
came flooding in from everywhere. Very few large ones. We were 
helped by a few large contributions at critical moments. But there 
was an angel on everybody's shoulder. 

One time during the middle of the campaign, the IJ f Independent 
Journal ] reported that the petition drive might anger Wayne Aspinall 
and should be stopped. This was attributed to Don Clausen, who did 
splendidly on the seashore when he got going, but he was always 
difficult with the environment. 

Lage: He was weak on the environment? 
Behr: Weak on the environment. 

Lage: And he was the congressman who had the two big projects in his 
district- -the redwood park and Point Reyes. 

Behr: That's exactly right. But we got to Washington at once with the IJ 
report and Clausen denied it the next day. We were really rolling. 
You know campaigns when they're absolutely rolling to the point 
where you can't keep up with everything that's happening because so 
much is going on at the same time? 

Lage : Yes . 

Behr: You're then in a successful campaign, by definition. That's the way 
this worked. 

Lage: Now, what do you attribute the success to? Is it to the management 
and organization or is it-- 

Behr: The timing was right. It was a group that was put together, knew 

what they were doing, and went about doing it. They weren't afraid 
of failure. 



Point Rees and the Count Suervisor's Election 




Do you want to go back to the very beginnings of your outline, which 
we haven't covered? 

I do. I was thinking that since you were in that unique position of 
having been on the Marin County Board of Supervisors, and in fact 
your going on the board of supervisors had some effect on Point 
Reyes, as I understand it, maybe we should review that a little bit. 

Before the recall election against J. Walter Blair, the board of 
supervisors was voting 4 to 1 in favor of a twenty -thousand -acre 
seashore on the southern part of the Point Reyes Peninsula. [Others 
had proposed a 54,000-acre seashore.] Wayne Aspinall said he 
wouldn't set any single bill of the ones that were pending for 
hearing until the local support was existing. 

This was in '61. 

That's correct. So when I ran for supervisor I came out strongly 
for the seashore, and it was a very important issue in the original 
campaign [the election to recall Blair and to elect Behr as 
supervisor] . 

When you were first asked to run on this recall election, did your 
backers bring up the seashore? 

That was one of the major issues. I was essentially backed by 
[former supervisor] Vera Schultz's supporters, who wanted somebody 
to replace J. Walter Blair, because he had defeated her, for reasons 
that nobody understands. She was strongly in favor of the seashore. 

Lage: So when you came on the board, that made it then 3 to 2? 





Behr: It turned out that's what happened. Bill Gnoss came along, finally. 
Walter Castro was always in favor of it [the 54,000-acre seashore]. 
I was the third one. 

Lage: How did Bill Gnoss come around? Somebody told me there was a story 
there. Is there? 

Behr: When the first votes were taken on the seashore after I came on the 
board, it was a foregone conclusion, we thought; it was 3 to 2 in 
favor of the larger seashore. 

Lage: Of the larger one? But it was 4 to 1 in favor of the smaller one 
when you went on the board. 

Behr: That's right. 

Lage: That should make it 3 to 2 in favor of the smaller one. 

Behr: Yes, but Bill had shifted in the meantime, and sided with Walter 
Castro and me. But when we took the vote, he returned to his old 
position and voted against it. So then it was 3 to 2, but it was 
the wrong way again, [laughter] He represented the Novato area, 
and the Novato Advance was at that time a daily newspaper. Someone, 
I'm told, wrote up an editorial blasting Bill in the most uncertain 
terms. He was told that it would be published if he didn't change 
his vote by the next meeting. For one reason or another, he changed 
his vote. 

Lage: For one reason or another. 

Behr: So that made it 3 to 2 the right way. 

Lage: And then did he stick with that? 

Behr: Oh, yes. Yes. He usually followed Walter Castro, but this time, 
for a moment, he slipped away. I can understand why. His whole 
family was in dairy ranching when they came here originally. He'd 
been at everybody's hunting camp throughout the entire county at one 
time or another, so he was deeply and permanently embedded in the 
ranching community. So he came quite naturally by the smaller 
seashore, and sort of unnaturally, we needed him, so he came along. 

Densitv Provisions and Planning for West Marin 

Behr: You mentioned [on the outline] this change in density provisions in 
the West Marin master plan. Well, that's an interesting story. I 


can't give it to you clearly because I'm not sure. But I'm sure of 
one thing, that I was very concerned, personally, that we would find 
the environs of the national seashore developing into a pile of hot 
dog stands and Junk. 

So I talked to Clem Miller about it, and Clem went to work with 
the HHFA, Housing and Home Finance Administration. I think that's 
right. In any event, he got the full amount requested for federal 
financial assistance to prepare the Point Reyes section of the Vest 
Mar in master plan for $29,906. I have the letter he sent to Walter 
Castro, a copy of it with a little slip saying, "for Peter Behr who 
did it, for information, Clem," which I've always been touched 
about . 

Lage: The idea was to do a master plan to prevent the kind of 
commercialization that you feared around the seashore? 

Behr: Exactly right. That was our purpose. 
Lage: I see. So was that carried out, then? 

Behr: What happened, or seemed to happen, was that we got hold of Mary 

Summers, whom everybody worshipped, including myself; she had been 
our first planning director [in Marin County]. She was retired by 
then. She tied in with a Dan Coleman, who was an engineer [to draft 
a master plan for the seashore area] . What they came up with was 
highly unsatisfactory. For example, Waldo Giacomini's diked 
wetlands at the end of Tomales Bay were made into sort of a West 
Marin Venice -by- the -Sea, with canals shown going through them and 
little houses all over. I don't know what went wrong, but it was 
unfortunate . 

Lage: So that was the plan for the private land around the seashore that 
resulted out of this county study? 

Behr: Yes. 

Lage: What happened then? Was that not approved? 

Behr: I can't recall. I'm reasonably certain it wasn't approved. I know 
I bitched a lot, and I think it wasn't approved. Then the zoning 
density went up to twenty-four units per acre. Was twenty-four per 

Lage: Well, this is what I saw. The density had started quite low, and 

then during the period between the time the seashore was approved in 
'62 and '69, it had risen so that you could have twenty- four units 
per acre, in some areas. 


Behr: I guess that's so. 

Lage: I think I had read that you had objected to changes in density. I 
mean, this obviously was part of what was driving up the cost. 

Behr: Objected to increased density, you mean? 

.Lage: Yes. 

Behr: Oh, I certainly did. 

Lage: But you don't remember the politics on the board? 

Behr: I really don't. 

Gary Giacomini saved the western side of Mar in County. 

Lage: Tell me about that. 

Behr: His great feat was to establish zoning which limited housing to one 
unit per sixty acres, through almost all of West Mar in. 

Lage: This was when he was on the board? 

Behr: Yes. And it's still that way. So it's pretty well done away with 
any major developments. These units can be divided from the land 
which allows them and can be sold and transferred to a more 
compatible location. But they're used up then. The original 
property loses them. So far, that hasn't happened very much. 

Lage: I'm not getting exactly what you mean. You mean you can combine- - 

Behr: If I have a ranch of sixty acres, to make it simple, I'd be allowed 
to have one unit on the ranch. One residential unit. But I could 
say, "Look. I'll sell you the right to have an additional 
residential unit on your land. I'll not have my unit any more, so 
nine will be permanently undevelopable. You're a large developer; 
you want to collect eight or ten of these and cluster them in some 
location that's capable of taking them. So you're gaining something 
by buying these units. 

Lage: But then all the rest of the sixty acres will be undeveloped. 
Behr: Yes, that's right. 

Lage: How did the landowners feel about that? The ones who probably could 
have had high land prices and development, if zoning was for higher 


Behr: Veil, their feelings were no doubt mixed. But it's been accepted 
now, for a number of years, and either they've given up or they've 
decided it's not a bad idea. Because the whole dairy industry is 
gaining some pride with Mar in Agricultural Land Trust [MALT] and so 
forth, and are cooperating in buying up development rights from many 
of their dairy ranches. 

In this last major bond issue at the state level, of over $700 
million dollars, $15 million has been set aside for acquiring 
agricultural easements, development rights, on dairy ranches in Vest 
Marin. So MALT has some money to work with. 

Lage: It's so promising. 

Behr: It's promising, if the industry remains viable. That's the main 

Viability of the Dairy Industry 

Lage: Is it viable now? I thought that was always sort of a hand-to- 
mouth- - 

Behr: Yes, it is at present. Most of the ranches are owned and operated 
by second, third or even fourth generation dairy families, who own 
them outright. This means they have no mortgages to pay, and ample 
security to obtain loans from the banks. Many of this generation's 
dairy ranchers have gone to UC Davis and they know how to run dairy 
ranches efficiently. Most of the milk from Marin and Sonoma County 
goes to San Francisco, and that's consumer milk, which gets a higher 
price. If you've got a good herd (and it's said that behind every 
milk cow is a better heifer) , these things combine to make a 
profitable operation. 

And then there's a way of handling price dips. You can add 
more dairy cows to your herd to make up for lower prices. You have 
out here in Vest Marin, because of all the fog, another month and a 
half to two months of good grazing, which helps reduce feed costs. 
So by and large, if you know what you're doing, you can make a 
decent living. It's very confining work, indeed, but it's all 

Lage: When you say "confining," you mean- - 

Behr: It's a twenty -four- hour -a- day job, seven days a week. 

Lage: They are not gentlemen ranchers. 


Behr: No, indeed. You can't afford that. And that's the reason we have a 
large amount of Mexican help. Documented and undocumented, I think. 
Many of them documented. 

Lage: What about milk price supports from the state? Isn't that something 
that's gone up and down over the years, or been debated? 

Behr: It's still being debated. But they say the most powerful lobby in 
Washington is the dairy industry. 

Lage: I thought milk supports were from the state. 

Behr: Oh, no, they're federal supports. And state supports. 

Lage: Did any challenge to milk supports come up during your term as state 

Behr: No, it's never been challenged. 

Escalation of Land Prices. 1962-1969 

Behr: So let's see what else we have [on interview outline]. "Why were 
land prices within the seashore rising so rapidly?" 

Lage: Right. From this period of '62 through '69. 

Behr: Everybody seems to start with the original appraisal and 
appropriation of $14 million, wasn't it? 

Lage: Right. 

Behr: And yet the original appraisal, if you take in the givens, none of 

which proved true, was about $35 million. So you have to start with 
the givens of $35 million. 

Lage: So they appropriated fourteen, but it actually- - 

Behr: We touched earlier on why the original appropriation was only $14 

million. It was based on two assumptions that were in error. The 
first was that the 21,000-acre pastoral zone would remain in 

ranching and would not need to be bought. They also believed some 

of the land could be acquired by exchange for other federally owned 
land. This didn't happen. 


If you put a value of $21 million on land within the seashore 
boundaries that didn't need to be bought, or could be exchanged, it 
brings the original estimate to $35 million. 

The Park Service took a long time getting started on buying up 
properties, and I believe they started offering prices that were too 
generous, and establishing benchmarks which come back to haunt them 

Land prices rose because they were taking the less valuable, 
mailer properties first. The larger parcels, more desirable, large 
enough to subdivide, with ocean frontage, water, access, and 
sophisticated ownerships, were left to escalate in value as land 
became less and less available. 

The development on Limantour Spit showed how valuable ocean 
property was. Twenty homes were built and a number of lots sold. 

Finally, the period of '62 through '69 was one of high 
inflation, which escalated property values. 

Lage: Are those homes still there at Limantour, or were they taken down? 

Behr: Most of them are gone. A few are being used for homes for park 
rangers. Maybe five or six are left. 

Lage: I asked you about the stance of the board of supervisors in '69. 

Behr: They were highly in favor of the larger park. The battle was over, 
and they were anxious to have the seashore completed. 

Lage: So over those years of the sixties, the county came around. 
Behr: Absolutely. Absolutely. 

Handling the Hamlets in the S.O.S. Campaign 

Lage: In the papers I ran across the fact that the Point Reyes National 
Seashore Foundation, or Joel Gustafson [foundation president], at 
least, wasn't keen on this petition drive. Do you recall anything 
about that, or whether there were others who weren't keen on it? 

Behr: There may have been some. I vaguely remember that Joel Gustafson 


Lage: He thought it would make it too local, somehow. That if the support 
seemed to be just local, Congress wouldn't go for it. 

Behr: That could have been. 1 never knew him well. 

Lage: Did you ever hear that objection brought up? 

Behr: I Bay have. 

Lage: Did it have any validity? 

Behr: When you get into a campaign of this kind, you pay no attention to 

anything that's negative. You just move ahead, or try to. So those 
things don't stick in your mind. We had our low moments, but then 
you sort of rally the troops and cry out, "Charge!" again, and go 
forward . 

Lage: It does take a "go forth" type of person. Not a Hamlet. 

Behr: Oh, no, you can't have doubts. Even if they're legitimate. You've 
only got so much time , and we knew we only had a few months , so it 
was really a surprising end result. 

Lage: And you set a very high goal for yourself. A million signatures. 
Behr: Veil, we did. [laughter] I won't argue with that. 

Lage: You weren't disappointed in the final figure of 450,000 signatures, 
I hope. 

Behr: No; it looks like a million when you put that many petitions 

Lage: Vas there a ceremony in presenting the petitions? 

Behr: Yes. Don Clausen presented them to the president. Four days later 
the president changed his mind, and we like to think S.O.S. had 
something to do with it. 

Lage: It seems like it, doesn't it? And then you went back for the 
signing of the bill [April 3, 1970]? 

Behr: I went back for the signing, yes. And enjoyed it. 

Lage: Did you do anything with Congress after--. You know, Congress had 
to pass it after Nixon said okay. Did you get involved in any 
testimony or anything there? 


Behr: No, that was being handled at the Washington end. I didn't know 
Washington well. I still don't. And what I know, I'm not sure 
about, [laughter] 

Lage: Are you Just as glad you never got in that scene? 
Behr: Oh, yes. I am. I had my fun. 
Lage: I think we've gotten a good tale here, 
[tape interruption] 

Difficulties in Acquiring the Lake Ranch. 1970 

Lage: We wanted to add something that may not be clear. 

Behr: On March 24, 1970, there was a hearing in Congress, under which they 
asked for a $7,100,000 appropriation, an additional amount from the 
Land and Water Conservation Fund, in order to acquire the Pierce 
Point Ranch and the Lake Ranch. There was a hearing, and it was 
unanimously approved. This took away any risk that the Pierce Point 
Ranch or the Lake Ranch could be developed. 

Lage: So this was an effort to take care of it immediately. 
Behr: Close the barn door before the horse got out. 

Lage: It must have been a great sense of achievement when all this came 
about . 

Behr: It was fun. It was fun. 

Lage: And this was right on the eve of your running for the California 
State Senate? 

Behr: It turned out to be. 

Lage: But at the time, you weren't aware that you were going to be 

Behr: I hadn't made up my mind, but I was sniffing around and looking 
forward to the possibility of doing it. But I certainly hadn't 
decided it. [tape interruption] 

Lage: We're talking about Bill Sweet and the Lake Ranch. 


Behr: On April 26, 1970, or thereabouts, Sweet sold six forty-acre parcels 
of land on the Lake Ranch at Point Reyes just after the president 
had signed legislation to complete the purchase of the seashore. 
There was no reason for it; we objected with great urgency to all 
concerned and said that the Department of the Interior should 
reprogram funds already appropriated for acquisition of public lands 
elsewhere and replace such funds with the $7 million, which should 
be approved and available well before June 1, which happened. 

And then I went on to urge them to reprogram, and said some 
other unkind things about Sweet, which certainly were deserved, 
because the money was there and he knew it. 

Lage: And he had given the impression of being in favor of the land being 
bought by the seashore. 

Behr: That's right. 

Lage: It seems to me he had a lot of conservationists working for him and 
with him. Did you ever get to know Bill Sweet? 

Behr: No, I didn't. 

Oh, here's a letter from Katharine [Miller Johnson] that I 
suppose Bill Duddleson might or might not have, to John Oakes of the 
New York Times. It was just showing that she was in there all the 

Lage: Did you have a lot of back- and- forth communication with her? 

Behr: Not a great deal. I went to Clem's funeral, and that was the 

saddest thing I've ever been to. She came out with her five little 
daughters on a dull day much duller than this, drizzling, for a full 
military-like funeral, which always cuts me apart, under the big 
trees near what is now the seashore's headquarters. With the flag 
that was given, and all those things. God, I wept like a baby. 

Lage: Terrible. 

Remembering Bunnv Lucheta 

Behr: I would like to mention someone else 
Lage: Do, please. 


Behr: Bunny Lucheta was in the forefront of this Save Our Seashore effort 
and was one of the more remarkable people I've ever met. 
Afterwards, she came with me and was on my staff for eight years at 
the state senate, and unfortunately died this year at what we all 
felt was much too young an age. She was really the head of my staff 
for all those years while 1 was in the senate, although she was 
mostly in San Rafael so we couldn't give her the title. But I 
didn't do anything without consulting her. She never steered me 
wrong, she never raised her voice, and everybody loved her. We all 
feel sad that she's gone. 

Lage: I think you told me that she was the one that organized your papers 
so beautifully. 

Behr: Oh, yes, she did all that. 

Lage: I think that sets a standard that not too many ex-senators have met. 
Did you get to know her through the Save Our Seashore, or had you 
known her before? 

Behr: 1 got to know her then. I'd known her before; I'd known all of 

these people before, but she was so outstanding. And she trained 
most of my staff in San Rafael, who later came up and were 
administrative assistants in Sacramento. She had rapport with 
everyone, and the staff was exceptional. It was one thing 1 missed 
most when 1 left Sacramento. But I've kept in touch with all of 

Lage: It takes a real talent, 1 think, to be that organized and also have 
good rapport motivating others. 

Behr: Oh, she was wonderful. She was a special person. 

Further Thoughts on Nixon. Erhlichman. Murphy, and the Seashore 

[The following section was added on May 16, 1991, during the editing 
process. ] 

Lage: When 1 spoke with Bill Kahrl about his role in the Save Our Seashore 
campaign, he recalled that the Governor's Conference on California's 
Changing Environment [November 17-18, 1969] was a key event for the 
campaign. He mentioned that John Ehrlichman was present at the 
conference and recollected that you had met with Ehrlichman and won 
his endorsement for the Point Reyes appropriation. Do you recall 


Behr: I did meet with John Ehrlichman at the conference, but it was about 
another matter, which I think I told you about in the state archives 
oral history. 1 

Lage: No, the story is not in that transcript. Why don't you tell me 

Behr: Many years earlier, when President Nixon was a congressman, 1 

entered into a debate with Mr. Ernest Besig, who had been for some 
years the executive director of the Northern California American 
Civil Liberties Union. Ve were debating the recent passage of the 
Mundt-Nixon Act, whose main purpose was to register Communists. 
This debate took place in Mill Valley, and 1 received a fifty dollar 
honorarium, which at the time was ample inducement for my presence. 

Since no one on the West Coast had yet seen the act in print 
and 1 felt desperate in debating a professional, 1 asked Congressman 
Nixon's staff for help and was sent two buckram-bound volumes of the 
hearings covering the Alger Hiss controversy. After the debate, I 
put the two volumes in my library and failed to return them. 

At the conference I asked Mr. Ehrlichman whether the president 
would want these long-lost volumes, and if not, would he autograph 
them for me if 1 should ever come to Washington. He assured me the 
president had no interest in them, and he would see to it that the 
president would autograph them if 1 ever came to Washington. 

It turned out that I was the only civilian invited to be 
present at the signing ceremony for the bill containing the final 
funding to complete the Point Reyes National Seashore. I lugged the 
two volumes to the ceremony, and admitting they were either stolen 
or taken from some library, I told the president I thought the 
statute of limitations had run out and 1 couldn't pay the 
accumulated fines. He took the two volumes, turned them over with 
frightening interest, and shortly thereafter disappeared through a 
door. I reminded Mr. Ehrlichman of his commitment to get them 
autographed, and he went through the same door. After some ten 
minutes he came back and told me brusquely that the president wanted 
the two volumes for his library. At that point, I had no choice but 
to be generous and have never seen them again. 

I found out later that the Library of Congress annually 
presents each member of a congressional committee with one or two 

H. Behr oral history interview, conducted 1988 and 1989 by Ann 
Lage, Regional Oral History Office, for the California State Archives State 
Government Oral History Program. 


volumes of the proceedings before the committee during a given year, 
and I had purloined the complete transcript of the testimony of 
Alger Hiss and Uhittaker Chambers before the House Un-American 
Activities Committee, of which Mr. Nixon was a key member. 

Lage: Who von the debate between you and Mr. Besig? 

Behr: I was the hometown boy, and I am sure Mr. Besig was the winner on 
points, but he was on my turf. He no doubt was on the right side 
and undid me, but no votes were taken, and I kept the fifty dollars. 

Lage: Vould you agree with Bill Kahrl's recollection that the governor's 
conference was a key event for the Save Our Seashore campaign? 

Behr: No. We needed to show up, and we had a booth there, as did a lot of 
groups, but it wasn't a key event for us. The whole campaign was 
directed at George Murphy. It was apparent that he needed northern 
California support in his upcoming election campaign, and he could 
be a key player to influence President Nixon. But this was not 
divulged at the time . 

Lage: Katy Johnson doesn't seem to place such importance on George Murphy. 

Behr: That's right. This was mostly in my own mind as the campaign 
developed. After all, Murphy and the president were old-time 
friends and 1 am sure the president took an interest in retaining 
his senate seat, not only for an old friend but also a loyal 
Republican. And we were told later that Murphy had, in fact, gone 
in to see the president and said, "Dick, I've got to have it." 
Murphy was the one who won the president over. 

Lage: Now, how did you find that out? 

Behr: I'm afraid I don't recall exactly how we found that out, but it was 
generally understood at the time. 

Transcribers: Noreen Yamada and Elizabeth Kim 
Final Typists: Elizabeth Kim and Kian Sandjideh 


Tape Guide- -Peter Behr 

Interview Date April 5, 1990 

tape 1, side a 113 

tape 1, side b 124 

tape 2, side a 137 


Appendix A 


(41 5) 456-01 85 456-01 89 


PETER BEHR. Chairman 























San Rafael 



San Rafael 

Mill Valley 

San Rafael 

San Francisco 

Washington O.C. 

Mill Valley 


El Cerrito 

M,ll Valley 




San Francisco 


Appendix B 

i. , 1ft , n OVERVIEW 

October 6, 1969 

Dear Mr. Behr: 

I accept with pleasure your Executive Committee's invitation to serve with 
many of my West Coast friends as a member of Save Our Seashore's 
Advisory Board. 

As you know, the Point Reyes National Seashore was officially authorized to 
be created in 1962, while I was Secretary of the Interior. It is truly unique, 
both ecologically and historically. 

That this magnificent stretch of the California Coast, within a mere one 
hundred miles of five million people, has remained virtually intact and 
unchanged from the first day it was sighted by Sir Francis Drake in 1579 
s-eems almost a miracle. 

But unfortunately, this near miracle is about to become a thing of the past, 
for many of the loveliest areas within the proposed Seashore are in imminent 
danger of being bulldozed, subdivided, and sold on the open market. 

This is so, because 30, 940 acres within the Seashore's boundaries are still 
in private ownership, seven years after it was officially created. Not only 
do we face an impending tragedy, if these lands are lost, but we have only 
our sieves to blame. 

It is a scandal of historic proportions if the American people, at the peak of 
our affluence, admit that we lack the foresight and the wherewithal to preserve 
this great Seashore intact for ourselves and for future generations. If we can 
afford, this year, 600 millions to develop an SST, it is an admission of moral 
bankruptcy if we are unable to fund the completion of the purchase of these 

I am proud to join your Committee. Let us be militant - and refuse to let 
Washington say no to our legitimate demands. 

(. Sincerely, 

Stewart C. Udall 

Mr. Peter Behr 
c/o Save Our Seashore 
714 C Street 
San Rafael, California. 







Dear Mr. President 

Please help us save Pt. Reyes from the bulldozers. Only YOC7 can preserve this magnifi 
cent seashore for all generations of Americans. It's NOW or NEVER! 

Name Address Date 


















18. _____ 

19. , _ 






25. . 


1. Point Reyes National Seashore was authorized by Congress in 1962. 

2. To date only 22,540 acres of a total of 53,480 acres have been acquired for 
park purposes. 

3. The result of #2 above is: 

a. The present ownership is a patchwork quilt of public and private ownership 
and cannot be administered efficiently. 

b. Prices on remaining private lands in the Seashore boundaries are rising rapidly. 

c. Much of the choicest private land is soon to be subdivided. 

4. Immediate acquisition is imperative if this, the only National Seashore on the 
West Coast is to become a reality. 

I personally circulated this petition and informed signatories of the above facts. 

., certify that 


Street No. 

City or Town 



Box 2724 
San Rafael, Calif. 94902 

Appendix D 


(S. 0. S.) 

S. 0. S. Box 212k 

71U "C n Street San Rafael, Calif. 9*902 

San Rafael, Calif. 


1. To get Congress to raise the authorized ceiling for acquisition 
of 30,91+0 acres of privately owned property within the boundaries of the 
Point Reyes National Seashore from the present $19,135,000 (all spent or 
committed) to $57,500,000. 

2. To get Congress to appropriate the $38,365,000 necessary to pur 
chase this private property, which still remains in private ownership 
seven years after the Seashore was authorized. 

3. To obtain the active support of President Richard Nixon and his 
administration to raise the authorized ceiling, as set forth above, and 
include in his forthcoming budget the $38,365,000 required to complete 
the National Point Reyes Seashore. 


"SAVE OUR SEASHORE" is a non-partisan organization, and this cam 
paign must be conducted on a STRICTLY NON-PARTISAN BASIS. Every member 
of the Executive Committee, any Subcommittee, or anyone else who works, 
speaks, or purports to speak for "Save Our Seashore" shall adhere to this 
basic policy at all times and in all places. 


Many of the private property owners can no longer afford the cumula 
tive effect of property taxes and other carrying costs involved, having 
waited seven long years for the federal government to buy their lands, 
which, for the most part, produce very little income. 

Both the Lake and Pierce Ranches (each 2500 acres in size) will be 
subdivided by their owners or sold for subdivision in the very near future, 
if Congress and the President do not act at once. These are regarded as 
two of the proposed Seashore's most beautiful, needed, and strategically 
located ranches. Others, equally unique but less publicized, are also 
soon to be broken up. In fact, one good-sized ranch has just been sold. 
Others are listed with local real estate brokers. Once subdivided, their 
value for park purposes will decline, and their cost to acquire will 
greatly increase. 

The Difficulty in Washington 

Seven bills, authored or co-authored by 26 California Congressmen, 
led by Congressman Don Clausen, within whose First District the Seashore 
lies, are awaiting action in the House of Representatives. If one of 
them becomes law, the authorized ceiling for appropriations to acquire 
Point Reyes National Seashore would be raised to $57,500,000, the amount 
necessary to make The Seashore a fact, rather than a long-standing moral 
committment. A companion bill, co-authored by California's two United 
States Senators, George Murphy and Alan Cranston, is pending in the 


A hearing was held in Washington on May 13, 1969, before the Sub 
committee on National Parks and Recreation of the House Interior and 
Insular Affairs Committee. Persuasive testimony was presented by many 
groups and individuals, including Supervisor Louis H. (Bud) Baar of 
Marin County and Boyd Stewart, a large and highly respected West Marin 

But here are some of the problems we envision at this time, and 
they are critical ones indeed: 

1. The Director of the Bureau of the Budget, in his recent letter 
of September 10, 1969 to the House Interior Affairs Committee, stated 
the Bureau "does not object" to including a Point Reyes Seashore appro 
priation. Saying "no objection" and expecting to get the necessary funds 
into the President's budget are by no means synonymous. The Bureau's 
letter, in Washing tonese, is no ringing endorsement, to say the least. 

2. The Department of the Interior has recommended amendments to 
reduce the $57,500,000 ceiling contained in H. R. 3786 and the other 
pending bills to $**7,*35,000, and has urged Congress to authorize selling 
off 9,200 acres within the Seashore boundaries to the highest private 
bidder for such uses as private housing, hotel, motel, and shopping 
centers, with what it describes as "suitable restrictions" This urban 
redevelopment approach, for park lands, while ill-received by many 
Congressmen at the Subcommittee hearings, is still the official position 
of the Department of the Interior. If permitted, it would certainly 
emasculate the Point Reyes National Seashore, and make it a second-rate 
project, instead of one of the nation's most exciting and worthwhile parks. 

3. The Point Reyes Seashore must compete with the Cape Cod Seashore, 
I out of authorization and in need of $17,000,000; and Padre Island in 

I Texas, which carries a price tag of $17,800,000. 

f *. Point Reyes is in the same Congressional District with the 
I Redwood National Park, a cause for resentment by some Congressmen from 
/ other states. 

5. The Bureau of the Budget has cut the $200 million Congress 
authorized for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (source of land ac 
quisition funds) to $12*+ million, leaving after prior committments only 
$17 million for National Park Service land purchases (including Point 
Reyes) for the entire nation for fiscal 1970. 

6. Cut-backs in federal spending are being mandated throughout 
federal departments by the present administration in an all-out effort 
to slow down inflation. The Seashore may die from what we believe would 
be the very definition of false economy, despite the admitted need to 
stop the continuing erosion of our purchasing power because of galloping 

7. The lead time for raising the ceiling on Point Reyes and 
getting an appropriation bill through Congress is very short indeed, 
which adds to the present emergency and the need for sudden action by 
all concerned citizens. 

Proposed Target for Our Campaign 

(1.) To convince President Nixon that the Point Reyes National 
Seashore MUST be saved, and NOW, or it will be permanently lost, which 
is not the case with other high priority projects within the Department 
of the Interior. 

(2.) To convince a majority of United States Representatives and 
Senators to the same effect. 



The key to success lies in the active cooperation of a great number 
and variety of existing organizations throughout the Bay Area, such as 
business and conservation groups, women *s clubs, professional, service 
and youth organizations, improvement clubs, senior citizen's associations, 
Chambers of Commerce, and the like. This is a non-partisan issue, which 
enlists tremendous support from all ages and all points of view. People 
and organizations are eagerly waiting to be told what to do, and there is 
NO opposition we have heard about or encountered, either in the Bay Area 
or elsewhere in California. 

The major thrust of this campaign is to elicit personal appeals, 
both public and private, by letters, petitions, and resolutions from all 
types of individuals, organizations, and elective bodies directed to 
President Nixon, key Congressional leaders and members of the Congressional 
Committees which must act favorably to get bills sent out of Committees 
to the House and Senate floors for a vote, with a "Do Pass" recommendation 



Timetable for peaking the campaign is very short, no more than 90 
days from September 2. 1969. when S.D.S. was first organized^ The com 
pelling reason is that the President's budget for the next fiscal year 
will be presented to Congress in early January, 1970, and while new addi 
tions can be grafted on to the budget after it is submitted to Congress, 
this is an extremely chancy possibility to rely on, in view of other 
competing needs, backed by powerful interests, many of which are admittedly 
entitled to high priority. We are honestly face-to-face with a "Now or 
Never" proposition. One of our strongest selling points is that "Parks 
are Forever", and the need for more of them is understood by almost every 
thinking individual. Their loss is irreversible. Quality land is scarce 
and rapidly becoming an anachronism. 


"Save Our Seashore" is NOT a tax-deductible organization. Lie have no 
financial angel to bankroll this effort, nor are we depending on finding 
one It is a second effort to mobilize the "People Power", which so 
recently saved San Francisco Bay. To do the job and it CAN be done, 

VJB must find people who care enough to put a dollar or two in an envelope 
and send it along. Ue promise to force every dollar to "walk the second 
mile". Ue also promise to account for every dollar spent t the end of the 
campaign, with receipts for them too, available for public inspection 

The Nitty-Gritty of the Campaign 
The Petition Drive 

A petition drive has already begun in Marin County, and will 
spread within the next two weeks to the other eight Bay Area 
counties, and then throughout the state and country. Our 
organization's goal is ONE MILLION SIGNATURES Petitions are 
addressed to the President of the United States and ask him 
please to save this magnificent seashore for all generations 
of Americans, and state that only HE can do it, and it's NOU 
or NEWER. Petitions can properly be circulated and signed by 
anyone, regardless of age. 

Children must be fully informed of ALL the facts before they 
are allowed either to sign or circulate a petition, and also 
must be of an age to understand what it's all about. However, 
it is an Article of Faith with the "Save Our Seashore" Exec 
utive Committee and Advisory Board that children have the 


most to gain, and the most to lose, depending on the outcome 
of those who believe in the Point Reyes National Seashore, 
and are willing to back up their belief with action, either 
independently or within the frame-work of the S. 0. S. 

All citizens must work to convince Congress and the President 
of the emergency facing the Seashore. Working together, we 
can cause this unsurpassed and yet unspoiled stretch of 
California's seacoast to be saved. Let us get it gift-wrapped 
and placed this very year under the Christmas Tree of every 
child in America. 


Solicit local organizations to adopt resolutions, circulate 
petitions to members, send out fact sheets concerning the 
Point Reyes emergency in mailings to their members, and urge 
all members to get their children to circulate petitions in 
school and elsewhere. Also, and of utmost importance, get 
letters written to the President, Governor Ronald Reagan, and 
key legislators. If any organization can make a contribution 
to 5. 0. S., please ask them to do so. Among the key legis 
lators are Senator Alan Bible of Nevada, Senator George Murphy 
of California, Congressman Wayne Aspinall of Colorado. 


Write press releases, set up T.U. and radio programs, arrange 
public relations events and particularly pay attention to the 
local newspapers, which can probably help the most, if they 
are given the help they need from you. All publicity of a 
policy nature MUST be cleared through S. 0. S. in San Rafael, 
California, unless obviously in accord with policy already 
laid down in this outline. 


Arrange speakers for meetings and luncheons. Check with 
S. 0. S. in San Rafael concerning availability of the newly 
revised Sierra Club 16 mm film, "Island in Time". It is in 
color, with sound, and very fine indeed. See if you can get 
it shown in your elementary schools for Nature Education, 
assuming we can make it available, which we cannot premise 
at present. It is strictly informational, of course, with 
absolutely no political undertones or overtones. 


A working committee to involve the schools to the extent of 
"nature education" , focused on Point Reyes, would be very 
valuable indeed, with poster contests, and painting for the 
lower grades of birds, flowers, beaches, seascapes, Sir 
Francis Drake's galleon, Miwock Indians, and so forth. 


Prepare a budget for money needed for your own county's 
activities, appoint a finance committee of three to five 
persons, let them pick their own chairman, and set a 
realistic dollar goal, which need not be very much. Remind 
everyone that a dollar today is wirth five dollars a week 
from now, for activity usually generates the dollars to 
finance it. To begin, however, is "The Name of the Game". 
Time is already about to run out for "The Island in Time". 


Special Lvents 

Draw up a calendar of all major events and locations where 
crouds uiill gather. Parks and other areas where people 
congregate mho know at first hand the crying need for more 
recreational land in the Bay Area are excellent locations 
in which to circulate petitions. At special events, arrange 
to have booths or card tables, staffed and, of course, sup 
plied with ample petitions and fact sheets, and other accurate 
literature and reprints about Point Reyes. We can help you 
with this. Just telephone! 


It does help to have one. If it is to be a "working" head 
quarters, avoid a location which attracts casual drop-ins. 
Check your real estate board for a vacant office, search for 
a sympathetic owner who will let you use one free. If you are 
lucky enough to find one with parking nearby, this is of immense 
value. Furniture is easy to borrow, and all you need to get into 
business are a few tables and chairs, a typewriter, and a few 
other incidentals but first on the priority is telephone 
installation. Insist on sudden service, solicit help from your 
local public officials and plead with your telephone company's 
District Manager directly, often, and urgently. It is amazing 
how quickly the good old Telephone Company can get your phone 
installed, if you are red-ticketed. 


To staff your headquarters and cover special events, you will 
need volunteers, and your campaign simply cannot get off the 
ground, if you depend on the few faithful martyrs (and I mean 
that literally) whom you know you can count on. Start with 
them, for there is simply no substitute for them that has ever 
been devised but begin at once to get a Volunteer Committee 
whose sole duty is to get as many volunteers as possible lined 
up and committed for certain days, times, and/or special events. 
Quota organizations to produce a certain number on their own 
hook. This is probably one of your most important committees. 
Get the best martyrs you know on this committee as soon as 
possible, or you will find they will try to do it all them 
selves, and die of exhaustion, frustration, or their dedication. 



These campaign plans have been prepared to help your County 
/ Chairman. Under no circumstances are they meant to be regarded 
I as more than one possible approach to organizing your county. 
1 They are a guide only, as the developers say about Master Plans. 
\ Each Chairman obviously has not only the right but the duty to 
* follow his or her best judgment. What works in one county may 
well not work at all in another, and your chairman or committee 
will decide some of the above suggestions may be wrong, useless, 
unfeasible, or simply silly. If so, we promise not to be 

'' All basic points contained in this Campaign Outline were officially 
approved by the Executive Committee of "Save Our Seashore" at its 
open meeting of Thursday, September 11, 1969, at the Civic Center, 
San Rafael, California. The press was in attendance at this meeting 
and is formally notified in advance of all meetings of "Save Our 

Peter Behr 
Chairman, S. 0. S. 


Appendix E 




Although the Point Reyes National Seashore is established 
under law, this priceless natural and recreational treasure 
is still far from complete and the acquisition of land must 
proceed immediately to prevent further sales to subdividers 
and to hold down inflationary costs. 

With the tremendous increase in population in the State of 
California it is imperative that recreational facilities be 
provided close to urban centers for the resident and for the 
many vacationers and tourists. . .the Point Reyes National 
Seashore meets those needs. 

In recognition of the importance of acquiring all authorized 
land needed for the project the San Francisco Board of 
Supervisors on March 17, 1969, joined with the Marin County 
Board of Supervisors in endorsing the speedy completion of 
the Point Reyes National Seashore to its full 53,000 acres. 

By action taken October 14, 1969, the San Francisco Board of 
Supervisors has requested additional measures be taken to 
insure public support for the project. 

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that 1, Joseph L. Alioto, 
Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco, do hereby 
proclaim the week of October 18-25, 19G9 as "SAVE OUR SEASHORE 
WEEK", and call upon all San Franciscans and concerned citizens 
everywhere to write to the President of the United States, 
urging him to agree to include in his budget the additional 
$38,000,000, required to complete the Point Reyes National 

unto set my hand and caused 
the Seal of the City and 
County of San Francisco to 
be affixed this twenty-third 

day of 
hunt! L 

or, nineteen 

L. Alioto 

161 Appendix F 


Columbia Broadcasting News Service (Westinghouse) 
PKIX- Channel 5, San Francisco 

-Eaitori&l byteario Cotruvo, Sept. 22-24 "Eye Witness News" 

-Interview with Peter Behr with excerpts from f ilia, "Island, in 
Time", Oct. 23, 6 P.fc. 


-Editorial by Morio Cotruvo, film shot<> Nov. j.0 and 11, at 6A.M., 
Noon, and 6 P.M. Featured Nov. 16 Congressional Hearing. 

-"Island in Time" excerpts with Peter Behr, ijiov.i^ on "Electic 
Impressions" with Ron JAajors. 

National Broadcasting Co. 

KROW- Channel 4, San Francisco 

-Dramatic 15 minute original KROW film featuring the spectacular 
seashore from the air - the sur sandy beaches, birds etc. and 
Peter Behr being interviewed by Phil Wilson as they walked along 
the beach. (KRON hired a plane, went 5 or 6 times to Pt. Reyes with 
camera-men) Program, Nov. 10,6.30 P. id. and Nov. 11 N..on. 

American Broadcasting Co. 

KGO- Channel 7, San Francisco 

-Half hour Talk Show, on Jim Ounbar Show, 7 A.M. Sept. 16. the 
phoned in questions were answered by panel consisting of 

Peter Bohr, Chairman of "Save Our "eashore" 

Alfrec Bianchi, Marin Prope ty Owners Assoc. 

Cindy Pattison, active yu-^th worker in the campaign. 

-Film showing first quarter of a million signatureson petitions 
being shipoed out of office and Peter Behr interviewed by Wanda 
Remay. Also shots from "Island in Time". Nov. 10 6.30 P.M. 

KQED-Channel 9, San Franc isc9,NET-iMational Educational TV 
-News Item- November 4 

-One hour discussion on Pt. Reyes Seashore, specially on land v&lues, 
the. unpurchased, highly desirable Lake Ranch and Pierce Ranch, and 
other phases regarding completion of the Seashore Park. An in-depth 
discussion lead by George Duschek. Nov. 6 at 9 P.M. and repeated* 
Nov. 9 at 5.3p P. If.. On the panel were: 

Peter Behr, chairman of SOS 

George F. Collins, Conservation Associates 
Gordon Pusse, ?res. Land Investor Research 
John H. Chamber, Marin Assessors Office 


KTIM AM and FM, San Rafael 

Panel discussion lead by Kitty Oppenheimer, Sept. 25. Phoned-In 
questions answeredby panel consisting of: 

Peter Behr, Chairman of SOS 

Mel Rupp, Executive Comm. SOS and Land Investors Research 

Margaret Azevedo, Marin County Planninc Commissioner 

KQED FM, San Francisco 

Peter Pehr interviewed on street , Oct. 20 
KABL, San Francisco 

Steve Soraers interviewed Peter Behr, Oct. 5, 8 P.M. 

For one week used several taped spot announcements daily. 
KGO, San Francisco 

V Ran editorial 6 times a day for 4 days starting Sept. 18. Done 
by Lee Rashall 

KCBS, San Francisco 

Featured spot announce/Bents and news items Nov. 2 

KFOG. San Francisco- ran editorial Oct. 20 
KPF/, Berkeley- use of ''spots" 
KPAS, Berkeley - ran editorial and spots 

KFAX, Sam Francisco- ran editorial 
KYA, San Francisco- used news and spots 


SPOT AHNOUNCEMCNTS were sent to the .19 following Radio Stations, and at 
least two thirds used them (possibly more-impossible to check accurately) 

KCBS- San Francisco KKIS- Pittsburg 

KNBR KKHI San Francisco 





KTIM- Rafael KFAX " 

KHFA Berkeley KDIA Oakland 

KPAT Berkeley KN3C Burbank 
KNEW Oakland 


Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Saving Point Reyes National Seashore, 1969-1970 
An Oral History of Citizen Action in Conservation 

Margaret Azevedo 

An Interview Conducted by 

Ann Lage 

in 1991 

Copyright (c) 1993 by The Regents of the University of California 

Margaret Azevedo 

TABLE OF CONTENTS --Margaret Azevedo 




Active in Marin County Civic Affairs 167 

Working in Clem Miller's Congressional Campaigns 168 

Learning to Love Point Reyes 170 

Point Reyes National Seashore Foundation 171 

Escalating Land Prices in the Seashore 172 


Peter Behr's Fortuitous Position for Leading the Campaign 173 

Campaign Basics: Drawing on Past Experience 175 

Challenging Behr's Determined and Persuasive Leadership Style 178 

Marin Stalwarts on the S.O.S. Executive Committee 180 
Bunny Lucheta: Astute and Charming, with Consummate Political Skills 181 

Other S.O.S. Leaders, a Nonpartisan Group 185 

Grace Wellman, Katy Johnson, Becky Watkins 186 


Early Leaders in Protecting Marin' s Natural Beauty 189 

The 1972 Marin County General Plan 192 

More Recollections of S.O.S. Leaders and Campaign Techniques 193 

The Democratic Process on Committees and Boards 196 

Impressions of Clem Miller 198 

From Political Action to Political Analysis 198 



INTERVIEW HISTORY- -Margaret Azevedo 

Margaret Azevedo came to the advisory board of Save Our Seashore as 
a veteran of Marin County civic affairs and political campaigns. As 
Katy Johnson sums up in a 1970 memo, "Margaret took on the man-killing 
job of organizing the distribution of the petitions for Save Our Seashore 
and in fact kept the whole ship afloat many times." Despite the fact 
that her role in Save Our Seashore was an important one, Mrs. Azevedo has 
been involved in so many citizens' campaigns that her memories of events 
in fall of 1969 are not specific. Nevertheless, her long experience 
enabled her to discuss how such campaigns are organized and say with 
authority in her oral history interview, "The first rule is to find some 
good, hard workers, get them going." 

It is her knowledge of these good, hard workers for the environment 
and other civic projects in Marin County that makes Mrs. Azevedo 's 
interview so valuable. She goes down the line of advisory board members 
and recalls their special talents and contributions, giving us a picture 
of active Marin citizens, most of them women, many of them working with 
little public acknowledgement to shape the county as it is today. 

Mrs. Azevedo was interviewed at her home in Tiburon on April 10, 
1991. She reviewed the interview transcript, making no substantive 
changes. The tape recordings of her interview session are in The 
Bancroft Library. 

Ann Lage 

Berkeley, California 
February 1992 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

Room 486 The Bancroft Library 166 Berkeley, California 94720 

(Please write clearly. Use black ink.) 

Tour full naae /M^f j?/WMf/ rfZ^fePP 

//y / 

Date of birth 0//f (?*' Birthplace 

Father's full name jftf .J_//f# 4/.W/ 

Occupation #>/&{ &&& Birthplace BlMllMUf* 

Mother's full name &{ A/V0f 


Tour spouse //5flg^ JA/t&S 

Tour chUdren 


Where did you grow up? 

Present community 77 ffl/&0A/ , 

Education /K ^ Z/c^? 


Areas of expertise 

Other interests or activities A QQ/jf / 

Organizations in whipb you are active 


(Interview 1: April 10, 1991]//// 1 

Active in Marin County Civic Affairs 

Lage: We're talking about the Save Our Seashore campaign in '69, but I 
wanted to get a little background about you, and then about your 
interest in Point Reyes, and then move into Save Our Seashore. I 
know you've been very active in civic enterprises here in Marin. 
Can you just give me an overview? 

Azevedo: Yes, I will. My husband and I came to Mar in- -to Tiburon--in '51. 
Lage: From where? 

Azevedo: We're both Californians, and we both grew up in Oakland, but we came 
over to Marin when he got a job with the adult division of the San 
Francisco School District. We liked Tiburon because an uncle of 
mine had lived here at one time, so we were fortunate enough to find 
a little house we could afford. Not this one. 

Lage: Not this one? 

Azevedo: No, we built this later. 

And really my first activity in the county was Democratic 
politics, working in the Adlai Stevenson campaign [Democratic 
candidate for president, 1951]. Then I became acquainted- -someone 

1 This symbol (////) indicates that a tape or a segment of tape has begun or 
ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 200. 


put me in touch with Vera Schultz, the supervisor, the first woman 
supervisor in the state-- 1 

Lage: In the state? I hadn't realized that. 

Azevedo: Oh, yes, she was. She was in her first term then, and I managed her 
election for her second term. 

Lage: Which was when? 

