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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Reference is made to letter dated February 11, from the chairman of the Committee on the Public Lands, House of Representatives, inclosing for report a copy of H. R. 17005, Seventy-first Congress, third session, entitled "A bill to provide for the establishment of the Isle Royale National Park, in the State of Michigan, and for other purposes."
Isle Royale is the largest island in Lake Superior, located just inside the international boundary about 25 miles north and west of Keweenaw Point in Michigan. It lies in Keweenaw County of that State. It is approximately 44 miles long, with an average width of 5 miles. Its area is estimated at approximately 205 square miles. Twelve square miles of this are composed of inland lakes, 24 in number, leaving 193 square miles, or approximately 123,520 acres net, of land area. To this may be added about 2,000 acres on the immediately surrounding smaller islands which should be included in the project. It is accessible by boat from about May 1 to November 15. For the remainder of the year it is icebound. During the open season boats from Duluth, Minn., Houghton, Mich., and Port Arthur, Ontario, provide transportation. A good many people now fly over the island. It has no telegraph or telephone connections with the mainland. The last census indicated only 23 registered voters, mostly trappers, fishermen, or miners, who live scattered throughout the area. It is used on a very small scale for summer-resort purposes, a small lodge being available at Rock Harbor on the eastern end.
The topography of the island is quite broken, and can perhaps be best described as a moss and forest covered mass of gigantic rocks, the result of a volcanic upheaval. It has the appearance of being almost entirely in its primeval state, for, due to the rugged formation, lumbermen have left its tree growth alone. The island is said to have burned over in the remote past, and evidences of such fires can be seen in places. However, in such instances nature has restored conditions well. There are many marvelous beauty spots in their primitive condition, thus offering perfect examples of nature's textbooks for the study of scientist and student. Especially is this the case on the smaller islands surrounding the main Isle Royale. The exquisite, rugged beauty of the cliffs of the shore lines, indented with countless small bays and mouths of trout streams that may be enjoyed by sailing along the narrow deep fiords or channels, constitutes a particularly fas cinating contribution to the scenic offerings of the park.
Due to the peculiar combinations of inland lakes and forested terrain, these factors may be held accountable for the preservation and increase of the wild life of the island. Without this sheltering cover of balsam, spruce, beech, birch, poplar, and pine, Isle Royale to-day doubtless would not be the home of moose, woodland caribou, beaver, deer, and other wild life. It is considered no exaggeration to estimate 2,000 moose and 400 woodland caribou on the island, the latter an animal not encountered elsewhere within the confines of the mainland of the United States. Moose may now be seen with little effort by any visitor. This in itself will present an unusually fine wild-life spectacle. Botanists report a wealth of flora, equaling in season the finest flower displays of the other national parks. The flora and fauna of the island, said to be entirely foreign to the neighboring shores of the lake and to be sub-Artic in character due to the perpetually cold waters by which Isle Royale is surrounded, have long been the object of scientific curiosity. The waters of the island and the surrounding lake abound with fish so that the sport of fishing would be one of the outstanding attractions of the park. The island group are considered the greatest breeding grounds for the herring gull in the Great Lakes. The proposed park thus offers large opportunities for study and enjoyment to the lover of bird, animal, and fish life under most favorable conditions.
Another most interesting feature of the island is the archæological remains. In two remote sections, one on the northern shore, and the other in the south Siskiwit Bay district, extensive mining operations of ancient days have been uncovered. How far back into our history these go has not yet been definitely determined. On the old Minong workings, near McCargoes Cove, great piles of stone hammers, crude large stone steps leading to the water's edge, and other stone implements have been uncovered. Whether these represent the operations of ancient white man or began with their Indian antecedents is unknown. However, there are remains of literally thousands of open-pit mines from which, in aboriginal times, the early inhabitants of these regions obtained practically all of the copper that was used in aboriginal America. From here and the adjacent
mainland where all of this copper was obtained, it found its way by the trade routes into other parts of North America, and all of the copper, so far as can be determined, which has been found in mounds in the south and elsewhere, was originally obtained from this immediate vicinity. Here, at and near the head of McCargoes Cove, therefore, may be said on good authority to be the real seat of this great ancient mining industry.
