A: Everybody who feels that they have the right answer for this place--that actually makes me feel better because we have the luxury of having customers who are committed to what we do and who care very much. At least we know that people share our values, and it gives us a common point from which we can all begin. I'm not sure we can satisfy them all. It's not a bad thing to have public controversy. It means the public cares and wants to have a say, and I think that's a good thing. The idea is that you have this spectacular place that can inspire so many. There are people who came here for a summer and stayed their whole lives. There are people here who have learned an ethic, whether it's the environment or wilderness, and they've taken it with them. They've applied it elsewhere.
If that meant having a campground here, or a lodge or even an Awhahnee Hotel [which opened in 1927], and that's the hook to get somebody in here and let them park on some pavement so that they get the value of this natural splendor, and they take it back to their home in an enlightened way, then it doesn't matter whether we've paved over a couple of extra parking places in this valley. What we've done is made an investment in terms of values to instill in people that those people can take with them.
If people come here and leave the better for it, then that's our challenge. But if they come here and have a bad experience, a congested experience, and they only think it was a bad recreation experience, then we've failed those people.
Q: Do you have a favorite part of the park?
A: I haven't gotten to see enough of it to know what's a favorite yet. There are so many special places in this park that I think one key thing we need to do is make people understand that, as special as the valley is, there are other special places, too. I walked up the day after the secretary was here--on my way to catch a plane back to Glacier, I had a couple of extra hours. I stopped at the south entrance, at Wawona, and went through the grove of big trees. That is a special place for all the folks who rush by the south entrance to get to the valley. They're going by some pretty spectacular things.