Azevedo: That would have been '56. Before that, I'd become active in local 
affairs- -the Tiburon Property Owners Association and I can't 
remember what else, but they were local issues I was working on. 
But then an opening came on the Mar in County Planning Commission 
after that campaign, and Vera appointed me to the county planning 
commission. That's when I developed my interest, still ongoing, in 
land-use planning and all the problems of land-use planning. So I 
served on that planning commission for sixteen years. Then when the 
Coastal Act passed, I went on the regional Coastal Commission, 
served on that four years, and now I-- 

Lage: So that would be the seventies? 

Azevedo: Yes, that was in '72. And then at the end of that four-year term, I 
was appointed to the State Coastal Conservancy, and I still sit on 
that board. But meanwhile --you asked about local activities --during 
that period when I served on the planning commission I also became 
active in a whole lot of other county issues . I was part of an 
organization called the Marin Council for Civic Affairs, and we 
worked on whatever was the problem in the county. 

Lage: Not just the land use? 

Azevedo: It wasn't just land use. One big issue was transportation, getting 
the bus system after Greyhound pulled out, and housing issues, 
because I'd worked in war housing during the war. So that broadened 
my acquaintanceship with county problems and my interest. 

Working in Clem Miller's Congressional Campaigns 

Azevedo: And then, you see, I got involved in Clem Miller's campaign. I knew 
Clem before he ran for Congress because he was a member of the Marin 
County Democratic Party Central Committee, and so was I, and that's 

^Vera Smith Schultz, Ideals and Realities in State and Local Government. 
Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley, 1977. 


when I became acquainted with Clem. He was a great guy. Clem had a 
family background of money, but he never talked about it and he 
didn't want to be known as somebody with connections with the 
DuPonts . 

Lage: He came out here partly to get away from that, didn't he? 

Azevedo: Well, 1 don't know, but he would come to the meetings- -he was doing 
landscape gardening --and he'd come to the meetings in his boots and 
work clothes and so on. 

Lage: Did you see him as a potential candidate at that time? 

Azevedo: Veil, we picked him. We'd kind of taken over that central 

committee, and some of the old guard had picked somebody--! can't 
even remember his name, a nonentity from Sonoma County- -and we 
younger ones didn't think much of that. Ue put Clem up; we 
persuaded Clem to run, and I think he did run [in 1956] and was 
defeated that first time. And two years later, he did win. No, we 
had to go in and fight for Clem as our candidate because Clem 
wouldn't put on any airs and he didn't make concessions to people, 
but we knew Clem. We knew his-- 

Lage: What were his qualities that you found- - 

Azevedo: Well, he had intelligence, just an intelligence about issues and 

people, and a great determination. For instance, before he ran, we . 
all got involved in the redevelopment of Mar in City, which had been 
war housing, and the issue was, should we build new housing there? 
One of the governmental questions was, should there be a housing 
authority? Should we form a housing authority? There had never 
been a housing authority. Or should it be run by the board of 

A lot of us felt the housing authority was the best way to go, 
but we didn't think we'd have a chance of getting that through, so 
we settled for the time being for the board of supervisors, but Clem 
didn't settle. Right to the very end, on this big citizens' 
committee, Clem was voting to establish a housing authority, and of 
course, not that much later, they did, because they had to. But 
that was Clem. 

Lage: He thought it would be better run, or that it would be more-- 

Azevedo: He knew it was the proper instrument, and he was right. We knew he 
was right. But Clem stuck to his guns on things, and we admired 
that, even though we said, "Clem, you're right, but we don't think 
we'll get that through with this whole shebang." Clem stuck to his 


guns. Yes, he was a very steadfast man, and his beliefs were deep 
and they were liberal, as we were. 

Learning to Love Point Reves 





So that's how I got involved in Point Reyes, through my connection 
with Clem. And someplace in there- -you see, I'm not remembering 
dates very well- -the idea of Point Reyes came from a man named 
George Collins. George Collins was with the National Park Service, 
and he lived in Kent Woodlands. George had been given an assignment 
to go up and down the coast to see if there were any good prospects 
for a national seashore, because the first national seashore, 1 
think it's Cape Cod, had proved such a good idea --some thing not 
quite a national park, but a seashore. He found Point Reyes. Well, 
at least some of us knew what was out there. My husband and I-- 

Had you spent time out there? 

Yes, we used to go out to McClures Beach when our children were just 
little, so that had to be the fifties. You got permission to go 
through a private ranch and went to McClures Beach, because it was 
just a lovely beach out there. But none of us thought of it as a 

It seemed remote? 

It was remote, and it was a different kind of scenery. I had to 
learn to love that kind of scenery. It wasn't the Sierra, which I 
was so used to. It wasn't the Monterey Peninsula, where I spent a 
great deal of time as a child. It was its own place, island in 

That's right. 

So do you think that George Collins gave the idea to 

I don't know. He certainly got the idea going in Marin County. He 
went and talked with groups and so on; he was promoting it. So it 
was bound to get to Clem, but I didn't really become an--. Well, on 
the planning commission I tried to get a vote supporting the idea 
after Clem either was putting his bill in or had his bill in. All I 
could get was two votes out of seven people. On the board of 
supervisors, for quite a while Vera was the only vote. The people 
were not behind this thing. The ranchers were fighting it, the land 
speculators who had bought up ranches and were just holding them, 
they were opposed, and there were all these stories about what a 
terrible climate it was, all this fog, nobody would go. 


Point Reves National Seashore Foundation 

Azevedo: So one day after Clem was in Congress, had his bill in, one of his 
aides, Bill Grader- -Bill ran a newspaper in Fort Bragg and had a 
salmon canning factory of some kind. Bill had always been 
interested in politics and had been active, and he was Clem's field 
man. One day Bill came down, phoned me, and said, "Margaret, I have 
to talk to you." I always kind of trembled when that happened 
because 1 knew Bill was going to ask me to do something. I was 
always so busy with all these things. 

We had a little meeting: Bill, 1, Barbara Eastman, who is back 
living in Inverness full time now; she's been a very active Bay Area 
conservationist; and then a man whose name I forget, who was with 
the state Chamber of Commerce. The three of us sat down with Bill. 
Bill said, "Clem's got this bill in Congress, and there's no 
evidence of support. You've got to do something." So on the spot 
we formed something called the Point Reyes National Seashore 
Foundation. We began firing letters and telegrams off. Ue were 
nothing but a paper organization, but we did get that marvelous 
Caroline Livermore to agree to be the honorary chairman. Caroline 
was Just great. We told her what it was about, and she said 
certainly, so that was a very good name. So we were getting our 
friends, anybody we could persuade to show evidence of support. 

Lage: Letters to Washington. 

Azevedo: To Washington, yes, so Clem could say yes, there is a constituency 
that's for this. Then we did formally organize that National 
Seashore Foundation, and it worked. 

Lage: Joel Gustafson ended up being chairman of it. 

Azevedo: Joel was part of it. Yes, he may have been the first chairman. I 
don't remember all the names. Joel was very active, yes. And we 
were supporting funds for it. 

Lage: And did you turn the board of supervisors around at that time? 

Azevedo: Yes, Vera turned them around. Maybe she didn't get Bill Fusselman, 
but she turned the others around. Gradually, the ranchers came 
around. Some of the bitterest opponents came around when they 
realized if they didn't want to sell, they'd be protected, and if 
they did, they'd get a fair price. So the sentiment, by the time 
Peter Behr started his campaign, the sentiment had shifted a great 


Lage: By 1969. 

Azevedo: Yes. By that time people were going out to see it. They were 

hearing outsiders describe it as so beautiful, and the realization 
came, we have a treasure. 

Escalating Land Prices in the Seashore 

Lage: So this was a long period of time. Of course, the seashore was 
authorized in '62, and then in '69 we came up with the need for 
further appropriations, in order to-- 

Azevedo: Yes, because the original appropriation was not nearly enough. 1 

don't even remember whether that came with the bill or there had to 
be a financing bill, 1 don't remember that, or how much it was. The 
then county assessor, Bert Broemmel, always told me that the prices 
for land had been very artificially raised because the Parks 
Department had this policy- -maybe they still have, I don't know-- 
that they wouldn't condemn and go to court. 

Lage: It was in the 1962 bill that they couldn't condemn. 
Azevedo: Oh, was it? 

Lage: It was written into the bill that they couldn't condemn parcels of 
500 acres or more in the pastoral zone. 

Azevedo: Oh, all right. I'd forgotten. Maybe that's what Clem had to do, 
but you see, what you had was land speculators and big real estate 
and developers in the county who had gone out doing their thing and 
bought up ranches. I don't know how many, but I remember, I think 
Neil Schultz, the developer of Greenbrae, had bought up most of that 
gorgeous Olema Valley. And then he'd lease back to the ranchers, so 
the ranching went on, and he was just holding it. Bert always felt 
that it was those businessmen who held out for the big prices, and 
the Park Service paid it. And then here he was, an assessor, by 
law, must look at the most recent land sales when he assesses 
property. So naturally his assessments on ranches for ranchers who 
didn't want to sell had to go up, and the Park Service then kept 
having to pay these escalated prices. That was one of the reasons 
that what was originally thought to be adequate wasn't adequate. So 
that's the background. 

Lage: That's good background. Very succinct, also. 



Peter Behr's Fortuitous Position for Leadine the Canroaien 

Lage: Now I'm asking you to go back more than twenty years to remember the 
Save Our Seashore organization. 

Azevedo: Yes, I remember it. 

Lage: Do you remember how it came about? 

Azevedo: I can't tell you that. I don't know. 

Lage: What was your understanding at the time? 

Azevedo: I thought, and I'm sure I was right, that Peter--. Peter had been a 
Mill Valley city councilman, and then he'd been a county supervisor. 
In fact, he was elected as supervisor in a recall election, [with 
the support of] the Council for Civic Affairs. I was out of the 
country at the time; I had taken a sabbatical. But it was that 
group that persuaded Peter to run. Vera Schultz had been defeated 
on a bad issue, not her fault at all. The person who replaced her 
was not up to the job for a minute, and Peter was persuaded to go 
for it. He was an excellent supervisor. I just felt here was 
Peter, who was really such a fine public official and loved it, and 
was interested. I figured he was going for something higher and 
this was going to help him. And it did. 

Lage: You had that sense at the time. 

Azevedo: I had that sense of it. I thought, "Peter is very intelligent. 
This is exactly what he should do." 

Lage: He was in between offices, sort of. He had not run again for 
supervisor in 1968. 

Azevedo: Yes. Not that he didn't believe in it. Peter loved this issue, but 
it was in between, and I just mentally commended him for doing 


something like this that was so good for the county and that would 
build him his constituency, and it did. And then he had that 
wonderful Bunny Lucheta. 

Lage: You'll tell us more about her, I hope. 

Did Peter come to you and ask you to serve on this-- 

Azevedo: I think probably Bunny did. 1 don't remember. He may have called 
me. 1 certainly would have said yes, whoever did. 

Lage: How involved did you get? Was this a group where everyone pitched 

Azevedo: 1 was on the steering committee. There were a lot of other people 
who weren't. I don't even remember how many were on the steering 

Lage: What do we have here? We have the executive committee. 1 thought 
this would help you remember. This is the letterhead for Save Our 
Seashore [see p. 151]. 

Azevedo: These were the people who basically steered the campaign. I called 
it the steering committee, but 1 see we were listed as an executive 

Lage: There was an advisory board also. 

Azevedo: It could help, but mostly 1 think it could show a breadth, a cross - 
section of support for the idea. There was George Collins, and 
Daniel Collins. Dan was a black man. I don't know whether he's 
still alive or not. He lived in Mill Valley, but he was active in 
San Francisco with black circles. 

Lage: The Sierra Club was represented; Phil Berry was president at that 

Azevedo: Oh, yes. And of course Edgar Wayburn was well known, Sierra Club, 

and 1 think Will Siri too. Sylvia McLaughlin was Save San Francisco 

Lage: Do they still list women by their husband's names in organizations 

Azevedo : No . 

Lage: I'm always struck when 1 see all these wonderful women, and they're 
always listed as Mrs . John So-and-so. 


Azevedo: No, I don't think so. No, in State Coastal Conservancy 

communications I'm always just Margaret Azevedo, and the other woman 
is Penny Allen. No, using the husband's name is old fashioned. I 
don't care if they do. [laughter] 

Lage: That's an aside, but I've always wondered, because these women are 
all such strong people. 

Campaign Basics: Drawing on Past Experience 

Azevedo: All right, so 1 served on the executive committee, and you tell me 
that 1 was in charge of getting petitions signed. 

Lage: Veil, this is what I saw in the newspaper. [see following page] 

Azevedo: I'm going to accept that, and I think probably the reason I don't 
specifically remember it is that I've done this sort of thing so 
many times. 

Lage: This kind of petition outreach? 

Azevedo: Veil, I've sat on executive committees and tried to provide 

leadership, but I was so used to doing these basics of a campaign 
that I probably- - 

Lage: --did it with your eyes shut. 

Azevedo: --did it with my eyes shut, yes. The first rule is to find some 
good, hard workers, get them going. 

Lage: And how do you do that? People who are successful like you don't 
take it all on themselves. They find others. 

Azevedo: Oh, no. Heavens, no. Veil, you see, by '69, I'd been active in the 
county since '51, almost twenty years, and you make a long list of 
friendships, contacts, and you trade. It's an axiom of politics 
that you do something for somebody else and that person is expected 
to do something for you. And generally, that's how it works. So I 
probably went and called in some chits and phoned some names from 
people I knew that I knew would care about this, and then I would 
ask them to think of somebody, because people like to work with 
friends on some of this type of yeoman work that in and of itself is 
a chore, but if you can do it with people you enjoy, it's all right. 



Azevedo : 

Azevedo : 

Azevedo ; 

Azevedo : 





But I cannot give you any memories of how that went, other than 
to say that I know by '69 the whole attitude had changed. People 
wanted to-- 

You weren't having to persuade people? 

No, we weren't having to persuade. Sometimes we had to educate a 
little, but by that time, even if they hadn't been out there to 
Point Reyes, they were proud that we had the national seashore. 

That's a good point to make. 
That's my recollection. 

Do you recall the three young people that Peter brought on to help 
with the petition campaign- -Bill Kahrl, from Coro Foundation; Jim 
Williams; and Francia Welker? 

No, 1 don't remember them. 

It seems to me that by '69 the idea of a petition campaign had 
caught on. We'd just come out of the Save San Francisco Bay 

Oh, yes, that's right, because we used that-- 

Yes, now I'm remembering. We did this S.O.S. thing because it was 
the same as San Francisco Bay. I'm sure that's where some of the 
ideas came from there, yes. Peter might even have worked in that. 
That I don't recall. I was not actively involved; I was doing 
something else, I guess, by that time, but yes, sure, it was echoing 
what had been done there. 

There was a sense of people power, it seems to me, by then, a sense 
that you could make a difference. Or did you always have that sense 
in Mar in County? 

I'm thinking now back to the Council of Civic Affairs, which really 
accomplished- -was a very pragmatic organization, and it was not big. 
I think we felt our influence then. Our tools were to be very savvy 
about the issue. For instance, on transportation, we had to do some 
persuading of the Golden Gate Bridge District and also of our 
legislators, who had to pass the law that enabled the bridge 
district to conduct a transit system. But I don't remember that we 
had any big numbers on this. I can remember going before the Golden 
Gate Bridge District, which at that time was really a fiefdom. It 
isn't now; it's a good organization now, but you could sit there for 


Pacific Sun 

October 1, 1969, p. 18 

From Save our Seashore section 

Neighborhood chairmen of S.O.S. 

Neighborhood chairmen of a door-to-door petition and 
letter- writing campaign to save Pt. Re^es National 
Seashore have been announced by Margaret Azevedo of 
Tiburon, petition chairman of the "Save Our Seashore" 
executive committee. 

Mrs. A/cvedo, a Marin County planning commissioner, 
working with Peter H. Behr of Mill Valley, the former 
supervisor who is spearheading a crash drive for a 
million signatures asking President Richard M. Nixon 
tJ save the park, also announced the location of six depots 
in Marin county where petitions and information may be 

The partial list of neighborhood chairmen includes: 
Mesdames Peter Arrigoni, 35 Oak Tree Lane, Fairfax; 
John R. Barnard, 1 Capitan, Mill Valley; Homer Dalbey, 
33 Dominican Dr., San Rafael; Alan Jensen, 5 Upper 
Ardmore Road, Larkspur; Lawrence Keilman, 70 Via 
La Pai, Greenbrae; Troy Lewis, 586 Tamarack Drive, 
San Rafael; Eric Lund, 9 Avenida Olema, Stinson Beach; 
Frederic Manley, 4887 Paradise Drive, East Corte 
Madera; Russell Ridge, 22 Berens Drive, Kentfieid; 
Kenyon Spalding, 660 Hidgewood, Homestead Valley; 
Janes Spencer, 18 Jordan Ave., San Anselmo; John 

Walker, 431 Green Glen Way, Tamalpais Valley; Arthur 
Schallock, 416 Riviera Drive, Peacock Gap andGJenwood 
areas of San Rafael; Jack D. Williams, 52 Sir Francis 
Drake Blvd., Ross; P. Dunlap Smith, 10 Barner Lane, 
Ti'iuion; Raymond G. Gergus, 60 Woodward Avenue, 
Sausalito; Miss Ann Wooldridge, 45 Ridge Ave., Muir 
Woods Park; and two gentlemen: John M. Kahl, 409 
East Strawberry Drive, Mill Valley; Ar told Baptiste, 
1095 Calle Paseo, Ignacio. 

Area petition depots will be Creative Arts, 22 El 
Portal. Sausalito; The Art Stare, 11 E. Blithedale, 
Mill Valley; Capricorn Books, 33.5 Town and Country 
Village, Straw berry; Capricorn Books, Red Hill Shopping 
Center, San Anselmo; Walden Book Store, Northgate 
Shopping Center, San Rafael; Amber Griffin Books, 
1769 Grant Ave., Novato; and the Save Our Seashore- 
headquarters, 714 C Street, San Rafael. 


hours and ask to speak and not be allowed to speak. That happened 
'to me once because 1 hadn't written the proper letter beforehand. 

Lage: So you were working then more behind the scenes? 

Azevedo: Oh, no, we got publicity. Ve sought publicity, but I don't think we 
ever did any petition making. Ue also endorsed candidates and we 
would analyze. 1 remember we helped get a man named Byron Leydecker 
elected. Alas, he only stayed only a term, but he was awfully good, 
a banker. 

Lage: To the Golden Gate Bridge District? 

Azevedo: No, I'm talking about the supervisors now, just as an example, and 
what we did was sit down and analyze what had happened. In the 
primary, he ran off. As a matter of fact, he ran off against John 
Mclnnis, who later did get on the board and was very good, in fact, 
but we were supporting Byron. 

We found that the canal area of San Rafael, which is even 
bigger now than it was then- -it was an apartment area with a lot of 
transients with very low income- -that the voting there had been 
very, very low, the percentage of voting. So we just organized. 
We'd go out a dozen at a time, maybe. We never were a big group, 
but we went out several weekends, and we hit every door. What we 
found was that the people there had never been electioneered. 
Nobody had ever paid any attention. Just the fact that we went 
there and said, "Hi, I'm So-and-so, and I live in Marin County, and 
we like this man; we hope you'll vote for him," that turned the 
election. That turned it for us. So we were a small group that 
found ways to be effective by using our heads. 

Lage: Was that group partisan at all? The supervisors are not partisan? 

Azevedo: No, they're not partisan, and we only acted on county affairs. We 
never extended beyond that. We only acted on county affairs. 1 
don't think we even got into city affairs. It was all county. And 
there was a battle over whether--. They built the Frank Lloyd 
Wright Civic Center, then came the Hall of Justice, and there was a 
battle over how it should be paid for: pay as you go or a bond 
issue. We got into that. We were very interested in that. So we 
became very knowledgeable about county government, and we did our 

But you may be right, that the Save San Francisco Bay campaign 
perhaps was an early evidence of people power. I don't remember if 
we ever went out and got petitions about transit. We went to the 
decision makers. 


Challeneine Behr's Determined and Persuasive Leadership Stvle 

Lage: Did you have the sense In the Save Our Seashore campaign that the 
main focus was the petition, or was it also letters and other 

Azevedo: I don't remember, but I do remember the episode about the film. 
Lage: Okay, tell me about the film. 

Azevedo: One technique we were using was going to any group that would have 
us and talking, and-- 

Lage: Did you do that yourself, or find people to do that? 

Azevedo: I think most of us did it ourselves. We may have found others, but 
we had the people here, on this letterhead, that we felt would be 
regarded as leaders in the county and who could get the club, the 
property owners club or whatever it was, the Lions Club, could get 
them to agree. And of course Peter's name by that time was very 
well known, very much beloved in the county, so Peter's name as the 
head of it was very useful. 

So two women whose names I can't remember had done a film. 
That must have come out in some of your other interviews. 

Lage: I've heard about it. 

Azevedo: This was one of our tools. I believe it was called An Island in 

Time, and it was a film with lovely shots of Point Reyes. 1 guess 
it was promotional. Now, there I'm not certain. Peter should 
remember whether it had promotion in its contents: "We need your 
help." But whether it did or not, the person who accompanied the 
film would say, "We're going to lose this if we don't get this money 

So while the petition campaign was going on, we were using this 
film. I think we'd already taken it around, started with it. Then 
Peter met a man out in Inverness, through some mutual friends, who I 
guess was a filmmaker. Whatever he was, he saw himself as a 
filmmaker. He had been up in Canada somewhere camping, and he had 
been mauled by a bear, and he was in Inverness recovering. I don't 
know whether Peter's heart went out to this man or--. Whatever it 
was, this guy persuaded Peter that he should make a film about Point 
Reyes Seashore. 

Lage: That this man should? 


Azevedo: Yes. And Peter brought it to the executive committee. I opposed 

it. I don't remember whether I had any support or not. It was hard 
for people to oppose Peter. He was very persuasive, and he liked to 
get his way, but it didn't make good sense. We needed all the money 
we could get. We had a film that was perfectly adequate for the 
purpose, and I Just didn't think we should jeopardize our campaign 
and deprive other aspects of the campaign. 

Lage: You were thinking of the money to be spent on it? 

Azevedo: That's right. It was the money to be spent on it, plus the fact 

that I thought it was kind of a dirty trick to these ladies who, as 
I recall, had done the thing free. Peter just wanted to help the 
guy out, I think that's what it was. I said, "Peter, I'm for Save 
Our Seashore, and I don't think Save Our Seashore should be used 
because this guy went up to Canada and got himself mauled by a 
bear." And Bunny, this wonderful Bunny, would kind of smooth things 
over. I think Peter thought better of it. I don't think that film 
was made. Now, I can't swear to that. Alas, Bunny's no longer with 
us. She would remember. So when Peter then, in '69--. When did he 
run for the state senate? 

Lage: That's in '70. 

Azevedo: All right, in '70, you see, so it came right on top of that. I said 
to Peter as soon as he announced, I said, "Peter, I'll certainly 
support you and I'll give you a contribution if I can, but you and I 
should never be on the same committee." And Peter didn't take 
offense at all. He knew exactly what I meant. Ve both were strong 
minded. Ve both had had a lot of experience; I probably had more in 
political campaigns. And we were going to clash. He said, "That's 
fine. I understand." 

Azevedo: It takes somebody like Peter. It takes somebody with a strong sense 
of his own rightness, and a strong-willed person, and a confident 
person, to do something like this, and to be the kind of state 
senator he was. 

Lage: I'm assuming that nobody crossed him very often in this group. 

Azevedo: No, there wasn't much crossing of Peter. That's the only one I 

remember where he and I really did clash. I remember the feeling 
that I was standing alone. I still was sure I was right, and I 

Lage: So he was pretty determined, then. 


Azevedo: Oh, he was determined, and he was persuasive, yes. But it's odd 
that I can't remember whether the thing ever got done or not. 

Lage: I haven't heard it mentioned, and I know of that other film. 

Azevedo: I never met this poor man, or the bear [laughter], but I just 

thought, "Hey, this isn't our thing." Funny. But the campaign was 
very successful. We got the money [appropriated for the seashore]. 
Then later on, I guess Phil Burton brought in more money. I don't 
know whether you've picked up on that or not. 

Lage: To get the whole Golden Gate-- 

Azevedo: Oh, then came the Golden Gate [National Recreation Area], yes, but 
there also-- 

Lage: Do you think there was more required for Point Reyes? 

Azevedo: 1 don't know whether it was required or not, but 1 do remember, 1 
have a dear friend out there, Jerry Friedman, who was on the 
planning commission with me, lives in Point Reyes, and he now serves 
on the Citizens Advisory Commission that advises on matters 
involving the two parks. He's very good at it. He was a prime 
founder of an environmental group out there and so on. He was very 
close to Phil Burton, the brother, of course, of John Burton, who 
was our congressman. Phil was very interested in adding properties. 
He used to go around Tomales Bay with Jerry and say, "Let's take 
that. Let's take that." I've lost track now, but I think there 
were some parts of Point Reyes that were added. I've lost track of 
that. But the interest continued there. Phil was very interested. 

Mar in Stalwarts on the S.O.S. Executive Committee 

Lage: Could you tell me about some of the other people on the executive 

committee, Just to get a sense of what type of people got involved, 
and if you remember anything in particular that they contributed? 
Here again, we're going back in time. [see letterhead of Save Our 
Seashore, p. 151] 

Azevedo: Jean Barnard has lived in the county for years and had, it was 
either a grandmother or an aunt, who was an early Mill Valley 
resident. So she had a historic background here. She served for 
quite a few years on the Marin Municipal Water District Board, and 
she's a very bright, energetic, decided kind of person, and just a 
hell of a worker. So I know that Jean brought in lots of support by 
her activities. 


Hasse Bunnelle. Veil, Hasse was just an old-time 
environmentalist and I think an active Sierra Club person. 
Doyle I don't remember. Isn't that awful? 


Mrs. Albert Gatov was the former Libby Smith who was treasurer 
of the United States under John Kennedy. A very distinguished 
Democratic leader in the state. She'd served on the Democratic 
national committee and she had helped organize John Kennedy's 
campaign. She's a graduate of the Coro Foundation in San Francisco; 
she attended there. And Libby was U.S. treasurer. At that time her 
name was Smith. I imagine that Libby did a lot of work amongst 
other Democrats. 

Lage: Mrs. P. K. Oilman. 

Azevedo: Yes. Emme Gilman. F.mme , 1 think it was, or Emma. She was older 
than I, but another of these--. She was closely associated with 
environmental matters. 

Harold Gregg. Harold and his wife ran a camp. I think it was 
called Forest Hills Camp. My children went there. It was a lovely 
coeducational camp out in San Geronimo Valley. Our kids went there 
one summer, and it was Just one of those nice, relaxed experiences 
for children. 

Lage: And he was head of Marin Conservation League. 

Azevedo: Oh, yes, he was very active in the conservation league, you're 
right. He provided a lot of leadership there. 

Bunnv Lucheta: Astute and Charming, with Consummate Political Skills 

Lage: Tell me about Bunny Lucheta, because Peter Behr kind of chokes up 
when he mentions her name. 

Azevedo: Oh, we all choke up. 
Lage: What was she like? 

Azevedo: We all choke up about Bunny. She was just an incomparable person. 

She was such a combination of this marvelous political sense. She's 
the kind of person, if you had a political problem, if you had a 
personal problem, whatever it was, you'd called Bunny and you'd say, 
"Bunny, I've got this problem. I'm wondering if I should do this." 
There would be some sounds, and then Bunny would say, "Well, 
Margaret, I don't think I would." 






She accepted everybody. She was the kind of person who walked 
into a room, and the whole room lightened and brightened. She was 
BO vibrant. 

She acted as our board of supervisors observer during that--. 
The Council for Civic Affairs only lasted ten years. It's one of 
the few organizations that knew when it was time to dissolve itself, 
one of the few I've known that said, "It's time to commit suicide." 
The time was past: "We've done our work, and times have changed." 
Bunny was our observer for the board of supervisors. People would 
come to our meetings just to hear Bunny's report because they were 
so funny. 

Funny and astute, or just funny? 

They were so funny and astute, and her sense of what was going on, 
her perception of what was going on, was never mean, but it was just 
so funny and witty, and that was Bunny. And then when Peter became 
a senator--. I guess he may have gotten to know her through this 
committee, because I don't know that he would have otherwise since 
she was active in Democratic affairs and local affairs. I can't 
even name all the boards she served on. She just was so generous 
with her time. Anyway, she became Peter's aide in the county. 

Did she have to go up to Sacramento for that? 

No, no, this was local. It was Mar in County in those times, 
don't think it even--. I think it was only Marin County. Am 

No, I think he had Marin, Napa, and some of Sonoma County [as 
senator for District 4 in 1971-1974.] And then the districts were 
redrawn in his second term. [Behr represented Marin, most of Sonoma, 
Lake, Mendocino and Humboldt, and Del Norte counties in District 2, 

But I think Marin was his main constituency, and I think that's 
where his political strength was. So Bunny then, you see, really 
discovered- -or maybe she didn't discover it. We discovered that 
that was really her vocation- -this astute, charming person. I'd 
hear her on the phone with some crank, and sit there in the utmost 
admiration to see how Bunny would handle this person without getting 
the person mad, without upsetting the campaign or whatever it was, 
without having Peter imposed on. Her skills with people and in the 
political realm were just consummate. 

Then, you see, Peter finished his term. I guess he had two 
terms. And then Barry Keene came in. Now, here was Barry, a 









totally different type, a Democrat, not a Republican, and she did 
the same job for Barry. 

Oh, she did? I didn't realize that. 

Oh, yes, she was aide to Barry when she died. That was in Vallejo 
because he no longer had Marin, but she would travel to Vallejo. 
She was so good. And Joan- -I've forgotten Joan's last name. There 
were two of them there. They worked together. They ran that 
office, and when I'd be--. At that time I was writing. 

Was this Barry Keene's office? 

Yes, Barry Keene's field office in Vallejo. Of course, she wouldn't 
go to Sacramento. 1 mean, Harry [Lucheta] worked down on the 
peninsula, and their kids were still in school. When I wanted 
information I'd phone there, even though Barry wasn't my state 
senator anymore. I'd get my information there if there was 
something I wanted to know about, something going on behind the 

When you said she had a great political sense, what does that 

What that would involve was, with someone like Peter, who is a man 
with a great deal of imagination, a very creative man, a very 
creative brain, people like that will have marvelous ideas but they 
will also have terrible ideas, and they don't always have the 
judgment they need to discern. I mean, the guy- and- the -bear man was 
one example, I felt, of poor judgment. A great idea if we hadn't 
already had a film, but not appropriate. 

Veil, Bunny kept Peter from making mistakes, whether she did 
with Barry or not, I don't know. Barry made some mistakes but I 
suppose Peter did, too, though I can't think of many. They came to 
rely on her sense of what was appropriate for the time or wise at 
the time, in the way of political action. 

I wonder what her abilities grew from, 
in the community? 

Did she have a lot of ties 

Yes, she had lots of ties in the community. As I say, she served on 
a number of nonprofit boards. She just was one of those people that 
had perceptions of what was going on and what would work, and Peter 
relied on her. 

She also kept wonderful records . I interviewed him for the State 
Archives. We're doing a lot of different former assemblymen, state 
senators, and others. He has these marvelously organized records of 

his time there- -all the bills he put in. 
him when he left the state senate. 

She organized it all for 

Azevedo: Well, yes, she would. She had a great mastery of detail. And 

thinking about where did she get this, because she didn't have any 
particular schooling or training: UC [University of California, 
Berkeley] graduate, as I am; married, 1 think, soon after that, 
married young. But one aspect of it certainly was that she talked 
to a lot of people. All kinds of people. They all wanted to talk 
to Bunny and would talk to Bunny, and she knew how to keep her mouth 

Lage: Gather in and not-- 

Azevedo: That's right. So I'm sure that people told her things that they 

wouldn't have told other people, because they knew how discreet she 

And Peter wouldn't have been that discreet. I'm sure that she 
never told Peter half of what she knew. He may have sensed this, 
you see. Based on what she knew was going on, she would say to him, 
"This isn't the time," or "I don't think you should." However she 
did it, she was always tactful. But 1 know that he relied on her. 
I picked this up from others. Bunny was there, and Peter was about 
to go off on a wild hare, and she's just reaching out pulling him 

1 imagine she did the same thing with Barry, though the 
difference there, you see, was that Peter really relied on her as 
his head person. Barry had people in Sacramento that he may have 
relied on more and that weren't as good as Bunny. My impression is 
that Barry didn't always choose well. He got Bunny because he kind 
of inherited her and came to appreciate her. He's doing all right. 
He's got a very hard district. 

Lage: It's a very diverse district. 

Azevedo: Oh, I mean Mendocino and Humboldt and Del Norte voted 7 to 1 against 
the Coastal Act. They feared it. You've got the lumbering 
interests, you have the fishing interests. Peter didn't have any of 

Lage: He did have it for his second term, after it was redistricted. He 
told me a story about all the hard hats coming down on the forestry 
issue and meeting in the capital, and he had to, or he felt he 
wanted to, go and speak to them, and he didn't have much to say 
except he acknowledged them and that they had different views. 

Azevedo: No. Peter's philosophy always was stick with your friends and 

forget your enemies. And I always had the impression, but I could 


be wrong, that that worked for him, as ardent an environmentalist as 
he was, because a majority of his constituency tended that way. 

Lage: Right. So he could afford to do that. 
Azevedo: That's right. 

Other S.O.S. Leaders, a Nonpartisan Group 

Lage: What about the nonpartisan nature of Save Our Seashore? I noticed 

in this campaign outline [see p. 155] that's one of the first things 
mentioned: the policy is strictly nonpartisan. Did that stick? 

Azevedo: Oh, yes. Mar in County--. Well, California, let's take California, 
with the old, now gone, crossfiling and all. California's never 
been party minded in the way some of the eastern states are, and 
people always crossed over, and still do. Peter got a big 
Democratic vote. Marin County, last time I looked- -could have 
changed, but I doubt it- -has a majority of Republicans, but they 
voted for Walter Mondale, for heaven's sake. 

Lage: [laughs] It's a funny thing. 

Azevedo: Yes. So Marin County is different that way. They don't go by party, 
and I don't even--. You know, I look at this now, again, and I 
can't even understand why such an issue was made of nonpartisanship 
in the campaign outline, except, of course, it was Congress that had 
to act. 

Lage: Congress, and then the Republican president. We had Nixon, and 

[Senator] George Murphy was being pressured a great deal. Do you 
remember anything regarding George Murphy? His campaign for 
reelection was coming up so apparently a lot of pressure was put on 
him to put pressure on Nixon. 

Azevedo: And looking at this list here [the executive committee], the only 
person I see here whose name was very obviously identified with 
Democrats is Gatov. I was, to some extent, but I wasn't treasurer 
of the United States. Becky, Mrs. Harold Watkin-- that's Becky 
Watkin--she was a very active leading Democrat, and maybe there was 
concern about that. None of these others strike me as people who 
would be identified with a party at all. 

Lage: Let's look some more at this executive committee. 

Azevedo: Yes, all right. Harold Gregg, Bunny Lucheta, Aline McClain. The 

McClains still are around; they live in Mill Valley. She was one of 
those who had gotten very, very active at the time of the recall 
when Peter went in [as supervisor] . She goes back. She was 
apparently a stalwart in that campaign and became very loyal to 
Peter and was really a worker. You know, you could count on her. 
She could go out and cover ten precincts in a day, or more. 

Lage: Wonderfully energetic women. 

Azevedo: Yes. Oh, yes. Joan Polsdorfer. That's just vaguely familiar. Ed 
Ryken, of course, iswhether he was then, I don't remember- -he is 
the executive for the Senior Coordinating Council, a countywide 
organization that's very active, which Vera Schultz used to be very 
active in. He, too, is an effective man. His connections were with 
the elderly. Very well known. Yes, I'm pretty sure he must have 
had that same job then. That's why he was on it. 

Lothar Sal in- -what did Lothar do? I think he was a newspaper 
guy. Bill Upton was a dentist who served on the planning commission 
with me, a wonderful guy. He and I were the two votes for the Point 
Reyes Seashore. These two votes they got mustered to support. Ue 
dropped it; we didn't want Congress to see this vote. [This was 
prior to the creation of the seashore in 1962] 

Lage: You didn't want the negative vote registered. 

Azevedo: No, we didn't want the vote to be told or sent to Congress. That 

didn't look good. And Bill was an environmentalist long before his 
time, just in his personal interest. I think he was active in the 
Conservation League too. Lovely man. 

Grace Wellman. Katv Johnson. Beckv Watkins 

Azevedo: And of course Mrs. Wellman. Both are gone now. Grace Wellman, and 
Theodore, too. Ted, her husband. But Grace was one of an older 
group of women who became active, gosh, maybe it was right after the 
war. I'm not sure. She may have been active before, but they were 
interested not only in environment but in planning, and they were 
instrumental in getting- - 

Lage: Was this the Caroline Livermore contingent? 

Azevedo: No, she knew Caroline, of course, but I think she was a little bit 
later. She wasn't one of those four famous women- -Sepha Evers , 
Caroline Livermore, Helen van Pelt, and there's a fourth one [Portia 




Azevedo : 

Azevedo ; 

Azevedo ; 




Forbes, all founders of the Mar in Conservation League]. But she was 
that ilk. And I can still see Grace. She was a very outspoken 
woman, she'd been raised in the county, and I can still see her 
going before the board of supervisors on some issue or another, and 
just giving them a lecture. Just telling them, giving them what-for 
because they'd done something she thought wasn't sensible, and they 
took it from Grace because she was another tireless worker in 
causes. Energetic is the word for these ladies. She died just last 
year, 1 think. Ted the year before. Grace was marvelous. 

So these are people, you see, with broad connections. We could 
spread out. As 1 say, we could spread our fingers out and touch 

And you weren't working against the tide, 

You were organizing the 

No, we weren't working against the tide, no. 

Did you have any tie at all with Katy Johnson at that time? 1 know 
Peter had dealt with her, but were you aware of her working at the 
other end in Congress? 

Oh, yes. Yes, when she would come out, she would always phone some 
of us and we'd try to get together. But she was living in 
Washington, wasn't she? 


Oh, yes, she was in touch. 1 can't give you any details. 1 should 
have had her there when the bear-man was involved, because Peter 
would certainly- -we all loved Katy and listened to her. I mean, she 
was there . She was the horse ' s mouth for us . 

Yes, now, some of these others are just, I think, put on as 
names. Well, yes, Becky is-- 

Becky is Mrs. Harold Watkin? 

Yes. She's a widow now, too. She still lives there in Kentfield. 
Well, of course, she was on the finance committee. Becky is just a 
whale of a--. When Becky phones you, you give. And she's still at 

A fundraiser? 

Oh, yes. She's a whale of a fundraiser. 

Now, what does that take? 


Azevedo: What does it take? Again, with Becky, it takes determination. I 

think the reason why we give to Becky is, one, we know she's giving, 
always, and not just money. She has given years to good causes, 
mainly Democratic, but she was also active in some international 
things, World Federalists, that sort of thing. But always one of 
the targets for the Democrats. Or housing. She'd also, she put in, 
oh, it added up to years of pro bono work for the Ecumenical 
Association for Housing. She's an architect, and she's done free 
work for them. 

I think that's it. You just don't say no to Becky because 
she's never said no, and you feel like a cheapskate. You feel like 
some kind of a bum because you know that if Becky's phoned you, 
she's probably already phoned a hundred people that day. 

Lage: Right. And you must respect her causes. 

Azevedo: Oh, yes, once in a while 1 don't, but no, she phones people. She 
knows where people stand. And as 1 say, because she's been active 
in so many groups and causes, since she'd done so much, you do it 
back. That's how things work. 



Earlv Leaders in Protecting Marin's Natural Beauty 

Lage: Do you have some sense of why Mar in seems to have such a strong 
environmental flavor and commitment over the years? I'm just 
thinking of how this land has developed or not developed, as opposed 
to, say, Santa Clara County. 

Azevedo: Part of it is just its natural beauty. If you take out some ill- 
advised development, there isn't a part of this county that isn't 
beautiful, that isn't interesting, with its outer Coast Ranges, with 
these smaller ranges of mountains, of hills that go east to west, 
and then the valleys and all that. And the bay. The bay and ocean. 

But I guess you have to say it has to do with the people who 
were here and took leadership early on. You see, it was one of the 
first counties to set up a planning department. I'm trying to 
remember the guy who was brought out from New York. It was the four 
women [Livermore, Evers, van Pelt, and Forbes] who brought him out. 

Lage: Pomeroy? 

Azevedo: Hugh Pomeroy was brought out from the East. There wasn't much 

planning going on. The Vest hadn't awakened to the fact that this 
was something that had to be protected and saved. Hugh came out and 
I guess developed some policies and a plan. Was that the thirties? 
I think we're talking about the thirties. 

Lage: The mid- thirties. 

Azevedo: Yes. That's early for planning in the West. So Hugh was an 

idealist, and Hugh saw what was here. And then Mary Summers came on 
as planning director [1941-1962]. The planning concepts have 
changed, of course, but Mary's idea was that everything should be 
big lots. Everything should be big lots with houses and yards, and 
that that was one of the ways you would save--. Ve were not into 



Azevedo : 



buying open space in those days. The open space was going to be 
between the houses. Of course, you can see how much that's changed, 
because now we've realized that probably, in most instances, that's 
not the way to go. But we didn't know that then. And Mary was a 
strong-minded woman, and she and Vera worked well together. She and 
Vera Schultz. 

And Mary was an employee of the county? 

over at 
a landscape architect 
So Mary was a 


Yes, Mary was trained--. Gosh, in those days, there weren't the 
highly professional courses. You know, there are the schools of 
planningthe School of Environmental Design, for instance, 
UC Berkeley, now. I think she was trained as 
or some such thing. That was her background, 
fighter, and the whole theme was single -family houses, but she knew 
we had to have some apartments; we on the planning commission knew 
it. That's what people came and fought, was apartment houses. 

Parks. Caroline Livermore and Mrs. Evers--! remember Caroline 
talking about this- -one of their first forays into saving the 
environment and parks was to save those beautiful old state parks 
out in Tomales Bay. 

Heart's Desire Beach? 

Heart's Desire and Shell Beach and Indian Beach and so on. She 
remembered going up to the legislature to get the legislature to 
appropriate money to make them state parks. They weren't well 
treated up there at all. I think it was Bill Evers who told me 
this; his mother had told him. The legislators, who were not 
necessarily at that time the most cultured group in the world, 
thought these were just a bunch of rich old ladies who were trying 
to save it for themselves. 

I remember asking Bill- -I guess I was writing about it- -asking 
Bill, "Was that your mother's idea? Was it her idea to save those 
beautiful places in Marin County for other rich people?" He said, 
"Absolutely not." [laughter] He said, "My mother was one of the 
most democratic people in the world." 

So you have these people who had leadership, who were highly 
respected, who had money. I don't know about Mrs. Evers, but 
certainly Caroline Livermore had money and believed in using it, and 
had all these rich friends in San Francisco that she'd put the bee 
on when she wanted, when we were saving Richardson Bay out here. 
She raised a lot of money for that. 

So this goes way back-- 









Those women had influence and they set the tone, I think you would 
say. They set the tone, and Mary set the tone, and Grace Uellman, 
she was in there pretty early. Beyond that, I can't tell you why 
we've done so well here. 

You've pointed to Mar in 's combination of natural beauty and 
energetic people. 

The natural beauty and leadership. You will never get me to believe 
that any leader can be easily replaced by another. 1 haven't seen 
that. I've seen someone like Vera Schultz, who brought Frank Lloyd 
Wright into the Civic Center, who got them to hire a county 
administrator. None of that was going to happen if Vera hadn't been 
there at that time and place. 

So the time may have had to be right, but you had to have that 
individual as well. 

Yes, that leader had to be there. Caroline Livermore was not anti- 
development, or I wouldn't even say she was anti-growth. She was a 
very strong Republican. She would never, though often asked to, 
endorse Clem Miller. 

Oh, she wouldn't? 

No. He was a Democrat. She had these four boys, all Republicans, 

Lage: --and active in the party. 

Azevedo: Yes, and active in the party, and she'd say, "Oh, the boys would not 
let me do that. I couldn't do that because the boys wouldn't stand 
for it." [laughs] 

Lage: I'm sure she liked what Clem Miller was doing. 

Azevedo: She loved Clem, but there was no way she was going to put her name 
there. So she was not ant i- development. She just had a sense of 
what this --what do 1 say? She had a sense of what was appropriate 
in a county like Marin. And even though our planning ideas have 
changed, the basic feeling about it was the same, that we must save 
the natural beauties of the county, and the development must be to 
high standards. So that was the tone set by Pomeroy, by these 
women, by Mary Summers, and kept going. 


The 1972 Marin County General Plan 

Azevedo: And then it changed, but now I think that same appreciation and 
ideal for Marin is expressed in the county general plan that we 
adopted in '72. I was still on the commission then. 

Lage: And that's still in effect? 

Azevedo: It's still in effect. I feel it's being challenged now in a way it 
shouldn't be, but yes, what we did- -Mary was out by then. Mary had 
retired. We had [as planning director] a young man named Paul 
Zucker, a very bright, effective man. I don't know just where the 
concept came from, but that's when we saw Marin as divided into 
these three corridors: the coastal recreational, the inland 
agricultural -rural, and the urban eastern. That's when we put in 
agricultural zoning. Our county counsel, the same one as we have 
now, said we couldn't be any stricter than sixty-acre zoning. 

Sixty-acre zoning means that you can build. Because we didn't 
have the constitutional right, he felt, to tell a rancher he 
couldn't build or sell for building, but he could only do it at the 
ratio of one house to every sixty acres. 

Lage: I see. And he could cluster them. 

Azevedo: And usually that would be clustered, yes. The county plan gives the 
power to cluster, so that you could conceivably--. It hasn't 
happened much because ranching has stayed. So he said you can't go 
more than sixty acres in a county like this. Now, where there's 
prime soil and so on, they do one hundred and fifty, two hundred 
acres. He said you can't, so we thought it was the best we could 
do, but it has held. It has held for a whole lot of reasons, aside 
from that zoning. 

And then the inland rural, already people have been moving out 
and buying fifteen-, twenty-acre plots when they could and having 
little ranchettes and whatever, so there we accommodated what was 
already going around Nicasio and San Geronimo Valley and so on, but 
that has held. 

Then here [in the urban eastern corridor] was where our 
building was going to take place. Now there's a movement amongst 
environmentalists to take the few remaining large acreages which you 
see as you drive the highway- -Silveira Ranch, Saint Vincent's Boys 
School. Hamilton Field, of course, is already built on. (As you're 
going up 101 these are on the east side, just north of San Rafael, 



between San Rafael and Novato.) And then there are also some 
remaining open spaces in Novato. 

Now, under this corridor plan, those should develop. That's 
where our remaining housing should go. And that same plan was very 
emphatic about trying to keep affordable housing, a mix of housing. 
That's where some of it should go, in my view. So I find myself 
differing with some of my environmental friends who say, "Oh, 
Silveira is so nice and green, thank goodness," and so on; "Let's 
keep it that way." Eighty-three percent of Marin County is in open 

That's amazing. Really amazing. 