It is, therefore, evident that from a scenic, recreational, scientific, and educational standpoint, here is presented one of the outstanding opportunities for the establishment of a great island national park unique of its kind in the system, and measuring up to the high standards that have been prescribed for such establishment. Its type of scenery, utterly distinct from anything now found in our national park system, its primitiveness, its unusual wild life and interesting flora, its evidences of possible prehistoric occupation, all combine to make Isle Royale and its neighboring islands of national-park caliber.
It is this very unusualness which will also present unusual problems for development, if and when created as a national park. Complete protection, of course, is the prime object aimed at. The island appears peculiarly adapted for the building of a simple system of horse and hiking trails from one end of the island to the other, following ridges or partly at lower elevations near the shores with other trails, crossing over and connecting the longer parallel trails. From these pathways unending and everchanging scenes of marvelous beauty would be unfolded, without disturbing the wilderness character of the area, or the wild life. Such development of the inner section of the park would be paralleled by the boat routes through the channels surrounding the island.
The matter of establishing this national park was first seriously brought to the attention of the department in 1924 through the interest of Michigan conservation associations which were actively pushing the matter and exerting themselves toward securing the private holdings on the island in order that they could be offered to the Federal Government. The area was carefully inspected in 1925 by former Director Mather of the National Park Service, who gave it his unqualified approval. He was much impressed and very enthusiastic over the possibilities. It has been visited and reported on by other outstanding men of authority, notably this past summer by Harlan P. Kelsey, of Salem, Mass., a botanist and conservationist, as collaborator for the service, and Dr. Frank R. Oastler, of New York City, outstanding in conservation circles and a member of the advisory board on educational problems in national parks, both of whom were high in their praise of the area from a scenic and scientific standpoint. The area was also studied in 1930 by Senator Walcott, chairman of the Special Committee on the Conservation of Wild Life Resources of the United States Senate, and other members of that committee. In all discussions of the possible creation of this park, the department and the service, while being favorable to the project, have taken the stand that the only condition under which the project would be acceptable under established policies would be that all the area required should be conveyed to the Federal Government without cost, as was the policy approved by Congress for the establishment of the three proposed southern Appalachian parks.
It may be pertinent to observe at this point that, while all except 9,121 acres of the island, which are public land, are in private or State ownership, the head of one of the large copper companies owning considerable acreage on the island has indicated that some 21,000 acres of their holdings would be turned over to the park project without cost, in the event of the establishment of the park, and that this gift may be increased to 45,000 acres. The Conservation Commission of the State of Michigan stands ready to deed 2,240 acres of land under its jurisdiction toward the project. Altogether commitments have been made to turn over approximately 56,000 acres of the total required for the park, leaving the rest still to be acquired by local authorities.
Under the provisions of H. R. 17005, the actual establishment of this national park is based upon the condition that the land deemed necessary be turned over to the United States without cost of acquisition.
Several slight amendments are desirable in the form of the attached bill, namely:
(1) Strike out the words "such area of" at the end of line 3, page 1.
(2) After the syllable "gan" in the fifth line, first page, insert the words "and immediately surrounding islands." A glance at the map of the island shows that the main body of the island is surrounded by innumerable smaller islands, which are necessarily a part of this island group and should be included.
(3) Change the word "land" in line 3, page 2, to "lands" so as to make this word read uniformly in the plural in this sentence.
(4) Change the figures "26, 1916" immediately at the beginning of line 16, page 2, to "25, 1916," the actual date of the act of Congress referred to.
With these changes made, I heartily recommend that this bill be given favorable consideration and enacted into law.
HORACE M. ALBRIGHT, Director.
TO AMEND THE ACT PROVIDING FOR THE RETIREMENT OF DISABLED NURSES OF THE ARMY AND NAVY
FEBRUARY 25, 1931.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. MCSWAIN, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 17259]
The Committee on Military Affairs to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 17259) to amend the act approved June 20, 1930, entitled "An act to provide for the retirement of disabled nurses of the Army and the Navy," introduced by Mr. McSwain, having considered the same, report thereon with the recommendation that it do pass.