It's either in agricultural, parks, or water district. But what I'm 
saying to you is looking back on the early days in Marin, the early 
zoning, that plan to me was innovative and very pragmatic- -we 
recognized what we had- -and it was carrying through this same will 
to keep Marin a beautiful and livable county. 

More Recollections of S.O.S. Leaders and Campaign Techniques 

Lage: Let me look to see if there are any more questions I want to ask you 
about Save Our Seashore. Do you remember anything about Don 
Clausen's role? He was Clem Miller's successor and was a 
Republican. Do you have any recollection of whether your committee 
worked with him? 

Azevedo: Oh, yes. Don was with us. I don't think Don was ever a problem. 

I'm sure Don was with us on that. I can't remember how effective he 
may have been or not have been, but yes, I'm-- 

Lage: He wasn't stuffing envelopes with you, but? 

Azevedo: No, you know, and I'm thinking about that. Why wasn't he on here? 
But you see, it's obvious we had no elected officials on here. So 
that was by design. There were no elected officials. 

Lage: Do you remember any cooperation with other organizations? Like, for 
instance, the Sierra Club, or Marin Conservation League? 

Azevedo: No, but they must have, I'm sure, because that's what we would have 
done. We must have gone after their membership, we must have gotten 
resolutions from them. 


Lage: You are not necessarity remembering the Save Our Seashore 

organization, but you know what must have happened just because you 
know how these campaigns work. 

Azevedo: Because I know what we would have done. 

Lage: I like this phrase in the campaign outline. I guess Peter wrote 
this campaign outline. He talks about not wanting "the faithful 
martyrs"--. [looking through papers] Let me see if I can find it. 
1 thought it was very funny. 

Azevedo: Peter can be very funny. Sometimes at other people's expense. 

[laughter] Oh, yes, I've had my tiffs with Peter about that. He 
would say it before he thought because it was so clever. 

Lage: I had quite a long interview with him about his state service, and I 
had more laughs . 

Azevedo: Oh, yes, he's very-- 

Lage: Okay, here he says, "You can't get off the ground if you depend on 

the few faithful martyrs, and I mean that literally." Does that get 
to be a problem in these campaigns , if the same people are kind of 
recycled or overworked? 

Azevedo: Of course. It's a problem always. There are always the few 

faithful. And a campaign of this sort does depend on your outreach, 
how far you can reach out and pull in others. Yes, he was 
perceptive about that. 

Lage: Would you remember Charlotte Riznik for me, since I don't think I am 
going to interview her? 

Azevedo: I just remember Charlotte as a bright, effective person, good 
writer, knew the newspaper game, got us stories-- 

Lage: Which was another key thing. 

Azevedo: Yes. Oh, yes. And again, you see, the newspapers would want 

stories about Peter because he was still fresh enough from being a 

Lage: So did the stories get focused on Peter? 

Azevedo: Sure. Why wouldn't they have been? He was the chairman, he was a 
good interview, he was somebody you could absolutely count on, if 
you were a reporter and you were getting the story, to give you some 
witticisms and some lively statements. Yes, I would say it revolved 
around Peter. No question. And Bunny would see that it did 


herself. You knew it might be revolving around Bunny, and a lot of 
things were revolving around Bunny, but she didn't--. That was Just 
the kind of person she was. She put it all on Peter. 

That part I don't remember, but I imagine that, looking at some 
of these names here, you see, like Gatov and some of the others, so 
well known-- [Dr. William F. ] Upton was well known also I'm sure 
Riznik saw that those names came in. That's what you do in a 
campaign. Somebody looks at the names on the advisory board and 
says, "Oh, well, yes." Now, Albert Bianchi [S.O.S. advisory board] 
was a well-known attorney, still is, was an attorney for several 
cities, he was very well known. Phillip Berry I don't remember. 

Lage: He was advisory board also, and Sierra Club president. 

Azevedo: And the finance committee. [B.A.] Farlatti was very well known, 
very active in chambers of commerce, businessmen's groups, and so 
on, a very generous man with his time. I don't remember those 
others so well. Becky Vatkin was a good name for Democrats. 

Lage: Do you remember any other controversy besides the man mauled by the 
bear? One thing that Katy Johnson mentioned was an attack on 
Congressman Aspinall that they were very concerned about back East. 
They didn't want Aspinall attacked. They wanted his support and 
were getting his support, and Save Our Seashore- - 

Azevedo: Some people out here were-- 

Lage: There were some critical letters about him generated. [A critical 

article in the October 1, 1969, Pacific Sun apparently prompted the 
concern. ] 

Azevedo: I don't remember that. Why would there have been that, I wonder? 

Lage: He was sort of on the fence. He wasn't pushing the bill through 
Congress, but he was playing a waiting game of his own with Nixon. 

Azevedo: I don't remember that. 

Lage: That may have never come up on the executive committee. I think it 
was a rather minor thing, but it was quickly turned around. 

Azevedo: I can't imagine. Here 1 am, I'm just going on instinct here. 1 
can't imagine that Peter himself or any of us on there would 
possibly have condoned--. I mean, we would have had better 
political sense than that. I don't care what Aspinall was doing, 
you wouldn't attack him. So that must have come from outside. 


It might have come from outside. 


Azevedo: But we would have been concerned, certainly would have been 

concerned. But I can't imagine something like that being done in 
our name, but then you can't stop people from using your name in a 
campaign like this, either. No, 1 don't remember. 

Lage: I guess your goal was a million signatures, and you never had to get 
that many. You ended up with 450,000 or something. Do you remember 
anything about delivering them to Washington? 

Azevedo: I know I didn't. [laughter] 

Lage: Peter talks about getting them sent back there, and then we can't 
find if they ever got beyond Don Clausen's office or-- 

Azevedo: Really? 

Lage: Everyone knew they were there, but they can't quite track down 
whether they physically got to the president. 

Azevedo: No. That's odd that 1 don't, but as 1 say, it was such an obvious 
thing to do that we just did it. Four hundred and fifty thousand, 
boy, that's not bad. 

Lage: No. That's wonderful. 

Azevedo: If I was in charge of it, I must have done a good job. 

Lage: You must have. [laughter] 

Azevedo: I must have called in a lot of chits. 

The Democratic Process on Committees and Boards 

Azevedo: You never got to interview Bunny? 

Lage: No. By the time this project got underway, she had died. 

Azevedo: Because Bunny would remember most of these things, partly because 

she had that kind of memory, but also because she was keeping track 
of those things. 

Lage: So she was really an organizer. 

Azevedo: She really acted as Peter's sidekick on this. She acted as his main 
stem to hold it together and just move things over and to tell me 
not to make too big an issue of the bear. [laughter] I think Bunny 


was able to convince me it probably wasn't going to happen anyway, 
and I don't think it did. But no one else mentioned it? 

Lage: No. Peter certainly didn't mention it. 

Azevedo: Peter wouldn't! [laughter] Isn't that funny? See, it was probably 
bigger in my mind than anyone else's. 

Lage: It might have been. It seems like kind of a clash of the wills. 

Was that an unusual clash for you? I mean, you've been on so many 
committees and commissions. 

Azevedo: Yes, it was unusual for me. I've been on practically every board 

and commission you can name, and I don't clash with people. I will 
take a strong position, but no, I don't have trouble getting along, 
and I know how to accommodate and compromise and make the 
concessions necessary. 

And I don't think it was typical of that committee. But as I 
recall, the reason I was upset about it was that we were supposed to 
be the planning committee, and I take a responsibility like that 
seriously, and if I'm a chairman of something, I take seriously my 
responsibility to pull everybody along. My interest in the process 
by which things are decided in a democracy, even in microcosm, goes 
back a long way, and I do have some definite ideas about it, and 
Peter had violated those. 

Peter was off acting on his own. He had not consulted us. He 
made this agreement or whatever it was- -deal --with the guy without 
asking us. That is not only because it was, I felt, very bad 
judgment under the circumstances, but because it insulted his 
committee. It said we were all right as long as we agreed with him, 
or we were useful, okay, but--. 

Lage: Veil, he put together a real powerhouse committee, and then he had 
to deal with that committee. 

Azevedo: Yes, and I don't like that. And that's what I meant when I said 
later, "Peter, I won't be on your committee." 

Lage: But did you support him as state senator? 

Azevedo: Oh, yes. Yes, I did. I told him I would. I just wouldn't be on 
his committee. [laughter] 

Lage: Well, I think you've given us a good picture. You may not remember 
the details but you have the big picture. 


Impressions of Clem Miller 

Lage: On another subject, If Clem Miller hadn't died in that plane crash, 
do you think he had a future in politics? 

Azevedo: Yes, I do. 

Lage: Did people think so at the time? 

Azevedo: I don't know. Clem was not a spellbinder. He was just so solid, 
and as I say, he had this shining integrity. I think that was 
appreciated, and I think would be, and I think Clem--. I don't 
suppose he was really in office long enough to judge his 
effectiveness, but yes, I think Clem was cut out for that. He found 
his vocation, which he had not found before. 

Lage: There are so many people devoted to his memory. 

Azevedo: Well, yes. That's not by accident. That's the kind of guy he was. 
The staff used to have to dress him up and clean him up. They 
always had an extra shirt and a necktie. Whether it was just a 
childhood habit, but our impression out here was that he came in his 
gardening clothes so we wouldn't think he was rich. 

From Political Action to Political Analysis 

Lage: You've mentioned your writing several times and I don't have a sense 
of what you're doing; it might be nice to have that on the tape. 

Azevedo: I'd always loved writing and published in college magazines and that 
sort of thing, but never devoted myself to it, wasn't motivated 
enough, and then I got into political things. But I never lost that 

I ran for supervisor twice, and lost. The second time I came 
pretty close, but I'm really not Marin's cup of tea. I wasn't 
bitter or anything; I appreciated that. So that was '76, and after 
that I got an idea for a column about politics, and I persuaded the 
managing editor then of the Independent Journal, and I wrote a 
column for them for three and a half years, and it was pretty good, 
too. I would take political issues that were going on, usually 
controversial, and then I'd do, you might call it news analysis, but 
it was a personalized column. 



And then, at the same time, I was freelancing. I was 
publishing in California Journal and California Living, which was 
the Sunday mag then, replaced by Image . so I thought I was really 
hot, freelancing, and a column was interfering with my freelancing, 
and I quit the column for the Independent Journal. Alice Yarish 
was a close friend of Charlotte's, and Alice was a stringer for the 
Examiner. She's retired now. Alice was saying, "Margaret, you 
never do that . " 

You never give up a column? 

Azevedo: No, you don't give up until you've got something to take its place. 
Meanwhile, 1 knew Katherine Mills. She and her husband ran the Mill 
Valley Record, and Katherine had always wanted me to write for them, 
but the IJ wouldn't let you. If the other paper's subscriptions 
overlapped, they wouldn't let you. So the editor of California 
Living changed and the editor of California Journal changed. I 
wasn't doing as well anymore, so then I said to Katie, "I'd like to 
write for you." I've been writing for them for five, six years now. 
I do news analysis, they call it, so it's not a personalized column. 
It's more straight reporting because I get behind the news and they 
give me usually a couple of weeks. So I've been doing that, and I 
love it. Once in a while I land a freelance. And I write for the 
Coastal Conservancy; I've done some articles for them. We have a 
magazine, Coast and Ocean: it's a solid magazine. I've done several 
things in that. That is my vocation now. I do practically nothing 
in politics except the Coastal Conservancy. 

Lage: You've had enough of politics? 

Azevedo: Oh, I started doing it in college. 

Lage: I thought once you got into that, that was-- 

Azevedo: Some people do. I admire Becky, who's never quit. I admire Erwin 
Farley, a former mayor of Belvedere, and I knew him back in housing 
days because he worked for the housing authority. And Erwin is 
still doing it. He's still putting on campaigns to get some low- 
cost housing done, and I admire that immensely. But I Just have had 
my fill and I wanted to do this other thing. Now that's all I do. 

I was asked to do something not long after I lost that 
election. Of course, people who are phoning you, they think, "Well, 
Margaret's got all this time now." Stuart Strong, who published 
several local weeklies, asked me to do something, and it involved 
night meetings, and I said, "I Just don't go out at night anymore 
unless it's a party." There was a pause, and he said, "Margaret, I 
think that's very selfish of you." I said, "Yes, you're right. It 
is." (laughter] 

TAPE GUIDE- -Magaret Azevedo 

Date of Interview: April 10, 1991 

tape 1, side A 167 

tape 1, side B 179 

tape 2, side A 191 


Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Saving Point Reyes National Seashore, 1969-1970 
An Oral History of Citizen Action in Conservation 

William L. Kahrl 



An Interview Conducted by 

Ann Lage 

in 1991 

Copyright (c} 1993 by The Regents of the University of California 

William Kahrl 
circa 1990 


TABLE OF CONTENTS --William Kahrl 




Work in New Haven Police Department Reform 205 

Coro Foundation Fellowship 207 


The Campaign as Political Theater 209 
The Political Context: Republicans and the Environment under 

Governor Reagan 210 

John Ehrlichman at the Governor's Environmental Conference 212 

Crediting George Murphy for Seashore Success, After the Fact 213 


Jim Williams and Francia Welker 216 

The Aesthetic Appeal of Point Reyes 217 

Riding the Wave of the Corte Madera Creek Battle 218 
Taking Advantage of Media Interest in the Drake's Plate 

Controversy 219 

Legislative Action to Remove Private Cabins from Mount Tamalpais 

State Park, 1972 221 

Nonpartisan Nature of Save Our Seashore 224 
Subsequent Career in Environmental Issues, Politics, and Writing 225 




Peter Behr recommended that we interview Bill Kahrl for the Point 
Reyes project in order to get the point of view of one who, as a young 
campaign worker in the 1969 Save Our Seashore organization, brought 
tremendous energy and political savvy to the petition drive. Kahrl had 
recently arrived in the Bay Area and was serving as a Coro Foundation 
fellow when Behr drafted him to assist Save Our Seashore. 

Following his stint on the Point Reyes campaign, Kahrl worked with 
Alfred Heller on the California Tomorrow plan, served on Behr's 
legislative staff in Sacramento and the staff of Assembly Speaker Bob 
Moretti. Under Governor Jerry Brown, he served in the Office of Planning 
and Research, producing the California Water Atlas. At the time of this 
interview, Kahrl was an associate editor of the Sacramento Bee. His 
expertise as a political analyst is evident as he recalls the political 
context of the Save Our Seashore campaign in this oral history. 

The interview was conducted in Bill Kahrl 's office at the Bee on May 
15, 1991. He reviewed the transcript without substansive changes. 

Ann Lage 

Berkeley, California 
February 1992 

Regional Oral History Office 
Room 486 The Bancroft Library 


University of California 
Berkeley, California 94720 

Your full name 

(Please write clearly. Use black ink.) 


Date of birth-30 


Father's full name f" tjA* I / *l* /C U * I 

Occupation _ _ Birthplace 


Mother's full name ft j> f ! e> I 

Your spouse /C << l/\, 1 4 4 rt 


*d? fC 

Your children 

*'t0j1 fl4S t /8 

t ** 

Where did you grow up? 
Present community 

Mot* A* Ves*c>n 

Occupa t ion ( s) 

Areas of expertise 

Other interests or activities 

Organizations in which you are active_ 


[Interview 1: May 15, 1991 ]## 1 

Work in New Haven Police Department Reform 

Lage: Ue like to start with a little bit of personal background to get a 
sense of who you were when you got involved with the Save Our 
Seashore campaign. Where you were born, education, that kind of 
thing. Do you want to start with that? 

Kahrl: Sure, I can't imagine how old I was at that point, but you can 

figure it out. I was born in 1946. I had gone to Yale College and 
the Yale Graduate School in American Studies and then had spent a 
year with the New Haven Police Department, which was at that point 
really on the cutting edge of what was, in those days, thought of 
as a great opening of possibilities for reform in the whole 
administration of police forces. It was an area of great interest 
to me. 

Lage: How did you develop that interest? 

Kahrl: As an undergraduate at Yale, I was what's called a Scholar of the 
House, which meant that I was relieved of all course requirements 
to do my own research. For my research I had access to the 
personal papers of Allan Pinker ton, who had been the founder of the 
Pinkerton National Detective Agency, which in turn had served as 
the model for the organization of police forces in the United 
States. So, I had been working in that area for some time. This 
is really ancient history but the interesting thing--. This was 
the beginning of the LEAA Program. Ramsey Clark was the attorney 
general. This was in the days before John Mitchell- - 

Lage: You're going to have to tell me what LEAA is. 

1 This symbol (##) indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 227. 


Kahrl: The Lav Enforcement Assistance Administration was the first of the 
big congressional acts to reform police systems from the federal 
level. We had been through a series of police riots both on 
campuses --Columbia being the most infamous, but Harvard as well-- 
and then, of course, at the Democratic National Convention [in 
Chicago, 1968]. There was a tremendous amount of interest in how 
to upgrade police. James Q. Wilson at Harvard was just publishing 
then. It was a new field. 

Lage: Did some of your interest come out of the campus experience with 
police during those turbulent times? 

Kahrl: One of the things that I did for the New Haven Police Department 
was develop their contingency plan for the handling of mass 
demonstrations. That was successfully deployed in what was a big 
deal in 1970, the Bobby Seale demonstrations. Do you remember 
Bobby Seale? 

Lage: Sure, [former Black Panther leader, a militant Black group 

headquartered in Oakland, California, and one of the Chicago Seven, 
the seven individuals accused of conspiracy in connection with the 
riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.] 

Kahrl: That's because you're from Berkeley. Nobody else remembers. 

Anyway, New Haven, Connecticut, at that point had been the place 
where the whole urban renewal program had originated and was still 
very much kind of cutting- edge stuff, under the mayor, Richard Lee, 
who had led that city into its golden age. He was at that point 
nearing the end of his career but had brought in a very dynamic 
chief who was devising all sorts of new approaches to these 
problems, and that was a very exciting place to work. His name was 
James Ahearn. And so I worked with Ahearn until the end of the Lee 
administration. Lee had run as a virtual independent in city 
administration; he was his own party, election after election. 
When he became too old to continue, it was apparent that control of 
the city administration would return to the Democratic machine, 
which was Italian, not Irish. It was charming; they waited until 
St. Patrick's Day following the election to fire all of the Irish 
police administrators, replacing them with Italians, and this was 
the St. Patrick's Day massacre. There was a lot of style to the 
whole thing. 


Coro Foundation Fellowship 

Kahrl : In any event, I had managed by that time to secure a Coro 

Foundation Fellowship and so came out to San Francisco in the fall 
of 1969 to spend that year with the Coro program in a variety of 

Lage: Go back one step. Where were you born? Are you from the East? 

Kahrl: I'm from Mount Vernon, Ohio. 

Lage: When did you graduate from Yale? 

Kahrl: '68. 

Lage: Okay. Now we have you at Coro, with an interest in public 
administration, it sounds like. 

Kahrl: Oh, yes, very much so. The Coro program is a very good way to land 
running in a new location, and my wife and I were very interested 
in coming to the Bay Area and to California. 

Lage: Why the Bay Area and California? 

Kahrl: A very exciting place- -moving out of places that had large machine 
political activities- -a place with a much more open political 
process, a place in which anything was possible. Also, Earth Day 
was just aborning at that point. I had an active interest in 
environmental issues, and San Francisco still had the cache; it had 
not yet moved on to Boston as the place to be. 

Lage: So now we have you out here and with Coro. How did you get hooked 
up with the Save Our Seashore organization? You must have gotten 
involved just after you came. 

Kahrl: Pretty much. I've been searching my memory. I cannot remember the 
specific touch to Peter [Behr] . I suspect that what was going on 
was that the Save Our Seashore campaign was very much a hip-pocket 
operation. There had been very little advanced planning, there was 
virtually no funding, and there was no time span to it. It was not 
a sustained campaign; it was one great flurry of activity with a 
specific time limit. For that reason I'm sure that Peter was wise 
enough to know that one place to shop for clever assistants- -for 
free --would be through the Coro Foundation. 

Lage: He says he sent Jim Williams over to look over the crop. 


Kahrl: There were three of us who were actually working with Peter. Only 
I cane from the Coro group. Jim was there, and then there was a 
woman by the name of Franc ia Velker. 


Kahrl: No, I was working with a variety of projects. That year I spent 
ost of my time both with Peter and with the Nature Conservancy, 
which was then being run by Huey Johnson, on something called the 
Bay Project. Then subsequently 1 worked with a man by the name of 
Alfred Heller, who was running an organization called California 
Tomorrow. So that although the Coro program is supposed to give 
you an opportunity for exposure to a diversity of activities and 
programs, 1 spent an unconscionable amount of time in 
environmentally related activities. And that was only one 
collection of people; it was only one continuous group. I can't 
remember whether 1 had started with Huey and then he passed me to 
Peter or vice versa. I suspect it was the versa. 

Lage: The way Peter tells it is that he sent Jim Williams over to Coro to 
look over the crop, and he came back and said, "We have to get Bill 
Kahrl," and then he asked you. 

Kahrl: I believe it. [laughter] 



The CamDaien as Political Theater 

Lage : Now, do you remember what kind of marching orders you were given, 
or how much you had to devise this campaign yourself? Were you 
asked to help run the petition campaign, am I right about that? 

Kahrl: Oh, yes, the whole focus of our effort was on the petition 

Lage: How did Peter exercise his leadership of that? Do you recall that? 

Kahrl: Veil, most of the work that we were doing was all fetch -and -carry 

work, strictly advance work for particular meetings. By the time I 
joined, as I recall, we had a specific objective in terms of an 
event in mind that all of this was pointed toward. This was 
theater after all, in part, a large part, a very active political 
theater. The question was, "All right, where do we stage the last 
act?" That was always the heart of the question. 

Lage: You thought of it at that time as theater, or is this looking back? 

Kahrl: Well this is, of course, the benefit of hindsight. There was 

certainly the case that you needed a point at which to either make 
a delivery, but more importantly, make the pitch. And that was at 
the California's Changing Environment Conference [November 17-18, 
1969] that then Governor Ronald Reagan was organizing in Los 
Angeles. That was the turning point in terms of the success of the 
campaign. My guess would be that I came on within four to six 
weeks in advance of that, and certainly, in terms of what I was 
responsible for, there was preparing for that conference. 

Lage: Rather than going out and collecting signatures? 

Kahrl: No, certainly, no, I did not spend any time sitting in shopping 
centers collecting signatures. 


Lage: Did you spend time getting people to circulate petitions? 

Kahrl: Well, that we spent a lot of time with, with that kind of thing, 
but I was not truly physically gathering signatures. 

The Political Context: Republicans and the Environment under 
Governor Reagan 

Lage: How did the governor's environmental conference relate to this 

Kahrl: Two things. I'm a political analyst; can I begin to rattle on a 

little bit for the context of this thing? Couple of things to keep 
in mind. First, with regard to Peter's position in all this. 
Peter at that point was a Republican but not much of one in the 
view of the party as it had become under Ronald Reagan. This was 
not the historic California party; it was the very new kind of new- 
right party that Ronald Reagan was fashioning. And Peter was not a 
loyalist in that camp. 

He was, however, a very important regional figure, but a 
purely regional figure. He had notoriety within Marin County 
because he was the first person to have won a supervisorial recall 
election in a major fight in that county. And he was an 
environmentalist, and there was no question, I think, in anyone's 
mind, although it was certainly not public at that time, that he 
was preparing- -he had just stepped down from the board of 
supervisors, he was doing the Point Reyes National Seashore effort, 
and this was to be in turn the springboard into a race for the 
state senate, which he subsequently succeeded in [1970]. 

Lage: Was this something that he discussed with you? 

Kahrl: Well, it was certainly a given; it was a given going into this. 

All right. So, he is not only a slightly suspect Republican within 
his own party, but he was a very avid red-assed environmentalist. 
That was even more ambiguous in terms of the response of his own 
party. One of the things I am surprised to realize that I have to 
remind people is that even in 1970 there was such a thing as 
environmental ism. I mean, there's a real sense in talking to a lot 
of journalists these days that somehow it was all invented in the 
last ten years. We had not only a very active environmental 
movement, but a very successful one. 

This effort was very much a direct outgrowth of the success in 
the creation of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. 


San Francisco was the center of that kind of concern. California 
Tomorrow and Cry California was the journal and the conscience of 
that whole campaign. It was also the headquarters of the Sierra 
Club. It was where a movement that was only just beginning to rear 
its head had a lot of its roots. 

It's also the case that environmental ism has a very long 
tradition in California, and a lot of it is Republican, so that 
Peter was tapping into and was the latest exponent of a very old- 
line Republican tradition. Probably they were not necessarily 
politically liberal on other issues, or what we think of now as 
being politically liberal on other issues. But certainly the old 
money, to the extent that there is such a thing as old money in 
California, was represented in Mar in County, and that was where 
Peter was coming from. So the Rents and a lot of the families that 
were the founding families of Marin County themselves had a long 
tradition of involvement in these issues. 

Lage: The Livermores, certainly. 

Kahrl: Yes. Now another piece of this is that Ronald Reagan, whom we 

think of now as the "Prince of Environmental Darkness," was not at 
all that kind of monster during his governorship. He had come into 
office , after all , and done a number of good things , one of them 
involved in the appointment of [Norman B. "Ike") Livermore as his 
resources secretary, but then most importantly, probably, was the 
rejection of the [Dos Rios] dam project in defense of Indian 
interests, which was considered a major environmental victory. 

Even when he left Sacramento after finishing his second term 
as governor, you could make a very strong case on the basis of his 
record, that he was, and still is, the best environmental governor 
the state of California has ever had. You would make that claim on 
the basis of the legislation and the programs that were enacted and 
launched during his administration. Now, he may have been 
uncomfortable with a lot of those; the programs originated in the 
legislature and so forth; all of those are the important 
qualifications when you attempt any such designation. But for the 
level of truthfulness that one expects for political brochures, 
which is not a very demanding standard, you could make that claim. 
And it would be absolutely rock- solid. 

John Ehrlichman at the Governor's Environmental Conference 

Kahrl: So that it was not as absurd as it would be today to think that 
Ronald Reagan would sponsor something called the Governor's 
Conference on California's Changing Environment, and lend his name 
to it. I don't remember what the conference was about. 1 remember 
the logos. I don't think it had any real focus; it was just an 
opportunity for that administration to establish itself as being 
interested and involved in these issues. It was held in Los 
Angeles. It was held at the very glamorous hotel that had grounds 
and bungalows that was recently shut down and is being perhaps 
demolished, where Bobby Kennedy died [the Ambassador Hotel]. 

It was a big deal; it was certainly one place where this 
relatively obscure and probably dangerous Republican petition 
gatherer, Peter Behr, could legitimately expect to waylay Ronald 
Reagan, and get his attention and appear in a picture with him, and 
so forth and so on. So that was why it was important to be there, 
to have more than a booth represented. But also, as it turned out, 
this was also where John Ehrlichman [newly appointed assistant to 
the president for domestic affairs] showed up. Ehrlichman appeared 
at the conference --and this is neat, very neat, actually, I 
thought. This is what, this is the fall of '69, it must be, isn't 

Lage: Right. The whole campaign happened between September and November. 
[The conference was November 17-18, 1969.] 

Kahrl: So Ehrlichman at this point is not a figure that anyone knows very 
much about. He is simply this guy who's running domestic policy 
for the president, whose picture you recognize but whose outlook 
and so forth hadn't been terribly well defined. Erlichman was on 
the program for the conference as the president's domestic policy 
adviser. He came a day early, unannounced, and was very quietly 
making his way through the conference and just listening to people, 
which I thought was a very cool thing to be doing. He was really 
quite a charming fellow in every respect. Surprisingly, he was 
able to move in and out of the crowds there without being 
recognized immediately. 

Lage: He wasn't that familiar a face. 

Kahrl: No, he was not a familiar face. We kind of latched on to him, and 
I like to think that, of course, turned out to be a significant 
connection in terms of not just Point Reyes but in the politics of 
getting Nixon to agree to the petition. The rest, as they say, was 
history. You had at that point Peter in touch with Reagan and with 
Ehrlichman, and I'm convinced it was at that conference, during the 


course of those meetings which were occurring in the hotel room, 
which 1 was not at, that the final scenario was fixed in terms of 
how this was going to play. 1 

Lage: Now, it's funny that Peter has never brought up John Ehrlichman-- 

Kahrl: [laughter] Isn't that always true of these oral histories? 
Everybody has a different version of what happened. 

Lage: Right. Exactly. Veil, the papers show that Ehrlichman's office 
was very crucial but the clue we got to Ehrlichman's office was 
through Pete McCloskey, who was a longtime friend of Ehrlichman, 
and who had pleaded for Point Reyes to Ehrlichman. We hope at some 
point to be interviewing John Ehrlichman. But this is totally new, 
so I'm really interested to hear about it. 

Crediting Georee Murphv for Seashore Success. After the Fact 

Kahrl: Veil, what does Peter say was how they got the president- - 
Lage: He thought it was through George Murphy. 

Kahrl: No, but how did the President--? Yes, but how through George 
Murphy, that's the question. 

Lage: Veil, just George Murphy feeling the pressure from the petitions, 

Kahrl: No! 

Lage: --and then Murphy pleading with Nixon to please change your mind, 

Kahrl: No. Peter is telling you the story that was written after the 

Lage: (laughter] Tell me more so I can go back to him. [See pp. 147- 

1 The Vhite House announced support for full funding of Point Reyes on 
the afternoon of November 18, 1969 (which was the last day of the 
Governor's Conference in California). The announcement followed a meeting 
in Vashington with President Nixon, Senator Murphy, and Congressmen Vayne 
Aspinall and Don Clausen. The Sacramento Bee news story on November 19, 
1969, credited Murphy with helping to set up the Vhite House meeting. See 
interviews with Peter Behr, John Ehrlichman, and others in this series for 
varying perspectives. --Ed. 


Kahrl: Okay, that was the deal. No, the deal that was hatched, and as I 
say, I suspect, but wasn't there, so 1 don't know that it was 
hatched at the conference, was, "All right, we will honor the 
petitions," and the question then was releasing the funds that 
Congress had appropriated- -it wasn't anything else. The president 
would release the funds and in exchange, the reason for doing so, 
is so that we can give the credit for this success to George 
Murphy. In other words, Peter kind of eats it and has to go into 
the shadows, and that's all right with Peter because his interest 
is in the outcome, and his success will still be recognized in 
Mar in, which is the base from which he's going to be running 
anyway . 

But the more important thing, particularly from Ronald 
Reagan's point of view, is that his friend George Murphy- -who was 
doing nothing on anything at this point- -was going to get credit 
for some significant success because they were desperate to find 
something to point to that they could claim was a George Murphy 
achievement, that might justify his re-election. Because this was 
a guy who had done absolutely nothing during his tenure in office. 
God knows George Murphy did absolutely nothing on Point Reyes, 

Lage: [He was a cosponsor of the legislation in the Senate.] He wrote a 
couple of letters. 

Kahrl: I'm sure they were written by Peter. So Murphy was handed the 

credit, and I'm sure if you go back into the records you'll find 
Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan thanking George Murphy for his 
wonderful efforts on behalf of this great public involvement. I 
think if you go back to your records you will also find no other 
trace of George Murphy's involvement with this campaign, 
[laughter] Absolutely none. 

Lage: Were you at the governor's conference on the environment? 

Kahrl: Oh, yes. 

Lage: But not present at these meetings. 

Kahrl: No, no, I was not invited into the higher councils. 

Lage: But Peter was meeting with John Ehrlichman? 

Kahrl: Oh, of course, yes, right. That was the great success, and the 
opportunity that was created there, having Ehrlichman present. 

Lage: Now, when you say that everything was being directed towards that 
conference, do you mean-- 


Kahrl : Because that was the place where you could get to Reagan, if 

nothing else, and a chance of getting to Ehrlichman- - actually, it 
turned out to be a better chance than anyone expected. 

Lage: Just how much influence did Reagan have on Nixon, after all? 

Kahrl: Quite a lot. You betcha, it's his state. And nobody knew which way 
Reagan was going to go on environmental stuff. Yes, Reagan was 
very important; it was extremely important to get Reagan's 
endorsement at the very least. Certainly if he was opposed to 
this, we would have been in serious trouble. 

Lage: Veil, 1 guess why 1 asked that, 1 had again come across comments 
that by the time he did endorse it, it really probably didn't 
matter. It was a little late in the game by the time he actually 
came out publicly in favor of the seashore [on November 14, 1969]. 

Kahrl: I guarantee you, it was before George Murphy. [laughter] And 

George Murphy, as the history books say, well, did it. It was his 
personal victory. 

Lage: So Peter reported these things to you at the time, so if he doesn't 
remember, I can jog his memory back? 

Kahrl : Perhaps . 

Lage: [laughter] When you say that you were keying your efforts towards 
the environment conference, did you mean getting a lot of petitions 

Kahrl: Sure, it was a major gathering of environmentalists; it was an 

opportunity, it was a stage where you could trot your stuff out and 
where most of the key players, or many of them, would be present. 
What were you working with there, something like a three-month 
window? There aren't that many major gatherings of environmental 
interests where you are going to have a lot of news media present. 
Of course, it was the thing that you were reaching towards. 



Jim Williams and Franc la We Ike r 

Lage: What do you remember about engineering that petition campaign? Did 
you three young people kind of run the show? I read that Margaret 
Azevedo was the petition chairman. Do you remember working with 

Kahrl: Oh, sure. But I'm not good on that because that's one of a blur of 
many such activities I've been involved in over the years. 

Lage: Okay, so 'you can't tell me the the actual details of how you got a 
petition campaign underway and who you recruited--? 

Kahrl: I have very little detail. The only thing I can remember with any 
great clarity is that it involved traveling around a lot to get to 
these various sessions and whatnot, and since Jim Williams and I 
were both at that time married, as we still are, and had children, 
the only thing I can remember with any great clarity is the 
elaborate- -since we were short on fundsthe elaborate mechanisms 
we had to go through as to how in the hell all three of us were 
going to sleep in the same room with Francia and not get in 
trouble. That was about it. [laughter] She, fortunately, was 

Lage: Tell me a little about Jim and Francia. What were their 
backgrounds? What have they gone on to? 

Kahrl: Jim, as far as I know, and I haven't talked to him in more than 

three years, has been working all the way along with the University 
of California at Santa Cruz Extension. That's an entrepreneurial 
business, so that they offer whatever programs people are willing 
to pay money for. For a long time he was involved in international 
programs, then he was involved with alcoholism programs, and then 
he was involved in international programs on alcoholism, 
[laughter] Francia is an attorney. 


Lage: Was she at the time? 

Kahrl: No. She went to the Golden Gate University, subsequently. 

Lage: She came out of Huey Johnson's operation, Peter Behr indicated. 

Kahrl: Well, if she did, she came out of it as a secretary. 

Lage: Yes, something like that. 

Kahrl: She was much more capable --she was just an extraordinary woman. 

She still is. Anyway, Francia is an attorney. She worked for me 
for a while, when I was director of research in Jerry Brown's 
office, on reclamation law enforcement, became very actively 
involved, and was the staff to the state -federal task force on 
enforcement of reclamation law, which was a very big deal at the 
time, and then went into private practice in the north coast, and 
now is back in San Francisco and as far as 1 know, does most of her 
work in criminal appeals. Death penalty stuff. 

The Aesthetic Appeal of Point Reyes 

Lage: A lot of questions I had to ask you have to do with running the 
petition campaign, which you don't remember. 

Kahrl: Well, try me, what the heck, you may jog all kinds of things. 

Lage: 1 wondered why you thought the issue was so attractive. Why were 
you able to get 450,000 people signing the petitions? 

Kahrl: The environmental movement in California at this point, as a 

political effort, was still visually driven. Today we drive it on 
the basis of fear. If you don't do this, all life will be 
extinguished, we will be poisoned by our water. Cancer is a big 
selling point. 

In those days it was still driven very much on a visual level, 
on an aesthetic level, and had this gorgeous territory. And we had 
a nice book at a time when Sierra Club books were still- -for most 
people the environmental movement was Sierra Club books --so you had 
this nice book called An Island in Time, which was a strong selling 
point. You know, "Save this thing, it looks good." That was a big 
part of the pitch. 


Riding the Wave of the Corte Madera Creek Battle 

Kahrl: And you had in Mar in County a recent experience with a similar 
citizens' movement, and people were still flushed with it. 

Lage: Is this Save San Francisco Bay? 

Kahrl: No. Not Save the Bay, one much more important, but completely 
forgettable, which were the battles against the Army Corps of 
Engineers. The Army Corps office in northern California, a couple 
of years previously, went bananas on riprapping creeks. And there 
were huge citizens' battles fought over the destruction of Walnut 
Creek- -believe me, there used to be a creek over there. In Marin, 
I forget the name of the creek there, a whole string of these 
things . 

Lage: Corte Madera Creek, I remember it. 

Kahrl: And these were wealthy people who were getting rousted out of their 
houses and going out and saying, "Oh, boy, I'm going to go march in 
the creek and rub shoulders with the common people," and they 
thought they were really the bees' knees at that point. 


Kahrl: And Peter was the drum major for a lot of that stuff. So it was 
quite natural. 

Lage: How were you aware of these creek battles? Was that going on at 
the same time? 

Kahrl: Just previous. So that there was this, "Oh, boy! That was fun! 
Now what will we do?" kind of attitude. 

Lage: Well, I know some fairly prominent citizens blocked the bulldozers. 

Kahrl: Yes, they thought this was terrific stuff. And a lot of those 
fights were in Kentfield; it's just a riot to think of some of 
those guys doing all of that stuff. So there was a lot of "Okay, 
we've got all this unexpended energy, let's find something else to 
march on . " 

Lage: The timing was right. 

Kahrl: Right, you bet. So that was a big influence, I think. 


Taking Advantage of Media Interest in the Drake's Plate Controversy 

Kahrl: What else was going on? I mean, really, the land itself was such a 
major selling point, and then there was Drake's Plate and the 
controversy over whether Drake landed in Drakes Bay at Point Reyes 
or in San Francisco Bay. I'm pretty sure that was also when Bob 
Power was also doing his pitch on that, but this is really an 
obscure connection. 

Lage: Bob Power. Who was that? 

Kahrl: He Just died. He was the owner of the Nut Tree [restaurant in 
Fairf ield] . And he was one of the great exponents of Drake's 
Plate. Veil, Peter worked that one for everything it was worth. 
You know, "We can't lose this site. This was where Drake landed in 
1579," and we spent hours marching around out there and showing 
people, "Oh, yes, this is where the Golden Hind sailed in," and all 
that stuff. You rode whatever p.r. stuff there was on the Drake's 
Plate controversy, which was one of those Bay Area controversies 
that the local newspapers just love. They can run those--! think 
it's still going on. 

Lage: It still hasn't been resolved. 

Kahrl: Yes, they love that. Millions of miles of ink that they run on 

those things. And they adore it, and everybody seems to enjoy it. 
And so that was another thing that you worked and rode and 
enhanced . 

Lage: Had you done these kinds of media promotional things before? This 
wasn't part of your background, was it? 

Kahrl: No, no. I hadn't done very much politically. 

Lage: Peter mentioned a film that was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. 

Kahrl: Goodness gracious, I'm amazed that he would remember this. 

Lage: He also mentioned your being a Yale Scholar of the House. 

Kahrl: Peter would do that because he was from Yale. No, this is true. 
I had done a film with- -boy, I must have spent two years on that 
damn thing. Yes, I did a film with two other people, 
undergraduates at college, and yes, it did get into Cannes, and it 
was fun. It was also one of those experiences, like pouring 
concrete, that my wife says, "See, now you learned another 
profession you never want to pursue." [laughter] 

Lage: That was your media experience. 


Kahrl: Certainly. That was my media experience. No, and the only 

political activity in which I had been engaged prior to that was 
the campaign for- -no, that's not true, of course that's not true. 
I had been involved with New Haven politics, which was nothing but 
politics. But in terms of electoral stuff, the only activity I had 
had was involved with the Abe [Abraham] Ribicoff campaign. You may 
remember at the Chicago convention during the police riot, that 
Senator Ribicoff from Connecticut got up on the podium and 
announced that, "They're killing our children in the streets." 
Mayor [Richard J.j Daley had shouted him down with a lot of racial 
epithets, calling him "a dirty kike" and whatnot. And at that 
point the party abandoned his reelection campaign in Connecticut. 
And so all right-thinking people at that point went out and spent a 
lot of time working for Abe Ribicoff to make sure he got elected. 
It was just what one did. So that was what I had done in electoral 



Legislative Action to Remove Private Cabins from Moqn,t 
State Park. 1972 

Lage: Do you have anything else to say about why that campaign took hold, 
or any memories of the leadership of the Save Our Seashore- -the 
group of women, mainly, who were on the board, and of Peter 

Kahrl: Well, Peter worked with the board. I did not. We were strictly 
fetch -and -carry people. There's one other element that I recall. 
Has anyone told you about the Cap [Caspar] Weinberger cabins? 

Lage : No . 

Kahrl: [laughter] 

Lage: I like the insinuating laugh that you have, though. 

Kahrl: This is one of the goofier aspects of the whole thing. At the 

point that we were talking about this, Point Reyes was not yet the 
Golden Gate National Recreation Area. And as far as I know, the 
Golden Gate National Recreation Area wasn't even a glimmer in 
anybody's mind at that point. 

Lage: No, I don't think it was, until later. 

Kahrl: In the course of doing the Point Reyes National Seashore we 

discovered- -this will give you a good indication of just how far 
outside the establishment of the Bay Area Peter was at that point 
-we discovered the well-kept secret of the Mount Tamalpais cabins. 
And this is a very funny story. 

Lage: You young people discovered it? 

Kahrl: Well, we found about it because it was an ugly secret among the 

old-line environmentalists. Above Stinson Beach, to the south of 
Stinson Beach, as you may remember, you come in on a big hill which 
winds down into the town. Over to the left, as you came around the 
bend, just before the first view you have of Stinson Beach, there 
were, and as far as I know still are, about a dozen cabins. Do you 
know about the these cabins? 

Lage: Yes, the cabins at Steep Ravine. 


Kahrl: Okay. Now how do you know about those cabins? 

Lage: When I interviewed Peter about his state senate career, he told me 
about the cabins. 

Kahrl: All right, then you know the story. 

Lage: I don't know how it relates to this, though. I know that Dorothea 
Lange had a cabin there, and there's this wonderful book called Jo. 
a Cabin that tells about her experiences there. And then I have 
had friends who, now that they're public, have gone and stayed 
there . 

Kahrl: So Peter tells you the story of how they got to be public. 

Lage: But he never mentioned how it had anything to do with this Save Our 
Seashore experience. 

Kahrl: Well, I don't know that the connection is direct except that there 
was a concern, all the way through, that if you made this land 
public, that it might interfere with the cabins. Now we can't have 
anybody interfering with the cabins. And everybody would say, 
"What cabins?" and they'd say, "Never mind. Never mind. You don't 
want to know about the cabins." 

Lage: And what does Cap Weinberger have to do with it? 

Kahrl: Well, this is part of the glory of the whole thing. Now the deal 
was- -I don't know how much Peter told you of this story. 

Lage: He didn't mention Cap Weinberger. 

Kahrl: I wrote the bill [S.B. 682, passed in 1972 when Kahrl was on Peter 
Behr's state Senate staff]. Originally the cabins were built by 
William Kent or Roger Kent, I'm pretty sure. And were just out 
there for his pals, you know, a few friends would come out in the 
summertime. And they were very primitive. I don't know what 
they're like now, but they were very primitive. 

Lage: They still are. 

Kahrl: They were not a big deal. In any event, when the family donated 
the land that became Tamalpais State Park, there was a dirty deal 
struck. Not a malicious deal, but a secret, dirty deal struck, to 
keep the cabins going and to keep them for the family's friends, 
and not to let people in. 

Lage: But they still became part of the park. 


Kahrl: They were part of the park. And what was involved here as we 
subsequently discovered in doing the legislation, was that the 
damn Department of Parks and Recreation, at taxpayer expense, had 
put up a gate across this public land, to keep the public out, and 
guarded the damn thing. I mean, there was money being spent to 
protect these privileged cabins. And access to the cabins was 
denied to anyone who was not a member of the family, or one of the 
families to whom the original family had passed the privilege 
along . 

So we said, "This stinks." And they said, "Well, we can't 
touch it." The people involved here are so influential that no 
one would touch it. Subsequently, being young and crazy we said 
"Okay, we got to do away with this terrible thing." And so we put 
in the legislation to say this stops, this is over, and immediately 
got a letter back from the Legislative Counsel, which is the agency 
which prepares bill language for the legislature, which said, "This 
is unconstitutional. You cannot revoke the leases on those 
cabins. " 

We said, "What do you mean, you can't revoke them?" Well, 
they produced a statute that had been written by a well-connected 
San Francisco attorney by the name of Caspar Weinberger, who had 
written this for the people who held the cabins. What it provided 
was an eternal right of renewal. Literally eternal. It was the 
most incredible piece of statutory writing you've ever seen. It 
could not be repealed, ever. Because basically what it said- -it 
was like an Indian treaty- -it said, "You shall have the right of 
annual renewal of this lease" or biennial or whatever it was, 
"until such time as" an impossible thing happens. You know, in the 
Indian treaties, "and for as long as the sun shines and the rain 
falls." This was, as I recall, something impossible. "Until such 
time as the state installs an amusement park on the bluff over 
Stinson Beach." I mean, that's eternal, [laughter] And we had 
that damn letter dogging us at every turn. 

Lage: And that was written into the law. 

Kahrl: Right. That was written into the California statutes. And the 
only response to that is "Fine, let them sue." But there was 
tremendous pressure brought on Peter, quietly, saying, "Don't do 
this thing. Don't take away our cabins." And Peter to his credit, 
kept at it. Now, as I recall, even after the bill passed, and 
there were many, many, many stories written about this because I 
remember there was a reporter for the Sacramento Bee named John 
Berthelson, who loved the stories about the cabins. And so he 
wrote a lot about this evil thing. 


Even after the legislation was passed, the Department of Parks 
and Recreation found other ways --it took down the gate, I'm sure 
they took down the gate --but I'm sure they found other ways to keep 
those people in there, and not let the public in. And that went on 
for quite some time. And Peter did not press that point. 
Legislation had passed, that was enough as far as Peter was 
concerned. He had done enough. 

Lage: He probably made a few enemies on that one. 

Kahrl: Yes, and not only enemies but enemies among his otherwise fellow 

travelers. And one of those fellow travelers and the beneficiaries 
of this secret and obnoxious leasing arrangement is the author of 
Island in Time, that stalwart environmentalist, Harold Gilliam. 

Lage: So he was one of the ones with the cabins. 

Kahrl: Yes. And I think it was intensely embarrassing to him. 

Lage: Oh, yes. It puts you in that position of being an elitist. 

Kahrl: You bet it did. And that was exactly the position he was in. 

Anyway, I enjoyed it. Between George Murphy and Harold Gilliam, I 
would say this was my first real experience with the political 
special interests, the elitism of the environmental movement. It 
was still a positive experience though, in every way. 

Nonpartisan Nature of Save Our Seashore 

Lage : How partisan did the Save Our Seashore campaign seem? Was there a 
partisan element? 

Kahrl: No. You see, that's the thing that I wanted to emphasize at the 
beginning, was that Reaganism as the predominant force spilling 
through the Republican party at that point, didn't know, hadn't 
made up its mind, didn't know what it thought about, 
environmental ism. And certainly the Democratic party was not 
identified to the extent that it has been- -certainly in the Big 
Green campaign [a broad- spectrum environmental initiative measure, 
Proposition 128, on California's November 1990 ballot] --as the 
exclusive green party. On the contrary, the Democratic party, 
because of its traditional, and then still very active, 
relationship to the union movement, was considered actively hostile 
to environmental issues. 


Lage: And the environmental movement hadn't gotten into electoral 
politics either. 

Kahrl: Not at all. With the exception of Sam Farr's father, Fred Farr 

[state senator, 1955-1966], Peter was one of the first legislators 
who arrived in Sacramento with the imprimatur of being an 
environmentalist, an environmentalist legislator. It was still a 
very new and odd thing to be. There were certainly other people 
there who were interested in environmental issues long before Peter 
arrived, and who later became very active in them. Charlie 
[Charles] Varren would be an obvious example. But Charlie had not 
run as an environmentalist. Peter very clearly was an 
environmentalist. And that was his claim to fame. 

Lage: Was there an effort made to identify this campaign with Peter Behr 
among you people? 

Kahrl: No. Peter has too much style and class for that. Of course, it 

was an activity that would be beneficial in terms of his subsequent 
ambitions. However, that was not the only reason for doing it. 
That wasn't even the primary reason. He would have done it 
regardless, I'm sure. 

Subsequent Career in Environmental Issues. Politics, and Writing 

Lage: Okay, can you tell me, just briefly, what you've done since Save 
Our Seashore. I know you've had a really interesting career. 

Kahrl: After the Coro Foundation year, I spent a year with Alfred Heller 

at California Tomorrow, writing the California Tomorrow plan, which 
was a model of comprehensive planning, which we thought was then an 
interesting and desirable notion for California. Now, twenty years 
later, Pete Wilson is beginning to say the time might be right to 
talk about these issues. But, I mean, I had been in the state at 
that point for twelve months, hell, I could figure out what needed 
to happen, I mean, that was perfectly natural. [Laughter] 

Having done that, and having determined that no, indeed, there 
was no constituency for comprehensive planning in the state of 
California, and for the best of reasons, then I got a call from 
Peter and came up [to Sacramento] to work with him on the second 
year of his campaign on the wild and scenic rivers, and generally 
on his whole legislative program. Following the success of the 
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in '72, I was then picked up by the 
staff of the assembly speaker and "soon- to -be governor" Bob 


Lage: Soon- to -be governor? 

Kahrl: Right, well, that was the plan. I ran the legislative program for 
the speaker's office, and when that didn't work out I joined the 
staff of Jerry Brown. 

Lage: In the Office of Planning and Research? 

Kahrl: Yes. 

Lage: Now, is that where you did the California Water Atlas? 1 

Kahrl: The atlas was based there, physically based there. It was created 
organizationally as a free-standing entity that didn't have to 
answer to anybody. And that was very important in terms of its 
success . 

And then after the publication of the atlas, I spent a year as 
a Rockefeller Fellow doing another book on the Owens Valley- -the 
battle over Los Angeles' water supply. 2 And then I've been 
writing ever since, in one capacity or another. 

Lage: And when did you come to the Sacramento Bee? 

Kahrl: '86. 

Lage: And what is your position with the Bee now? 

Kahrl: I'm an associate editor, which means that I'm part of the editorial 

Lage: Unless you have more--. 

Kahrl: No. That's all, that's all. 

Lage: Thank you. You've done a great service here. 

Kahrl: Neither of us will be the judge of that. 

Transcriber: Rita Bashaw 
Final Typist: Kian Sandjideh 

California Water Atlas. William L. Kahrl, project director and editor 
(Sacramento: Governor's Office of Planning and Research, 1979). 

William L. Kahrl, Water and Power: The Conflict Over Los Angeles' 
Water Supply in the Owens Vallev (Berkeley: University of California Press, 

TAPE GUIDE- -William Kahrl 

Date of Interview: May 15, 1991 

tape 1, side a 205 

tape 1, side b 218 


Regional Oral History Office 
The Bancroft Library 

University of California 
Berkeley, California 

Saving Point Reyes National Seashore, 1969-1970 
An Oral History of Citizen Action in Conservation 

Boyd Stewart 

An Interview Conducted by 

Ann Lage 

in 1990 

Copyright fc\ 1993 by The Regents of the University of California 

Boyd Stewart on the porch of his 1864 ranch house, May 1991, 


TABLE OF CONTENTS -- Boyd Stewart 






Preserving Mar in 's Environment, 1930s -1950s 231 

Stability of West Marin Parklands 233 

Clem Miller's Campaign to Establish the Seashore, 1958-1962 235 

The Status of Ranchers and Ranchlands within the Seashore 237 
Authorization of Point Reyes National Seashore and Subsequent 

Increase in Land Values 238 


The Save Our Seashore Campaign in 1969 243 

The Rancher's Changing Attitudes Toward the Park 244 

Getting Accurate Figures on Land Values 245 

Getting Ranchers' Acceptance of Right of Condemnation 247 

Testimony at Congressional Hearings 248 

Showing Alan Bible the Seashore 250 


Park Superintendent John Sansing's Rapport with Ranchers 251 

Marin Ranchers' Attitudes Toward the Land 253 

Park Service Success in Caring for the Land 254 

Stewart's Stanford Education and Other Influences 257 
The Ranchers, the Land Developers, and the Economics of 

Ranching and Dairying 259 

Bill Sweet, Logging, and the Lake Ranch 262 

Ranchers and the Park Service 265 


Alan Bible, Don Clausen 268 

Working Quietly, through Personal Contacts 269 


APPENDIX A -- Testimony before House Subcommittee on National Parks 

and Recreation, May 13, 1969 272 

APPENDIX B -- Testimony before Senate Subcommittee on Parks and 

Recreation, February 26, 1970 281 



Boyd Stewart brings to this series of interviews the perspective of 
a lifelong rancher in Point Reyes with a deep appreciation for its beauty 
and a strong land ethic. His ties to Mar in County environmentalists 
dating back to the 1930s helped him appreciate early on the value of the 
park idea at Point Reyes and to eventually become a spokesman for the 
national seashore in the halls of Congress and to his fellow ranchers. 

Stewart was a somewhat reluctant interviewee, preferring not to draw 
attention to his behind-the-scenes role in the campaign for Point Reyes 
National Seashore. Because his views have sometimes conflicted with 
other ranchers among whom he works , he has usually expressed them 
privately, often to public officials with whom he has built personal 
relationships. Nonetheless, he took a leading role in 1969 in bringing 
ranchers together to agree to legislation giving the government the right 
to condemn ranch lands within the seashore area; their agreement helped 
remove a stumbling block to completing land acquisition for the seashore. 
Stewart was a key witness at hearings before the House and Senate 
Interior Committees in May 1969 and February 1970. His testimony at 
these hearings is appended to the interview. 

Boyd Stewart was interviewed on July 12, 1990, at his ranch house in 
Olema. I returned several months later to go over the transcript with 
him and assist him in making a few changes in his original words. During 
both visits, others from the ranch and Park Service communities dropped 
by his welcoming round table to join him for lunch or coffee. At age 
eighty-eight, he is an informal advisor to a wide-ranging group of people 
interested in the well-being of the ranches and landscape of Point Reyes 
National Seashore. 

Ann Lage 

Berkeley, California 
February 1992 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

Room 486 The Bancroft Library 230a Berkeley, California 94720 

(Please write clearly. Use black ink.) 

Your full name Boyd Stewart 

Date of birth 3-16-03 'Birthplace San Rafael, California 

Father's full name Samuel James Stewart 

Occupation rancher Birthplace Scotland 

Mother's full name Margaret Nissan Stewart 

Occupation housewife/rancher Birthplace Livermore, California 

Your spouse Joseffa Conrad Stewart 

Your children JoAnn Stewart 

Where did you grow up? Nicasio, California 

Present community Olema, California 

Education Stanford University, B.A. 1927 

Occupation(s) rancher 

Areas of expertise 

Other interests or activities 

Organizations in which you are active 



[Interview 1: July, 12 1990 ]## 1 

Preserving Marin's Environment. 1930s -1950s 

Lage: Today is July 12, 1990, and I am talking to Boyd Stewart about 
the Point Reyes Seashore. We're particularly interested in the 
1969 effort to get further appropriations. But, I don't think we 
can just start there; we have to get some background. For the 
record, tell about how long you've been here, and when your 
interest in seeing this as a national seashore was first aroused. 

Stewart: My first interest in the seashore started back in the early 

Lage: And how did you become aware of it? 

Stewart: There were two or three women in Mar in County, lived down in 

Ross, who were interested in the county. They lived there and 
liked the kind of county it was- -a rural county, a dairy and beef 
area. And the urban part of it were people who had businesses in 
San Francisco. There were no large towns. San Rafael wasn't 
very big. Really Sepha Evers and Caroline Livermore were the 
motivating people behind this thing. They started out, 
originally, with the odd idea that they should not have roadside 
signs all along the roads. They didn't have an organization 
really at the time. They just met together and talked to people. 
My wife was a young woman that had lived down in Kent fie Id and 
knew them because she taught some of their children music 


Oh, I see. What was your wife's name? 

1 This symbol (////) indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 271. 


Stewart: Josef fa Conrad was her name. We were on the ranch here, and she 
was still teaching. We needed some source of income. That was 
the only cash income at that time that was sure. 

Lage: More so than ranching? 

Stewart: Veil, ranching wasn't very profitable. The Depression had started 
in '29, and along in 1930 things weren't very good. And they 
weren't very good for quite a number of years. 

But these women decided that it would be nice if they didn't 
have roadside signs. The country was full of them every place. 
They went before the board of supervisors. Really, chiefly a 
rural board. Most of the supervisors came from unincorporated 
areas, and they were interested in rural things. And they 
persuaded them to pass an ordinance eliminating signs, and that 
worked. They abated the signs that were up, in spite of the 
opposition of the companies that did the advertising. 

And then they got interested in parks. They successfully 
maneuvered to the end that they got Stinson Beach, old Willow 
Camp, park. They got one up on Mount Tamalpais. They got the 
big one over at Camp Taylor. They got one up at Inverness, or 
actually two pieces of land up at Inverness, made into county 
parks. And they were the ones that were responsible for Angel 
Island not being sold for development. They persuaded the 
federal government to let them take care of it until eventually 
the state took it over. 

Lage: Now, were you aware of this and watching it happen at the time? 

Stewart: Veil, my wife was interested in it, and I was interested in it 
because these bloody roadside signs were a nuisance and 
aggravation. You know, they have them all over. There was a 
need, it was obvious that there was a need for the parks, and 
then there was an additional reason. I had had some dealings 
with the woman, [Mrs. Roger] who owned Camp Taylor. I guess it 
was in 1923, I went to see her because our ranch here, where I am 
now, adjoins her property, which is Camp Taylor. 

Lage: Oh, it does? And hers goes over the hill? 

Stewart: Right over the hill, and there is an area up there that doesn't 
have a fence. Never had a fence, because the man that had 
originally bought this land from the Olds had sold Camp Taylor, 
or the Taylor property, to the people who built the paper mill. 
They had never surveyed one line and had never built a fence. 
Right on top of the ridge. 




I vent to see this Mrs. Roger, who owned a lot of property, 
an elderly widow. This was back in 1923 or '24, could have been 
1924, when I was in college. We had bought the ranch in 1923, 
and my father wanted to find out what to do about the area on top 
of ridge where there was no fence. And I went to see her. After 
she located the piece of property, she informed me that she 
wasn't interested in it at all. That her husband had acquired it 
on a mortgage, that someone had not paid, they foreclosed on it, 
and she wanted to give it to the county. 

She asked me, because I was just a young kid in school, if 
I'd go to the board of supervisors. Did 1 know them? And I knew 
some of them, of course, as everyone did. I brought it up before 
the board of supervisors a week or so later, back from college. 
Told them that Mrs. Rogers wanted them to take over Camp Taylor. 
She didn't want to pay taxes on it any more, and she'd give it to 
them. Give it to the county. All 2600 acres. And they laughed 
at the idea and said, "Heavens, no." They didn't want to take it 
over, all they wanted was the taxes from it. She never again 
paid taxes on it, and it became delinquent, and was eventually 
sold for taxes. That's why the group of women that became the 
Marin Conservation League were able to acquire it as a state park 
[Samuel P. Taylor State Park]. 

So they acquired it when it was sold for taxes? 

Yes. Later on. This group had organized. They called 
themselves the Marin Conservation League, after a while. They 
had a very active membership. On their board of directors were a 
couple of men who had worked for the Park Service. One of them 
[Aubrey Neasham] had been a park historian. Another one, a man 
who had worked in the National Park Service administration 
offices concerned with acquiring parks and filling in where they 
didn't own all of the land and so on, was George Collins. 

Stability of West Marin Parklands 

Stewart: They talked about the fact that there was a question about the 
title of a lot of the land out around Limantour Bay, Aubrey 
Neasham in particular. But these men who were on the Marin 
Conservation League board of directors talked about the 
desirability of the parks. And, of course, these women didn't 
want to see the county change. They were probably farseeing 
enough to realize that when the Depression was over, there would 
be some movement of land. 


And there was a peculiar circumstance about the ranches in 
West Mar in, in all of Mar in really. The people that were on 
ranches here had always been moderately successful. They never 
became very wealthy; it wasn't that kind of a dairy or beef 
business. But it was a country that didn't have bad droughts; and 
it was a desirable place to live, and land had not ever moved 
here. There was very, very little movement of land from the time 
it was first acquired on until the park came in. 

Lage: You mean it stayed in the same families? 

Stewart: It stayed in the same families, or if it was sold it was sold to 
a friend, or to a neighbor, or to the son of someone, or to 
someone you knew. It wasn't an area where real estate men were 
dealing in ranch property. Most of the ranches were sold without 
real estate people. 

Lage: Did your father [Samuel James Stewart] --was he in ranching 

Stewart: That's how we acquired this ranch. The man who owned it had 

moved away and rented it out. Had moved down to Los Gatos and 
was living down there. He had two grown daughters that were 
teachers. He wasn't well. He had a physical handicap, I guess 
polio; he didn't know what it was, but he limped badly. And so he 
had moved down in the Santa Clara Valley where it was warm and 
pleasant. Rented the place out. Wasn't happy about renting it 
out to someone just on a cash basis. Drove over to see my 
father, whom he knew quite well, one day in 1923; and came in and 
said, "You know Sam, you always liked that ranch and said it was 
a pretty place." He said, "I came over to sell it to you." And 
that's how land changed. It changed in the county. It hadn't 
been listed with real estate people. 

Lage: Was your father in the ranching business? 

Stewart: Oh, yes. We lived on the ranch with the school house- -rented the 
ranch where the school house is at Nicasio. 

The circumstances were such at the time, of course, that 
land wasn't worth much. And the Conservation League thought it 
would be a wonderful idea if we could get some government money 
and buy up a lot of this land, some of it. People who had been 
on ranches for years weren't making money. They were just 
getting along. There wasn't any great distress. It wasn't like 
the Midwest where banks were going broke, but there wasn't any 
value in land. Well, they talked about a park. They talked from 
about, I don't know, really seriously, maybe from 1933 on. Mrs. 
Livermore, I think before that. They were getting these little 


parks, but what they were dreaming about- -aided and abetted by 
Aubrey Neasham and George Collins- -they were dreaming about a big 
park. [A Park Service report, prepared by Collins, proposed a 
Point Reyes National Seashore in 1959.- -Ed.) 

Lage: And I think the Park Service even looked at it in the thirties. 

Stewart: Veil, these two men came from the Park Service. The Park Service 
had not done anything about it at that time, other than what 
these two men were doing. I think, both of them were no longer 
working for the Park Service at that time. 

Clem Miller's Campaign to Establish the Seashore. 1958-1962 

Stewart: They talked about it and discussed it long enough and finally got 
the Sierra Club and other people interested in it. The thing 
just grew. And finally, Clem Miller--. 

Lage: So now we're clear up to the fifties. 

Stewart: Now we're up to the fifties. 

Lage: So it took awhile. 

Stewart: 1 mean, time had gone by. 

In the meantime, they had gotten these small parks. Took a 
long time, you know, they didn't come all at once. The league 
had built up some membership. It was the right county. Most 
peculiar county. I don't know what you would call them. Some 
people would say they were conservative, but, of course, they 
weren't; they were very radical. But they were people who liked 
the kind of county that they had and didn't want to see it 
change, and they recognized that there was great beauty in this 
county, and they wanted to preserve it. 

There was a thing going on at that time, over in the East 
Bay around Walnut Creek and down the peninsula, where they were 
developing a lot of farm land, beautiful country, into home 

So, they, eventually, had a quite reservoir of popular 
support in a part of the county, not among the ranchers, for a 
park. Clem Miller--. Really, I'm sure that it was because Roger 
Kent told him, "Why don't you campaign for Congress in this 
district on the basis that you favor the establishment of a 


park?" The Park Service was, of course, very interested by this 
time. A lot of time had gone by, ten or twelve years, fifteen 
years, then twenty years since it was talked of. And Clem Miller 

Lage: How do you know of this suggestion from Roger Kent? 
Stewart: I knew Roger from high school. 
Lage: Did you know Clem Miller very well? 

Stewart: Yes. I knew Clem Miller. I know his widow very well. Everybody 
knew him. Mar in County was a little bit of a county before the 
war. 1 don't know whether we had 30,000 or 35,000 people in the 
county. World War II brought a lot of people in to work in the 
shipyards at Mar in City. And, of course, at the end of the war, 
it brought in all of those people who had gone through here and 
wanted to move here. So, we grew rapidly in a short time. 

Lage: But even out here in West Marin you had ties to San Rafael and 
Mill Valley people? 

Stewart: Well, you see, it was such a small county. San Rafael was the 

county seat, right in the town at that time. The courthouse was 
right where the big office building is now, the Bank of America. 
Any rancher or any man that lived around the county any length of 
time, born and raised here, if you walked down Fourth Street in 
San Rafael, lot of people would know you. You didn't have a 
mobile population. You had a very, very static population. You 
had those business people that worked in San Francisco. They 
didn't know us personally, but they knew who all of the ranchers 
were; you never had that many ranchers. You never had two or 
three thousand ranchers. I don't know whether we've ever had 
over five or six hundred total in the county. It was small. 

Clem Miller had a pretty popular project on hand. Ranchers 
didn't catch on in time to oppose it much. They weren't 
interested. They were going along. They were doing well. They 
had done well during the war, and they didn't think anything 
would come of it. Of course, Clem got elected [1958]. 

By this time, people were interested in parks. There was 
that surge of feeling about the environment that had grown from 
the thirties on. They held hearings. They got involved with 
legislation and they held hearings. Things really moved along. 
They put up the legislation which set up the boundaries of the 
Point Reyes National Seashore. 


The Status of Ranchers and Ranchlands within the Seashore 




And because the people that promoted it came from here, at that 
time they didn't start out by saying, "We will move all of the 
ranchers off." When they started talking about it, there were 
areas that were not suitable, that had not been ranched, they 
were just used for dry cattle, they weren't good ranches. A 
number of them along the coast here. 

But nobody paid much attention to the fact that you were 
talking about something that ordinarily wasn't talked of. You 
were talking about making a park out of land that was in 
commercial production. And when they began to think about it, 
they talked about, well, they would have a park there. They 
didn't want to disrupt the county. There was a lot of talk that 
went on back and forth about whether or not, and how, you would 
continue ranching. 

Did you get involved in this sort of, we could call it 
negotiation, maybe? Or is that too strong a word? 

Veil, it wasn't negotiation, 
around kind of wildly. 

It was just everybody running 

But in back of the running around, by this time, you had the 
Marin Conservation League, which was pretty well organized now (a 
long time has gone by) , had an old membership with good 
directors, and you had the Sierra Club deeply involved in it, and 
a strong organization, a vigorous president and executive 
officer. So you had some people who would plan as they talked. 

Now, they didn't plan too well. They wanted the park. 
Everybody they talked to was in favor of the park. They didn't 
talk to the ranchers because they didn't have much contact with 
them, these city people didn't. The Marin County people just 
left the ranchers alone. They had always stood in well with 
them. The ranchers, belatedly, found out that they were being 
taken on. They opposed it. They immediately organized to 
oppose, but this is a little bit like the elephant and the mouse, 
you know. They did spend money. They sent a lawyer to 
Washington to oppose the taking over of the ranches. 

At the time that that first happened, that they opposed it, 
the park had been outlined. The area had been designated for a 
national recreation area, but the legislation wasn't closed. It 
wasn't complete, and it didn't carry the right of condemnation on 
the land that was being operated on. It was separated. The 


ranchers on the point here, the legislation provided they were to 
be in the park and that the park would acquire them. But it 
didn't say the park had the right to condemn, but the other land 
it did. Yes, the rest of the land. 

Lage: As I understand it, the ranchers in the pastoral zone that kept 
their ranches in agricultural use couldn't be condemned. 

Stewart: They couldn't be condemned. 

Lage: Now, was that something that the ranchers through their 
organization got put in to the legislation? 

Stewart: No, no. Because nobody had thought anything through, because no 
one had really gotten everybody together and sat down and said, 
"Veil, now, how can you make a park out of it if you buy just 
pieces of it and leave other pieces out?" Nobody had ever gone 
into it far enough. The way these things work [is that] there 
was great, great interest in getting a park; so, we pass a law 
outlining the park. 

Authorization of Point Reves National Seashore and Subsequent 
Increase in Land Values 

Stewart: We had accomplished a lot. We hadn't the slightest idea how we 

were going to do the rest of it. And they didn't. They began to 
run into problems. They appropriated some money ($14 million], 
and that was part of this not thinking things through, because 
they never appropriated enough to do any good at any one time, 
for a long time. They bought the Bear Valley ranch, five 
thousand acres, where the headquarters is now. 

And then they bought the south end ranch that was owned by a 
church group, Mankind United. The church wanted to sell, and the 
Park Service bought that. Then out on Point Reyes there was a 
man by the name of [Edward] Heims who wanted to sell, and he 
persuaded the Park to buy it. He saw there was an opportunity to 
get his money out of the land. 

Lage: Vas he an old-timer too? 

Stewart: No. He was a man who had come here just prior to World War II. 
Interesting man in his own right. There's a rather interesting 
story about it, but it had nothing to do with the park, other 
than the fact that he was one of the early ones that sold. And 


he sold out on the point, in the area they didn't have the right 
to condemn. 

In 1961, they had held hearings. The House held hearings 
back there. The Senate came out and held hearings out here. If 
I remember right, they were held in Mar in Community College. 
[Senator] Alan Bible came out. At this point, some men who were 
very serious about the park got really deeply involved in it. In 
particular, the senate Subcommittee [on Parks and Recreation, a 
subcommittee] of the Interior [and Insular Affairs] Committee. 

Lage: That was Alan Bible's committee? 
Stewart: That was Alan Bible. 

Lage: Now, you had a friendship with Alan Bible. Where does that date 

Stewart: We met Bible when they were talking about this, because of 

something that had happened long before. I had met him during 
World War II. My wife was a young woman who had gone to college 
down at Dominican, a music student. She was teaching music. She 
thought that it would be suitable to marry a rancher along the 
line, and did. So, I got involved with it, because she was 
involved with these people around there. I was active in the 
Marin Conservation League we were trying to start. 

Lage: So you were actually a member and active in the Marin 

Conservation League. Now, how did that sit with the ranchers? 
Did you have a good relationship with the ranchers out here? 

Stewart: There's a movie, I think it was an English movie, called The Gods 
Must Be Crazy, and there's a guy in there [who said] whenever he 
had trouble, "I-yi-yi, I don't want to talk about it." 
[laughter] That was my relationship with the ranchers. 

Lage: It set you apart, I would guess from what you say? 

Stewart: Yes, it set us apart. Because of a personal background about 

land, and the care of land and so on, we were interested in the 
land and liked it and felt that if it was in a park it wouldn't 
be subdivided. 

Lage: Now, was your ranch a part of the proposed park area? 

Stewart: Yes, yes. The interesting thing about it, of course to me, is 
that I found that --it isn't a personal feeling, you understand; 
I'm a rancher like all of the rest of them- -but you are a traitor 
if you join the enemy that wants to take over their ranches. 


Now, there were several things that happened at the time that 
made this pertinent. There were some very wise, farseeing 
speculators came along and said, "Oh, Oh! This is going to 

Lage: This was after the park was authorized? 

Stewart: And they bought some pieces of land on the point, some land that 
eventually ended up in court. They saw that there were 
opportunities to subdivide out here. You see, subdividers had 
never come here. As I said, the land was held; nobody wanted to 
sell it, and there hadn't been any great pressure here. The war 
came along and Mar in County was growing rapidly. They were all 
around Tiburon. That area that had been big dairies, was all 
being built up. Mill Valley, in back of Mill Valley over by the 
coast where you go over the Corte Madera Hill, Tunnel Ranch, all 
of those places were being subdivided. And speculators realized 
this was going to grow the way it had down in Santa Clara County. 

As an aside, when 1 went to college, the fruit basket of 
California was the Santa Clara Valley. Right on the university 
grounds, there was a close to a hundred-acre field of 
strawberries , and there was a dairy on the campus . There were 
fourteen canneries between San Francisco and San Jose when 1 was 
in college. And packaging and processing operations were located 
in San Jose. That was the proper place for them. Well, now it's 
houses. And, of course, they all moved away. All of the 
orchards were plowed up. 

It's a long time since the Southern Pacific ran tourist 
trains into the Santa Clara Valley from the East during blossom 
time. Just like people, now, go east to see the fall colors, 
well, they had special tour trains to the Santa Clara Valley. 

Lage: To see the blossoms? 

Stewart: In blossom time. It was just a fruit bowl. 

Lage: Did seeing what happened down there effect your view of what 
should be done here? 

Stewart: The depression stopped everything. Things began to pick up; the 
war came along. Population came in, and suddenly there were 
people that saw there were possibilities of making investments 
out here that would enable them to make a lot of money, that, 
eventually, it would be subdivided. They bought the ranches 
around San Rafael. 


Did this happen as early as the fifties then? 





Yes. It began happening as the war ended, in 
buzzing along. 

45. By '50, it was 




And what about out here? When did the speculators come? 

Out here the land hadn't been for sale. A couple of places were 
bought. A promoter, Douglas Hertz, who at one time owned the New 
York Giants football team, had a place over on the Wildcat. 
Bought it from Willie Tevis. He was developing one of these 
exclusive hunting clubs where you come out and shoot pheasants 
that are released and shoot ducks on the coast. Oiled the road 
from Highway 1, eight miles over to the ocean. Now it's 
wilderness . 

Well, Alan Bible held the hearings down in Kentfield. And 
he realized what you had here, as well as anybody. Old Wayne 
Aspinall was a good friend of his from Colorado [chairman of the 
House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs], and a fellow by 
the name of [Roy] Taylor was chairman of the House Interior 
Subcommittee on Parks. And they had all been holding hearings on 
it. They had gotten along. 

The park was delineated, the lines were drawn. And it 
wasn't clear about what they could or couldn't do. The Park 
Service considered that they could not condemn the operating 
dairies on the point, the pastoral area they called it, but they 
could the rest. 

They had gotten several piecemeal appropriations, $7 
million, $5 million, $3 million, $2 million, until they had 
gotten finally up to maybe $26 or $27 million. [The original $14 
million appropriation was supplemented in 1966 with a $5 million 
appropriation, --ed.] And they didn't have any of the point 
bought. Didn't have all of this area bought. There was a 
question: "Would they raise the money and buy the seashore? Or, 
would they dilly-dally around and lose it?" 

And let the prices go up. 

And let the prices go up. There was even a proposal made at one 
time, by the Park Service, that they would buy the land and then 
lease it over long periods of time for partial development. This 
came out of the Park Service itself, in an effort to try to save 
the park. They didn't think that they could get the money. 

Did the ranchers react to that proposal? 


Stewart: Well, the ranchers, all of this time, were paying a very 

competent lawyer to go to Washington every time there was a 
hearing of any kind about the park, and oppose them taking it 

Lage: So they had an association, a formal association? 

Stewart: They didn't have a formal association. They were never formally 
organized, but Bryan McCarthy was their attorney. And he was 
doing a very good Job of representing them. The park had to deal 
with him in hearings, and the committees. The senate and the 
house committee would meet, you know, and talk, and they--. 

Remember the procedure that they had to go through: You've 
got the park delineated. You've got some pieces of land bought, 
not together, just separate pieces of land. And you want to get 
some more money. So first, you go to the Interior Committee and 
they recommend that you get some more money. Then you go to the 
appropriations committee in each house to get the money 
appropriated and hope that the budget bureau won't knock it down 
and that it will go through in an appropriations bill. It was 
working, slowly, that way, but in the meantime, the speculators 
were around. They were here. They pointed out to us that we 
could divide this ranch into three pieces. We could get a lot of 
money for it. 

Lage: They came to you? 

Stewart: Yes, they came to us. They came to everybody. If you're a real 
estate man, and you know what's going on, and you've got a park 
here, and if there is anyway you can get a piece of land within 
the park, either you'll get well paid for it, but more than that, 
you could subdivide it, because there was a demand for housing 
out in the country. And this is beautiful country. 

Lage: Were these local real estate people? 

Stewart: Yes. Most local people, that is local Bay Area people. They had 
been doing a lot of developing. Now, remember Mar in County had 
started out back in the thirties with thirty thousand or 
something, maybe 35,000 people. Then there was a tremendous 
influx of people beginning in the late thirties, with the 
shipbuilding industries and all. 



The Save Our Seashore Campaign in 1969V/V/ 

Stewart: The county people who were in favor of the park got greatly 

concerned over the fact that the Park Service didn't have the 
money. They weren't buying the land; things weren't going. They 
organized, quite thoroughly, through the Marin Conservation 
League. I wasn't active in this at all. They set up a program, 
writing to Congress and doing everything they could. 

Lage: The Save Our Seashore group, with Peter Behr? 

Stewart: With Save Our Seashore. Veil, that part of it was a good 

political ploy. Clem Miller got elected. He died when he was 
running for his second term, but he got elected on it [the Point 
Reyes Seashore issue] . 

Peter Behr [who chaired Save Our Seashore] had been a county 
supervisor and later became a state senator. And it was a very, 
very good program, and people rallied to it. People that you 
wouldn't think have been involved. Friends that ran across 
friends would tell me that they had Save Our Seashore buttons on 
and did I want one? 

Up to this time, the county supervisors didn't want to see 
their agriculture destroyed, because it was the major industry in 
the county. They were perfectly happy to have a park, but they 
were not going out after the park. Finally, they realized that 
something had to be done. It wasn't the Save Our Seashores or 
anything else, just the realization of some reasonable men. 
Something had to be done about the park, and really, time enough 
had gone by so that they realized that you ought have that park. 

So they had become very much in favor of resolving this 
thing. Here you've got a cloud on all the titles. Yet, the 
government can't tell you, "You have to sell." And if they 


bought from two or three and the others said, "No. I'll sell to a 
subdivider." Then you're involved in the planning commission. 
Should they approve it, or should they not? You had quite a 
stirring going on among the populace about the park. In general, 
it was favorable: "Veil, we ought to have that park. Ue should 
have it." 

The Rancher's Changing Attitudes Toward the Park 

Stewart: The ranchers were still not particularly in favor of it, but they 
began to realize something after a while: With all of the money 
they had spent, and they spent quite a little to oppose the park, 
the park was still here. And a cloud was on the title to their 
land. Then, they began to realize: If the park bought their 
land and paid for it, bought the title to it, that then they 
could stay on the land as a tenant. You could make a firm 
contract at the time you sold it and have a reservation of 
possession for a number of years. Or not, if you didn't wish to. 
But if you didn't do that, then you would have a five-year 
renewal permit or lease and you'd have the money. This began to 
soak in some. 

There were some people that got old, and they realized that 
to pass this land and business on, with inheritance taxes and 
all, is difficult. And there was a gradual realization, first, 
that there was going to be a park; second, that there were 
problems unless they got paid for it, with selling the land and 
so on. And the two things together were bothering them. 

Lage : And the inheritance tax must have had an influence on their 

Stewart: The inheritance tax would, of course. You see, if you don't have 
the money, and you inherit a ranch, you go borrow, and interest 
rates were high. 

Lage: Did most of them have children that wanted to carry on? 

Stewart: Pretty much so. As I said before, people didn't want to move 

away. They would retire and go to town sometimes. But a lot of 

them, just their sons or daughters and sons-in-law, or a friend 
or neighbor took over the ranch. 

Lage: So even in the time of the fifties and into the sixties the young 
people still wanted to stay here? 


Stewart: Oh, yes, and this is true today. 

Lage: You mentioned to me that your daughter and granddaughter are 
running your ranch. 

Stewart: Yes. My granddaughter is outside, my daughter is over at 

Bridgeport fishing. This is a pretty desirable country to live 
in. It has some aspects that really set it aside from other 
places. It's not hot and not cold. Close to San Francisco and 
everything. And people did pretty well here. 

Well, here you are at an impasse. The park needs a lot of 
money to buy it. The national director of the Park Service 
didn't think he could get enough money to buy it. He was 
thinking of ways that he could get the land and sew it up and let 
it out for commercial use so that they would still own it. 

Lage: Well, this must have made the ranchers mad when they couldn't 
develop it, but--. 

Stewart: They didn't get much involved with that end of it. They were 

disturbed. They weren't very active during the Save Our Seashore 
thing. See, they had begun to realize they had a cloud on the 
title. They were being worn down, really. 

Lage: They were getting ready to accept the fact of the park. 

Stewart: They were getting ready to think about something. Really getting 
very ready to think about it, because their efforts to have the 
park go away had failed. Really, it's there. I mean, it's 
there. You don't see it, but your land is in a park, in Point 
Reyes National Seashore. 

Getting Accurate Figures on Land Values 

Stewart: The county board of supervisors formally said that they were in 
favor of the park being purchased. Now, I said that they never 
had enough money. One of the things that the proponents of the 
park completely failed to do, they never went to the proper 
sources and found out exactly how much the land they wanted was 

I was a personal friend of the county assessor, Bert 
Broemmel, and had talked with him about it many times. Now, the 
county assessor has to know what land is worth because every time 


he taxes it, he is subject to court interpretation of his 
findings . 

Lage: Didn't they go on his figures? 

Stewart: They must have gotten some old tax record figures, but the values 
they had were certainly not like those he gave me. 

The supervisors decided that they would send a supervisor 
and the county counsel and me back [to testify at the 
congressional hearing in May 1969 and February 1970] . The Sierra 
Club took a bunch of very expensive large color photos of the 
Lake Ranch, and of the coast, the Wildcat, and various areas that 
were over on the ocean that you can't get to very readily. They 
gave the photos to me to take back to Washington. Alan Bible 
suggested I take them over to show Wayne Aspinall. He thought 
that they were beautiful and told me we ought to have this land. 
Then the photos were displayed at the House hearing and then at 
the Senate hearing. They were left in Washington with committee 
members . 

And I had gone to Bert Broemmel. Bert had agreed to do 
this; he went through the tax list of every piece of land that 
was in the boundaries of the park. He updated the current value 
of each piece, with its numbers and a figure that he would 
contend was its current market value. 

Lage: Considering the land speculation? 

Stewart: Yes. He knew about land speculation. He knew what its current 
value was. He put all of those figures together, for ranches 
within the park boundaries. One of the supervisors, [Louis H.] 
Bud Baar, on the county board and I went back to Washington with 
those figures. He gave them to me personally. 

Lage: Were these figures, do you think, that the ranchers in question 
would have agreed with? . 

Stewart: Oh, yes. When they bought the land, those figures came out 

almost to a dime. They were real figures. They were outside 
appraisers' figures. They were not some government official's 
idea of the value of your home. They were actual commercial 
appraisers' figures, and they were very accurate. 

So we went back to Washington. We appeared before the House 
committee and the Senate committee, and they appropriated the $37 
million that the Park Service said that they did not need. The 
Park Service was asking for $18 or $20 million. The House 
committee said, "No, you need $37 million." 


Getting Ranchers' Acceptance of Rieht of Condemnation 








But before we went back, I talked to Bryan McCarthy, to some of 
the ranchers, and the sticker in this money was, "Would they have 
the right to condemn?" The government had no intention of 
appropriating this money and then have somebody sit in the middle 
of it with a big piece of highly desirable, subdividable land. 

So the government insisted on the right to condemn? 

No. They hadn't insisted on it. They just weren't going to 
appropriate money, because the legislation didn't provide for 
condemnation, and they didn't know there wouldn't be opposition 
to it. So, we had a meeting here in this room at the ranch 
shortly before I went back to Washington. 

Now, who had the meeting? 

I did, with Bryan McCarthy and all of the ranchers, 
and sat down. 

Were these all the owners in question? 

They came in 

All the ones out on the Point in question; I think seventeen or 
eighteen actually came. And they agreed, with Bryan, that if the 
park would put up the money so that they could actually buy the 
ranch at a fair price, that they were willing to let the law be 
changed so that it would give the government the right to 
condemn. That was a stumbling block. 

Was that something Alan Bible had suggested to you would be 

No. Well, I knew because Bible had said, Taylor had said, "We 
put up that money and all we will do is make multimillionaires 
out of a few speculators . " 

Because the ranchers who didn't want to sell could hang on to it, 
and then sell later. 

They were going to hang on, that's right. And, eventually, 
either greatly raise their price if they did sell to the 
government. Triple it. Quadruple it. A highly desirable piece 
of land in the middle of a big park. 


The longer it's held, the more it's worth. 


Stewart: That's right. 

So, the fellows agreed to that. It was not in writing, and 
the figures that I took back were not official figures. You've 
got to understand this. And I hope when you write this thing, 
you've got to be careful about that. There was nothing official 
about this. It Just happened to be the circumstances were right. 
I had the figures. The actual value that they needed. 

Lage: Did you share those figures with the ranchers in this room at 
that meeting? 

Stewart: No, I didn't. I only said that I would go back, and if they 

would say that they were willing to change the law to give the 
park the right to condemn, that the park would probably put up 
the money to buy their land at a fair price. 

Lage: Still with the right to lease. 
Stewart: That's right. 

And I did not give anybody those figures of Bert Broemmel's. 
I'm not quite sure what right I had to them. It never came up. 
The county could have asked him to do this, but the county hadn't 
asked him. We had talked about it and he did it. The 
supervisors knew that I had the figures . 

Testimony at Congressional Hearings 

Stewart: When I took those figures--. When I got back there, I had the 

photos. They were too big to carry on the plane, so the captain 
carried them back in the cabin for me . I took those photos to 
Taylor and Aspinall, to Aspinall first, and then to Taylor. And 
I told Wayne Aspinall what the figures were, and he said to give 
them to Taylor. And I gave them to Taylor. He took them down. 
Taylor said, "Afterwards, when we get through with the hearing 
here, you've got to take them over to Alan Bible." I had planned 
on that. 

Lage: Did they respond to the photos in a way that you might remember? 

Stewart: Oh, yes. They responded. You would too. They were the most 
beautiful things, showing that gorgeous coastline. 

At the day of the hearing they--. It's odd how government 
runs. I did not have a prepared statement. You're supposed to 




have one to appear before a hearing; the supervisor did, Bud 
Baar, and Doug [Douglas J.j Maloney [the county counsel]. There 
were some Sierra Club people there, and they had prepared 
statements . 

Do you remember who they were? 

Stewart: No, I don't. I thing Ed Vayburn was one if I remember right. I 
forget who else. 

We had a congressman who was very much in favor of it. 
Don Clausen? 

Stewart: Yes. And I had known him from the time he was a boy. 

Don Clausen was on the parks subcommittee, and he had handed 
in a statement that said, "Boyd Stewart will have some 
information." And that's how we handled it. So, I told them. 
The director of the Park Service was there, and so on. They had 
all talked. Taylor set this up this way. He said, "You have 
some things that you want to tell us about?" "Yes." 

And 1 got up and said that I had met with ranchers, just the 
night before we came, day before yesterday, in our house with 
their attorney, Bryan McCarthy, who had testified before them in 
the past. Some of them remembered his name. He wasn't there. 
And that the ranchers were agreeable to change the law so that 
you had the right to condemn. 

The director of the Park Service had testified that they 
didn't need a lot of money, and said that he wanted enough to 
finish. Nobody had come up with a figure. 1 said that the 
ranchers thought that condemnation would be proper. And that I 
had the figures, that I had given Mr. Taylor, that were the 
actual, current, market value, price of 'all of the land. And Don 
Clausen said, "It comes out to $37 million." 

They talked about it. While I was still talking, they were 
talking. One of them said, "Well, let's do it and get rid of it. 
Get it over with, because if the ranchers are willing to do it, 

The director of the Park Service, of course, could only 
approve. He had never had the authority before to have any 
condemnation, and it went through. 

Then we went over to Alan Bible. 1 had seen him before, and 
I talked with him. They had a meeting of the committee, and I 


told them the same thing. But he knew about it before; we had 
talked about it. That was how it happened. There must be a 
corrected copy of the minutes of that meeting. It was all 
recorded. 1 

Showing Alan Bible the Seashore 

Lage: Had Alan Bible been out here to take a good look at the seashore? 
Stewart: Yes. He had been out here. He personally- - 
Lage: Did you take him around? 

Stewart: Yes. He personally had seen every piece of land that they 
bought. We drove him around. Either I, or my wife, or my 
daughter drove him around. 

Lage: I hope you got him on a nice sunny day. 

Stewart: Listen, we went out to the lighthouse with Loucille, his wife, 

about this time of the year, but the weather had been miserable. 
We went out there on a day when there wasn't a breath of air 
moving. You could see for miles. You could see all the way to 
China. And Alan Bible said, "Boy, you said the weather was vile 
out here." He said, "This is gorgeous." He said, "Have you 
been misrepresenting to--." No matter what you did, you couldn't 
get a day like it. 

1 Mr. Stewart testified on May 13, 1969, to the House Subcommittee on 
Parks and Recreation and on February 26, 1970, to the corresponding Senate 
subcommittee. See appendices, p. 272 and p. 281 for the texts of his 



Park Superintendent John Sansing' s Rapport with Ranchers 

Stewart: Now, there was another factor in all of this. I think, maybe, 

you got to be careful what you do with this. We had gone through 
five superintendents in this park, in a hurry. One, two, three, 
four , five . 

Lage: Right there. From '62 through '69? 
Stewart: Yes. Then we had Sans ing. 
Lage: Had he come in by '69? 

Stewart: No. But we had Ed Kurtz and then Sansing [who came in June 

1970] . And Ed Kurtz and Sansing really were very, very active in 
all of this. Sansing was most active, very active, and has done 
a whale of a good job of promoting the park. 

Lage: Among the ranchers? 

Stewart: Yes, among the ranchers and every place else. If I ask you what 
you think of the Internal Revenue Service and if you had ever had 
any problems with them or dealt with them much, you would think 
that, you know, government agencies have a reputation of being 
inefficient, bureaucratic outfits that you hardly can deal with. 
Now, the Park Service is one of them, only they provide you a 
park to walk around in; so you like them. They have nature walks 
and so on. But here you've got ranchers, a big business, still 

We are fortunate that we've got a superintendent who, first, 
wasn't a bureaucrat. He did not train to be a Park Service man. 
He did not study forestry. He studied accounting. He is a boy 
that grew up in Arizona. His father had a business there. He 
mowed lawns around the town and did various things and went to 
college there. And after he got out of college (he took 








accounting), he ran a oil delivery truck, delivering oil to the 
copper mines in the mountains of Arizona. Then, went off to war. 
Came back from the war, and the copper mines had all shut down 
because the price of copper dropped; he didn't have a business. 

And about that time the Park Service was expanding, after 
the war. They were looking for accountants. So, he got a job as 
an accountant going in directly, a thing that's very difficult to 
do in a government service. You've got to apply, and so on. 
Worked back in- -I don't know whether it was Denver, or somewhere. 
Then, eventually came out here, because he was a very capable, 
competent man and was able to handle people and business. Of 
course, he grew up around parks. In Arizona, half of it belongs 
to the Park Service. He became the assistant regional director 
in San Francisco. 

Point Reyes came up and he got the job of being 

superintendent out in Point Reyes. Because of his background, he 
came from a different part of the world, he did not go to college 
with the idea that he was going to be a forester and manage the 
public lands or be in the Park Service and police the public the 
public lands. He was a man who grew up thinking he's going to 
run a business and have to pay the bills. He had no trouble 
dealing with people. 

So he understands the point of view of the ranchers? 

Yes. He gets along with them fine. Understands county people. 
Understands the political people. If he has a problem he phones 
[Congresswoman] Barbara Boxer, or phones [Senator] Pete Wilson, 
or phones [Senator] Alan Cranston, and they'll talk to him. They 
know him. They know him as John. You see, you've got a 
situation that--. A lot of things broke right in this county. 

I see. It all came together. 

Circumstances fell together. So when you had all of this 
hullabaloo about saving our park and so on, you had a 
superintendent that could fit in with the people, in spite of the 
fact that the ranchers didn't know whether they liked it or not. 
But they knew him and could deal with him. It made a lot of 
difference . 

How did he do, or has he done, with the conservationists? 
done as well with them? 

Has he 

Oh, they love him. As a matter of fact, there is more to it than 
that. We've got the park. The legislation went through. They 
got the money. Then they got Golden Gate [National Recreation 




Area], and he was involved in that. While he doesn't run Golden 
Gate, he does run the rural area, Marin County property from 
Bolinas Bay north. This house sits in Golden Gate. 

In the Golden Gate National Recreation Area? 
Yes. Point Reyes is across the creek. 

I wonder how often in history things happen because things 
fell together. You got the two parks-- 

It's not one thing you can point to, but a number of things 
falling together. 

Stewart: Everything, everything fell together. That's right. 

Now, you probably should say that a couple of women that 
lived down in Ross, right near the town hall of Ross, thought 
that they shouldn't have disfigured the county with a lot of 
signs. That there ought to be some picnic areas someplace. You 
can probably say it all goes back to that. 

Lage: If you want to put your finger on why Marin is the way it is and 
why Santa Clara has gone a different way, would you point to 
these women? 

Stewart: That's right. That's where you go. You put your thumb right on 
it. They didn't want anything out of it, you understand. They 
wanted to preserve something that was here, and that's a whale of 
a difference. There was no promotion. No real estate. No gain. 
No profit. Just to keep the place the way it is where they live. 