The bill H. R. 17259 is an exact copy of the draft of a bill referred to in the attached letter from the Secretary of War to the Speaker of the House dated February 19, 1931. Furthermore said bill is an exact copy of S. 6231, which the record shows passed the Senate on yesterday, February 24. The purpose of the bill is to put a proper statutory construction upon the act approved June 20, 1930 (Public, No. 401, 71st Cong.). At the time said legislation was enacted it was thought that the language of the bill would fix the retired pay of an Army nurse or of a Navy nurse at 75 per cent of the pay she was receiving at the time of retirement. However, the Comptroller General of the Treasury has limited the pay of nurses who retire in the higher grades to 75 per cent of the base pay of the grade of nurse, and thus the maximum for a retired nurse under the provisions of said law is $1,170 a year. However, the pay of nurses is graduated, commencing with $840 for the first 3-year period and advancing to $1,080 for the second 3-year period, and so on by way of advancement until superintendents of the Nurse Corps, after long and arduous. service, receive $2,500 a year, money allowance, while assistant superintendents receive $1,500 a year, and chief nurses receive $600 a year in addition to the base pay of nurses who have not the official responsibility of superintendents, assistant superintendents, and chiefs, which responsibility is based upon experience, high efficiency,
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and many years of service. It was the intention of Congress to make the actual pay received the basis for the computation of the retired pay. The construction by the Comptroller General defeats that intention in part. Therefore the bill is recommended favorably and prompt action is urged.
The letter of the Secretary of War requesting that this bill be introduced and enacted into law is as follows:
FEBRUARY 19, 1931.
The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
DEAR MR. SPEAKER: There is inclosed the draft of a bill to amend the existing law governing the retirement of disabled nurses of the Army and Navy which the War Department presents for the consideration of the Congress with a view to its enactment.
The pertinent provisions of existing law on this subject are the act of June 20, 1930, and portions of section 13 of the pay readjustment act of June 10, 1922, which are quoted below:
(a) Act of June 20, 1930 (Public No. 401, 71st Cong.):
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That pursuant to regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy, as the case may be, when a member of the Army Nurse Corps or of the Navy Nurse Corps shall be found by a board of medical officers to have become disabled in line of duty from performing the duties of a nurse, and such findings are approved by the head of the department concerned, she shall be retired from active service and placed upon the Nurse Corps retired list of the appropriate department in the grade to which she belonged at the time of her retirement and with retired pay at the rate of 75 per centum of the active service pay received by her at the time of her transfer to the retired list."
(b) Section 13, pay readjustment, act of June 10, 1922:
"That, commencing July 1, 1922, the annual pay of female nurses of the Army and Navy, shall be as follows: During the first three years of service, $840; from the beginning of the fourth year of service until the completion of the sixth year of service, $1,080; from the beginning of the seventh year of service until the completion of the ninth year of service, $1,380; from the beginning of the tenth year of service, $1,560. Superintendents of the Nurse Corps shall receive a money allowance at the rate of $2,500 a year; assistant superintendents, directors, and assistant directors at the rate of $1,500 a year, and chief nurses at the rate of $600 a year, in addition to their pay as nurses
It will be noted that the pay readjustment act fixes a rate of base pay for nurses on the active list which increases with length of service from $840 to $1,560 per year and further provides that superintendents, assistant superintendents, directors, assistant directors, and chief nurses shall receive "money allowances" at stated annual rates "in addition to their pay as nurses."
The Comptroller General has held that nurses who may be retired for disability under the provisions of the act of June 20, 1930, in the grades from chief nurse to superintendent, are not entitled to include the money allowances of those grades in the computation of their retired pay. This limits the pay of nurses retired in the higher grades to 75 per cent of the base pay of the grade of nurse and allows them a maximum of $1,170 (75 per cent of $1,560 per annum).
It was apparently the clear intent of Congress that nurses who had attained the higher grades and become disabled in line of duty should be retired in those grades and should receive 75 per cent of the pay, including money allowances, that they were receiving on the active list at the time of retirement. This is substantiated by the reports upon this legislation (H. R. 10375, 71st Cong.) from the Committees on Military Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives. Both these reports contain tabulations showing the pay of nurses retired in the higher grades computed at 75 per cent of their base pay plus money allowances. Furthermore, the legislation was amended in the Senate by the insertion of language suggested by the War Department to make this result more certain, and the debate in the House of Representatives when this amendment was under consideration indicates that the bill was passed with the understanding that the money allowances of the higher grades would be included in the computation of retired pay. (Congressional Record, June 12, 1930, p. 11031.)
The effect of the amendment now proposed would be to carry out the original intent of the legislation.