Marin Ranchers* Attitudes toward the Land 

Lage: How do the ranchers feel, sort of aesthetically? You seem to 
have a real feel for the beauty of the place. Do the other 
ranchers also, do you think? 

Stewart: Some. I have a friend who frequently says that people in 
agriculture do the worst thing that they can do to their 
children. They send them off to an agriculture school, where 
they continue to mix with their own kind, their close peers, and 
don't mix with the rest of the world. 

There is something very important to the United States, or 
to any country, and that is the care of their land. We haven't 


cared very well for our land. We really haven't. We pushed a 
great portion of it right down into the Gulf of Mexico. And 
we've put an awful lot of it out in the Pacific. 

I remember going up Mount Tamalpais one time with a farm 
advisor named Boissevain, who was here before they had built all 
the dams up in the country; this was back in the early thirties. 
You know in spring of the year when the snow melts, the 
Sacramento River rises. The Yuba Bypass floods over and all of 
that. We went up the mountain. We could see the fan of brown 
oil out in the ocean as far as the Farallons. 

Lage: From washing down the Sacramento Valley? 

Stewart: That's right. And we've been doing that. Just before you drive 
into the town of Tomales , you go around a turn and then you go up 
a little hill. There's one road that goes off to Petaluma. On 
the other side, there is kind of a rocky place. My father loaded 
ships there with potatoes and grain that were going down to the 
Hawaiian Islands in the 1880s. That's where the boats came up. 
All the way up there, where those cows are grazing out there now. 

Tomales was a famous potato growing area. It raised wheat 
and potatoes and dairy. You plowed those hills; 1 can take you 
up there and show you fences where the fence line is up here and 
the ground is down here. 

Lage: So much soil has been lost. 
Stewart: Yes, that's right. 

My father, I guess, I don't know why--. He didn't have 
anything. He starved in Ireland where he grew up. Half orphan, 
his family didn't eat until he got to this country and sent some 
money home. He was always hipped on protecting your pastures and 
not overgrazing. 

Lage: Was that unusual among his fellows? 
Stewart: Yes, that's unusual. 

Park Service Success in Caring for the Land 

Stewart: If you're interested in the park, because this is part of the 
park story now--. I'm jumping around. You don't mind? 



I don't mind a bit. 

Stewart: The best-cared-for land in Mar in County, maybe in Marin and 
Sonoma counties, is now in the park. 


Cared for by the park, you mean? 

Stewart: No. The best-cared-for land is land within the park where people 
like us are on it. 

Lage: Now, why is that? 

Stewart: The Soil Conservation Service has been the advisor. They have 

used the Soil Conservation Service as their advisor in their care 
of the land. The Park Service owns this land, owns this ranch. 
This is your land across the road, not mine. It's ours. The 
park is properly carrying out its duty, not exercising authority, 
carrying out its duty (let's get it right) in seeing to it that 
the land is not overgrazed. Historically, when the Spanish first 
came here, when this land grant was made, all of the land in this 
country really was perennial grass, not annual. They've eaten 
the perennials out. 

Lage : The native grasses . 
Stewart: The native grasses. 

The Park Service land is the best-cared-for land, the land 
within the park, is the best cared for because of the efforts of 
the park to control the grazing on it. 

Lage: 1 see. Now, is that accepted by others as readily as it is 

Stewart: Yes, it's accepted by them. There's an .interesting thing. Why 
do you drive reasonably on the highway? You accept the rules? 

Lage : Yes . 

Stewart: Because you got a cop out there. The Park Service is the cop, 

not in a bad sense. Really, you'd hate to get on the highway if 
you didn't have patrol officers on it. Well, they look at the 
land every year. They will tell you, "You need to reduce the 
number of cattle on it" if it is too high. The thing that is 
happening nationally about pushing cattle off of land, isn't 
going to happen here. Not for those reasons. Maybe, someday 
they will need it for people to hike on and then it will happen. 
It isn't because of what's happening to the land. 


Lage: So they are preserving the land. 

Stewart: The land is in better shape now than when the park got it. 

Visually. You don't even have to get out and clip the grass and 
easure how much is left on the ground. You do that to begin 
with, but now you can know by looking at it. 

The ranchers. It's a funny thing that people that will come 
here from Switzerland, Italy, Portugal (you know, the Azore 
Islands , not many from the mainland) , from Germany and France and 
England, and Scotland and Ireland, that's where they all come 


Stewart: Those people had been on the land for generations and generations 
on the same land and had preserved its fertility. They grow 
grapes where they terrace hillsides so steep you can hardly walk 
up them. There are lots of records in Europe of families farming 
the same land for four hundred years; the same family had been 
there for five hundred years, and the ground is productive and 
has been cared for. Those people came here where land was free. 
It was easy to get. Really, it's a pretty nice place to come to. 
My father thought it was heaven when he got here. At least you 
could eat. Why don't they treat their land the same way? 

Lage: Is it because it was cheap, do you think? 

Stewart: I don't know. Because you can get whole tracts of land? I don't 
know. I really don't know. 

Lage: But there's not that same land ethic or sense of caring? 

Stewart: I don't know why. Really, you think about it a little bit. You 
say, "Where did the man come from? What did they do there?" 
Well, they preserved every foot of soil, because they had to. 
They grew on everything. They carefully put all their animal 
fertilizer back on the land. They didn't have money to buy 
chemicals and so on. They kept the land productive. And then, a 
lot of them, not all of them by any manner or means, but an awful 
lot of them have overgrazed. There are some reasons for it. If 
you milk cows, if you run cattle, you like to run more. I guess, 
if you grew up where no way you could have more than three cows, 
and then if you get here and could get three hundred, maybe you 
could get five hundred. 

Lage: Yes. That's probably it. 


Stewart: I suppose. 

Stewart 's Stanford Education and Other Influences 

Lage: What did you study in college? You mentioned so many others went 
on to agriculture studies. 

Stewart: I went to a nice liberal arts college. That's where I sent my 
daughter and my granddaughter too. 

Lage: You sent them all to Stanford also? 

Stewart: No. Both of them went to Dominican right here in Mar in County. 

Lage: Oh, where your wife had gone. And what was your major? 

Stewart: My major was chemistry and botany, a dual major. But, of course, 
it was a liberal arts college. You took English, and math, and 
logic, and philosophy, and history, and then more math, and 
chemistry and physics. 

Lage: And botany. 

Stewart: And botany. Oh yes, botany, a lot. 

Lage: Did you know at the time that you were going to come back and 
continue on the ranch? 

Stewart: Yes. 

Lage: That was what you wanted? 

Stewart: Everyone is a product of their local environment. I grew up 

knowing that I was going to college. Nobody was quite sure how, 
but I was going-- 

Lage: Why do you think that was in your mind? 

Stewart: Well, I don't know. Why did my mother--? My grandmother and 

grandfather on one side came from Denmark. My father came from 
Ireland. My mother went to state normal school. Two uncles went 
to Stanford. 

Lage: So you had college-educated people in the family? 
Stewart: Yes, and they didn't have any money. My old aunt was an 


English/Latin teacher, died two years ago, went to the University 
of California. 

A lot of the Europeans that came here were hepped on the 
subject. My father- -it was unthinkable to him that I wouldn't go 
to school and "be somebody, Stewart, learn something." 1 guess 
they grew up in very class -conscious countries, where the only 
way--. If you got an education, you moved up in the world. I 
guess there was some of that. 

Lage : So that was always in your plan, but still to come back to the 

Stewart: Oh, yes. I had played around, personally. I liked math and 
physics. I wasn't particularly good. I wasn't the bright 
student at all. I had to work hard. I worked while I was in 
college. In those days you could get jobs milking cows as a hand 
milker. In Palo Alto, you know, there were dairies all around 
Palo Alto. 

As a relief milker you could make more money that way than 
any other way because there weren't many hand milkers. I had 
played around with the idea, you know, growing up, the various 
things, all the way from being a doctor to being a chemist. You 
didn't think about being a botanist, because that means you'd be 
a teacher. Hadn't thought of that, but chemists had jobs, and 
engineers. But I wasn't interested in engineering as such. I 
liked math all right. I had to work awfully had; I wasn't good. 
And I liked chemistry, but if you worked hard at that you could 
do well. Botany, of course, you've just got to do a lot of 

It's a mistake to stay with one group, in particular in 
agriculture, because agriculture is getting shunted off. For a 
long time we were the most numerous people. Then, we became 
smaller and smaller. Now, we're a micro-, you know a speck. 

Lage: So you have to know how the rest of the world thinks? 

Stewart: Veil, you better. 

Lage: Your wife seems to have also enlarged your--. 

Stewart: My wife was a city girl, a musician. 

Lage: Did she used work on you to mold your points of view at all? 

Stewart: I liked the outdoors. And, of course there is one thing now, if 
you take many biological sciences and botany in a liberal arts 


college, of course you're talking about the outdoors and about 
the world you live In. 

Lage: It's a different way of looking at it. 

Stewart: That's right. And there's another thing: the things that we 
studied, if you take any courses in philosophy, you begin by 
reading these darned old Greeks who seem to have a great ability 
to think and reason. 1 think there's something about that, that 
makes you like the land and nature. I think there really is, 

Lage: Maybe look at it differently. 

Stewart: You look at it differently. Yes. It's a pretty nice world to 

live in. The wind blows softly, and it's beautiful. I liked it, 
I would not have thrived in an office Job, I think. 

Lage: No. I couldn't see you there. 

The Ranchers . the Land Developers . and the Economics of Ranching 
and Dairying 

Lage: Let me see if there are some things that you didn't cover that I 
had in mind and pick some of these up before I wear you out. 
When the seashore was first being formed and the ranchers were 
not persuaded that it was what they wanted, were they looking for 
potential development? 

Stewart: No. 

Lage: Did they see that they could make money on their land? 

Stewart: No. No. No. 

Lage: It was that they wanted to stay in farming? 

Stewart: "It's my ranch, and by God, it's mine, and I'll do as I damn well 
please with it. " 

Lage: There wasn't a sense that the land was going up in price? 

Stewart: No, it wasn't--. No. Now, when you talked with them and said, 

"We're going to buy it," the man might say, "Maybe I want to sell 
someday." No. No, but they weren't thinking--. 







That came later when people started talking to them. When 
real estate developers were talking to them and the land had been 
designated as parkland, then, of course, they were thinking 
about, "Well, if I subdivide this someday--." They were being 
told that. They had been educated. 

I see, but that came later. 

It was the same low-key business where you made a good living if 
you worked. Remember this now, these ranches were not typical 
San Joaquin or Sacramento Valley farms where a man had an office, 
had a staff of people, and so on. Ranching in Marin County, the 
only place 1 really know anything about it, was always a business 
where the rancher and his family and men that he hired worked 
together. I didn't know any rancher who didn't work, physically. 
I didn't know any. 

So they all worked and may have hired a few people to help? 

Oh, you hired help. In the days of hand milking, for every 
twenty- five to thirty cows you hired a milker. And the other 
part of it is, that in those days (now, with Mexican labor, this 
has changed) but in those days, you ate with them. Now, with the 
advent of Mexican labor in the last twenty years, they've been 
coming in, that has changed, but you're with them. 

What type of laborers were there before you had the Mexicans? 

Oh, all -American. Just typical American labor: the boys, the 
neighbors of ranchers, men who you wouldn't know them from 
anybody else. 

Local people? 

Local people. A lot of immigrants. Remember, they came in 
waves, the Irish and then the Portuguese were the last wave. Up 
into the twenties, the Portuguese were coming in from the Azores 
in large numbers. There were communities where they were mostly 
Danish. In this county, they were Irish, and then Swiss, and 
then Portuguese. We didn't have Mexican labor. And we never had 
migrant labor. 


Do you now, though? 


Stewart: Now, they don't have them. Now, they're all Mexican. 
Lage: Do they live around here? 

Stewart: They live around here and live on the ranches. Yes. They live 
in trailers and live in shacks. Sometimes it gets to be a 
problem. Some ranchers built nice houses for their help. When 1 
was young, the milkers were young men. Not many men over forty 
years, thirty- five was old for milkers. And they were young men 
who would milk cows and get some money, and then go off and try 
to get a ranch of their own, dairy of their own someplace, or a 
beef ranch. That has changed. 

The first change was you had all single hired help. Then, 
you began to hire married hired help. We have five houses on the 
ranch suitable for anybody. Good houses, as a matter of fact. 
(Currently, there are outsiders living in two of them because we 
have cut down the number of cows.) You provided that. 

Then it became difficult to get that help, competitively, 
because Mexicans were coming in. That's when we quit dairying. 
My daughter did not want to hire illegal Mexicans. So, we quit 
dairying quite a number of years ago. But we went from single 
men that ate with us and lived in the bunk house where they had 
single rooms a piece, which was common on ranches, to married men 
in their houses. All our help lived on the ranch. 

Lage: In the houses you provided? 

Stewart: In houses that were built for them. That was a pattern that went 
on. A lot of the Mexicans are living in those houses now. 

Lage: When did you stop the dairying? 

Stewart: Stop dairying? Eighteen years ago, maybe twenty. 

Lage: And the Morgan horses, has that always been an interest? 

Stewart: We've always had Morgan horses. Morgan horses were the light 
work horses on the ranch. At one time, if you went to Point 
Reyes you got on a horse or in a cart and went to Point Reyes . 
You didn't jump in a car. 

Lage: But you were actually raising the horses. 

Stewart: Ranchers always raised horses. My daughter, Joanne, nothing 

would do but that she raise quite a few horses. And we did for a 
long time. We still have five or six brood mares, but we only 


breed one or two a year. We have one mare out here. Your 
daughter saw her. That's a very valuable Morgan mare. 

Bill Sweet. Logging, and the Lake Ranch 

Lage: I'm interested in the Lake Ranch. I've heard so much about all 
the controversy that went on with the Lake Ranch and Bill Sweet. 
Was that part of your property at one time? 

Stewart: Some people by the name of Sweet bought the Lake Ranch and came 
down here for logging. After the war, there was a tremendous 
demand for timber. There was a firm came down, bought timber 
rights on a lot of the land down here, and had a saw mill up at 
the Five Brooks where the stable is. A big saw mill, they ran 
two shifts a day. 

Lage: But they didn't own the land; they just bought the timber? 

Stewart: No, they didn't own the land, but they did buy the Lake Ranch 
because there was a lot of timber on it. 

Lage: And who owned that before? 

Stewart: He bought that from Will Tevis. Will Tevis bought it from the 
[0. L. ] Shafter estate. It was owned by one of the original 
landowners here that owned a big bunch of ranches. 

Lage: So when did Bill Sweet buy it, do you remember? 

Stewart: Bill Sweet bought it--. Gosh, I can't remember. He bought it 
before they got the money to buy the park, quite a while before. 

Lage: Did he buy it before the seashore was authorized in 1962? 

Stewart: No, no, no. It was here. The seashore was--. Now, wait a 

minute. I'm not sure. I shouldn't say that, but I think he did. 

Lage: Well, that can be checked out someway. 

Stewart: In order to stop the loggingat the time they had the Save Our 

Seashore program, that's when it was. A couple years before that 
he had bought it, several years. 

In order to stop the logging, they went into court and 
issued a taking order. One day, they came out and served papers, 


and they had taken over all that land, including some of ours 
here. They just blocked out all of this land so that there would 
be no danger of it being logged. It was not an agreed upon 
price, but it had to be agreed upon in court, because they had 
gone to court to get an order giving them immediate possession. 
That's how they take care of property when there's a war on. 

Lage: Like a condemnation? 

Stewart: But not a condemnation. A national emergency, or in the case of 
an emergency, to prevent harm to the economy or to the national 
interest, you go to court and the government tells the court 
this, and the court issues an order granting them immediate 
possession without the price being set or negotiated. Now, the 
price is set afterwards, but they take possession immediately, 
that day. That was the way you stop logging. 

Lage: There was a lot of to-do about the Lake Ranch. And Sweet was 

trying to trade it for property in Oregon. Did you get involved 
in any of that? 

Stewart: That is separate from the fact that they had stopped the logging. 
They shut the machine down in other words. You turned the switch 
off. Then, you got to negotiate how you going to get paid for 

Lage: And that took a long time? 

Stewart: Oh, yes. That took a long time. 

Lage: Now, they took part of your land in that way? 

Stewart: Yes. They took one piece of our land up here that was up to our 
springs . 

Lage: Had that been logged at one time or another? 
Stewart: No. That wasn't logged. No. 
Lage: Did you get to know Bill Sweet? 

Stewart: Oh, I bought calves from Bill Sweet in 1940. I've known Bill 
Sweet for forty years. 

Lage: So was he a local? 

Stewart: No, Bill Sweet and his father, A. W. Sweet, ran a little bank in 
the town of Bandon, Oregon. Bill ran a dairy up there. Raised 
the finest purebred Jerseys that you could ever lay your eyes on. 


The nicest cattle in the world. He eventually took over the 
bank. It's the Western Bank in Oregon. It has maybe twenty 
branches or twenty- five branches in Oregon. And because at one 
time we bought Jersey calves up in Oregon- -we'd stay at Bill's 
place when we'd go up to get them- -we did business with them. We 
still have an account in that bank. 

Lage: Then, was it through you that he got to know this land? 

Stewart: Yes. Yes, that's how he got to know us down here. He would come 
down to visit us. 

Lage: So that's how he got to Point Reyes? 

Stewart: Well, there were several people in Oregon that found out that 
there was timber right close to San Francisco. It wasn't of a 
high quality. Not the quality they wanted. 

Lage: Was that something that you had feelings about, logging on the 
ridge there? 

Stewart: I can't describe to you Josef fa's feelings at the idea that 

somebody cut those trees. There are no words that I could use to 
describe it. [laughter] 

Lage: She was pretty upset? 

Stewart: Yes. 

Lage: Were they clearcutting, or were they selective logging? 

Stewart: No. There were some spots that they clearcut. No, they were doing 
a good job of logging. They were doing high- lead logging. They 
were doing a good job. It wasn't a bad job of logging at all. 
No, it was not reprehensible logging. 

The first time I ever went up the Redwood Highway, it was in 
1926, I guess. When you get up into Del Norte County, the road 
ran through hugh stands of old trees. And it is kind of 
heartbreaking to watch them go out and try to get everyone cut 
down before they can be stopped. It bothered me. It always has 
bothered me to see them go into an old grove of redwoods that's 
been there two thousand years. A full grown redwood tree, so 
big, has to be about a thousand years old. 

You think a little bit about it. The company that bought 
Pacific Lumber Company up there has set out to cut down every old 
tree there is that they can get to. Because they raise a lot of 
money that way. 


Lage: Since that takeover of Pacific Lumber. 

Stewart: They want to pay for a company. They bought it from the Murphy 
family. And they borrowed all the money to do it, and they want 
to pay it off [by cutting old-growth redwoods]. This is like a 
lot of other things. 

I'm not sure that I approve of the way businesses are run 
where they come in an buy a company and then sell off all of the 
assets or destroy them in order to pay for it. 

Lage: That doesn't seem right. 

Stewart: No. Anyway, it's got nothing to do with this. 

Ranchers and the Park Service 

Lage: Would you have any more specific things to say about individual 
ranchers and their reaction to the park or their particular 

Stewart: No. 

Lage: It sounded as if some of them were really in a hard place because 
of the tax situation. 

Stewart: Well, yes. There were some people that had money that really 
didn't want to see their land bought. There were a couple of 
them, but not a lot. There are really only one or two. But the 
ranchers didn't want it bought. Now, remember this. At first, 
they didn't want it bought because it was their land and they 
wanted you to stay away and leave it alone and not bother them. 
That's the basic thing. That's why the land was here in big 
chunks. That's why you were able to buy a park. Otherwise, you 
would have never have had it. 

Lage: Because of their feeling of--. 

Stewart: That feeling: they were happy where they were. When you started 
talking about a park and all this hullabaloo started, then, of 
course, the people came in and pointed out to them how valuable 
their land was and what they could get for it if it was 
subdivided, as they did here. You divide it into three pieces. 
You got water for all of it, because you got water rights on this 
other side. They give you a long song and dance, and it sounds 


very--. So, then they became interested in what they could make 
out of it. 

Lage: So they began to look at the land differently. 

Stewart: That's right. But in back of all of it, of course, was the fact 
that, while speculators were talking to them, they hadn't bought 
it yet. They wanted to buy it, but it was difficult to buy it 
with that cloud on the title. And then they began to realize 
that the few who sold to the park got paid for their land and 
they still had the use of the land. And it stays in the family. 
Your heirs don't have to go out and compete for it. 

Lage: Does it pass to the heirs under the Park Service arrangement? 

Stewart: My daughter was an owner. My granddaughter is not. She will 

have the right to negotiate a lease that you can not bid against 
on this ranch. The negotiated leases, and there are a number of 
them, are on a very, very fair basis. It's on a per head basis. 
They're negotiated on the basis where you're able to maintain the 
ranch, take care of the place, look out for it, and they demand 
that you keep it insured, and cared for, and protect the land. 
And the rents are nominal. They're reasonable. They have to set 
them reasonably, because you maintain it. If we hadn't had a 
drought this year, the park would have said, "Now look, Boyd, (or 
to Joanne they would have said, she runs it) paint that house." 
They would have said it Just like that. 

Lage: But because of the drought they consider the--? 

Stewart: Ranching has been very unprofitable here for the last three 
years. First year wasn't bad. The last two are very bad. 

Lage: I see. So, they take that into account? 
Stewart: Yes. 

Lage: Okay. Did any ranchers stand out to be mentioned individually as 
having a particular point of view? You tend to treat them as a 
group . 

Stewart: They are as a group. No. Individually, no. 
Lage: Pretty much the same point of view? 

Stewart: They stuck pretty much together. They think pretty much alike. 
That's probably their trouble. Veil, you know what I'm saying. 


Is Bryan McCarthy still around? 


Stewart: Oh, yes. Good friend of mine. Sits on the Marin Property Owners 
board with me. Lives in San Rafael. 



Alan Bible. Don Clausen 

Lage: Anything else you recall about your testimony or conversations 
you had with Wayne Aspinall, or Roy Taylor, or Bible? 

Stewart: No. We were talking about the same thing. 

Lage: Were they fairly receptive when you gave your testimony? 

Stewart: Oh, yes. Listen. You wouldn't have had these parks if those men 
hadn't been receptive. You wouldn't have had any of them. These 
are the men who wanted parks. 

Lage: You've never really told me how you met Alan Bible. You've 

mentioned that your wife and you showed him around the seashore 
lands . 

Stewart: I had met him years before, in 1940, 1945. He was present with 
Senator Sheridan Downey at a meeting, but I didn't know him. 
Then he came out here (in 1961]. He held a hearing down here. 

Lage: Oh, I see. So, you just got to know him when he came out for the 

Stewart: Yes, I met him there. 

Lage: And then invited him out to see the land? 

Stewart: That's right. Yes. After we met in Washington, we talked about 
it. Later, we talked about land that ought to go in the Golden 
Gate National Recreation Area and so on. And I told him what 
land I thought, this side of the valley. Because we were 
interested in the same thing, it was natural that we got to know 
one another. He's been visiting us for years. Dead now. 

Lage: When did he die? How long ago? 


Stewart: About a year and a half ago. 

Lage: And Don Clausen, was he sensitive to--? 

Stewart: Don Clausen was running for Congress against Clem Miller. And 

Clem Miller's plane went down flying up and down the coast. From 
Del Norte to Marin County was the district, number one. Don 
Clausen was campaigning and Clem Miller went down. I know Don 
had been a flyer in World War II. I don't know whether he was 
the one who found him or not. They knew one another. They were 
friends. I mean, they were political enemies; Clausen was a 
Republican and Clem Miller was a Democrat. 

Lage: Did Don Clausen tend to take the ranchers' side? 

Stewart: Oh, no. 

Lage: Or did he push for the park? 

Stewart: Yes. Don Clausen was a very, very great help, because he is a 
rancher. He was a rancher. Grew up on a ranch right at 
Fernbridge, across the river there. Was an insurance man. Did 
well. Could talk to ranchers. Could sit and talk to them, and 
felt at home with them when he talked to them. 

Lage: So he could understand their points of view. 

Stewart: Oh, yes. He understood their point of view. No trouble with 
Don. Don did a whale of a good job. 

Working Quietly, through Personal Contacts 

Lage: Okay. Now, let's see if I have any other things to follow up on. 
You were not involved much in that Save Our Seashore campaign, 
you said, the campaign and Peter Behr's work. 

Stewart: No, I had some personal contacts and was using those. 


Stewart: If you have interests in a community, you do better being very 

quiet about it. Running around boasting about who you know, or-- 

Lage: You're thinking of your relationship with your fellow ranchers? 









Fellow ranchers and with people in general. I would much rather 
be able to talk to a congressman, or a congresswoman, or a 
senator quietly, and go away, and have that be the end of it. I 
mean, if you're interested in what you want done, that's it. If 
you'd like some publicity, well then, that's something else. 

So, if you'd been involved with Mar in Conservation League and 
come back to report to them--. 

Yes. And I don't do that, you see. Now, I'm a member of the 
Conservation League again. But, I'm not active in it because I 
have some personal relationships with our congressman, 
congresswoman, and with two senators and some other people. And 
people will say, "Well, you know so-and-so, will you go talk to 
them? " 

That's not what you want to do. 

Look, I'd a lot rather be able to sit down and talk to a 
legislative representative about a problem and have them realize 
that I'm not talking for myself, that it is some information that 
I have that they can use. You don't want--. You want someone to 
know that you are able to talk to them. 

Privately. So you like to work more behind the scenes, it seems. 

It isn't quite that. If you want to be effective--. You have a 
personal relationship with someone, and you know they trust you 
and you trust them, and you can give them some information. If 
they want to really use that information, they don't want to run 
around and say, "Well, Boyd came and told me that." Why do I 
want someone to say, "Oh, but Boyd can go talk to him"? That's 
no one's business. 

Were you in touch with Katy Johnson during the period of this 
effort to save the seashore? 

Not so much in 1969, but I was in touch with her and with Bill 
Duddleson, over the GGNRA advisory committee, later. 

Transcriber: Sandy Tantalo 

Final Typists: Elizabeth Kim/Kian Sandjideh 


TAPE GUIDE- -Boyd Stewart 

Date of Interview: July 12, 1990 

tape l f side A 231 

tape 1, side B 243 

tape 2, side A 256 

tape 2, side B 269 











H.R. 3786 and Related Bills 





Serial No. 91-5 

Printed for the use of the 
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs 

U-033 WASHINGTON : 1969 







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Boyd Stewart Testimony 

before the 

Subcommittee on Parks and Recreation 

Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee 

February 26, 1970 

I would like, at this time, to introduce Boyd Stewart, who accom 
panied the two of us to the meetings here. Mr. Stewart is a rancher. 
He appears, also, at the House committee, and I think Mr. Stewart, 
if you have any questions of either myself or him, will give you a little 
bit of the flavor that is existing in the area for the present-day 

Senator BIBLE. I will be very happy to hear from you, Mr. Stewart. 



Mr. STEWART. Mr. Chairman, my statement is a very short state 
ment and it's in the record, ana I will just make a few comments. 

One of the first things I would want to do would be to answer a 
question that was asked of Director Hartzog. 

There are 10 operating dairies in the pastoral area. There are 12 
operating dairies in the seashore at the present time. 

Senator BIBLE. How large are those dairies? I assume they all vary 
in size. 

Mr. STEWART. The smallest dairy, this is an estimate, but a reason 
ably accurate one, Senator, the smallest dairy milks approximately 
100 cows. 

Senator BIBLE. Is the smallest 100? 

Mr. STEWART. Senator, in our county, very small dairies can't be 
operated efficiently. It is an area that imports all of its hay and grain, 
tnd has to operate sizable dairies in order to operate efficiently. 

Senator BIBLE. Very well. 

Mr. STEWART. The ranchers in Marin County^ whom I have been 
asked to represent here by the board of supervisors, feel, as every 
one else does, thai this park ought to be completed. 

Originally, as you know, they objected to the formation of a park 
for what they considered very sound reasons, and opposed its forma 
tion. They wished to stay on their land and operate it. They no longer 
feel that way. And there's a variety of reasons for changing their 
minds, Senator. Conditions have changed. 

Mnrin County, in the last 10 or 12 vears has changed greatly. It was 
riginally an agricultural county. It is rapidly becoming a place where 
knd is too valuable, or has become too valuable to be used for agri- 
J&Hure. Our county assessor recognizes that strictly agricultural land 
*s a value of somewhere around $100 to $140 or $150 an acre, but most 
f the grazing land in the county, and particularly in western Marin, 

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Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Saving Point Reyes National Seashore, 1969-1970 
An Oral History of Citizen Action in Conservation 

Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey, Jr. 


An Interview Conducted by 

Ann Lage 

in 1990 

Copyright (c) 1993 by The Regents of the University of California 






Table of Contents --Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey, Jr. 





Fellow Student John Ehrlichman at Stanford Law School 292 

Land-Use Law, Northern California and Washington 293 
Environmental Interests in Congress, 1967-1970: NEPA, Earth Day 295 

Campaign against the Environmentalists' Dirty Dozen 298 

Ehrlichman: Balanced on the Environment 299 


Vietnam War Overshadowing All Issues 301 

Appealing to the Political Instinct 305 

Reflections on Watergate 307 

Working with Democratic Congressman Cohelan 308 
John Whitaker's Memos: Concern with Political Pressure and 

Presidential Credit 310 
Broadening the Issue to Full Funding for the Land and Water 

Conservation Fund: Congressmen Aspinall and Saylor 316 


APPENDIX A -- McCloskey Congressional Testimony, 5/13/69 319 

APPENDIX B -- Letter, McCloskey to Ehrlichman, 9/16/69, and memo, 

Hullin to Mayo, 9/18/69 321 

APPENDIX C -- Handwritten White House memo, undated 323 

APPENDIX D -- Memo, Krogh to Hofe, 9/26/69 324 

APPENDIX E -- Memo, Krogh to Hullin, 9/26/69 325 
APPENDIX F -- Correspondence re Cohelan bill, 10/9/69, and 10/10/69 326 

APPENDIX G -- Whitaker memos to Ehrlichman, 11/13/69; to Nixon, 

11/18/69; to Murphy and Clausen, 11/18/69 332 

APPENDIX H -- Whitaker memo to Mayo, 11/20/69 340 

APPENDIX I -- Handwritten note, 11/21/69, re John Saylor 342 

Regional Oral History Office 
Room 486 The Bancroft Library 


University of California 
Berkeley, California 94720 

(Please write clearly. Use black ink.) 

Your full name 




Date of birth 

H If) Birthplace 

Father's full name 

. M 



Mother's full name \iC4a. 

I ( 

Your spouse 

Your children 

Where did you grow up? ^An 

Present community 




Areas of expertise 

/ 7> 

Other interests or activities 

Organizations in which you are active_ 


INTERVIEW HISTORY- -Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey, Jr. 

Pete McCloskey was added to the list of interviewees for this 
project when writer Bill Duddleson found documentary evidence of his 
initial role in bringing the Point Reyes issue to the attention of the 
Nixon White House in September 1969. A selection of these documents from 
the Nixon Presidential Materials at the National Archives is appended to 
this interview, and McCloskey 's comments here serve as a glossary to the 
sometimes cryptic letters and memos. 

At the time of the Point Reyes controversy, McCloskey was a young 
Republican congressman quickly developing a reputation as a maverick. 
One of the few environmentalists in Congress, he had a firsthand 
knowledge of the problem of land- cost escalation that Point Reyes 
exemplified. He also had a close personal tie with President Nixon's 
assistant for domestic affairs, John Ehrlichman. Through this 
connection, the urgency of presidential action on Point Reyes was pressed 
on the administration. 

Aside from providing a sense of how citizen action in California may 
have been translated into presidential policy in Washington, McCloskey' s 
interview places the Point Reyes issue in the context of the turbulent 
political scene of the late sixties. He recalls the growing discontent 
with the Vietnam War that led him, early on, to propose Nixon's 
impeachment and to run against Nixon for the Republican presidential 
nomination in 1971. 

Congressman McCloskey was interviewed in his law offices in Menlo 
Park, California, on October 18, 1990. A loyal Stanford University 
alumnus, when confronted with his interviewer from UC Berkeley, he began 
his comments with a reflection on the famous 1982 Big Game in which the 
Cal football team defeated Stanford in the fina.1 seconds with a unlikely 
series of lateral passes and a run through the undisciplined Stanford 
band. In keeping with his maverick tendencies, McCloskey stood in the 
midst of the Stanford rooting section and cheered the improbable play in 
acknowledgment of his friend "Truck" Cullom, who had introduced the 
lateral pass to Cal football training. 

Ann Lage 

Berkeley, California 
February 1992 



[Interview 1: October 18, 1990] ftp 1 

McCloskey: I was at Stanford from January, 1947 until June, 1950 when the 
Korean War broke out. During those years we lost three 
straight Big Games to Cal [the University of California, 
Berkeley], two of them on the conversions. The guy that kicked 
the points that beat us, 21 to 18 and 7 to 6, was a fellow 
named Jim Cullom, known as Truck Cullom. I grew to- -I didn't 
hate Truck Cullom, but I knew that they'd beaten us, and they 
had three teams that went to the Rose Bowl those years, '47, 
'48, and '49. These were the Pappy Waldorf years. In any 
event, I went to Korea in 1951 as a second lieutenant in the 
Marine Corps, on kind of a famous troop ship with Pat Robertson 
[conservative minister/politician] saying, "My daddy's a 
senator; he's getting me out of this." 

Lage: Oh, you were on that ship? 

McCloskey: Yes. Anyway, I was wounded a couple of times, came back home, 
and my last six months on active duty, which was from January 
to June of '52, I was at Camp Pendleton training other young 
lieutenants who were on their way to Korea, on how to survive. 
One of the guys that came through was Jim "Truck" Cullom, who 
had enlisted in the Marine Corps in his college days. I think 
he'd played pro ball a couple of years. But a marvelous guy. 
A big, genial tackle. So I rode him fairly hard. If we had to 
go on a ten-mile hike, I made him go fifteen or gave him the 
point. But I really ran his ass around the hills of Camp 

Lage: Did he know why? 

McCloskey: Oh, he knew. Stanford and Cal, you know, it is a marvelous 

1 This symbol (ftjf) indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes, see page 318. 


rivalry. But I later went into the D.A.'s [district 
attorney's] office up in Oakland, where I was one of only two 
Stanford men, and there were about forty Cal men, so I saw the 
other side of the rivalry. 

But in any event, Cullom went over to Korea, and in his 
first couple of weeks went on a squad patrol. There's a famous 
story about that patrol. Cullom went along, and the squad 
leader was behind the point man, and then Cullom, and then 
eleven guys behind him. Cullom tells this story; he says 
they're walking along the trail and all of a sudden he heard a 
"Ping!" The guy in the front knew what he'd done, he'd tripped 
a trip wire with a hand grenade. He dove off to one side and 
Cullom dove off to the other side. The guy said, "Grenade!" 
and Cullom said, "Grenade!" and he heard the words going back 
down the line: "Grenade! Grenade! Grenade! Grenade!" until 
they got to the last guy. The last guy said, "No shit!" And 
then there was an explosion, and those were the last words 
Cullom heard until he woke up on the hospital ship. 

Lage: He jumped the wrong way. 

McCloskey: Well, the grenade pretty much chewed up his leg and left him 
limping, and he couldn't play rugby, his first love, for a 
while. But in any event, he came back, and with a lot of 
Stanford and Cal guys coached a lot of rugby. Cullom became, 
as 1 recall, either the rugby coach or the junior varsity coach 
at Cal, and he insisted that their football team train with the 
lateral pass that you have to throw in rugby. So apparently 
the whole Cal football team under Cullom' s urging would run up 
and down the field lateral ing to each other. 

So when they had that play [1982 Big Game]- -I mean, 
Stanford had won the game. The game was over. There were four 
seconds left. All that was left was the kickoff, and all of a 
sudden these [Cal] guys start lateral ing the ball. All of a 
sudden that last guy runs through the band and they won the 
game, and everybody at Stanford was sitting there in a state of 
shock. I [sitting in the midst of the Stanford rooters] said, 
"Hurray for Cullom!" [laughter] And everybody's looking at me 
like I'm nuts. But that's the story of Jim Cullom and "the 

Lage: So that's his legacy. 

McCloskey: That's the Cullom legacy. 

Lage: Because apparently they did do the lateral passes in practice. 


McCloskey: They did. I believe that the legacy started with Jim Cullom 

and his insistence that football players play rugby. A lot of 
them did, and in rugby you can't pass forward; it's just a 
lateral. At any event, that was my image of Truck Cullom. 



Fellow Student John Ehrlichman at Stanford Law School 

Lage: Let's turn to our main focus today. We're documenting the 1969 
effort to fund the Point Reyes National Seashore as sort of a 
case study in citizen action- -the Save Our Seashore campaign 
and the citizen lobby in Washington headed by Katy Miller 
Johnson. During our research, your name came up as a person 
who may have had a connection to the White House that helped 
translate some of the citizen interest into a decision in the 
White House. So we wanted to try to get that story. 

McCloskey: Let me tell you a little about my own background that led up to 
this, because -- 


Good. That's what I wanted to start with. 

McCloskey: At Stanford Law School in 1949 and '50, I was one of those 

privileged to have had a little service at the end of World War 
II, enough to qualify for the G.I. Bill. So I was able to 
enter Stanford Law School at the end of what amounted to my 
junior year. I would have been in the class of '51, 
graduating, but for the Korean War. I finally got out in 1953. 

But in any event, in the class of '51, in our second year, 
I became friendly with John Ehrlichman and Jack Jones. In 
fact, the three of us studied together. Jack was from Modesto, 
John was from Seattle, I was from California, but we had common 
interests. We were all married, we had young wives, and our 
wives were pregnant. John already had a child. We were not 
the top students; they were probably in the middle of the 
class. I was probably close to the bottom of the class. We 
were so impoverished that for our recreation the three of us 
bought a ping-pong table together, which must have cost sixty 
dollars. We kind of traded around. It would be at 
Ehrlichman' s house, then at Jones's house, and then my house. 
You can call them houses; we were living in shacks around 


Stanford. It was not the rich man's school it is now. Anybody 
could go to Stanford then. Colleges were filled with people 
that had come out of the war. John had been a navigator on 
Liberators in the war, so we had respect for him and his combat 
experience . 

At the end of our second year, we went to the moot court. 
If you were a great student you were on the Stanford Lav 
Review. If you weren't, moot court was the favored activity. 
John and I were partners in the debates in the spring of 1950. 
We qualified for the finals. In fact, in the ratings, I think 
John was first and I was third, and Lewis Butler and Bob 
Jans sen were second and fourth. So it was scheduled that in 
the fall, the moot court finals would be between Ehrlichman and 
me on one side, and Janssen and Butler on the other. The 
significant thing was that Butler went on to become an 
assistant secretary of HEW [Department of Health, Education, 
and Welfare] under Nixon. Janssen became probably the finest 
trial lawyer in California. He went up to Eureka, became a 
small- town trial lawyer, and later won the famous Seamen's 
Case, which is the landmark case in California that established 
tort liability if you breached a contract with bad faith. 

Against that background, then, when we went to Korea, John 
and Jean Ehrlichman were almost the godparents for my first 
child. She was born the day I landed in Korea in February, 
1951. They looked after my wife and daughter in that last six 
months before everybody graduated in June. My wife as an 
undergraduate and John from Law School. 

Land-Use Law. Northern California and Washington 

McCloskey: After law school, I spent a little time in the D.A.'s office in 
Alameda County --Oakland, Berkeley, and Hayward--and John went 
up to Seattle with a family law firm where he quickly became 
known as one of the outstanding municipal zoning and land-use 
lawyers in Washington. Bear in mind that in the fifties and 
sixties there was a lot of land development. People were 
moving to the suburbs. There was agricultural land being 
turned into suburbs, the cities were expanding, we were coming 
out of a depression and World War II, and it was a great period 
of expansion and new land-use law. 

Lage: Even in Seattle? Not just here? 
McCloskey: Oh, yes, around Seattle, too. 


The upshot of this was that I finally hung out my shingle 
to practice law In Palo Alto in 1955 after leaving the D.A.'s 
office. I built up a practice down here as the first- -I think 
the first truly environmental law firm in the United States. 
Lew Butler had gone into the Peace Corps and when he came out 
of the Peace Corps in 1963 we formed a firm, Butler and 
McCloskey, to take only conservation cases. We wanted to 
prevent happening in northern California what had happened in 
southern California where I'd grown up. That law firm lasted 
four years, until 1967 when I was elected to Congress. I 
believe I was elected as the first Republican in the Congress 
that had any environmental background at all. 

Lage: There really wasn't even a field of environmental law. So- 

McCloskey: That's right. There was not, at that time, and there were not 
many environmentalists. Environmentalists, when I arrived in 
the Congress in '67, were deemed to be nuts and kooks and 
little old ladies in tennis shoes and anti-war protestors --that 
kind of thing. The environmental movement had no 
representatives in Congress, with a few exceptions: John 
Dingell of Michigan, John Blatnik of Minnesota, and Gaylord 
Nelson of Wisconsin. But the Congress was made up essentially 
of elderly men who came from the twenty years after World War 
II. From 1945 to 1967 was a period of steady, straight 
development, and everybody was for development, progress, and a 
better standard of living. The environmentalists were 
beginning to develop, but they were a minority and a despised 
minority, or at least a joked- about minority. They certainly 
had no political power. 

So I came to the Congress. In those years between 1953 
when I came back and graduated- -or at least '55 when I started 
my law practice, and John was a couple of years ahead of me up 
in Seattle--! would guess that we exchanged half a dozen cases. 
I became a condemnation lawyer and represented citizens groups 
with cases to save the Bay, save the foothills, and the like. 
Lew Butler and I brought the first lawsuit to save San 
Francisco Bay from being filled. That lawsuit was originally 
against the three members of the Land Commission in California, 
who were then [Controller] Alan Cranston, [Director of Finance] 
Hale Champion, and [Lieutenant Governor] Glenn Anderson [all 
California Democrats]. In the middle of us bringing that 
lawsuit in 1966, Republicans were elected, and our friends Hugh 
Floumoy, Robert Finch, and Cap Weinberger became the 
defendants, the new officers on the State Lands Commission. 


McCloskey : 

I went to Congress [in 1967] and Lew went into the 
administration. Our case was taken over by the state attorney 
general, and won. It stopped the filling of the Bay. 

I had been active with something called the Committee for 
Green Foothills and the Committee to Save the Bay. Our 
lawsuits involved protecting the town of Volcano from becoming 
a cement mill, protecting the valley of Covelo in Round Valley 
up in northern California from being flooded by the damming of 
the Eel River. 

Dos Rios Dam. 

That was essentially what I did. 1 was an environmental 
lawyer, but my primary thing was representing land owners whose 
lands were condemned for power lines or highways and so forth. 
Against that background, John and 1 were exchanging cases. 
Whenever I got a case up in Seattle --involving Indians or land 
or something, water--! referred it to him. When he got a case 
down in northern California, he referred it to me. We stayed 
good friends. 

Environmental Interests in Congress. 1967-1970: NEPA. Earth Dav 

McCloskey: Then Nixon was elected. He was elected in 1968 with a plan to 
end the war. You will remember Johnson had resigned; he didn't 
want to run again because the war was tearing the country 
apart. Nixon had a plan to end the war, and suddenly all my 
friends come to Washington. Ehrlichman comes as the number two 
man to Nixon. Butler came in as the assistant to Bob Finch, 
the California guy that had managed Nixon's campaigns back in 
the fifties and sixties. We now had a little coterie of 
northern California environmentalists: me, Butler, Ehrlichman, 
Jack [John G.j Veneman [former California Assemblyman, then 
undersecretary of Department of Health, Education and Welfare] , 
and others. 

The first environmental law was passed in 1969. It was 
called the National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA] . I was put 
on, as all freshmen are, committees that had no importance. I 
was put on the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, which 
had a little subcommittee called the Fish & Wildlife 
Conservation Subcommittee of the Merchant Marine & Fisheries 
Committee. The subcommittee wasn't much, but it had a 
marvelous chairman, John Dingell. In my other committee, I was 
put on with Henry Reuss in Government Operations, for which I 
was on the Environmental Subcommittee. Henry Reuss was an 


environmentalist. Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Vermont 
tended to be centers of environmental action because they had 
cut down all the trees in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota, 
and Vermont has always had the legacy of the Green Mountains. 

Okay, that's the background when the Nixon administration 
comes to office. The environmental movement really got off the 
ground with Earth Day in 1970, but even before that we had 
passed the National Environmental Policy Act. Nobody knew what 
it was; it required an environmental impact report on every 
project. If Congress had ever known what that was, it would 
not have passed. But it passed. Scoop [Henry M.) Jackson from 
the state of Washington was also an environmentalist. It went 
through the Senate, and Jackson controlled the Senate Interior 
Committee. We had Merchant Marine & Fisheries, and it blew 
through the Congress, and all of a sudden we had revolutionized 
America. We didn't know it in 1969. 

Lage: You didn't know that it was going to have this effect? 

McCloskey: We had no idea. That same year, there was a major budget 

crisis. It was the first year of Johnson's guns and butter 
policy. Up until '69, the nation had generally operated on a 
balanced budget theory. Whether it was Republican or Democrat, 
the theory was you had to balance the budget. The impact of 
the Great Society programs of '65, '66, and '67 hadn't really 
hit yet with the problems they produced. 

Lage: Although Johnson did use that phrase, that we can have guns and 

McCloskey: He said guns and butter. But the Congress was appalled that 
year to find that there was a $25 billion budgetary deficit 
against a budget of about $120 billion. It was a huge deficit 
because Johnson was trying to fight the Vietnam War and run all 
these social programs that he was so proud of in his War on 

Well, against that background, there was only one 
additional funding bill we voted that year, and that was the 
Water Pollution Control Act, for which we quadrupled the 
funding. That quadrupling of the funding was led by a 
coalition of four Democrats and me. It was John Blatnik of 
Minnesota, John Dingell of Michigan, and I've forgotten the 
other two. But we got the thing through the House, and 
everybody was astounded. I was just riding a long- -freshman 
Republicans, nobody listens to them. We had this kind of funny 
combination. They finally had a Republican on the 
environmental side, so it happened. Nobody wanted to vote 


against clean water, even though they had that huge deficit. 
That's the background. 

Then in '69 we passed the Environmental Policy Act through 
this funny little subcommittee. And then in the 1970 
elections, after Earth Day, the kids that ran Earth Day, led by 
Denis Hayes, a former Stanford student body president, about 
twenty kids, they knocked off half of a group [of congressmen] 
they called the Dirty Dozen. When that happened in 1970, 
that's what changed Congress. When we convened in '71, now we 
had an entirely environmental Congress. Everybody wanted to 
say they were environmentalists because these kids had knocked 
off these four Republicans and two Democrats. 

Lage: So it wasn't Just the change in the composition of the Congress 
but the change in what the congressmen wanted to be identified 
as. They all wanted to latch onto environmental ism. 

McCloskey: That's right. I'll tell you a story about it. I teach this 

class tonight at Santa Clara. I've used it in every class that 
I teach, about citizen action. 

In 1970 Earth Day was April 22. These kids had taken 
Arbor Day- -from the "plant a tree" concept that had been 
started back in the last century- -and said, "We're going to 
have an Earth Day." Ehrlichman in the White House, and 
[attorney general] John Mitchell, put Earth Day under 
surveillance. What Earth Day was- -these twenty-four or five 
kids in Washington. Gaylord Nelson, Democrat senator, and I, 
Republican member of the House were the chairmen. We had a 
third guy named Sid [Sydney] Howe, president of the 
Conservation Foundation. We raised $100,000, and what these 
kids did is that they got a list of ten thousand high schools 
and two thousand colleges. Starting in January, they sent out 
every two weeks a little flier saying, "Earth Day is going to 
be April 22. We want you to have discussions of these six 
environmental topics." Each flier had a topic: land expansion, 
or water pollution, air pollution, toxics, population. Six 
topics. And Earth Day was conceived as a Sunday in which 
they'd sit down and have six workshops on every campus of these 
high schools and colleges across the country. You had an Earth 
Day chairman at each high school and college. 

So it turned out to be a marvelous thing. It was 
apparently a sunny day, and the kids came out and frolicked. 
The FBI was looking at all of them, because this was the height 
of the ant i- war movement. The Nixon people thought it was a 
subversive thing; it was an anti-war protest in disguise. 


Acainst the Environmentalists' Diirtv Dozen 

NcCloskey: But a week after Earth Day, I was sitting in the cloak room in 
the House of Representatives, which is a funny little L- shaped 
room. Ve have one; the Democrats have one. The kids had 
$30,000 left over from what they had spent on Earth Day. They 
didn't know how to spend it. At two o'clock a guy comes into 
the cloak room, an old Republican congressman, and he's waving 
a paper, the Washington Star. He says, "Look at this! Look at 
this! McCloskey, this is your work!" And about on the fifth 
page there's an interior two-column little heading: 
"Environmental Group labels twelve members of Congress 'Dirty 
Dozen.'" And this guy's name's on it. There's a few guys 
sleeping around, sitting there watching television, and I don't 
know what--. The cloak room is a dull place, but this guy's 
waving his newspaper and he's pointing at me, and it mentions 
the Earth Day, which McCloskey and Nelson were sponsoring. 
Veil, these kids had picked twelve congressmen. Two of them 
are Democrats, and ten are Republicans. Everybody looks at him 
and says, "Aw, come on, Harry, don't worry about that. It's 
just a bunch of kids, you know. Ha ha ha, ho ho ho." And it 
was forgotten. 

It was forgotten for about five weeks. On the first 
Wednesday in June, everybody opened their Washington Post, and 
lo and behold, the two Democrats on that list had both been 
defeated in Democratic primaries: one in Baltimore and one in 
Denver. They were ranking senior Democrats. One guy was the 
number two guy in the Judiciary Committee, Byron Rogers. The 
other guy, I think his name was [George H.j Fallen, and he was 
on the Public Works Committee. I mean, nobody would believe 
that these two guys could be beaten in Democratic primaries. 
What had happened? 

The twenty- five kids in Washington, they'd gone out and 
they'd picked--. They didn't pick the twelve worst on the 
environment; they'd picked twelve that they thought could be 
beaten. You know, sometimes you only get a 20 percent turnout 
in the primary. They'd gone into Denver and Baltimore, and 
they'd gotten five hundred of these kids that had played a part 
in Earth Day. They'd walked precincts, and they turned out 
voters, and they elected two young Democrat environmentalists. 

Well, that was enough, but within twenty-four hours- - 
twenty- four hours- -me, the despised junior Republican from 
California, the sponsor of this embarrassing Earth Day, the 


anti-war, anti-Nixon Republican--. Nobody could figure out why 
I was against the war; I'd been a Marine and all these things. 
Within twenty- four hours, seven of the ten Republicans on that 
list had come to me and said, "Pete, could we get your speeches 
and data on water pollution, air pollution?" Suddenly the 
environment had become an important thing. 

Four of those ten Republicans were defeated in November, 
and when we convened in January, 1971, for the 92nd Congress, 
everybody says, "I'm an environmentalist." If you look at what 
happened in those next two, four years, we passed all the great 
environmental legislation- -clean water, clean air, endangered 
species, estuarine--and most of it went through this little 
funny subcommittee on Fish & Wildlife, of which John Dingell 
was the chairman and I was the Republican ranking member. We 
started to get environmentalists. Tom Evans of Delaware; and 
Jim [James M. ] Jeffords of Vermont, who's now in the Senate. 
But the environmental movement really started with Earth Day, 
1970. It probably ended with the Arab oil embargo in '73, 
because all the issues had been environment versus development 
up until that time. Then you put energy in as a triangular 
confrontation, and things got confused; the economy took a nose 

But you had seen three golden years of environmental 
legislation. Nixon, interestingly enough, was coming in as a 
Republican. Johnson, Texas, what do they care about the 
environment? Although Lady Bird Johnson was probably the first 
official environmentalist as his wife. She tried to beautify 
Washington, and Lady Bird was very active in that kind of 
thing. So when Nixon came in, you had a guy like Ehrlichman as 
his number two guy in charge of domestic policy, who had seen 
the trees cut down in Washington [state] and who did want to 
preserve the environment. 

Ehrlichman: Balanced on the Environment 

Lage: Was his interest in land law the same as yours? Was he 
representing environmentalists? 

McCloskey: You would say that John was certainly a balanced guy. He lived 
on the bank of Lake Washington. His back yard was a grassy 
expanse that sloped down to the lake. He treasured the right 
to barbecue a salmon. The last vacation my wife and I took, we 
had three couples and three station wagons and took ten kids, 
and stayed in Ehrlichman' s back yard in Seattle in 1966, I 


think it was, when they had that Expo in Seattle. The 
environmentalists are generally from Oregon and Washington and 
northern California in this part of the world. Yes, you have 
the timber interest in Washington and Oregon, and you have the 
defense interests in Seattle and Bremerton, those places, but 
the environment and saving--. Oregon had a bumper sticker: 
"Don't Californicate Oregon." They didn't want to have happen 
to Oregon what had happened in L.A. [Los Angeles]. They now 
have smog in Eugene [Oregon] , in the Willamette Valley. But 
yes, you would say that John was at least balanced on the 
environment . 

Lage: Let's get us back into Point Reyes, if we can. Did you have 
any personal experience with Point Reyes, or was it just an 
issue that struck a bell with you? 

McCloskey: My law practice had involved representing clients in Mar in 

County and Sonoma County, and I had hiked in those areas and 
Point Reyes, and Point Reyes and Bolinas were areas we 
treasured like Carmel, Monterey, and Yosemite. I'm a fourth- 
generation California; my family's been in northern California 
since 1853, so saving northern California was a great goal, and 
I know most inches of it. Yes, I know that area very well. 

Lage : So when the issue came up to save Point Reyes , you knew what 
they were talking about, personally. Would you know if 
Ehrlichman had ever been out there? Is that something you did 
at Stanford? 

McCloskey: My guess would be he would know the northern California coast, 
and he would equate it with areas he knew well. He might have 
driven through once, but law school was very demanding. 

Lage: You had introduced a bill similar to the one that finally was 
reported out of the Interior Committee on Point Reyes. 

McCloskey: Yes. I was looking at my statement here that you sent me 
[testimony before the House Subcommittee on Parks and 
Recreation. See Appendix A, p. 319]. Don Clausen was the 
congressman from northern California at that time. He 
represented this entire coast. I see we've got [Congressmen] 
Glenn Anderson, John Moss, Don Edwards, Charlie [Charles] 
Gubser, Lionel Van Deer 1 in, and Al [Alphonso] Bell, with a 
letter from Senator [George] Murphy. I don't believe anybody 
opposed it. 


No, nobody around here really opposed it, 



Vietnam War Overshadowing All Issues 



I wanted to look at some of these documents with you. 
kind of go in sequence if we can. 







Let me make this note here. Tod Hullin, for example, and Bud 
Krogh were both brought by John Ehrlichman to the White House. 
They'd both been in his law firm in Seattle, and Tod Hullin had 
been the quarterback for the University of Washington. Bud 
Krogh was a super guy. So he had quite a set of people there. 

In May, 1969, you testified in front of the Subcommittee on 
National Parks and Recreation, and then things seemed to sort 
of lie low because the Bureau of the Budget [BOB] would not 
release the funds, would not say that the funds from the Land & 
Water Conservation fund could be released, even if appropriated 
by Congress. On September 10, a letter was sent by mail to 
Wayne Aspinall, from Bureau of the Budget head, Robert Mayo, 
confirming this. 

Now, the next bit of evidence we have of your involvement 
is from Bill Duddleson, who was with the Conservation 
Foundation, and he was involved in putting on the first Law and 
the Environment Conference at Airlie House in Virginia. 

Did I go to that? 

You went to that. You don't remember this? 

I remember going to Airlie House a few times. It was one of 
the most desolate places in the world on a cold winter day. 
They had these conferences down there, yes. 

September 12, 1969, was the first Law and the Environment 
Conference. Anyway, Bill Duddleson remembers telling you about 
this letter from Mayo, and you went immediately to the 
telephone and apparently called John Ehrlichman to protest. 


McCloskey : 



McCloskey : 

I have no personal recollection of that. 

I'm putting you on the spot here. But following that, you did 
get in touch with Ehrlichman, because we have these letters. 
[See Appendices B-I. Documents are from the Nixon Presidential 
Materials, in custody of the National Archives and Records 
Administration, Alexandria, Virginia]. What's the history 
behind the signature there: "Your obedient servant"? [Appendix 
B, p. 321] 

That's a century-old way of signing letters. It's the way 
George Washington wrote to Ben Franklin: "Your obedient 
servant." That's just a Joke. 

Note this first letter is still September 16, 1969. He's 
only been in office for eight months. Took office in January. 
Luckily, at that time John and me were still friends. I 
believe it is the next month that I introduced the resolution 
to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, and it began to be 
more difficult for John and I to identify as friends because I 
was embarrassing the president with my opposition to the 
Vietnam War. I ran against him in 1971, solely on Vietnam. At 
that time it became impossible for John. 

Was the Tonkin Gulf resolution happening that same Fall? 

No, the Tonkin Gulf resolution had been adopted in 1964, in the 
Johnson administration. But by 1968 and that campaign, the 
Vietnam war was the key issue, Nixon against Hubert Humphrey. 
He only beat Humphrey very narrowly in '68, and the feeling was 
that Humphrey got tagged with the war policies of Lyndon 
Johnson, or he would have beaten Nixon. If the election had 
been held a week later, Humphrey was coming up, Nixon was going 
down. But Nixon was elected in November '68 with a plan to end 
the war, looking like the peace candidate. It wasn't until 
Nixon invaded Cambodia, and we had Kent State and the really 
severe casualties in '69 and '70--. In '69, a lot of us young 
Republican congressmen, including me and George Bush, were 
trying to convince the Nixon people to get out of Vietnam. 
Bush was from Texas. 

I didn't remember that about Bush. 

A lot of people don't remember it about Bush, but George was 
elected in 1966, and coming into office with him were forty- 
three other young freshmen Republicans. It was one of the last 
great turnovers. Johnson had beaten Goldwater so badly in '64 
that a lot of marginal seats rode Johnson's coattails. Well, 




in '66, in a mid-year with Johnson unpopular, forty- four new 
Republicans were elected. Those guys were young tigers. They 
were elected in swing districts; they'd all campaigned hard. 
Bush was the first Republican elected in Houston, Texas. That 
group became known as the 8/66 Club. I came in in mid-year, at 
the end of '67. They took office January '67; I came in in 
December. Bush was our leader. Ue all kind of recognized 
George as the guiding leadership of the forty- four members of 
this group, which had meetings and enjoyed each other and 
battled the seniority system and the old goats. 

And in the next session, in 1969, after we were reelected 
in '68, Bush became the chairman of the House Republican 
Environmental Task Force, and 1 was his vice-chairman. If 
you're a freshman or a junior Republican, you're not very 
important. Nobody listens to you in the committee, so you do 
research on these issues of the future. So Bush and 1 were 
working in this Republican Environmental Task Force. Bush was 
very much an environmentalist. You can't come from Texas and 
have a house in Kennebunkport , Maine, and not be an 
environmentalist . 

What I want to put this in context with is that at this 
particular time in history, I was a Republican congressman, 
part of the minority party in the House, and John Ehrlichman 
and I had worked together and had the beneficial relationship 
of twenty years of fast friendship. 

So you had a lot of entree. He really seemed to respond to 
your letter, if we look at all the rest of these documents. A 
lot apparently was done in response to your input. 

It's more than that. To be honest, he bought a house out in 
Great Falls [northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC] . He 
and his wife had five children. Bill [William H.] Rehnquist, 
who had been at Stanford law school also, was in that 
administration [as assistant attorney general]; he lived out 
there and had two children. Lew Butler had three children. I 
had four. Our kids were all of high school or younger age. 


McCloskey: What I'm saying is that the four of us --Rehnquist, Butler, me, 
and Ehrlichman- -friends from law school, all lived within ten 
miles of one another from McLean [Virginia] out to Great Falls. 
So on occasion, John would come in, driven in his chauffeur- 
driven limousine. I remember the day they invaded Cambodia. I 
was madder than hell, and John picked us up. I lived about two 





blocks from Lew Butler, and he picked up Lew and me. We all 
rode into the White House, and I was yelling at Ehrlichman, and 
this was now '71 or '70. Lew was trying to mediate. Lew later 
resigned from the administration because of the renewed bombing 
of Cambodia. So it was tearing the nation apart, and it was 
tearing old friends apart. 

So I became somewhat of a leader to repeal the Tonkin Gulf 
resolution. I made the first speech saying Nixon ought to be 
impeached. John and I, while our personal friendship probably 
remained, there was no need to talk to one another after 1971. 
We became friends again; I visited him in the federal prison in 
Safford, Arizona, in the mid- seventies and said, "John, for 
Christ's sake, we shouldn't let our differences end our 
friendship." We've remained friends ever since. He's a good 
guy. Wielding all of that power, he may have looked arrogant 
and probably was arrogant for a period of time, but as I say, a 
friendship going back forty years should be more important than 
political views. 

So would Point Reyes have been the kind of thing you would talk 
to him about over a touch football game? 

We could have. I'll tell you, during that year of 1969, which 
was a crucial year in this country, the events of the Vietnam 
War so far overshadowed everything. In the spring of '69, 
twenty- two Republican congressmen went out to fifty campuses on 
spring break. We were led by a guy named [William E.] Bill 
Brock from Tennessee who later became national chairman [of the 
Republican Party] . Bush and a couple of guys went to three or 
four universities in Texas. Don Riegle, Jerry Pettis and I 
came to Berkeley [the University of California], Stanford, San 
Francisco State, USC [University of Southern California], and 
UC [University of California at] San Diego. What we did in 
those seven days, we dressed like the students, we went 
incognito, and we tried to get a feel of what the students were 
thinking. They teargassed us in Berkeley; that was the day of 
the great riot. 

While you were visiting there? 

Yes. I was teargassed. Three congressmen walking around in 
blue jeans. We were teargassed on the Berkeley campus. 
[President S.I.] Hayakawa was barricaded in the basement at San 
Francisco State. They burned down the ROTC building at 
Stanford while we were there. I mean, this was the height of 
the student protest against the Vietnam War. As Republican 
congressmen, we went back and wrote a report to Nixon, and 


said, "Listen, you've got to make changes. This country is 
exploding. " 

Lage: And Bush was with you on all this? 

McCloskey: Bush was part of the group. The twenty- two Republicans were 

all out of this group of the 8/66 club; we were all freshmen or 
sophomores . 

Appealing to the Political Instinct 

Lage: We're getting a lot of other things, even if you're not 
remembering Point Reyes completely. Point Reyes was a 
sidelight to your activity. 

McCloskey: That's what I'm saying. For a freshman Republican to get 

anything done is an amazing thing. I had forgotten this. I've 
never taken credit for Point Reyes. I don't think I deserve 
any credit for it. 

Lage: I don't think you deserve the complete credit either, but it's 
a part of the picture. 

McCloskey: Yes. But you'll note the Republican partisanship [in his 

September 16, 1969 letter to Ehrlichman, Appendix B, p. 321]. 
"Let's give the president credit." That's what you always try 
to do with presidents. 

Lage: That's what I wanted to ask you. This is the letter of 

September 16, where you point out that they can use this issue 
to their advantage. 

McCloskey: That's the only thing that moves those guys in the White House. 
If you can't find some way for the president to stand up and 
smile at the cameras and have a media opportunity--. That's 
the only thing that moves those guys. Ehrlichman would tell 
you that. Once they get in there, yes, they want to do what's 
best for the nation, but they always want to make the president 
look good. So if the president can overcome a Bureau of the 
Budget chief-- "He slashed through the red tape and funded the 
Point Reyes seashore, and they ought to have a little statue of 
Richard Nixon out there like at the John Wayne Airport." 
That's what moves them. It was shameless. [quotes from his 
letter] "If you move this time, why not let a few of us know 
in advance so that we can properly give the president credit 
where it is due? It might also help to have the president 
announce that due to the efforts of George Murphy, Don Clausen, 





and Bill Mailliard, he is taking the step to preserve a 
priceless national heritage." 

I want to tell you, Murphy was in deep trouble as a U.S 
senator. He's a Republican. Don Clausen was always in trouble 
up there because his district was half conservation and half 
timber. Clausen was always dancing a little tap dance between 
his environmentalists in Marin County and his timber cutters up 
in Humboldt. And Mailliard was the only Republican left in the 
San Francisco Bay Area, but Mailliard had a district by now 
that's about 70 percent Democrat. Bill finally retired. 
There's a Mailliard Grove up there in the redwoods that the 
Mailliard family contributed. But that was why [I emphasized 
that] "due to the efforts of George Murphy, Don Clausen, and 
Bill Mailliard," Nixon was "taking this step to preserve a 
priceless national heritage." With me looking at a Republican 
primary in June of '70, I should have added my name to that, 
because I only won narrowly. The Republican primaries were 
very difficult. 

What's the next thing that happened? 

This is Ehrlichman's handwriting [Appendix C, p. 323] on the 
White House budget, saying the "funds in Land & Water 
Conservation Fund before '69 committed for FY [fiscal year] ' 
already publicly identified with specific projects. For '71 
budget it is an open question. Considerable re -programming. 
Land rates.... Acquisition of additional land will cost at 
least 50 million. Needed authorizing legislation is still 
pending . 



You can read it better than 1 . 

Yes. Well, that's John's handwriting. It's very forceful. 
September 26 he gets a memorandum back from Bud Krogh [Appendix 
D, p. 324]. "I'm sure you have been beleaguered.... 
[laughter]" Doug Hofe, I don't know who he is. Probably over 
in the Department of the Interior. 

During this time we had the citizen campaign, Save Our 
Seashore, where they were collecting a million petition 
signatures and sending letters off to the White House. So that 
was part of the background. 

1 John Ehrlichman identifies the handwriting on this memorandum as Tod 
Hullin's. --Ed. 


McCloskey: Yes, and I noticed this from Krogh. [Appendix E, September 29, 
1969, p. 325] "I advised Schlesinger. " What was [James] 
Schlesinger doing at that time? 

Lage: I think he was in the Bureau of the Budget. 

McCloskey: Yes. Probably. "Point Reyes had received a higher priority in 
our thinking " Well, we did have a little impact. 

Lage : Yes . 

McCloskey: Yes, Schlesinger was with BOB and was to provide Krogh with, "a 
memorandum on how we can get additional funding. . . .It was 
necessary for us to do something dramatic." That's Bud Krogh. 
Now, that's the chief burglar. Bud Krogh 's the first guy that 
plead guilty in Watergate three years later, four years later. 

Reflections on Watergate 



Did all that surprise you terribly, knowing these people in 
kind of a personal way? 

It didn't necessarily surprise me, but it--. See, in those 
days, in fairness to those guys, no one had yet said in 1969 
that burglary and wiretapping and all these illegal things in 
the national security weren't appropriate. What happened was 
that during the Cold War, where you wiretapped foreign spies 
and you captured them and tortured them, and they captured our 
guys and tortured them, the Cold War and the undercover CIA 
effort, it was a fairly simple transfer in 1970 to say, "Since 
maintaining the war in Vietnam requires domestic surveillance 
and an enemies list, and Dan Ellsberg has undercut us, let's 
destroy his credibility, let's rob his doctor's office." Krogh 
ran the operation, which ultimately led to the impeachment of 
the president. But in fairness to them, they thought that in 
keeping the president's policy going, that burglary and those 
things were legal in those days. But Krogh later said, "I 
reexamined my conscience and I can't justify common burglary 
just to protect the president's Vietnam War policy." But this 
is a retroactive standard of morality that had not yet been 

But when they knew people like yourself --this has nothing to do 
with Point Reyes- -but they knew you personally as an honorable 
person very much opposed to the war. How could they treat 




everyone who's opposed to the war as someone worthy of being 
spied on? 

I was an aberration, you see. They had to respect me because I 
had fought in the Korean War, had these medals and been 
wounded. They couldn't say a Marine is a Communist 
sympathizer. Had I been just a college professor, I would have 
been viewed as a dupe for the Communist movement, a left-wing 
nut who was a fuzzy-headed liberal. That was the view in the 
Republican party. It became the view much later in the Reagan 
administration. Fuzzy-headed liberal. You heard them talking 
about those fuzzy-headed liberals. You know, "They're nice 
people, but they don't really see our problem, which is this 
vicious communism." So for them to move to acts which for 
thirty years had been accepted in international espionage, they 
say, "Well, now they're in domestic espionage. These people 
are undermining our war effort." You had people rioting in 
Port Chicago, you had people refusing to fight, conscientious 
objectors going to Canada. The country was torn apart by 
Vietnam because the older men--. 

And I had volunteered to go to Vietnam. I thought that 
our generation ought to fight. I didn't want my sons to fight 
there. But the older generation, we'd only fought good wars 
against Germany and Japan and Korea, so to take on communism, 
that was a proper thing. So you attempt, when you are for one 
point of view, to find that people on the other side are fuzzy- 
headed thinkers or liberals or misguided nuts and kooks or 
using speed and marijuana or whatever. You always dignify your 
own position by cutting down the other side. They could cut me 
down for a lot of things. They couldn't cut me down on the war 
thing. So, well, it was just a painful thing. 

In any event, in '69 we were still in front of that era, 
and still I was like any Republican congressman with a 
Republican president. The Republicans being a minority, you're 
working behind the scenes with the White House. 

And they seemed to respond. 

Working with Democratic Congressman Cohelan 

McCloskey: Yes. [looking at documents in Appendix F, pp. 326-331) Jeff 
Cohelan was a good friend of mine from Berkeley, a lovely man 


Lage: His response to Nixon's refusal to fund the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund was to put forth this bill, which you co- 
authored [H.R. 14533 to suspend the President's authority to 
enter mineral leasing agreements, unless the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund was fully expended. See Appendix F, p. 329]. 
Do you recall that? 

McCloskey: I don't recall it, but I remember Jeff Cohelan and working with 

There's another issue that comes into this. These notes 
[Appendix F, October 9, 1969 letter, p. 326] are David Brown's, 
my legislative assistant, D.B. These are my notes over here on 
the left: "Budgetary purpose only. $37.5 allocated to Park 
Service." There's another fight going on there that would play 
a part in what you're thinking, and that was the fight that 
Nixon for the first time was refusing to spend money that was 
appropriated. Nixon wanted to balance the budget, the great 
fiscal responsibility, the trademark of the Republican party. 
So Congress was at war with him and trying to figure out how to 
force him to spend the money that they appropriated. That was 
one of these issues . 

Lage: And you sort of held this out to the people in the White House 
that you were going to have to sign onto this [Cohelan' s] bill, 
unless you could see some motion there. 

McCloskey: 1 wish we had this confidential BOB memo of October 1 [referred 
to in October 10, 1969 letter to Hullin, Appendix F, p. 327]. 
He must have sent it to me. It's probably in my records over 
at the Hoover Institution [at Stanford University] . 

Lage: Is that where your records are? 

McCloskey: Yes. "Point Reyes... may show a higher annual increase in fair 
market value than some of the other areas." I was a 
condemnation lawyer; fair market value of lands and the 
explosion of land values was how I made my living. 

Lage: And apparently a lot of congressmen appalled at what had 
happened to the land prices out there. 

McCloskey: You see, at Redwood Park we had had a legislative taking. We'd 
taken the land, but we'd only allocated $50 million. I think 
it cost over $400 million, but that was years later. 
"Supplemental appropriation. .. .To have a chance. . .nojg. " Okay, 
Aspinall was a turkey. He was-- 


Lage: Do you recall that? He was holding everything up to get Nixon 
to commit the money before he would bring the vote on the 
authorization for Point Reyes before his committee. 

McCloskey: Aspinall was the chairman of the House Interior Committee. He 
was a waspy, hostile, angry, bitter man. That's all I can 
remember about him, but he controlled everything, and his great 
goal in life was to divert water from the western side of the 
Rockies over to the eastern side for the state of Colorado, for 
his district. He was a tough son of a bitch. So 1 don't know. 
I would expect that Cohelan and 1 were jointly fighting 
Aspinall. Aspinall was the last rock of - - 

Lage: He was another one that went down, I'm not sure when, but I 
believe he was defeated by one of these environmental 
campaigns . 

McCloskey: In due course he may have been, but-- 

Lage: You indicated you would not support the Cohelan bill "until the 
other alternatives are resolved." Well, you must not have 
gotten satisfaction, because you did sign on as a co-author on 
that Cohelan bill. 

McCloskey: It would look like that, but here I am trying to work with the 
president rather than the Democrats because the way to do this 
was through the White House, if we could get it done. 

John Whitaker's Memos: Concern with Political Pressure and 
Presidential Credit 

McCloskey: John Whitaker. [see memo, November 13, 1969, Appendix G, pp. 

Lage: Do you remember him? 

McCloskey: Yes, he was another one of John's young lawyers. [Whitaker's 
background was in Geology, with a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins 
University. He later became undersecretary of the Interior. 

Lage: Was he out of John's law office? 

McCloskey: I'm not sure he was out of the law office. Let's see what he 
says. "Park Director Hartzog. . .He will 'waffle' and he is 
instructed to do so by me." 


Lage: I know. Isn't that wonderful? 

McCloskey: Oh, yes. These guys. They were too honest. They put 

everything in writing. When you look at it later, they look 
like a bunch of crooks, always lying. 

Lage: In writing or on tape. 

McCloskey: "Interior Appropriations Committee will introduce legislation 

to appropriate funds and make political hay out of it.* Do you 
know who the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee was at 
that time? That would be good to know. [Julia Butler Hansen 
of Washington was the chair.] 

"In other words, the president will be 'run over' by 
Congress and the Democrats will collect the credit." 

Lage: Yes. Now the political angle really comes in. 
McCloskey: That's probably what I told them in October. 

Lage: And they were getting all these petitions. I think eventually 
they got almost half a million signatures. 

McCloskey: "He could veto the authorization bill, but at great political 
expense . " 

Lage: Some of the underlining in these documents was made by various 
researchers who passed them along to me. 

McCloskey: Sweet Ranch? 

Lage: That was the Lake Ranch out at Point Reyes, one of the key 
pieces of property. 

McCloskey: "Appropriations legislation should not include. . .'legislative 
taking' since, obviously, we cannot have the $33.5 million 
available in FY 1970." ' 

Lage: Although you had suggested, as well as a number of others, that 
there be legislative taking, that didn't happen. 

McCloskey: "We commit for a speedy purchase by the end of FY 1972. . . .My 
rationale is that we are going to be run over by Congress on 
this one and we should therefore pick up the political credit 
and do it in the most dramatic way possible." 

Lage: Now, was this more of this obsession with the political credit? 


McCloskey: That's all they care about in the White House. 

Lage: Do you think that's Just Nixon, or do you think that was 

NcCloskey: No, right now. Bush. Look at the budget deal. I mean, 
they're all sitting around: "How do we make the boss look 
good? " 

Lage: Right. And the Democrats wondering how they can make him look 

McCloskey: "It gives the president a chance to identify with California, 
but not at the expense of playing regional favoritism because 
he can point out that Point Reyes, more than any park, 
represents the prime example of major encroachment by suburban 
sprawl..." and that's right. These places in Texas and Nevada 
didn't face the same land cost inflation. 

Lage: 1 think this was an idea you put forth in an earlier memo. 

McCloskey: Here. "The political pressure on this one is extremely high." 
There's where your petitions play a part. Clausen. Clausen is 
the original Nervous Nellie. I mean, Clausen- -have you ever 
met Don Clausen? 

Lage : No . 

McCloskey: Oh, he's a funny guy. Clausen was a supervisor up in Del Norte 
County, Crescent City. 

Lage: So he came out of the timber area. 

McCloskey: Oh, yes. And yet 60 percent of his votes were down in Marin, 
in the heart of the biggest environmental area in California. 
Clausen is a big, kind of jolly guy. Funny guy, but he first 
ran against a guy named Clem Miller, who was an enormously 
popular Democratic congressman from Marin County. Clem Miller 
died in a plane crash three weeks before the election. I think 
it was in '64 [October 7, 1962]. He still beat Clausen three 
weeks later. A dead man. They had to have a special election 
to get Clausen in. 

So Clausen gets his money from the timber interest and his 
votes from the conservationists, so he was always--. Every 
issue, Clausen was on me because 1 was a leader in the 
environmental movement in the House. Especially Earth Day. 
Clausen was always trying to get me to help him so the 
environmentalists wouldn't tear him apart. Man, he was trying 


to get the King Range area protected, and he was always trying 
to do something environmental to keep those guys in the 
southern part of his district happy. 

Lage: Vould he have come to you on this Point Reyes issue also, do 
you think? 

NcCloskey: Oh, my God, I would guess twenty times. Clausen, as 1 say, he 
was always trying to show the environmentalists he was doing 
something. Point Reyes to Clausen was getting reelected. 

Lage: And he had the Redwood Park too, up in the other end of his 

McCloskey: Yes. 



1 love the ending to Whi taker's memo. 

"1 recommend that the President beat the Democrats to the punch 
and submit supplemental FY 1970 appropriation. ..." 
Remember, this is in the heart of guns and butter crisis. That 
he invites "Jackson, Allott and Bible (Parks Subcommittee), 
Congressmen Aspinall, Saylor and Roy A. Taylor." Those guys 
were powerful. John Saylor was a tough guy. Joe Skubitz. 
"Meet privately. . .with Secretary Hickel, Senator Murphy and 
Don Clausen. . . .e.g. cancel a space shot." [laughter] 

Lage: Isn't that great? 

McCloskey: That is so funny, because here we are, last year, one of the 
great issues. The president, Bush, who is a good guy from my 
standpoint, an environmentalist, and exactly this fight comes 
up in front of him. Bureau of the Budget, Darman and all those 
turkeys, were recommending that NASA this year had two options. 
They could do something technical for half a billion dollars in 
space or they could spend half a billion to put up a satellite 
that surveilled the earth and could possibly give environmental 
data on the ozone layer and the warming effect. There was a 
terrible fight in the Bureau of the Budget, which came down and 
recommended against the environmental alternative. 

Bush wanted to make Earth Day in 1990 his first 
proclamation. So January 3, I got invited, as the co-chairman 
of Earth Day in '70, back to Washington in 1990. That goes 
back a long way, because in 1970 Bush had me campaigning for 
him in Texas. He was running against Lloyd Bentsen. They had 
the pollution of the Houston ship channel as an issue, and Bush 
was trying to beat Bentsen for the Senate race. He took Pettis 
and me up in a blimp, in the Goodyear blimp, to get a little 





McCloskey : 

McCloskey : 

news coverage of how strongly Bush was going to represent Texas 
in getting rid of that pollution in the Houston ship channel. 

So here, twenty years later, I get called to the White 
House, and he has about thirty of us sitting there. He had Mo 
Udall and Gaylord Nelson and me and Denis Hayes --all the old 
crew from 1970. He proclaims that the 1990s are going to be 
the decade of the environment, and he, President Bush, is going 
to be the environmental president. Lurking in the background 
is this issue: is he going to get the Bureau of the Budget to 
allocate the $500 million, not for the space shot but for the 
surveillance of the earth for environmental purposes on earth 
rather than in space? He came down in favor of the 
environmental side on that. I was making the same argument: 
let Bush do that. Let him take credit for it. 

So you had a little input into that as well? 

Just input. I mean, I'm not the key guy. The key guy is 
probably Bob Grady, who was the speechwriter for him and went 
over to Budget on the environmental side. 

At any event, the same fight always goes --where do you 
allocate the money? You have one set of guys saying, "This is 
important. Let the president take credit for the space shot," 
and another set of guys saying, "The environment's more 
important. Let him take credit for an environmental issue." 
That's how those things are made. But what it comes down to is 
it comes down to a mix of what the political pressure from home 
was. Without those petitions, you might not have had Clausen 
jumping up and down. 

And Murphy, I think was very-- 

Oh, yes, well, Murphy got beaten in the next election, as I 

He did, but he thought this was pretty crucial to his chances 
of winning. And he lobbied the White House also. 

Murphy thought I was a Communist. 
Murphy--. I never did like-- 

Murphy and you didn't do well? 

I was against the war, and 

No, we didn't get along. Clausen and I had a friendly 
relationship because I might say I represented the one group- 
If 1 had gone up there and said, "Clausen's not good on the 
environment," he might have gotten beaten, and he knew it. I 










wasn't about to do it, but it was the environmental 
constituency, he was scared of them from the day he went to 
Congress until the day he finally got beaten. 

Well, he supported Point Reyes pretty strongly, I guess. 

Yes, Clausen on occasion could be a very effective congressman. 

Nixon finally came around, and then what seemed to happen was 
that Aspinall then sort of--. Seeing that Nixon was committed 
to Point Reyes, Aspinall held Point Reyes hostage to a full 
funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. And Nixon had 
to come around and fund it, and ended up funding it way beyond 
anybody's expectation. 

Did you see any evidence that Nixon's turnaround helped 
him out here, when you were campaigning against him, or was the 
whole issue Vietnam? Nixon did turn around on Point Reyes, and 
then he endorsed the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, but 
do you think that was just overshadowed by Vietnam, or do you 
have any recollection of that? 

Well, when 1 made the first impeachment speech. . . 
How early? 

In February of 
White House. 

71. From then on I was Peck's bad boy in the 

So you were advocating impeachment on the grounds of Vietnam. 

We finally got the [repeal of] Gulf of Tonkin resolution 
passed. It was effective January 10, 1971. On January 20, as 
I recall, he invaded Cambodia. I said that that exceeded his 
constitutional powers and justified discussion of impeachment. 
That's '71. And then in June of '73 I made the first speech 
that he had committed an obstruction of justice based on 
evidence that we'd gotten. We finally commenced impeachment 
proceedings in November '73, after the Saturday Night Massacre 
when he fired Cox, and Richardson, and Ruckelshaus had 

Did you have any connection with Ehrlichman during those times, 
or was it just-- 

We saw each other, and our kids went to school together. We 
had sort of agreed to disagree, but that only started, really, 
in 1970. 



Actually, It was right about this time, I think it was 
October of '69, that Don Riegle and I and four other 
Republicans introduced the resolution to repeal the Gulf of 
Tonkin resolution. At that point--. You see, Nixon was 
talking at that time about a plan to end the war. It was just 
a question of how to end it. We were trying to push the 
president with that, but it really wasn't until--. John and I 
stayed good friends until '71, when 1 made that impeachment 
speech. That caused him a little embarrassment. 

That would make it a little tough. 

Broadening the Issue to Full Funding for the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund: Congressmen Aspinall and Savior 

HcCloskey: " Aspinall came at the President pretty hard on the problem of 
this administration not appropriating funds for already 
authorized parks." [Whitaker to Mayo, November 20, 1969. 
Appendix H, p. 340] That was the big issue. Congress 
appropriated the money, and Nixon wouldn't spend it. So they 
had a legitimate bitch, Aspinall did. 

Lage: And Aspinall seemed to handle it pretty effectively. Once they 
got Nixon hooked on Point Reyes, then they could push him on 
the rest. And then John Saylor became offended, apparently, 
and opposed Point Reyes. Do you remember anything about that? 

McCloskey: John Saylor was a prickly man. You could say for both Aspinall 
and Saylor that power got to them. Power corrupts. Absolute 
power corrupts absolutely. Saylor and Aspinall were two guys 
who had spent a lot of time in the House, had gotten the power, 
and they wielded it. Saylor could have been offended by any 
number of things. They could have cut out something up in his 
district. John was from Pennsylvania. 

Lage: One thing they did that may have offended him- -in fact, there's 
an indication in the papers they didn't invite him when the 
president met with Murphy and Clausen and Aspinall-- [see 
Appendix I, p. 342] 

McCloskey: That would have offended him. 

Lage: --to announce the funding for Point Reyes. 

McCloskey: That really would have offended him. 



And there's a little note from one of the staffers that perhaps 
Saylor should have been invited. 

McCloskey: Yes, well, he was a ranking Republican. 

Lage: Is that the kind of thing he would take offense at? 

McCloskey: Oh, yes, he would be very jealous of his power. I'll give an 
example of that. 

When Ed Zschau went to the Congress- -Ed came from Silicon 
Valley; he desperately wanted a cut in the capital gains tax. 
He went to a congressman younger than he was but who had been 
there eight years on the Ways and Means Committee, Bill Thomas. 
He said, "Bill, would you introduce a bill to cut the capital 
gains tax?" Bill said no, so Ed introduced it. When I went 
back that first year, I asked Thomas, "How's Ed Zschau doing? 
Everybody says he's a brilliant guy," everybody else except 
Thomas. Thomas says, "He'd better learn his place." If he was 
going to introduce a tax bill, it had better be with the 
consent of the ranking Republican from California, the taxman. 

That petty jealousy of position is sometimes much more 
important to a member than what's right or what the politics 
are. John Saylor was a particularly prickly guy about his 
jurisdiction. So if he didn't get credit for something--. And 
you know, he may have offended the president on something else, 
and they had some private vendetta going. But that's what I 
would suspect. I have no recollection of Saylor except as 
being a prickly guy, and he was always a hard guy to get around 
because he was sitting there as the ranking Republican. 

[Interview concludes with a call from Pete McCloskey to John 
Ehrlichman relaying ROHO's interest in interviewing Ehrlichman 
on his recollections of the Point Reyes story.] 

Transcriber: Elizabeth Kim 
Final Typist: Kian Sandjideh 


TAPE GUIDE- -Paul N. McCloskey, Jr, 

Date of Interview: October 18, 1990 

tape 1, side A 289 

tape 1, side 303 


Appendix A 

McCloskey Congressional 
Testimony, 5/13/69 











H.R. 3786 and Related Bills 





Serial No. 91-5 

Printed for the use of the 
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs 

31-033 WASHINGTON : 1909 


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Appendix B 

McCloskey to Ehrlichman 



x > ^ - M >^ 

Congress of tfje niteb States 

Souse of Representative* 
Iflaifjington, B.C. 20515 




September 16, 1969 

Mr. John 
Counsel Co the President 
The White House 
Washington, D. C. 

Dear John: 

Here's a starter. The only man who can save the Point Reyes 
National Seashore is the President. He is running out of time because 
the House Interior Committee is going to adjourn October 1, and the 
Bureau of the Budget Director, Robert Mayo, has made it clear that 
there are no funds available from BOB despite what has been properly 
characterized thus far as "weak White House support." 

The money is available in the land and water conservation 
fund. All the President need do is order that it be released, ear 
marked for the national seashore projects, specifically, Point Reyes. 

If you move this time, why not let a few of us know in advance 
so that we can properly give the President credit where it is due? It 
might also help to have the President announce that due to the efforts 
of George Murphy, Don Clausen and Bill Mailliard, he is taking this step 
to preserve a priceless national heritage. 

Yr. Obt. Sevt. 


Appendix B 
322 Hull in to Mayo 

SEPTEMBER 18, 1969 



Attached It a copy of a letter from Congressman 

Paul McClotkey concerning Point Reyes National Sea.hore. 

Many thanks 






Appendix D 
Krogh to Hofe 

September 26. 1969 



I'm tore 700 bar* bn bl*g urd with aggtioa* on the nd to 
th Point Reyes project. 

AtUehed is tome muter!*! from Confretmui McCloekey't office 
who h&J been presearlxif us to do what we caa. 

Appendix E 


September 29, 1969 



Per your instructions, I have asked Jim Schlesinger, BoB, to pro 
vide me with a memorandum on how we can get additional funding 
for the Point Reyes project. 

I advised Schlesinger that Point Reyes had received a higher priority 
in our thinking, and that it was necessary for us to do something 
dramatic. Accordingly, he will get a memorandum back to me today 
or tomorrow which should be in time for Ehrlichman to brief 


Appendix F 

re: Cohelan Bill 

coM*<rm ON 

<ongre& of tfje m'teb &>tate* 

of fceprtSfntatitot s 
. JB.C. 20515 

October 9. 1969 



**& o 



t v> 

As you are well aware, the Administration will not 
release the funds necessary for further purchases of land 
for the Point Reyes National Seashore. 

I intend to introduce a bill which is designed to 
stimulate the release of the trust funds and make them avail 
able for this land acquisition. 

This bill is a logical extension of the Land and 
Water Conservation Act of 1367, which was amended to authorize 
partial use of funds derived from oil leases on the outer con 
tinental shelf. The Administration budget request is only 
!>12*4 million for land acquisition for fiscal year 1970. This 
is the amount the Bureau of the Budget intends to release. 
The total amount available in the fund, qn the other hand, is 
now $288.5 million. Therefore, $16*4.5 million will be 
unexpended this year unless we act soon. 

This bill will suspend the authority of the Executive 
Branch to enter any lease agreement If the full amount of the 
Land and Water Conservation fund is not expended, and will 
also direct suspension of drilling operations under leases 
granted after passage of this bill in the same circumstances. 

I recognize that this is a strong measure but feel 
It is the only way to break the fiscal logjam we are now 

I sincerely hope you will join me as a co-sponsor of 
this legislation. I intend to introduce the'bill on October 
19. If you wish to co-sponsor, please notify my office on 
EX 2661. 

Member \of wiroress 






Congress of tfje tHntteb 

J^ouse of fcf prtsentatibes 
Kiasfjtnston, 3B.C. 20515 

October 10, 1969 

Mr. Tod R. Hullin 
Administrative Assistant 
The White House 
Washington, D.C. 

Dear Tod: 

This is in preliminary response to your note of October 1 and the 
confidential BOB memorandum of that date. 

1. The President has the authority to increase the 
allocation of Land and Water Conservation Act funds from 
$124 million to a figure in the neighborhood of $200 million 
or more. 

2. With this increase there is also the discretion 
of the President or the Secretary of Interior to allocate 
more than $37.6 million to the Park Service, either by 
adding all of the increase to the Park Service or by 
denying funds to other beneficiaries of the fund. 

3. With respect to the priorities of projects else 
where in the United States, a new criteria might be applied, 
to wit: how fast are the land prices rising in the areas 

to be acquired? I suspect that Point Reyes, with its 
proximity to San Francisco, may show a higher annual in 
crease in fair market value than some of the other areas. 

4. None of this means much, of course, unless ,the 
House Interior Committee, at its hearings which are now 
set for November 13, increases the authority for Point 
Reyes from the present $19.1 million. It is estimated 
that $28.3 million will be necessary, but I suspect the 
real cost may now be up to $38 million. 


Mr. Tod R. Hull in 
October 10, 1969 
Page Two 

5. Assuming that the increased authority is enacted 
by the Congress, it is my understanding that a supple 
mental appropriation bill would also be required. 

6. To have a chance of success in these legislative 
actions, I assume the President should indicate now that 
he will allocate the required funds if Congress does its 

7. Chairman Aspinall's motives, desires and intentions 
are a mystery to me. 

I am enclosing for your examination a letter I have just received from 
Congressmen Cohelan with respect to an act he proposed to introduce on the 

same subject. 

I will not support his bill until the other alternatives are resolved. 

Best regards, 

Paul N. McCloskey, Jr. 


cc: Mr. John D. Ehrlichman 


n CONGRESS ff T* - A -4 n n 

* s H. R. 14533 


OCTOBER 27, 19G9 

|(Co!ir.L.\N (for himself, Air. McCixwKKY. and Mr. McF.M.L) introduced the 
(following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Interior and 
{Insular Affaire 


amend the Land and Water Conservation Act of 1965 to 
provide that aulhnrily to enler into certain mineral lenses 
vith respect to the Outer Continental Shelf shall be sus- 

pendcd during any period when amounts in the land and 


water conservation fund are impounded or otherwise with- 
Ticld from expenditure, and for other purposes. 

)E Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Represcnta- 
P /ire? of the United Stales of America in Congress assembled, 
)l That the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 
(Public Law 88-578) is amended by adding immediately 

tftcr section 2 thereof the following new section: 





3 "Sue. 2A. (a) SUSPENSION . Whenever any of the 

4 sums covered into the fund in accordance with section 2 of 

5 this Act and available for expenditure as provided in section 

6 3 of this Act are impounded, withheld from ohligation, or 

7 otherwise withheld from expenditure, then, notwithstanding 

8 section 5 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 

9 U.S.C. 1334) or any other provision of that or any other 

10 law, no lease, permit, or other form of authorization shall be 

11 entered into, granted, extended, issued, or otherwise agreed 

12 to hy the President, the Secretary of the Interior, or any 

13 other officer or employee of the United States for the 

14 exploration for, or development or removal of deposits of, 

15 oil, gas, or other minerals from the Outer Continental Shelf,. 

16 for so long as such sums arc so impounded, withheld from; 

17 ohligation, or otherwise withheld from expenditure. 

18 "(h) FUTURE LKASES. Every lease, permit, or other 

19 form or authorization for the exploration for, or development 

20 or removal of deposits of, oil, gas, or other minerals from 

21 the Outer Continental Shelf entered into, initially or by 

22 extension, after the date of enactment of this section shall, 

23 notwithstanding any other provision of law, he conditioned 

24 upon the holder of the; lease ceasing all exploration, develop- 

25 ment, removal, and other operations in connection with such 



1 lease during any period when any of the sums covered into 

2 the fund in accordance with section 2 of this Act and avail- 

3 ahlc for expenditure as provided in section 3 of this Act are 

4 impounded, withheld from ohligation, or otherwise withheld 

5 from expenditure." 

332 Appendix G 

Whi taker Memos 

November 13, 1969 

From: John C. Whitaker 

Re: Purchase of Point Re'yes California Peninsula 

Area, Northern San Francisco, as a National Park 


1. Park Director Hartzog testifies today before the House 
Interior Committee in favor of authorizing an increase of $33. 5 
Million for the purchase of Point Reyes as a national park. His 
testimony will center largely around the rise in land values from 
the previous estimate of $28. 3 Million, to the present estimate 

of $33. 365 Million to purchase the area. When asked by the Com 
mittee if he favors a supplemental FY 1970 appropriation legisla 
tion, he will "waffle" and he is instructed to do so by me. 

2. Perhaps as early as tomorrow, but certainly not more 
than two or three weeks from now, the Interior Appropriations 
Committee will introduce legislation to appropriate funds and 
make political hay out of it. All intelligence I can gather on it 
indicates that the Interior Appropriations Committee will pass 
an appropriation of $33. 365 Million. In other words, the 
President will be "run over" by Congress and the Democrats 
will collect the credit. 

3. I foresee no chance the ultimately the President will veto 
the entire appropriations package, but he could veto the authoriza 
tion bill which will come to him as one item -- but at great political 

4. After meeting with Carl Schwartz, Director of the Natural 
Resources Division, BOB; Carl McMurray, Advisory to Secretary 
Hickel, and Park Director Hartzog, Hartzog proposed the following 

I - 




If the above options to find any money are not fruitful, and J am 
pretty sure they will not be, then I recommend that we go ahead 
and put in legislation appropriations for supplemental FY 1970, 
although it may not have to be for the full $7. 5 Million. 


It may be that Hartzog can get started with less money than that, 
but at any rate we commit for a speedy purchase by the end of 
FY 1972 of the entire Point Reyes area. My rationale is that we N. 
are going to be run over by Congress on this one and we should J 

therefore pick up the political credit and do it in the most dramatic j 
way possible. ) 

The following parks have requests in for acquisition for FY 1970, 
and the total cost for purchase of parks is indicated below: 

Cape Cod, Massachusetts 
Point Reyes, California 
Padre Island, Texas 
Lake Mead, Arizona/Nevada 

$ 17.401 Million 

33. 5 Million 

4. 130 Million 

4. 6 Million 

$59.631 Million 




Obviously, California has much more political 
clout when you look at the political situation in 
the above States. 

It gives the President a chance to identify with 
California, but not at the expense of playing regional 
favoritism because he can point out that Point Reyes, 
more than any park, represents the prime example 
of major encroachment by suburban sprawl of any 
area in the country. 

The political pressure on this one is extremely 
.high. For example, Congressman Don 6lausen 
now has 250, 000 petitions for purchase. 

2. - 


e supplemental appropriations legislation for 
1970 for $7. 5 Million. This is the amount of money 
he usefully feels can be spent to purchase property in 
the Point Reyes area during this fiscal year. Hartzog 
could probably get by with $2 or $3 Million if authorized 
to negotiate with Swee{ (the key land) for only a portion 
of his property and defer later negotiation until next 
year, but that would just make the tab stiffer in later years. 
His schedule for appropriations for purchase of the whole 
park will be: 

FY ^70 $ 7. 5 Million (may be only 

$2 or 3, Million) 
F Y 1971 $ 7. 5 Million 

F Y 1972 $18. 5 Million 

$33. 5 Million (approximately) 

Hartzog, who is probably more aware than anyone about the 

^7 a vf C t. t , f c land purchase is convinced that he can purchase 
the park for $33. 5 Million by the end of FY 1972. 

5. Appropriations legislation should not include a clause 

' t A 8i cl^f taldng " SinCC ' obviousl y. we cannot have much of 
the $33. 5 Million available in FY 1970. The purchase would have 
to be by way of the condemnation route through normal court 


c xx - thCr methods now bein g ^plored to find the necessary 
. 5 Million in FY 1970 funds are as follows: 

a) Carl McMurray is re-examining the possibility 
of reprograming funds in the Bureau of Outdoor 
Recreation in the Department of Interior. 

b) Carl McMurray is making a delicate exploration 
of the possibility of making a deal with the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture whereby contract authority 
can be given from the National Park Service of 
Interior to the Forest Service of Agriculture in 
return for cash from the Department of Agriculture. 

Carl Schwartz will not undertake this exploration with Agriculture 
until such time as an authorization bill on Point Reyes has been passed 

Z- - 1 



d) Finally, on the Sweet property (a key portion 
of the park) developers have reportedly made 
the offer of $5 Million for purchase of this 
land for highrise apartments, right in the 
choice peninsula portion of the park. 

Considering the above, I recommend that the President beat the 
Democrats to the punch and submit supplemental FY 1970 ap 
propriation legislation -- that he should do this in a dramatic 
way by inviting to the Cabinet &oom the entire California 
Delegation (both Democrats and Republicans), together with 
Senators Jacksqn, Allott and Bible (Parks Sub Committee), 
Congressmen Aspinall, Saylor and Roy A. Taylor (Chairman 
of the House Park Subcommittee, Dem. N. C, ) and Joe Skubitz 
(Rep. Kansas). 

Just before a meeting with this large group, the President should 
meet privately for about ten minutes with Secretary Hickel, 
Senator Murphy and Don Clausen (the Point Reyes park is in his 
District) and then have the President announce his decision to 
the entire group, with an accompanying letter to Chairman 
Aspinall at the same time. 

Assuming that no funds are forthcoming in FY 1970 from any of 
the above described options and further assuming that it's a real 
fact that we have gone through our $192. 9 Billion budget level for 
FY 1970, then the money should come from some other program, 
e. g. cancel a space shot. 


November 18, 1969 


From: John C. Whitaker 

Subject: Matting with Senator George Murphy 

and Congressman Don Clausen 
Tuesday, November 18, 1969 
3:25 to 3:40 P.M. 


To inform Murphy and Clausen of your decision to fund the 
purchase of the Point Reyes national seashore area. 


The area covers 54, 136 acres, of which only 22, 816 acres have 
been purchased since 1962 for a cost of $19 Million. Because of 
the escalating land prices due to the proximity of this area to 
San Francisco, you have made the decision to go ahead and 
purchase the area over a three- year period under the following 

FY '70 $ 7.5 Million 

FY '71 7. 5 Million 

'72 18. 5 Million 

Total $33. 65 Million 



A. Ask Senator Murphy and Congressman Clausen to 

tell the press at the 4 o'clock Ziegler briefing of 
your intentions to go ahead and acquire the land; that 
the Administration will send a supplemental budget 
request for FY'70 to Congress (there is no reason 
why Murphy should mention the exact amount), 
contingent upon the enactment of authorizing legislation 
above the present funding level of $19 Million. 

B. You may wish to caution Murphy that you do not wish 

to appear politically partisan in favor of California; 
that the justification for purchase of the park is the 
escalating land costs and proximity of this wonderful 
seashore area to San Francisco which is creating 
tremendous pressure for real estate development, 
including highrise apartments and suburban single 
family dwellings. 


' VA S H i N G T O N 

No..- ; vber 18, 1969 


Honorable George Murphy 

Honorable Don Clausen jT _ 

Subject: Point Reyes National Seashore Area 

After your meeting with the President, you may wish to make the 
following points to tfte press: 

1. That the Point Reyes national seashore area was 
originally authorized in 1962 but the funds have never really been 
appropriated to the full amount to purchase the area. To date, 
$19 Million have been appropriated to buy 22, 816 acres, whereas 
the total park area is 54,136 acres, In other words, there are 

31, 320 acres left to purchase. 

2. Even given the tightness of the FY'70 Budget, 
the President has told you that he wishes to go ahead with the 
purchase of this property as a national seashore area because the 
pressure to develop the area for highrise apartments and single 
family suburban dwelling units is extremely high and the President 
feels this beautiful area must be preserved for present and future 

3. If you are asked by the press why the President 
has decided to go ahead with this park area and not with other 
national park areas, you may wish to indicate that Point Reyes 

is unique in the sense that there are higher pressures for real 
estate development and escalating land values here than in any 
place in the country. Therefore, the President has indicated 
action is required now. 


- 2 - 


4. You may wish to indicate that should the 
House Interior Committee enact authorizing legislation above 
the present funding level of $19 Million, the Administration 
will present a supplemental budget request for FY'70 and 
schedule funds for FY'71 and FY'72 to complete the purchase 
of the area. 

John C. Whitaker 
Deputy Assistant to the President 

340 Appendix H 

November 20, 1969 

From: John C. Whitaker 
Re: Parks 

I wanted to report to you on the meeting among the President, 
Senator Murphy, Congressmen Aspinall and Clausen, and 


1. Aspinall readily agreed to pass authorization legislation 
if the President came down with his supplemental FY'70 for 
"a little over $7 Million for Point Reyes. " (text of press 
conference attached. ) 

In my conversations with Carl McMurray this morning, he is 
reprogramming approximately $1. 5 Million from the Bureau 
of Outdoor Recreation and the balance up to "just over $7 
Million" would have to come from Budget in FY'70. Interior 
is preparing the supplemental appropriations legislation for 
BOB now. 

2. Aspinall came at the President pretty hard on the problem 
of this Administration not appropriating funds for already 
authorized parks. In a later conversation with me, he in effect 
said "my Committee will not authorize any future parks until 
the three remaining at the top of my list are funded -- Cape 
Cod, Massachusetts; Padre Island, Texas and Lake Mead, 
Arizona/Nevada". My guess is that he can make that state 
ment stick. 

3. Aspinall asked the President to fund the Land and Con 
servation Act to the full $200 Million in F 71. The President 
talked with Aspinall about a pay-as-you-go plan for financing 
parks and how sympathetic he was to that point of view, In 

E.O. 12356, Section 1.1 



a later conversation with Aspinall, I wrapped it up this way- 
fa) we had a firm deal on Point Reyes, (b) there was sympathy 
to funding the Land and Conservation Act to the full $200 
Million but I definitely stated that we could not make a commit 
ment on it at this time pending Budget review between you and 
the President, and (c) we were working hard on possible 
schemes for long-term financing of parks. 

As a practical matter then, I conclude that the price for 
Point Reyes is at a minimum appropriation of funds for FY'71 
for the three remaining parks. In Aspinall 1 a mind he would 
want to spend the $200 Million in FY'71 to clean up all the 
authorized but unappropriated parks on his books before 
there is talk of any new parks. I imagine he can make that 
stick, too, if you give him the $200 Million. 


Meanwhile, Carl McMurray on Secretary Hickel's staff is 
wrestling with new ways to finance parks. I have asked him 
to talk his ideas over with Carl Schwartz and prepare a 
"prospectus" with Secretary Hickel for the President. 

cc: Mr. Carl Schwartz 



Appendix I 





Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Saving Point Reyes National Seashore, 1969-1970 
An Oral History of Citizen Action in Conservation 

John D. Ehrlichman 

An Interview Conducted by 

William J. Duddleson 

in 1991 

Copyright (c) 1993 by The Regents of the University of California 


Table of Contents --John D. Ehrlichman 




Some of Those Involved In Actions of the Nixon White House 347 

The Budget Bureau's Role 347 

Congressman Pete McCloskey's Role 348 

John Whitaker's Role 349 

Senator Murphy's Role . 350 
John Ehrlichman' s Role: The Working Relationship with the 

President 351 
The Citizen Role: Peter Behr and the Save our Seashore 

Campaign 352 
Aftereffects of Point Reyes Success: "Legacy of Parks" Program 

and The Two Gateways 354 

Impact on the President of "People Power" in Point Reyes 355 

Relations with Congress 356 

Working on the Federal Budget 358 

Making the Trade- Of fs with Kissinger and Nixon 358 

Who Speaks for an Administration? 360 

What Turned Point Reyes in a New Direction? 360 

Pete McCloskey's Pounding Started It 360 

The Budget Bureau's Alternatives: The "Shrink the Park" 

Option 361 
Nixon and the "Budget Boys": James Schlesinger and 

Robert Mayo 362 

Murphy's Changing Relationship with Nixon 365 


Other White House Involvements 366 

Enacting the National Environmental Policy Act 366 

Halting the Cross -Florida Barge Canal 368 

Firing a Park Service Director 369 

Some Other Matters That May Have Been Affected by Point Reyes 371 

Proposing Change in How the Government Tries Land Lawsuits 371 

Encouraging Park Action Elsewhere 374 

Providing Political Credibility 375 

Educating a Decision-Maker 376 

Working on the Property Review Board 377 

Impact of Point Reyes Local Advocates, via Citizen Behr and 

Congressman Clausen 378 

A Car Pool for a Conference? 379 

A Space Shot for a Park? 380 

Happy Results and Anniversaries 382 



INTERVIEW HISTORY- -John D. Ehrlichman 

In September 1969 John Ehrlichman was President Nixon's White House 
counsel, and that November he became Nixon's principal assistant for 
domestic affairs. When he had arrived in Washington that January with 
the newly elected president, Ehrlichman and his family found a home in 
nearby Virginia, near his Stanford law school classmate and friend of 
twenty years, California Congressman Pete McCloskey. The two men were 
not only neighbors, they were in the same carpool; both were driven to 
work in the White House limousine assigned to Ehrlichman. 

When HcCloskey learned, on September 12th, that Nixon's budget 
director had announced thateven if Congress appropriated funds to 
complete land acquisition at Point Reyes National Seashore- -the funds 
would not be released by the Nixon administration, he immediately called 
the one person he knew who might be able to get that policy changed: John 

The key question addressed during this interview more than twenty 
years later was what had caused the Nixon administration's stated policy 
on Point Reyes funding to change, sometime between September and November 
of '69, from "no" to "yes"? During the interview Ehrlichman said-- 
accurately, as I, too, read the paper trail in the Nixon presidential 
files held by the National Archives --the fact that McCloskey got his 
attention, and that he in turn put his staff to work on it in a 
responsive way, was, at least, "the thing that started it in the new 

Arrangements for the Ehrlichman interview were facilitated by Pete 
McCloskey. Their friendship, estranged because of their ardently held 
and widely differing views on the Vietnam War --beginning about a month 
after McCloskey first asked Ehrlichman for help on Point Reyes- -was 
reestablished in the mid- seventies. That was when McCloskey visited 
Ehrlichman in the federal prison camp where he served eighteen months 
following his Watergate -related obstruct ion- of -Justice and perjury 
convictions . 

The interview was done June 11, 1991, in Ehrlichman' s home office on 
a hillside in Santa Fe, New Mexico, base for his consulting work which 
includes environmental consulting, and his writing- -his third novel was 
in progress. His two black retrievers, Bryan and Daphne, were silent 
witnesses to the interview and Cat, who sat on his lap purring into the 
tape recorder, a more vocal one. During the morning the only reference 
to Ehrlichman' s Watergate time of trouble was made by me, as I said 
goodbye. He said, have a good trip home, and I wished him good luck, 
"after all you've been through." Nothing, he said, could be further 


behind him. 

As he walked with me to my car it began to rain. After explaining 
that he had a pig who got out of sorts when it rained, and could use some 
company, he waved and walked off through the pinon pine, accompanied by 
Bryan and Daphne, calling, "Pig, Pig, where are you? Here Pig, here 
Pig . . ." 

Bill Duddleson 

November 1992 
Bethesda, Maryland 

Regional Oral History Office 
Room 486 The Bancroft Library 


University of California 
Berkeley, California 94720 

(Please write clearly. Use black ink.) 

Your full name <J> 

t C 

Date of birth 


Father's full name 

Mother's full name /IHA/0 

Birthplace M. nJ A) 

CUM A/0 


Your spouse Cl4t?AST^ 

Your children 

Where did you grow up? 
Present community 
Education Q .\J . 



Areas of expertise 

Other interests or activities 

Organizations in which you are active_ 


[Interview 1: June 11, 1991 ]## 1 

Some of Those Involved in Actions of the N Ixon White Hous e 

Duddleson: As you probably gathered from the material, the focus of this 
Bancroft Library oral history is the Save Our Seashore citizen 
movement in the San Francisco Bay Area in '69 and '70. And, 
events that may have flowed from that. A key puzzlement, 
still, is how the Nixon Administration's position came to 
change on whether the administration would support additional 
funding to complete the land acquisition of Point Reyes 
National Seashore. Do you have any recollection of the 
process, what might have been the key junctures? 

The Budget Bureau's Role 

Ehrlichman: As you know from your experience, the president, through the 
voice of what was then the Bureau of the Budget, took 
positions on all kinds of legislative issues without the 
president ever really noticing it. It was up to the director 
of the Bureau of the Budget to figure out what the money 
availability was and to just go ahead and say to Congress, 
"This is good," and "This is bad," and "We do have money for 
this and we don't have money for that." 

Implicit in the process, however, is the right of the 
president to cut into that communication at any point and to 
say, "Wait a minute. That's not the way I feel at all." And 
to stop the Bureau of the Budget from its course of action. A 

1 This symbol (##) indicates that a tape or a segment of tape has begun 
or ended. For a guide to the tapes, see p. 385. 


number of times, departments --like the Department of the 
Interior in this case- -would take a position, and the Bureau 
of the Budget would take an entirely different position. It 
would be up to the Congress to reconcile the conflict if they 
could, or for one of us to escalate it to a level in the White 
House where one of us got involved and refereed between the 
budget people and the departmental people and arrived at some 
kind of a reconciled position. 

Congressman Pete McCloskey's Role 

Ehrlichman: In this case, the [Interior] Department took a position that 
the Bureau of the Budget hedged for a while, and then it came 
along and took a position adverse to the department. It got 
up to the assistant level in the White House because Pete 
McCloskey 1 pounded on me. 

Duddleson: That was the first time it was brought to your attention? 

Ehrlichman: Oh, I think so. I suspect that John Whi taker, my assistant, 
knew that there was a conflict, but we had dozens of those in 
every department all the time. Ordinarily, the presumption is 
that the Budget people are right and the department is wrong, 
and we go on from there. 

In this case, McCloskey was a college friend and we'd 
been to [Stanford] law school together and our families had 
grown up together. I used to give him a ride to work. The 
White House limousine would come out to Great Falls and pick 
me up and then stop in McLean 2 to get him, and then it would 
drop me at the White House and take him on up to the Hill. 
. And many times, we stopped and got Lew [Lewis H.] Butler, who 
was assistant secretary of HEW [Health, Education, and 
Welfare], so the three of us would ride up together, and we 
would talk about whatever we had on our minds. 

It was in some kind of a context like that, I'm sure, 
that McCloskey began to call my attention to Point Reyes. He 
had easy access to me and could pick up the phone and get me, 
and it was something that he cared a lot about, so it came to 

'Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey, of San Mateo County, California, was a 
Republican member of the House, 1967-83- -Ed. 

Falls and McLean are Virginia suburbs of Washington. 


my attention. So then I cut into it, and I assigned Tod [R. ] 
Hullin and John [C.] Vhitaker, and I notice [Egil] Bud Krogh 
[Jr.] was also involved in it. All three of them on my 
staff. 1 

John Whi taker's Role 

Duddleson: I notice from the documents, the [Point Reyes] paper trail 
we've found in the National Archives, that John Whi taker 
didn't come in, on the documents, until late in the process, 
until a week or so before the November '69 [Point Reyes] 
meeting with the president and the three members of Congress. 
Was that possibly related to your change in position from 
[White House] counsel? 2 

Ehrlichman: Yes. Right around that period of time, along in the first 
part of October, I think, we switched over from--. I was 
counsel to the president, became assistant to the president 
for domestic affairs, and took over what was to be the staff 
of the Domestic Council. The Domestic Council was born; the 
Bureau of the Budget became the Office of Management and 
Budget, all right at that period of time, so there was a lot 
going on in the way of transition. 

Duddleson: And Whitaker came with the Domestic Council? 

Ehrlichman: He was secretary of the Cabinet and came into the Domestic 
Council staff. Krogh was already on my staff when 1 was 
counsel, and he took a co-equal post as an assistant director 
of the Domestic Council staff with Whitaker and with four or 
five others. My guess is that Whitaker didn't get his feet 
under him in the Domestic Council staff until right about 
where you see him appear on the scene in this whole process . 

Duddleson: In November? 

was Ehrlichman' s assistant. Whitaker was with the White House 
staff group for a Cabinet- level entity called the Domestic Council, set up 
in 1969, and was responsible for natural resources, conservation, and 
environmental issues. Ehrlichman was executive director of the Domestic 
Council. --Ed. 

2 See Appendices to McCloskey interview, pp. 321-342, for many of these 
documents . 


Ehr 1 ichman : Ye s . 

Duddleson: And he was your ranking assistant, was he? 

Ehrl ichman: No. Ken [Kenneth R. ] Cole was. Ken Cole had been working for 
[H. R. (Bob)] Haldeman [Nixon's White House chief of staff]. 
He came over and became my deputy. Anyway, I had six 
assistants: Krogh and Vhitaker, Ed Morgan, Henry Cashen, Lew 
Engman and somebody else. But anyway, those fellows were at 
that level. And Vhitaker 's portfolio was Interior and EPA and 
so forth. 

Senator Murphy's Role 

Duddleson: Do you have any recollection of --after you got into it and had 
Krogh and Hullin working on this [Point Reyes] --of at what 
point or in what circumstances the [administration] position 
changed? And what deciding role, if any, Senator [George L. ] 
Murphy's 1 interest had in it? 

Ehrlichman: Murphy's role was, as 1 recall, that he was a candidate for 
reelection in one of the big battleground states, and it was 
very much in the president's interest to be sure that he got 
reelected. He was only marginally influential on the 
president. Nixon considered him a kind of a lightweight. So 
although he [Murphy] took a great deal of credit for this, I 
would say that he didn't carry the day, so to speak. As far 
as I was concerned, the posture was this: Interior wanted 
this, Bureau of the Budget didn't. We were keeping the 
president's cards very close to his chest until we found 

[phone rings, tape interruption] 

Ehrlichman: So in summary, I would say that when McCloskey hit me on it, I 
wanted to find out more about it. Obviously, I couldn't side 
with him immediately. I had conflicting agencies within our 
house. And we had to find out where the bodies were buried in 
all of this. So 1 asked Hullin, who was my personal 
assistant, to find out as much as he could about this. And I 

^Murphy, a former movie actor and film industry public relations 
executive, was the senior U.S. senator from California and a candidate for 
reelection in 1970. He had long been active in California Republican party 
politics and was a long-time Nixon ally. --Ed. 


asked McCloskey to write me a letter about it, which he did 
[dated September 16, 1969. See p. 321]. And then we began 
choosing up sides after that. 

John Ehrlichman's Role: The Working Relationship with the 

Duddleson: And then did you make a recommendation to the president, or 
did you--? Somewhere in here, we need to get into the 
question of the president's delegation to you on the domestic 
matters and the environmental matters. 

Ehrlichman: I hear what you're suggesting. Because George Murphy was 

involved, and also some of these other congressmen who were 
old friends of the president's from his congressional days, 
this is one I would have run by him in any case. Now, by 
October -November, Bob [Robert A.] Mayo, the director of the 
Bureau of the Budget, was in bad odor with the president. 

Duddleson: By when? 

Ehrlichman: By November. October, somewhere along in there, because we 

were at the really tough budgetary time, and Nixon was getting 
very sick and tired of Bob Mayo. So if 1 had simply forwarded 
him a memo and said, "Interior wants this, Mayo opposes it. 
What do you want to do? P.S. George Murphy's running for 
reelection," it was a foregone conclusion as far as 1 can see 
that he was going to come down on the side of picking it up 
and getting the money. 

But I don't think I did that. I think what I did was 
have a private conversation with him. 1 don't see anything in 
the paper trail about a memo, and 1 don't think 1 wrote him 
one. I used to go in every day; I'd have eight or ten items 
that I wanted to cover with him, and I'd go down the list. 
And probably what I did was present this and say, "We've got a 
money problem in this. But, it's going to help Murphy. It's 
going to help these Republican congressmen. And, you're on 
the side of the angels." And he said, "Fine. Do whatever you 
need to do." 

Duddleson: Looking on the angels' side here for a minute, was there more 
in it, we'll say, in your recommendation? Was there more in 
it than the Interior position, and these Republican members of 
the California congressional delegation? Was there more than 
that? Was it also your own personal sense of what was the--. 


Ehrlichman: Absolutely. I had practiced law in this field of public land 
use for many years, and 1 was only in the White House job nine 
or ten months at this point. 1 came to it with a very strong 
bias in favor of open space, parks, public lands for public 
use, and that kind of thing. I don't recall specifically, but 
I'm sure when 1 read this business about the National Park 
Service advocating subdividing a portion of the allocated area 
to condos and golf courses, 1 probably flipped. It's 
preposterous, and I would have thought so and I still do think 
so. So I have a very personal attitude toward this. 
McCloskey had done an effective job of framing the issues in a 
way that appealed to me. 

So yes, as far as my own personal bias, I would have 
given the president a real argument if he had come down on the 
side of budgetary restraints. But I don't recall that I had 
any problem with him at all. In fact, we had pretty much 
unanimity at the political level, so to speak, the appointee 
level in the White House- -Whi taker and Krogh and so on. We 
all agreed that this was the right thing to do from the long- 
haul standpoint. 

The Citizen Role: Peter Behr and the Save Our Seashore 

Ehrlichman: Now, I'm aware that there was a lot of public sentiment in 

Duddleson: That's just the next question I was going to ask. Were you 

aware of this background music, so to speak [the citizen Save 
Our Seashore campaign]? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. Well, at some time I had met with Peter Behr, and he had 
explained to me the Save the Bay business and then this 
movement. I found him very persuasive as an individual, but 
also, I sensed--. I had been through a California campaign 
where freeways were a problem and land use was an issue in the 
gubernatorial campaign. 1 So I had some little background in 
California environmental politics, if you want to call it 

1962 Ehrlichman worked part-time on Richard Nixon's staff during 
Nixon's campaign as the Republican candidate for governor. The incumbent, 
Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, a Democrat, was reelected. --Ed. 


that, and I was not unaware of the realities of that in terms 
of political force. 

Duddleson: Do you have any recollection of the president getting mail and 
the petitions that were coming in? 

Ehrlichman: Could have been. I'll tell you how that worked. Ray [Raymond 
K.j Price, the head writer, would take a dip into the public 

[phone rings, tape interruption] 

Ehrlichman: Price would take a dip into the mail, and he would give the 

president and each of us samples, send us maybe ten or twenty 
letters that were representative. I may have gotten some 
Point Reyes mail, but I don't remember it now. 

Duddleson: I think the petitions themselves were sent by Peter Behr and 
his legions, through Congressman [Don H.j Clausen and perhaps 
some through Senator Murphy, for them to "deliver" to the 
White House. 

Ehrlichman: And they may well have done it; I don't know. Those things go 
to the mail department and I'd never see them again. 

Duddleson: Do you recall being involved in any other national park system 
matter before Point Reyes? Was this the first of its kind? 

Ehrlichman: I think it was the first. I cot into some after, and I got 
into the whole George Hartzog' question, but that came later 

Duddleson: Perhaps we can touch on that later. But Point Reyes may have 
been the first of this particular order also of the hundreds, 
I dare say, issues? Was this your first introduction, in the 
sense of being brought to your personal attention, of 
something called the Land and Water Conservation Fund? 

Ehrlichman: No, I was aware of that. When I was counsel in this preceding 
ten months, I had urged on the president the idea of 
inventorying all the federal government's real estate. It 
turned out that there was no inventory. GSA [General Services 
Administration] knew some of it and DOD [Department of 
Defense] knew some of it, but nobody knew all of it. We 
thought that what we could do, once we found out what we 

1 Hartzog was National Park Service director from 1964 to 1972, when he 
was fired by the Nixon Administration and replaced by Ronald Walker. --Ed. 


owned, was dispose of a lot of it that had a higher and better 
use than the federal government was making of it. 

In conjunction with that, 1 met Doug Hofe [an Interior 
Department official, director of the Bureau of Outdoor 
Recreation] and got acquainted with the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund, and began to think about how we could 
combine the various public land activities of the federal 
government toward moving some of these things into better use. 
So that process had been going on for probably the preceding 
five or six months. 

Aftereffects of Point Reyes Success : 
and The Two Gateways 

'Lezacv of Parks" Proeram 

Duddleson: Do you recall what happened when the Point Reyes crisis got 
handled? By that I mean the fact that subdivision had been 
going on, logging was going on and the resource was being 
lost, certainly degraded, for lack of funds to complete buying 
the land. Did that success have any effect at all on this 
longer-term approach? 

Ehrlichman: Well, it did. Because as you've noticed in the paperwork, 

more or less as a result of the disparity in views within the 
executive branch [on Point Reyes], it became clear that there 
was a need for a public policy on parks. Whitaker began the 
process of developing such a thing about the same time that 
Ray Price proposed the cosmetic "Legacy of Parks" appellation. 
And we saw how that would all tie to this divestiture of 
federal lands for state and local use as parks. 

Well, that actually happened. It didn't happen on the 
scale that I had hoped it would, but it did happen, and we 
moved a fair amount of real estate off the federal rolls as a 
part of that policy. 

Duddleson: And was that what the "Legacy of Parks" label, mostly, was? 

The transfer from the federal government to states and locals 
of surplus federal lands? 


Ehrlichman: Mostly, but not entirely. For instance, the Gateway parks in 
San Francisco and New York 1 were probably the most visible 
manifestations of that. But there's a little park in Mclean, 
Virginia, that was DOT [Department of Transportation] land and 
they weren't using it, so we just took it away from them and 
gave it to Fairfax County, and it became a park. So there are 
a lot of these little pockets around, and every one was a 
bloody battle because the departments and agencies fought us 
tooth and nail to hang onto their damn real estate. DOD was 
the worst of them, but we fought them and, in a number of 
cases, we won. 

Impact on the President of "People Power" in Point Reves 

Duddleson: Do you have a sense of the impact, the consequence, of the 

Point Reyes experience, being a success --if 1 may assume that 
that was a success for you all--. 

Ehrlichman: Yes. 

Duddleson: And that it was well received. I'm wondering whether that had 
any farther influence on some subsequent events-- 

Ehrlichman: I'm sure it did. 

Duddleson: --beyond the Gateways, like increasing the funding level of 
the Land and Water Conservation Fund? 

Ehrlichman: Richard Nixon was not your natural, birds, bees, and bunnies 
man. He had to be persuaded that this was not only right to 
do, but that it had a payoff down the line in political terms. 
Point Reyes helped to demonstrate that, in unmistakable terms, 
to him. 

Duddleson: And it was the first such demonstration? 

Ehrlichman: I'm not sure it was the first, but it was the best, certainly. 
I'm sure he got mail and pats on the back and so on. But he 
never saw this many people mobilized in quite this way. And 
he saw these congressmen coming to him and saying nice things , 

Gateway National Recreation Area, in the New York City-New Jersey 
harbor area, and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, in the San Francisco 
Bay Area, were both authorized in 1972. --Ed. 


and all of that was helpful in persuading him that he was on 
the right side of this. 

Duddleson: I noticed in the documents that for a while- -and this would be 
early in 1970, after the Point Reyes success- -there was a 
discussion in the White House about the Gateways. Whether 
these were appropriately to be federally managed and operated. 
Or, whether the federal lands which were the beginning land 
base for both of them, the surplus coast artillery forts, were 
more appropriately a state responsibility, that is, for their 
operation as parks. This was a point of view put forward, 1 
think, by your staff, by John Whitaker and by you and by the 
Budget Bureau. There also was the consideration of the 
increase in size of the National Park Service employee staff. 
Do you recall how that played out, and how that was changed, 
and what the factors might have been on that? 

Ehrlichman: No, the thing you described was policy. That is that we were 
going to push down to the state and local level as much of 
this park activity as possible. We contribute the land, and 
then we're out of it. So we began there in every case. I 
don't recall how the Gateways specifically ended up being 
federal rather than state and local. My guess is in the case 
of New York that probably Nelson Rockefeller just said he 
didn't have the money and kicked like a steer and we caved. 
But I'm just guessing now; 1 just don't recall. 

Relations with Congress 

Duddleson: Do you recall the relationships with some of the key movers 

and shakers in the Congress? I'm thinking, for instance, now 
of Wayne Aspinall, chairman of the House Interior Committee, a 
somewhat curmudgeonous man? 

Ehrlichman: Irascible, I think, is the word. 

Duddleson: And who was in a key position as far as the Congress was 
concerned. Do you remember -- 

Ehrlichman: I had no contact with him, to speak of. I think I met him 

twice. Whitaker had a lot of contact with him and I used to 

hear from Whitaker about this guy, but I had no personal 
experience with him, really. 

Duddleson: Or with other members of Congress? 


Ehrlichman: Well, some with other members of Congress. Jackson, for 

instance. Quite a lot of contact. Different ones, but the 
"legacy" policy, giving away of federal lands, we kept very 
close to the White House. We didn't look for much 
congressional support. We discovered we could do this thing 
by executive order unless the Congress passed a law forbidding 
us, which they did in some cases. We got crosswise of 
[Congressman Edward] Hubert from Louisiana, we got crosswise 
with the Hawaiian delegation about Fort DeRussy, and they 
actually put amendments on bills forbidding us from divesting. 
But by and large, by executive order we did this thing, and 
sort of held the Congress at arm's length. It was like base 

Duddleson: Going back, in a sense, to the [November 18, 1969] meeting in 
the Oval Office with Senator Murphy, Congressman Clausen, 
Congressman Aspinall, and John Whi taker, as 1 recall, this 
same weekend you went to California, according to the 

Ehrlichman: That's evidently so. I know I wasn't there [at that meeting]. 

Duddleson: The California papers carried stories, including your remarks 
about the fact that the government was supporting some initial 
money to begin to complete buying up Point Reyes.' What is 
your recollection of the things that flowed from that- -in 
Washington? I'm thinking now of Chairman Aspinall, for 
instance, who found himself there. . . 

Ehrlichman: As a kind of potted palm. He was really just a prop. 

Duddleson: Well, he, according to John Whi taker's memo, he came down 

pretty hard on the president for opposing funding to complete 
land buying for parks that the Congress and previous 
administrations had authorized. 

Ehrlichman: Yes. 

Duddleson: He came out of that with a deal. 

Ehrlichman: Evidently. 

Duddleson: On more than Point Reyes. Do you recall those negotiations? 

Ehrlichman: No, I wasn't there, and I guess I was told about it 
afterwards. I really don't know. 

Duddleson: But it probably would have been John Whi taker. 


Ehrlichman: Whitaker, yes. Have you seen him, by the way? 
Duddleson: I haven't. 

Ehrlichman: You really ought to talk to John. Before you leave, I'll give 
you his phone number. 

Duddleson: Could we take a little break now? 
Ehrlichman: Would you like a cup of tea? 
Duddleson: I'd love a cup of tea. 
Ehrlichman: All right, then I'll get you a cup. 
[tape interruption] 

Working on the Federal Budget 

Making the Trade -Of fs with Kissinger and Nixon 

Duddleson: Can we go back just a minute to the impact of the Point Reyes 

Ehrlichman: Yes. 

Duddleson: On the Land and Water Conservation Fund there were two events, 
as I recall from the material. One was a decision for full 
funding of the Fund program beginning in fiscal '70 and into 
fiscal '71, right after the Point Reyes experience. And there 
was a subsequent decision to raise the annual level of funding 
by 50 percent-- . 

Ehrlichman: Yes, I saw that. [in the material sent by interviewer] 

Duddleson: From $200 to $300 million. Can you illuminate the process and 
what the Point Reyes experience might have . . . 

Ehrlichman: I just have the vaguest recollection of that. I really can't 
tell you. I guess that's the complete answer. I don't know. 
We had our problems. I don't know if you remember, but we 
balanced the budget the first year. The second year, we 
couldn't. And then from then on we were out of balance. 

Duddleson: There was a war going on. 


Ehrlichman: There was that. There were a lot of things going on. 

Inflation and just a lot of things. So I think we all felt 
very keenly the need to keep that budget in balance the first 
year, and we could do it. The second year, I think everybody 
realized we couldn't do it, so there was a little more 
elasticity at some point. With a big deficit, the little 
debts didn't matter that much. 


Ehrlichman: While the war was a problem, 1 used to sit with the 
president -- 

Duddleson: On the impact of these kinds of matters? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. 1 was in competition. The domestic side was in 

competition with (Henry A. ] Kissinger [Assistant to the 
president for National Security Affairs] and the foreign side. 
We would literally sit there, the three of us, and bargain out 
the line items in the budget: so much for him and so much for 
me. And of course, 1 was always on the short end. We did 
manage to add to some things that were sort of passionate, 
like Endowment for the Arts and things of that kind. Every 
year we managed to double that. 

Duddleson: Was that your recommendation, your doing? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. And I was backed by Nancy Hanks and Len Garment 1 and 

some people who really cared about such things. We managed to 
find more money for the Indians, we managed to --you know, 
incremental --those are not huge amounts of money. But we did 
manage to talk Nixon into a little more here and a little more 
there, and maybe this Land and Water Conservation Fund was one 
of those things; I can't remember right now. But the 
overriding need was the defense budget. It was hundreds of 
billions of dollars. And if [Melvin A.) Laird [Secretary of 
Defense] and the Joint Chiefs said they needed it, and 
Kissinger made the case, they got it, and that's all there was 
to it. And we just had to cut back in other places. 

1 Nancy Hawks chaired the National Endowment for the Arts. Leonard 
Garment was on the White House staff as a consultant to the President until 
he was named acting White House counsel in 1973. --Ed. 


Who Speaks for an Administration? 







If I can ask you to recapitulate for a minute here, the key 
factors in changing the administration's position on this 
matter called saving Point Reyes were, or included? -- 

Let me quarrel with your question. 
Fair enough. 

As far as I'm concerned, the administration didn't have a 
position, because Interior went one way and Budget went 
another, and we really hadn't arrived at an "administration 1 
position. The Mayo letter [of September 10, 1969] was the 
budget people's position. 

Sure. And if you had walked in my office the day that letter 
was written and said, "What's the administration's position?" 
and shown me that letter, I would have said, "Hey, wait a 
minute. The president hasn't decided this. And when we have 
a conflict, we reconcile it and we arrive at a common 
position, and we'll do that, but we haven't done it yet." So 
it was an absence of a position but it was an apparent 
position because the Budget letter got a lot of currency. 

What Turned Point Reves in a New Direction? 

Pete McCloskey's Pounding Started It 

Ehrlichman: And what turned them around? I would say but for Pete 

McCloskey pounding on me, it probably wouldn't have gotten 
turned around. Hickel didn't have the clout to elevate it to 
the level of a presidential decision. Mayo was content the 
way things were. Whi taker was new to the job. So if 
McCloskey hadn't intervened, Murphy and the others would have 
written a lot of letters and there would have been a lot of 
petitions, but I doubt that we'd have changed. We would have 
just let it sit there that way. 


Duddleson: Very interesting. 

Ehrlichman: And the fact that he caught nsy attention and I in turn got the 
staff to work on it, to my way of thinking, at least, was the 
thing that started it in the new direction. 

Duddleson: It seems from the documents that this- -the new directionmay 
have happened toward the end of September. And the Oval 
Office meeting was weeks away: November 18th. 

Ehrlichman: And things were done by then. I mean, that's window dressing. 

Duddleson: Right. On September 29th there was a memo from, I think it's 
Hullin, possibly to Krogh, saying that he--. Let me get this 
right. It's Krogh to Hullin. Krogh saying that he has asked 
[James R. ] Schlesinger 1 at Budget, "How can we get additional 
funding for Point Reyes, which has received a higher priority 
in our thinking? It's necessary for us to do something 
dramatic." [see p. 325] 

Ehrlichman: Because time is running short. 

Duddleson: And then he goes on to say that "the BOB [Bureau of the 

Budget] memo is due tomorrow, September 30," in time for you 
to brief McCloskey. Does any of that come back to you at all? 
Why it [Point Reyes] had "received a higher priority in our 
thinking" by then--? 

Ehrlichman: I think we'd made up our minds, and I had run it by the 

president and gotten his okay, and so we passed the ball back 
to Budget to figure out how to pay for it. But I think it's 
safe to say the decision had been made by that time, and that 
I had talked to Krogh and said, "Find out how to pay for 


The Budget Bureau's Alternatives: The "Shrink the Park' 

And then October 1st there was a Schlesinger memo to you 
describing some options for funding. 

1 Schlesinger was an assistant director of the Budget Bureau. 
Subsequently, he was chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, director of 
the Central Intelligence Agency, and Secretary of Defense. --Ed. 


Ehrlichman: Now, that's kind of interesting to me because, you see, he 
doesn't send that memo to Hullin. I had Hullin and Krogh 
fronting for me in this thing to the bureaucracy. So when 
Hullin writes a memo to somebody, that's me, doing that. 
Schlesinger knows this game so he writes directly back to me. 

Duddleson: Right. His memo, now, described some options for funding 

Point Reyes. One is to double the National Park Service share 
of the Land and Water Conservation Fund? 

Ehr 1 ichman : Yes . 

Duddleson: Another of those options includes shrinking the seashore. If, 
he says, there is a decision to make further acquisitions, 
there's a final option. He doesn't use the word "shrink, "but 
he says: "to reduce the size to a manageable unit or to one or 
more manageable units." That is--. 

Ehrlichman: Separated? 

Duddleson: Right, and all distinct from the boundaries as authorized in 
'62. Do you remember that? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. I didn't really pay any attention to that. It wasn't a 
viable option, as far as I was concerned, it wasn't anything I 
was interested in. That really didn't get any weight. Those 
guys with the Budget [Bureau] were in the business of coming 
up with these sort of unrealistic alternatives, and you'd pick 
the ones that you liked and you'd dump the others. 

Nixon and the 

'Budget Boys": James Schlesinger and Robert 

Ehrlichman: You've got to get the larger context here, which is that Nixon 
was going through his first presidential budget with these 
budget boys. And Schlesinger basically was in charge of the 
national security budget. How he got into this [Point Reyes], 
I'm not sure. 

Duddleson: He was an assistant director? He was number two overall? 

Ehrlichman: But his side of the [Budget Bureau] house was basically 

Henry's side of the house, i.e., foreign and defense, rather 
than domestic matters. 

Duddleson: That's very interesting. 







It wasn't long after this that he [Schlesinger] was sent to be 
director of the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] . So he 
wrote this stuff, rather than Don [Donald B.j Rice, who was 
the next level down and the guy who was responsible. 
Incidentally, he [Rice] is now secretary of the Air Force. I 
took this memo as being the position of fiOB's director, Bob 
Mayo, and Nixon's relationship with Bob Mayo by then was so 
bad that I didn't pay much attention to him, and Nixon didn't 
pay any attention to him. I was shuttling back and forth 
between Nixon and Mayo, because Nixon didn't want to talk to 
him. It was really bad. That persisted up through Christmas, 
until the final sign-off on the budget. I did all the talking 
to Mayo, and he couldn't get an appointment with Nixon. It 
was terrible. 

Based on--? 

Based on the fact that Nixon didn't like him. Mayo had a kind 
of supercilious laugh and a weird sense of humor, and they 
just didn't get along. They were just not suited for one 

No, I don't remember it. 

That would have been Whitaker? 

I would guess so. I don't think I ever saw it. 

That letter asked for a higher level of funding for the Land 
and Water Fund. And it asked for rejection of the sell -off - 
for -subdivision proposal at Point Reyes, or any other unit of 
the National Park System. And asked for a meeting with 
whoever in the administration could speak on these matters. 
That was apropos of the Budget Bureau [Point Reyes] letter, as 
distinguished from the Interior Department position. 

Who calls the signals? 

Right. And subsequently, Schlesinger met with that group. 


He met with representatives of that group and identified 
himself as "a member of three of your organizations." In view 


of what you said about his principal portfolio being foreign 
and defense related, I 'a wondering whether he was interested 
and asked for this? 

Ehrlichman: He may have been personally interested. I really don't know-- 
that's an interesting question. Certainly as deputy, he may 
have been delegated this, in addition to the defense matters. 
I Just don't know. 

Duddleson: How did you find working with him? 

Ehrlichman: Okay. He's kind of curmudgeonly in his way. Very smart. 
He's really an excellent number cruncher. Awfully good at 
that stuff. I was in awe of all of those guys- -Rice and 
O'Neil and all of them. Really smart guys. We had a superb 
bunch of guys at Budget. 

Duddleson: You didn't hold a meeting with these people until after a 
decision [on Point Reyes] had been made? 

Ehrlichman: Yes, well, there was never really any confusion in his 

[Schlesinger's] mind about who was going to make the ultimate 
decision. That was true even in this most difficult time when 
Mayo was there. Everybody in that second level [at the Budget 
Bureau] knew that the political guys eventually would just 
have to rule on these things. I mean, that was the reality. 

Duddleson: Did Mayo understand that? Was that part of his problem? 

Ehrlichman: He never did. [laughs] I think he thought that ultimately he 
would deliver, complete and intact, an integral budget, and 
that Nixon would simply sign off on it and thank him. 

Duddleson: That he [Budget Director Mayo] would have made the trade-offs? 

Ehrlichman: Yes, and that isn't the way Nixon worked. He wanted to make 
the decisions. 

[tape interruption] 


Murphy's Changing Relationship with Nixon 

Duddleson: Perhaps we could talk just a minute about Senator Murphy. In 
your book, Witness to Power. 1 I was interested when you said 
that by the spring of '70, Richard Nixon was seeking to 
dissuade George Murphy from running for reelection and was 
seeking to make a spot [in the Senate] for Bob [Robert H.] 
Finch. r 

Ehrlichman: Correct. 

Duddleson: And 1 wonder- -there's an irony in this in a sense- -is there 

anything in that that illuminates anything we've been talking 
about here? 

Ehrlichman: Not really, no. I had the sense that Nixon did not take 

George Murphy seriously as a United States senator. And he 
wanted to find a spot for Finch, who was miscast in his [HEW] 
department. So he sent several emissaries to Murphy to try 
and talk him out of running. He would have made him an 
ambassador --he could do this or that. And it came a cropper, 
he didn't pull it off and he didn't have the desire to sit 
Murphy down across the desk and do it himself. And Murphy 
knew that, so it never happened. 

But it then went on that Murphy was a guy who hadn't done 
what the president wanted him to, and that sort of colored 
their relationship from then on. 

Duddleson: And Murphy's role in the decision on Point Reyes was-- 
Ehrlichman: --pro forma. 

Duddleson: --was pro forma and perhaps the frosting on the cake in a 
recommendation that you made to Nixon based on what you 
thought was "the right thing to do"? 

Ehrlichman: Yes, we had to win the seat. We would have had to win the 
seat for a Republican regardless of who it was, but George 
Murphy had no special clout with Richard Nixon. 

Hiitness to Power: The Nixon Years (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982) 

2 Finch, a long-time Nixon aide and associate, and a former lieutenant 
governor of California, in June 1970 was removed as Secretary of Health, 
Education and Welfare and made a member of the White House staff as 
counselor to the President. --Ed. 



Other White House Involvements 

Enacting the National Environmental Policy Act 

Duddleson: I recall reading somewhere that you said at one time that you 
felt the Nixon administration's contribution in the field of 
environmental conservation was second only to the contribution 
in, I think, school integration. 

Ehrlichman: I may have said that. But that goes back to the situation we 
found when we first got there. And then you were in on this, 
where [Senator Henry M.) Jackson [of Washington State] and 
[Senator Edmund S.] Muskie [of Maine, both Democrats] were 
deadlocked over the question of jurisdiction of their 
committees [over the legislation that became the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969]. We had to take a position, 
and we had to take one pretty fast, so for sentimental reasons 
as much as anything else, we came down on Jackson's side and 
worked pretty hard with his staff. And his jurisdiction was 
ratified, and his version of the environmental policy act was 
adopted. Then from there on, we were team players. Ve really 
got aboard and did a lot of stuff. 

Duddleson: And you were involved in the taking of the administration's 
position on the environment policy act? 

Ehrlichman: That's right. Jackson was my senator, from the state of 
Washington. I had known him for many years, so we got 
together early and sort of cut a deal. Nixon wanted him to be 
secretary of defense and he couldn't do that because of Dan 
Evans [governor of Washington, a Republican] . Jackson wanted 
Dan Evan's commitment that he wouldn't appoint a Republican to 
his seat in the Senate and Evans wouldn't agree to do that, so 
Jackson wouldn't give up the Senate slot. But, he was close 


to Nixon and they saw eye to eye on a lot of things, and we 
worked with him. 

Duddleson: That was a significant partnership, wasn't it? 

Ehrlichman: Oh, yes, I should say it was. 

Duddleson: Do you recall who took the initiative on it, how you two-- 

Ehrlichman: I can't recall if it was Russ [Russell .] Train 1 or who it 
was that originally broached it with us. 

Duddleson: Well, Russ Train had been working closely with Jackson? 

Ehr 1 ichman : Yes . 

Duddleson: And Russ was working closely with you? 

Ehrlichman: Oh, all the time. Yes. 

Duddleson: Russ Train as Interior undersecretary, with the secretary 

above him, would not necessarily have dealings with you, with 
the White House? 

Ehrlichman: Well, except that 1 found him a great deal more congenial, for 
one thing. [Walter J.] Hickel [Nixon's first Secretary of the 
Interior] was all over the place; I could deal with Russ. 
Russ knew a lot more than Hickel did, number two. So he was 
much more helpful, and somehow or other we just found each 
other. So we worked together pretty closely. Hickel was a 
developer, and my sentiments ran somewhat divergent from his, 
so between Whitaker and Russ and me , we kind of worked out 
what the administration policy was going to be. 

Duddleson: Do you recall ever talking Point Reyes or parks with Russ? 

Ehrlichman: Oh, I talked parks with him. I don't recall talking Point 
Reyes with him. 

[tape interruption] 

1 Train was, in the Nixon Administration, in succession: Interior 
undersecretary, chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, and 
administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. --Ed. 











Halting the Cross -Florida Barge Canal 

There was something that I think Ann Lage mentioned in her 
letter to you- -this is outside Point Reyes for the moment, but 
within the environmental circle- -and that was your role in the 
cross -Florida barge canal. 


Which was a high profile environmental cause celebre. 


Could you tell me a little bit about that? 

Yes. That came later, and it came at a stage where Richard 
Nixon had pretty well delegated all the environmental issues 
to me, in the sense, "If it doesn't cost jobs and it doesn't 
get me in political trouble, you handle it." 

Do you recall when that broader delegation began? 

1 would say probably 1970. Whi taker brought this to me, and 
he said, "The Corps of Engineers, is doing this and I've had 
it staffed out." He had a file yea thick, and he said it was 
wreaking environmental havoc. The fellows at the Council on 
Environmental Quality had looked at it. He said, "The only 
way that we can do anything about this is simply to tell the 
Corps of Engineers to stop. Citizens have tried and failed, 
and it comes right down to that if the president is willing to 
tell them to stop, we can stop it." Water tables were going 
down, birds were dying, the game was dying. 

Yes. This was not an unfamiliar subject because the great 
Miami jetport issue had preceded it, and I had had a quick 
education on the whole water and ecological picture down there 
previously, I've forgotten how long before. So Whitaker and I 
talked about this for a long time, and he had a number of 
charts and maps and reports and so on. So I said, "All right, 
you've persuaded me. Now, what's the other side of this?" He 
said, "The other side of this is that large companies and the 
Florida Chamber of Commerce, and commercial interests are very 
anxious to have a canal in there to cut off the distance." So 
I said, "Okay." 


I picked up the phone and called the commanding general 
of the Corps of Engineers. I got him on the phone, and I 
said, "General, the president wants you to stop this." He 
said, "Yes." I said, "It's doing terrific damage. The cost- 
benefit basis doesn't prove out to me. I've seen the numbers 
and so I've advised the president, and he concurs and you're 
to stop it. You're to stop it immediately. If you want it in 
the way of a letter, I'll be very glad to write you one." 
Which I did. 

So that's how it got stopped, whereupon the shit hit the 
fan. [laughter] Richard Nixon went to Key Biscayne on a 
holiday, and Bebe Rebozo had lined up the president of every 
chamber of commerce from Key West north, and they all visited 
upon the president, and they all pounded his ears. 

Duddleson: So it wasn't just Rebozo? He had a supporting cast? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. And these were all fat cats. They were all the guys 

that had given money and so on. Nixon came back from Florida 
and just couldn't wait to push my button to get me down there. 
He said, "What have you done?" And I said, "Well, to really 
get a feel for this, you've got to read the material, you've 
got to see Whitaker's presentation. And, I said, for starters 
I'll bring you the file on this thing. And this could be in 
your weekend reading, and then we can go on from there. And 
if I'm wrong, well, that's fine; you can hang me out in the 
yard and reverse it, and we can start up again." "Well," he 
said, "If you've made the decision, that's good enough for me, 
but boy, it's hard on me to go to Florida." I said, "Yes, I 
probably should have warned you. But in light of my 
delegation, I just went ahead and did it, and I think we're 

So that's where it sat. And of course, you know the 
ensuing story of all the lawsuits and the carrying-on and so 
forth. I saw a clipping that I sent to Whi taker six or eight 
months ago about the ultimate abandonment of the cross -Florida 
barge canal and we had a little celebration on the telephone. 
But a lot of citizens fought the good fight for a lot of years 
down there to keep that thing from going through. 

Firing a Park Service Director 

Duddleson: Earlier, you mentioned George Hartzog, 


Ehrlichman: Yes. 

Duddleson: Who was the director of the National Park Service who 

ultimately was let go. In Hartzog's autobiographical book, 1 
he said he believes that Bebe Rebozo was involved in his 
ouster, that Rebozo had a permit of some kind from the Park 
Service, and Hartzog felt that he was being very responsive to 
Rebozo and assisting him and so forth. But for some reason, 
Rebozo didn't see it that way. I think it was a relative of 
Rebozo who had the permit. 

Ehrlichman: Did this have to do with the jetport? 

Duddleson: Possibly it had to do with Biscayne Bay [National Monument], 
where his relative had some land, an inholding requiring some 
sort of a Park Service permit. 

Ehrlichman: I don't know about that. 

Duddleson: There were no indications to you from the president or Rebozo? 

Ehrlichman: There may have been. I had a lot of those, and some of them 

had to do with Rebozo 's family and landholdings and so on, but 
I don't remember that one. 

Duddleson: Not about George Hartzog? 

Ehrlichman: No. 

Duddleson: Could you tell me a little bit about Hartzog and how he--? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. Ve Just got increasingly disenchanted. It wasn't any 
one thing, but it was poor judgment, I would call it. 
Finally, Whi taker and I, I remember, had a conversation about 
it, and just agreed that in due course he would have to be 
replaced. Now, how that was engineered by John, I don't 
remember, but it was just a deterioration of confidence. It 
was not any one deal like that where Nixon said, "I want him 
out of there," as far as I know. 

Duddleson: Was the president involved in that at all? 

Ehrlichman: That would have been one of the things that I would mention to 
him. He would ask about it. As long as he personally didn't 
have to do the firing, he really didn't care- -most of those. 
Boyd Gibbons [an Interior Department official] was involved in 

1 Battline for the National Parks (Mt. Kisko, N.Y. : Mover Bell, 1988) 


this somewhat. He or Whitaker will have a very clear 
recollection of that. 

Some Other Matters That Mav Have Been Affected bv Point Reves 

Proposing Change in How the Government Tries Land 

Duddleson: Can you turn for a moment to these two other matters that 
followed Point Reyes? 

Ehrlichman: The branches? 

Duddleson: The branches. Well, they either were branches growing from 
the Point Reyes experience, or they weren't. Well, one of 
them clearly was, and that was your initiative proposing 
change in how the federal government tries condemnation cases 

Ehrlichman: The background to this condemnation thing is that I practiced 
that kind of law. Not exclusively, but 1 spent a fair amount 
of time on it and knew the difference between somebody who 
knew what he was doing in condemnation and somebody who had 
little experience in it. So I just felt that we [i.e., the 
federal government] were not being well represented in some of 
these cases where, as the memos showed, the government was 
just getting killed by the juries. You don't go into a 
locality with some guy from Washington, D.C., to try a land 
case. Maybe you do that with a tax case- -I know the IRS does 
that. But with a land case, you've got to have a local guy or 
you get surprised all the time. Because there's no way that a 
government lawyer can be familiar with the way the traffic 
works, and who used to live on the land, and all those kinds 
of things that keep coming up. 

Duddleson: And perceptions of local people about a particular problem 
what might or not be worth--? 

Ehrlichman: Who you wanted on the jury. Tillie Butz works in the drug 
store. Well, that doesn't tell you everything about Tillie 
Butz, because her father used to own land out here by the 
seashore, and she lost it in her first marriage. And all 
those things that local guys know that you don't know when you 
come in from outside. 


Duddleson: After you returned from California in November '69, you 

dictated a memo addressing the problem of how the government 
should go about securing the private lands needed to complete 
the park? 

Ehrlichman: Yes, to the attorney general, I guess. 

Duddleson: There was a copy sent to [deputy attorney general Richard] 

Ehrlichman: Yes. 

Duddleson: Here it is, it was a memo [dated November 25, 1969] to John 
Whi taker [copy to Kleindienst] saying, "When I was in 
California 1 had a number of discussions with people 
interested in the Point Reyes acquisition. They tell me that 
we may be able to save substantial money depending upon how we 
go about acquiring the land." And then you go on to make your 
suggestion about the government hiring private local counsel. 
Do you remember who you talked with out there? In California? 

Ehrlichman: I don't know. No. 

Duddleson: There had just been, I think, a high jury award in a Point 

Reyes condemnation matter that scared the pants off the Park 

Ehrlichman: That could have been it. I really don't recall who I talked 
to. It may have been at that environmental conference, I 
don't know. 

Duddleson: Were there any discussions there of any consequence? 
Ehrlichman: That's just left my mind completely. I just don't know. 

Duddleson: At any rate, you closed this memo by saying that you'd like to 
see these kinds of cases rigorously prosecuted and thoroughly 
prepared. And: "I think our best chance of getting that kind 
of result is with a skilled condemnation attorney on our 

Ehrlichman: I don't know if anything ever came of this. Did it? 

Duddleson: I don't know. There sure were a lot of papers going back and 

Ehrlichman: A lot of that. Got some resistance from the Justice 


Duddleson: From the Justice Department, and also, I think, some 
resistance from the Interior's solicitor. 

Ehrllchman: Although he wasn't quite as strong as the Justice Department. 
Duddleson: Then you wrote a memo to Kleindienst following up on this. 
Ehrlichman: Yes. 

Duddleson: And the [Interior] solicitor suggested, rather than private 
counsel, a cadre, a flying squad of in- government experts in 
this field who would go anywhere in the country. But that 
really wasn't responsive to your perception? 

Ehrlichman: No. That's the tax pattern. They have tax prosecution people 
that go out around the country, who get to be very good trial 
lawyers, and in the tax field it doesn't really matter. But I 
think it does in these land cases. 

Duddleson: The local knowledge? 
Ehrlichman: Yes. 

Duddleson: Incidentally, as far as the [National Archives] record shows, 
a supporter of this was George Hartzog, who not only responded 
to Whi taker that he was enthusiastic about it, but provided 
some evidence relating to recent park cases where experience 
with unexpectedly high jury awards would support your 

Ehrlichman: Yes. I got caught in a conflict between the Interior 

solicitor and the Justice Department in another area- -I don't 
know if it was before or after this --involving the Indian 
trusteeship. The solicitor represented Indian tribes, 
sometimes adverse to the Justice Department, and it was never 
resolved where the line was between the two of them. There 
was always a lot of jurisdictional conflict. And finally, 
there was a bill in the Congress to straighten that out, and 
it languished, and it still languishes as far as I know. It 
was never moved. [Senator Daniel] Inouye [of Hawaii] had 
hearings not too long ago on this. There are these thickets 
in the federal government where you run into that kind of 

Duddleson: No, I don't know what came of it, but it was a very 

interesting suggestion. I think what impresses me is that 
here was something that you came back from the coast with, 
based on knowledge about the Point Reyes situation, where the 
real problem was land cost escalation. 


Ehrlichman: And there was leakage, I thought, in that, 
saved some of that. 

We could have 

Encouraging Park Action Elsewhere 

Duddleson: There's another thread or branch that seems to flow from the 
Point Reyes experience. And that was- -or it may not have 
been, we'll see --its role in setting in motion, perhaps, or 
raising higher on the agenda, the whole question of 
administration policy on parks and recreation. 

Ehrlichman: Raising higher, I would say. I think, in fact, there's a memo 
in there from somebody to Darryl Trent asking him to take this 

Duddleson: From John Whitaker. In April [7, 1970] right about the time 
of the signing of the Point Reyes bill. 

Ehrlichman: Okay. Darryl Trent was already hired to do the inventory of 

federal lands and to begin to move some of those federal lands 
to state and local control. This just gave that impetus, so I 
would say it was, as it were, kind of two vehicles going down 
the same track in the same direction. 

Duddleson: And this is just the week before there was testimony before 

[Senator] Jackson on increasing the Land and Water Fund from a 
normal level of $200 million a year to $300. 

Ehrlichman: Yes. I don't think we were co-conspirators on that. I think 
that somebody in the Congress must have pushed that up. 1 
doubt that we would have been involved in that. 

Duddleson: Yes. But you supported it. 
Ehrlichman: We supported it. 

Duddleson: Going back to the circumstance of a departmental report, in 
this case from Interior, going up to the Hill on the Point 
Reyes funding increase authorization bill in May of '69 with a 
favorable recommendation, and the Budget Bureau, instead of 
its normal, standard, closing clearance paragraph, saying that 
"the separate views of the Bureau of the Budget will be 
forthcoming"? Had that ever happened, in your experience, 






No. It hadn't. And it escaped my notice at the time. 
That was pre-Pete McCloskey "pounding" on you? 
That's right. 

I thought it was unusual. And then subsequently, as you know, 
the Bureau of the Budget, in this letter signed by Mr. Mayo in 
September --this is four months later- -finally came forward 
with that negative statement of its "separate views." 

I wonder if there wasn't some internal discussion within the 
Bureau of the Budget on this, where they couldn't reconcile 
their views. That would be one reason to talk to Don Rice, to 
see if maybe there was a conflict below Schlesinger, and the 
various examiners and the assistants and so on, that they 
couldn't arrive at a position. 

One line of inquiry that is suggested in the Mayo letter of 
September is that there's an ongoing effort in the Budget 
Bureau to agree and assign criteria for evaluating whether--. 

Yes, to send out a pro forma magic formula, 
[phone rings, tape interruption] 

Excuse me. 

Providing Political Credibility 

Duddleson: May we pick up on this matter of what happened after the Point 
Reyes experience, on which the Point Reyes experience may or 
may not have had some kind of an influence? One of these was 
on the developing of administration policy on parks and 
recreation, and the other was this "Legacy of Parks" program. 
Do you have any further thoughts on that? On whether there 
was any causal relationship here? 

Ehrlichman: To the extent that I mentioned before, that it gave what I'll 
call political credibility to the park effort. That was very 
important to us in securing the president's approval on 
things. He got very enthusiastic about some of these things. 
On the little park in Fairfax County [Virginia], for instance, 
his wife went over and dedicated that, at his specific urging. 
I went over with her. He had a kind of personal commitment to 
this close-in park business. He went out and dedicated the 
Gateway parks personally; both New York and the Golden Gate, 
he did personally. So the whole public recreation lands issue 


was cemented as respectable and viable and politically useful 
and all those good things. And I'm convinced that Point Reyes 
played a part in it. 

Educating a Decision-Maker 

Buddies on: 







A kind of breaker of a trail, so to speak? 

That's right. Exactly. And shoved that a lot of people, a 
lot of politicians, a lot of newspapers --because we got some 
good newspaper copy out of it --approve of this kind of thing. 
We even put some stuff in some polls later on because we had 
some hard cases, environmental cases where [cracking down on] 
heavy pollution would close a plant, put five hundred people 
out of work, and then we hear about that. So we did some 
polling about jobs versus clean air, jobs versus clean water, 
jobs versus parks, all that kind of stuff. And it didn't turn 
out completely favorable to the environmental cause, but there 
was enough in there that we could show him that we weren't 
blazing a lonely trail, that there was a respectable body of 
public opinion that supported these things. 

And congressional opinion? 

Well, needless to say, yes, but he was concerned about the 
popular vote question. We had this oil spill, for instance. 

Right. Santa Barbara? 

Santa Barbara. We went out and looked at it, and walked 
around and got our feet dirty. And then we did some polling 
in California about offshore leasing, and that was very 
influential, as it turned out. So, you know, this was a 
constant process of educating the decision maker. 

Do you recall who might have done that poll? Was there any 
evidence that may still exist? 

Sindlinger did it. It was a private poll. It was never 

I see. And might be in the White House materials (in the 
National Archives]. 

Ehrlichman: It could be in the archives. 


Working on the Property Review Board 

Duddleson: On the Ray Price- -I '11 call it the Ray Price memo [proposing a 
"Legacy of Parks" program] --you described earlier his role in 
sampling White House mail and perhaps phone calls? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. 

Duddleson: He may not have been aware of other things going on in your 
office and Whitaker's? Is that possible? 

Ehrlichman: It's entirely possible. 

Duddleson: Then, perhaps, based on his own sense of what he was hearing, 
and his sense of public reception, he came up with his own 
memo of July [28, 1970], a memorandum for the president, 
subject: the Nixon "Legacy of Parks." Do you recall this at 

Ehrlichman: Oh, sure. You bet. Because that was then repeated as a catch 
phrase on through this process of divesting federal lands and 
creating state parks. 

Duddleson: So this was sort of a label that went on a train that was 
already on a track? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. Admittedly slow moving at that stage. The inventory 

process took a long time, requiring a little staff, beginning 
to sift through--. Ue used to meet weekly, as a committee 
called the Property Review Board. 

Duddleson: Were you on that? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. I was chairman. And we had Darryl Trent come in with 
ten picks of the week- -pieces of property that were under 
utilized or that could be better utilized in some other way. 
Like the coast artillery base in Hawaii, Fort DeRussy, right 
on Uaikiki Beach. So we shed a lot of blood to get that one 
into state Jurisdiction because the military was in the 
process of building a hotel on that land. Well, bless their 
hearts, they were going to build their hotel parallel to the 
water instead of perpendicular to it like every private land 
developer, because real estate was a free good to them. So we 
got the hotel turned around and then moved way down to the end 
of the beach, and then we got a state park. That took a long 
time, but battles of that kind went on through this Property 
Review Board, and at times I would walk from the Roosevelt 


Room, where we were meeting, over to the president's office 
and say, "You're going to have to help us. You're going to 
have to call Secretary So-and-so and tell him to let loose of 
this. He won't take it from me." We got into a huge struggle 
over the Mall in Washington, D.C. , that had temporary Navy 
buildings . 

Duddleson: Since Vorld War I, as I recall. 

Ehrlichnan: Yes. And then Nixon had himself been posted in those 

buildings in World War II. But those kinds of battles went on 
all through this period of time starting back with the 
original Darryl Trent assignment to begin to inventory the 

Duddleson: There were eight or nine people on this Property Review Board 
in the White House? Or were you bringing people in from the 

Ehrlichman: I don't know where he got them. [laughter] Maybe from the 
departments. 1 don't know. But he had people doing kind of 
inventory things where we would each be sent these ten 
nominees for action with a lot of backup material and maps and 
appraiser's opinions and all that kind of stuff. There was a 
lot of staff work going on. 

Duddleson: And you just used the executive authority to do it? 
Ehrlichman: We just had the president sign something. 

Impact of Point Reves' Local Advocates, via Citizen Behr and 
Congressman Clausen 

Duddleson: Can we take a retrospective look here? You've seen these 

documents, and we've been talking a while here. Coming back, 
now, to focus on Point Reyes and that experience, do things 
come to mind that we haven't covered? Or that the documents 
haven't discussed? 

Ehrlichman: Peter Behr played a part in this, Just because he personified 
the local effort, the citizen effort, and really sold me on 
the bona fides of this. I'd take McCloskey's word for it, but 
McCloskey is kind of a wild hare; he'd come up with things at 
times. Behr sort of cemented the respectability of this for 
all the people that he represented, by the way he presented 
himself. He came to San Clemente, as I recall, to a meeting. 







So that's one thing not to lose sight of in this whole thing. 
He played, I think, an important part. It wasn't just a bunch 
of Washington people cutting a deal. 

Do you think that meeting might have taken place at San 

I think so. Somewhere in California. 

That's possible. He may have been at this environmental 
conference thing if I did that, and I guess I did. We may 
have had a meeting there. I don't remember. I just have a 
recollection of how favorably he impressed me with the merits 
of his case. So there's one thing. And, I sort of brushed 
over the congressman from that district. 

Don Clausen? 

Clausen. Clausen came to see me at one time. 

Oh, he did? 

Yes. And he was very persuasive on the merits, and 1 thought 
did some good work. I hadn't known him before, so that's an 
impression that persists. 

Did you ever have a face-to-face discussion with George Murphy 
on Point Reyes that you recall? 

I don't know. I'd been to his office a number of times. It 
may have been for that reason; I just don't know. I kept 
waiting for the movie screen to come down when I went into his 
office. [laughter] He had a built-in movie screen, and then 
he'd push the button and it came down, and he could watch the 
movie . 

Now, I don't think I have a lot to add beyond that. 
McCloskey was very effective and, from my standpoint, deserves 
a lot of credit. 

A Car Pool for a Conference? 

Duddleson: One of the memos--by Krogh or Hullin, perhaps, of your staff-- 


talked about having asked the Budget Bureau how to get more 
funds for that Point Reyes which has "a higher priority in our 
thinking" now, and that we want to "do something dramatic," 
and that Schlesinger will get a memo back with some funding 
options in time for your briefing with Pete McCloskey. [Memo 
of September 29, 1969, to Hull in from Krogh, p. 325] Do you 
recall if that briefing ever took place? 

Ehrlichman: I don't think it was a formal briefing as such. I think it 
was just that I knew I was going to see him and that we had 
set some kind of a deadline in our own minds of when this 
thing had to be done in order to keep the trees from being cut 
and all that. 

Duddleson: And you wanted the Budget technicians to spell out options? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. We felt that we'd Just pass the burden back to them to 
figure out how to pay for it. 

Duddleson: The conference with McCloskey may have taken place as you were 
driving to work? 

Ehrlichman: In the car, maybe. Yes, it could well have been. It could 

well have been. But we used to socialize a lot, and his then- 
wife and my then-wife were great friends , and we used to see 
quite a lot of them and their kids. So there's no telling 
when I was set up to see him. It could have been dinner at 
our house. 

A Space Shot for a Park? 

Duddleson: I'd like to ask you about a great line in a memo from John 

Whi taker, I think to you. I'll see if I can find it. This is 
before the Oval Office meeting with the president. 

Ehrlichman: I saw that after that meeting Whitaker sent [William E.) 
Timmons up to see John Saylor [a congressman from 
Pennsylvania, and the senior Republican on the Interior 
Committee] . 

Duddleson: Yes. Do you remember John Saylor- -the Saylor role at all? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. I remember Saylor was mad. Timmons was the head 
congressional liaison guy [for the White House]. 


Duddleson: Mr. Saylor was not included in the group that met with the 
president [on November 19, 1969]. 

Ehrlichman: Yes. So this was in the nature of damage control, I guess. 

Duddleson: Right. He [Saylor] may have been upset at that initially. 

But the line he took was, in this report, Interior Committee 
minority report, that his real concern was that an unfair 
exception was being made for Point Reyes. 

Ehrlichman: Yes, that the Calif ornians were getting the preferential-- 

Duddleson: That only one park in California, in the president's home 

state, was being funded in a way that appears to be designed 
to benefit a senator from California running for reelection, 
while parks in other states were going down the drain. Saylor 
said, "What's good for the Bear State is good for the 
country ! " 

Ehrlichman: And 1 read that to mean that Saylor had already promised money 
to a bunch of other guys in Congress and he was afraid there 
wasn't going to be any. That may be unfair, but that's what I 

Duddleson: He took the tack that he was going to oppose funding for Point 
Reyes, for which previously he had been very enthusiastic, 
very supportive, until--. 

[tape interruption] 

Ehrlichman: What did Whi taker say that you remember? 
Duddleson: This is a memo--. 

[tape interruption] 

Duddleson: This is a memorandum [November 13, 1969] from Whi taker in 
which he's toting up the costs of an early supplemental 
appropriation for Point Reyes, and said that the Interior will 
come up with a million and a half of it and it's up to the 
Budget [Bureau] to come up with the rest of it- -the $7.1 
million [fiscal '70 appropriation] for Point Reyes. Then, in 
closing, he said, "If it's indeed true that we have already 
exceeded our [$192 billion] budget for the fiscal year--." 

Ehrlichman: Cut out the space shot. 

Duddleson: Yes. [laughter] If there's no money left in the budget, then 
do some thing- - e. g. , cancel a space shot! [see p. 332-335] 


Ehrlichman: Right. And it went through my mind that on that date there 
may have been a satellite or a bunch of guys in space or 
something of that kind. It would be interesting to correlate 
that with what was happening at NASA right then. Yes, I get a 
kick out of that. It's off the wall. 

Duddleson: That seemed to certainly reflect a firm commitment. 

Ehrlichman: Oh, yes. I think we all had the attitude, Whitaker and I and 
some others, that the Budget guys had money put away, in the 
sock, for Just such political pressure, and that we didn't 
have to cry too hard for that. If we said we absolutely have 
to have it, or if I had to go to the president and say, "You 
must write me a memo to that effect," that they could come up 
with it. They'd find it somewhere. 


Happy Results and Anniversaries 

Duddleson: Off the tape I asked if you'd ever been to Point Reyes. 
Ehrlichman: I never have. 

Duddleson: And, I expressed the hope that you'll be able to visit there 
one day. 

Ehrlichman: Oh, I hope so too. I'd really like to. 
Duddleson: Because you had a role in making it happen. 

Ehrlichman: Well, anniversaries are happening and I get invited to 

anniversaries. The Indians up here at Taos are having a 
twentieth anniversary celebration of having gotten their 
sacred land back, so I'm invited back to the reunion. Maybe 
Point Reyes will have a reunion some day. 

Duddleson: I wouldn't be surprised if that happened. But this part of 
its history has never been told before. 

Ehrlichman: Yes. There are a lot of these nooks and crannies with very, 
very happy results. One of these days I'll get out there and 
we'll go camping. 

Duddleson: It's all walk- in camping. No automobiles campgrounds. 









Yes. That's the way it should be. 

Well, I hope you do it, and I hope you'll like it. 

I'm tempted. 

You mentioned the Taos Pueblo. Was that Blue Lake? While you 
were in the White House, didn't you turn around the Forest 
Service on that? 

Well, kind of turned around the Congress is what we did. 
rolled Henry Jackson. [laughs] 


It was Clint Anderson, the senator from New Mexico, who wanted 
to go with the Forest Service and with the grazers permittees? 

Ranchers , yes . 

And you turned it around? 

We confronted him. The tie-in is that Clint Anderson's 
secretary became Mrs. Henry Jackson, and there were a lot of 
very tight relationships between Anderson and Jackson. And of 
course Jackson was chairman of the committee. We had to roll 
him in order to do this. And there was another one of those 
phone calls I got from Richard Nixon saying, "What have you 

You made a commitment using your delegation license? 

Exactly. And as a matter of fact, I turned the White House 
lobbyists loose on this. So we had some people from my staff 
and some people from Interior and the whole White House cadre 
of legislative guys up there. And we managed to help to get-- 
there were a lot of people working on this, of course --but I 
think we turned a few people around. 

So that one actually was decided on the Senate floor by a 
vote? 1 

1 In 1968 and again in 1969 the House passed legislation to grant title 
to 48,000 acres in the Blue Lake area of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in 
Carson National Forest to Taos Pueblo. The Indians were objecting to 
Forest Service leasing of livestock grazing rights to non-Indian ranchers, 
and said the area was a ceremonial site sacred in their ancestral religion. 
The Senate didn't act until December, 1970, when it voted, 70 to 12, to 
pass the legislation- -after rejecting an amendment supported by Jackson and 
Anderson that would have kept the area in the national forest for use only 
by the Taos Indians. The Nixon Administration supported the bill that was 
enacted. Title was conveyed in 1971. 


Ehrlichman: Yes. Because the Senate committee recommended against the 
restoration to the Pueblo of these lands. 

Duddleson: Right. I'm wondering whether that good experience, from your 
point of view, had anything to do with your deciding to come 
to Santa Fe? 

Ehrlichman: No, it really didn't. I came here to write a book, 

originally, on a temporary basis. I had the use of a guest 
house. 1 guess it just transpired to be a good place to be. 

Duddleson: Had you been out here when you were interested in Blue Lake? 

Ehrlichman: I'd been here, not on Blue Lake, but I'd been here to see Dave 
[David F. ] Cargo one time when he was governor, and then I'd 
been here one time when I was in the service, so I knew about 
it. And it was a good place to write a book. 

Duddleson: Which one was that? 

Ehrlichman: That was the first one, called The Company. 

Duddleson: The first novel? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. I wrote two novels before I wrote that memoir. 

Duddleson: Witness to Power? 

Ehrlichman: Yes. 

Duddleson: What are you doing now? 

Ehrlichman: I'm supposed to be working on a novel. 

Duddleson: And you can get back to it as soon as I let you go. 

Ehrlichman: Well, I better, [laughs] No, I've been doing some consulting 
work too, some environmental stuff and some other consulting 

Duddleson: Thank you. 
Ehrlichman: A pleasure. 

Transcriber: Elizabeth Kim 
Final Typist: Kian Sandjideh 

TAPE GUIDE- -John D. Ehrlichman 

Date of Interview: June 11, 1991 

tape 1, aide A 347 

tape 1, side B 359 

tape 2, side A 371 

tape 2, side B 382 


INDEX- -Saving the Point Reyes Seashore 

Alioto, Joseph, 125-126 
Aspinall, Wayne, 23, 32, 33, 
35-37, 40, 41. 46, 53-55, 66, 
68, 75, 77, 78, 81, 86, 87, 
114, 116, 132, 136, 137, 246, 
248, 310, 316 , 356-357 
Azevedo, Margaret, 117, 167-199 
[interview with], 216 

Baar, Louis H. [Bud], 246 
Barbour, Tom, 122 
Barnard, Jean, 117, 180 
Behr, Peter 

as California state senator, 

182-184, 221-224 
and Point Reyes National 

Seashore campaign, 29-31, 38, 
44, 49, 53, 64-66, 90, 91, 
113-149 [interview with], 
173-174, 178-180, 194, 196- 
197, 207-210, 212-215, 243, 
352, 378-379 

See also Save Our Seashore 
Besig, Ernest, 148-149 
Bible, Alan, 35, 36, 54, 80, 89, 
90, 95, 239, 241, 246, 247, 
248, 249-250, 268-269 
Boerger, Frank, 97-98 
Boiling, Richard, 17, 18 
Broemmel, Bert, 172, 245-246 
Brown, Margaret Burke [Mary], 62 
Bruce, Preston, 100-101 
Bumpers , Dale , 99 
Bunnelle, Hasse , 180 
Bureau of the Budget, 23-26, 32, 
34, 40, 45, 46, 54, 55, 68, 69, 
86, 89, 90, 114, 116, 307, 347- 
348, 351, 360, 361-364, 375, 
Bush, George 

as congressman, 302-303, 304- 

as president, 313-314 

Butler, Lewis, 293, 294, 295, 
303-304, 348 

Cahn, Robert, 27 

California attitude, 44-46, 74 

Canby, Anne, 43-44, 68 

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 


Castro, Walter, 138 
Chapman, Howard, 99 
Clausen, Don, 35, 36, 69, 70, 

76, 77, 89, 114, 132, 136, 269, 

306, 312-313, 314-315, 379 
Cohelan, Jeffery, 21, 35, 37, 

38, 44, 69, 309-310 
Collins, Daniel, 174 
Collins, George, 6, 8, 46-47, 

65, 68, 70, 124, 170, 174, 233, 

Congress, U.S. , 317 

environmental interests in, 
294-299, 303, 312 

relations with executive 
branch, 347-84 passim 

See also House of 

Representatives Interior 
Committee; Senate Interior 
congressional wife, role of, 12- 

14, 57-60 

Conservation Associates, 46-48 
Coro Foundation, 120, 207-208 
Corte Madera Creek, 218 
Cranston, Alan, 35, 62, 89, 90, 

100, 114 
cross -Florida barge canal, 368- 

Cullom, Jim "Truck", 289-291 

Daly, Charles [Chuck] , 17 
Democratic Study Group, 16-19 
Department of the Interior, 44, 
348, 360, 367 


Drake's Plate of Brass, 125-126, 

Duddleson, William, 15-17, 20, 
21, 25-27, 30, 34, 35, 37-41, 
43, 47, 48, 52, 53, 56, 61, 
71-73, 75, 76, 82, 84-86, 
88-91, 93, 98, 99, 301 

Earth Day, 1970, 296, 297-298 
Eastman, Barbara, 22, 65, 171 
Ehrlichman, John, 42, 43, 68, 

88, 147-148, 212-214, 292-317 

passim. 343-384 [interview 


Elias, Judith, 62-63 
Environmental Action of Vest 

Mar in, 99 

environmental law, 294-295 
Evers, Sepha, 190-191, 231-233 
From the Door of the White House. 


Gatov, Elizabeth [Libby] , 117, 


Giacomini, Gary, 140-141 
Gibson, Florence, 63 
Gilliam, Harold, 27, 28, 37, 53, 

122, 224 

Gilman, Emma, 117, 181 
Gnoss, William, 138 
Golden Gate Bridge District, 

Golden Gate National Recreation 

Area, 96, 98, 269 
Governor's Conference on the 

Changing Environment, 127, 

147-148, 209-213 
Grader, William, 171 
Gregg, Harold, 29, 30, 34, 44, 

65, 117, 181 
Gubser, Charles, 24 
Gustafson, Joel, 143-144, 171 

Hansen, Julia Butler, 35, 37, 38 
Hartzog, George, 21, 33, 34, 72, 

75, 76, 89, 115, 131-132, 135, 

369-371, 373 
Heims, Edward, 238 

Hickel, Walter, 34, 35, 39, 44, 

45, 89, 125, 360, 367 
House of Representatives Interior 
Committee, 40-41 
Subcommittee on National Parks 
and Recreation, 21-22, 75- 
76, 131-132, 246, 248-249, 

See also Aspinall, Wayne 
Hullin, Tod, 301, 349, 350, 361, 

Independent Journal. 91 
Island in Time. 122-123 

Jackson, Henry M. [Scoop], 356- 

357, 366-367, 383 
Johnson, Harold T. [Bizz], 22, 

23, 38, 40, 44, 63, 69, 70, 76, 
81, 82, 86 
Johnson, Huey, 121 
Johnson, Katharine Miller [Katy] 

1-101 [interview with], 114, 

116, 118, 122, 128-129, 146, 


Johnson, Lady Bird, 44-45 
Johnson, Stuart, 20, 21, 25, 33, 

34, 40, 52, 59, 63, 83, 101, 

Jones, Perkle, 122, 125, 126 

Kahrl, William, 120-121, 147, 

149, 202-226 [interview with] 
Keene, Barry, 182-184 
Kent, Roger, 235-236 
Kissinger, Henry A. , 359 
Krogh, Bud, 301, 307, 349, 361, 

Kurtz, Ed, 251 

Lake Ranch, 38-39, 115, 125, 

130, 145-146, 262-264 
Land and Water Conservation Fund, 

24, 40, 71, 79-81, 87, 89, 114, 

116, 353-354, 374 


land condemnation lav, 295, 371- 

374. See also Point Reyes 

National Seashore, costs of 

land acquisition 
land ethic, 253-259 
Land Investor's Research, 129- 

Larkspur- Cor te Madera Cooperative 

Nursery School, 13 
Lav and the Environment 

Conference, 1969, 301-302 
Legacy of Parks program. See 

Nixon administration 
legislative taking, 114 
Lemmon , Uarren , 64 
Leonard, Doris, 46, 47, 64, 65, 

68, 70, 71, 85 
Livermore, Caroline, 171, 186, 

189-191, 231-233 

Livermore, Norman B. "Ike", 211 
Livermore, Putnam, 47-48 
London, Betty, 29, 65 
Lucheta, Bunny, 117, 146-147, 

174, 179, 181-184, 194-195, 


McCarthy, Bryan, 242, 247, 249, 

McClain, Aline, 117, 135, 185- 

McCloskey, J. Michael, 29-30, 

34, 44, 64, 65, 73-74 
McCloskey, Paul N. [Pete], 40, 

42-44, 68, 83, 213, 285-317 

[interviev vith], 348-349, 350- 

351, 360, 361, 378-380 
McElvain, Lee, 32, 40 
McKeown, Joseph, 124 
McNamara, Steve, 121, 122, 127 
Mailliard, William, 35, 306 
Marin Agricultural Land Trust, 

Marin Conservation League, 29, 

30, 90, 117, 118, 233-234, 237, 

Marin Council for Civic Affairs, 

168, 176-177 

Marin County 

land planning, 138-141, 168, 


ranches and ranch lands, 95- 
96, 141-142, 233-234, 240, 
253-257, 260-262, 265-266 
Marin County Board of 

Supervisors, 16, 83, 115, 137- 
138, 171, 246 

Mayo, Robert H., 40, 43, 48, 71, 
89, 115-116, 351, 360, 362-364 
Meyer, Amy, 96 
Miller, Clem, 139, 198, 312 
campaign for Congress, 10-13, 

169, 191, 235-236 
campaign to establish Point 
Reyes seashore, 7-9, 15-16, 
170-172, 235-236 
letters, 14, 58-59 
personal background, 1, 2-7, 

Miller, Katharine. See Johnson, 

Katharine Miller 
Miller, Thomas W. , 5-7, 12, 36 
Mount Tamalpais State Park, Steep 

Ravine cabins, 221-224 
Murphy, George, 22, 31, 35, 77, 
78, 86, 89, 114, 124-125, 132- 
134, 149, 213-214, 306, 314- 
315, 350, 351, 360, 365, 379 

National Audubon Society, 127 
National Environmental Policy 

Act, 295-296, 366 
National Park Service, 33, 34, 
40, 47, 71-72, 89, 90, 92-95, 
97-99, 238, 241, 246, 249, 251- 
253, 254-257, 352, 369-371 
Neasham, Aubrey, 233, 235 
Nev Haven, Connecticut, police 

reform in, 205-206 
Nev York Times . 26, 38, 87 
Nixon, Richard M. , 24, 31, 37, 
71, 75, 77, 78, 86-89, 90, 101, 
132-134, 148-149, 302, 304, 
309, 312, 315, 350, 351, 355, 
363-365, 366-367, 369, 370 


Nixon administration 

Legacy of Parks program, 354- 
355, 375-376 

Property Review Board, 377- 

See also Ehrlichman, John 

Oakes, John, 26 

Pacific Gas and Electric Company 

[PG&E], 84-85 
Pacific Sun. 48, 69, 87, 121- 

122, 127 

Phillips, William G. , 17, 19 
Pierce Point Ranch, 129-130, 

135, 145 
Point Reyes, personal 

experiences, 8-9, 170 
Point Reyes Citizen Advisory 

Commission, 89-90, 96-98, 270 
Point Reyes National Seashore 
campaign to establish, 8-9, 
15-16, 78, 113, 170-172, 235- 

costs of land acquisition, 16- 
17, 45, 49, 82-84, 86, 134- 
135, 142-143, 172, 240-242, 
246-247, 309, 371-372, 374 
land management in, 254-256 
proposed reduction in size, 

69-71, 91 

proposed subdivision of, 21, 
34-35, 38-39, 71-72, 88, 115, 
131-132, 134-135, 352 
ranchers' attitudes toward, 
237, 239, 241-253, 259, 265- 

wilderness legislation, 92-95 
See also Point Reyes National 

Seashore, 1969-1970 campaign 
Point Reyes National Seashore, 
1969-1970 campaign 
congressional vote on, 88-90 
coordination between Washington 
and California, 44-49, 65- 
67, 144-145 

impact of campaign success, 87- 
89, 132-133, 316-317, 354- 
356, 371-377 

lobbying Congress, 24-28, 32- 
33, 35-38, 52-55, 68-71, 79, 
82, 87, 246-250, 269 
lobbying executive branch, 33- 
35, 68, 71-72, 301-315 
passim. 352-353, 355-356 
petitions, 76-77, 119, 120- 

121, 132, 144, 196, 352-353 
publicity, 24-28, 31, 35, 37- 
39, 41-42, 52-53, 69, 86-87 
strategy, 21-26, 32, 54-55, 

79, 82 

See also Save Our Seashore 
Point Reyes National Seashore 

Foundation, 143-144, 171 
Polsdorfer, Joan, 117 
Pomeroy, Hugh, 189 
Price, Ray, 353, 377 

Reagan, Ronald, 48, 125, 127, 

209-212, 214, 215 
Rebozo, Bebe, 369-370 
Redwood National Park, 83-84, 


Rennert, Leo, 27, 76-77 
Rice, Donald B. , 363 
Riznik, Charlotte, 120, 130, 194 
Roth, Joan, 30, 64, 128 
Ryan, William Fitz, 71, 72, 76, 

88, 90 
Ryken, Ed, 186 

Salin, Lothar, 186 

Samuel P. Taylor State Park, 


Sansing, John, 95, 96, 251-253 
Save Our Seashore [ S . . S . ] , 
29-32, 39, 54, 65, 69, 76, 79, 

campaign strategies and events, 
118-130, 136, 175-180, 195- 
196, 209-213, 219 
executive committee, 117-119, 

174-175, 180-182, 185-188 
funding, 119-120, 135-136 
political context, 209-215, 

224-225, 352-353 
reasons for success, 136, 213- 
215, 217-218 


Save Our Seashore (cont.) 

See also Point Reyes National 

Seashore, 1969-1970 campaign 
Save San Francisco Bay campaign, 

45, 174, 176, 177, 243 
Saylor, John, 33, 77-82, 86-89, 

132, 316-317, 380-381 
Schlesinger, James, 307, 361- 


Schultz, Vera, 167-168, 170, 171 
Senate Interior Committee, 40, 

89-90, 241, 246, 249-250. See 

also Bible, Alan 
Sierra Club, 26, 28-30, 32, 37, 

45, 63, 64, 72-74, 86, 94, 122- 

124, 128, 237, 246 
Skubitz, Joseph, 23, 45 
Soil Conservation Service, 255 
Southerland, Clarence A., 1-2, 

51-52, 55, 56, 57, 60-62 
Southerland, Katharine Virden, 

1-2, 50-51, 60-62 
Stanford University 

1982 Big Game, 289, 291 

Law School, 292-293 
Starr, Elvis, 127 
Steep Ravine cabins . See Mount 

Tamalpais State Park 
Stewart, Boyd, 36, 89, 95, 125, 

231-270 [interview with] 
Stewart, Josef fa Conrad, 231- 

232, 239, 258, 264 
Stewart, Samuel James, 234, 254, 


Summers, Mary, 139, 189-192 
Sweet, William, 39, 91, 115, 

134-135, 145-146, 262-264 

Udall, Stewart, 118 
United States Army Corps of 

Engineers, 218, 368-369 
University of California, 1982 

Big Game, 289-291 
Upton, William, 186 

Varian, Dorothy, 46 
Vietnam War 

impact on domestic policy, 


opposition to, 302-305, 307 
308, 315-316 

Watergate break- in, 307-308 
Watkin, Becky, 185, 187-188 
Wayburn, Diana, 126 
Wayburn, Edgar, 96, 126 
Weinberger, Caspar, 221, 223 
Welker, Francia, 121, 208, 216- 


Wellman, Grace, 186-187 
West Mar in master plan, 138-139 
Whitaker, John, 310-313, 348- 

350, 356-358, 360, 363, 367, 

368, 370-371, 373, 374, 380- 


wilderness legislation, 92-95 
Williams, Jim, 120, 207-208, 216 
women in politics, 12-14, 16- 

19, 33, 55-60 

Taos Pueblo, 383-384 

Taylor, Roy, 22, 35, 40, 75, 76, 

247, 248-249, 268 
Teapot Dome scandal, 6 
Thurber, Scott, 27, 53 
Train, Russell, 37, 367 
Trent, Darryl, 377-378 
Tupling, Lloyd, 63, 72-74 


B.A., University of California, Berkeley, with major 
in history, 1963 

M.A., University of California, Berkeley, history, 1965 

Post-graduate studies, University of California, Berkeley, 
1965-66, American history and education; Junior 
College teaching credential, State of California 

Chairman, Sierra Club History Committee, 1978-1986; oral 
history coordinator, 1974-present 

Interviewer/Editor, Regional Oral History Office, in the 
fields of conservation and natural resources, 
land use, university history, California political 
history, 1976 -present. 


Student, UCLA, and copy boy, Los Angeles Times. 1939-1941. 

U.S. Navy. Enlisted 1942, commissioned 1943, served on destroyer in 
Pacific, 1943-1946. 

B.A., UC Berkeley, with major in Journalism, 1948. 

Editor and manager, weekly newspapers in Oregon and California, and 
reporter, San Francisco Chronicle and Santa Rosa Press 
Democrat. 1948-1958. 

Legislative assistant to Congressman Clem Miller, D-Califomia (North 
Coast), U.S. House of Representatives , 1959-1962. 

Staff member of non-profit organizations concerned with conservation 
of land and other natural resources : American Conservation 
Association, 1963-1965, and The Conservation Foundation, 1968- 

Policy analyst and program developer and manager, U.S. Department 
of the Interior, 1966-1968 and 1978-1989. 

Free-lance writer, 1990- 

Author of articles in Sierra. Wilderness. Environmental Action. 
Sunset. American Land Forum. Author or co-author of several books 
including Space for Survival (Pocket Books), From Sea to Shining Sea 
(President's Council on Recreation and Natural Beauty), National 
Parks for the Future and Protecting the Golden Shore- -Lessons from 
the California Coastal Commission (Conservation Foundation).