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Chuck Herbert Interview

Interviewer:
Interview with Chuck Herbert, the former commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources on state lands selections between statehood and 1976. The interview is taking place on August 11th in Mr. Herbert's office.

Now what I've tried to do with this map-- I have a little trouble sometimes getting it straight on the overlay. I've outlined in black state land selections pretty much as they exist now after the D2 bill and such. And then I've tried to write them down chronologically according to when the selections were made.

Now you were formerly Phil Holsworth's deputy commissioner?

Chuck Herbert:
At one time, yeah.

Interviewer:
And when did you start in that position? That was your first position with the Department--

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, '63.

Interviewer:
'63. Until he left office?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah. Well, not until Philip Holsworth's left. No, until Egan left.

Interviewer:
So that would have been--

Chuck Herbert:
Phil Holsworth stayed on--

Interviewer:
Yeah that's right.

Chuck Herbert:
--for some time.

Interviewer:
That would have until late '66 I think.

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, I guess so.

Ok your Deputy Commissioner

Interviewer:
And then starting--

Chuck Herbert:
Fall-- December 1970 through December 1974.

Interviewer:
'74 Your Commissioner. Now the earliest selections, actually, before you started with Department of Natural Resources would be outlined in yellow. And those are selections between statehood and 1961. And the next period is the orange areas, which were selected after that and are mostly just additions onto the selections along the highway and the Matsu Valley and the Kenai Peninsula.

And then the next group of selections are the ones that are outlined in red. They take us up to roughly the end of 1968. The selections that were made in December of '68 and January '69 were the large group of selections at Prudhoe Bay-- the second Prudhoe Bay selection, and also Copper River Valley and on the Alaska Peninsula are outlined--

Chuck Herbert:
Tom Kelly made those.

Interviewer:
And then the large selections that I guess you were responsible for that were retained from the 77 million acres that were selected are outline mostly in blue. And then some of the later selections are outlined in a dotted red and dotted blue and green. When you first started-- before you, there was no deputy commissioner. Were you the first one in the position? And what was your-- could you give me a little idea of what your background was before you started with the Department of Natural Resources?

Chuck Herbert:
Primarily mining. Mine operator and consultant.

Interviewer:
Any particular type of mining?

Chuck Herbert:
Coal mining.

Interviewer:
When you started with the Department of Natural Resources in '63, I guess there was already a pretty well established selection process, and they were mainly just adding on to the areas that had already been selected along the most populated areas. Do you recall any particular discussions on selection policy in your earliest days there?

Chuck Herbert:
Phil Holdsworth and Roscoe Bell-- Roscoe Bell probably had more to do with it than Phil. They have a rather small selection-- division-- I think they have one man maybe an assistant, A lands selection officer.

Interviewer:
Yeah, I think it might have been John Freeburg who was the selection officer.

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah. What ever happened to him?

Interviewer:
He lives in California, although I haven't been able to track down his address as of yet. I'm hoping to speak to Roscoe Bell on the phone maybe next week. He's down in Oregon. But I'm not sure exactly where--

Chuck Herbert:
Well, like see the primary, their primary thought was to get the land that would yield some revenue to the state, and not to burden the state with land that only had a revenue making possibility way in the future. There were two reasons for that. It cost the state money to own land obviously, because of the loss matching funds for highway work, and for fire protection-- the cost.

Interviewer:
$0.2 an acre through the BLM, or something like that. I know the state was real broken in those days.

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah. So they went ahead slowly, and they only took land that was fairly-- they didn't take great big blocks. And there was always a continuing argument then with the Bureau of Land Management who would prefer that the states selection would be made in large continuous blocks.

Interviewer:
Yeah, well, part of that I guess was about the surveying responsibilities--

Chuck Herbert:
Well, that's it. Yeah. And of course, at that time, they were very strict on their survey requirements.

Interviewer:
Do you recall when you first started there in '63, was that early in '63?

Chuck Herbert:
It was about mid-63 I think, or early summer, or something like that.

Interviewer:
What was the BLM practice at that time as far as survey? Well, how were they surveying state selections.

Chuck Herbert:
Well, I don't recall the exact details. The monumentation requirements were fairly strict-- the distance between official monuments and so forth. They didn't make internal surveys. No. That's why they wanted the large block, because everybody selected small blocks. The exterior boundary had to be monumented. And if we took the block 10 times that size, it was still only in the same number of monuments.

Interviewer:
Now, about the-- if you started early in the summer of '63-- I think it was late in the summer of '63 that there was a conference between Phil Holsworth and some BLM people in a railroad car on the Alaska Railroad.

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, I didn't attend that.

Interviewer:
Do you have any recollections of any--

Chuck Herbert:
I only vaguely know at this point.

Interviewer:
Yeah, I thought that was interesting that they held it in the Caribou Creek railroad car. The first-- there were a few small selections among those early selections that were away from the populated areas. I mean, even before you were there, the selection out of [INAUDIBLE]. And there was selections on Cape Yakutat, which also I think might have been before you started. But the state filed in January of '64 on the first Prudhoe Bay selection.

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, I was there then.

Interviewer:
Do you remember anything about the circumstances that surrounded that?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, very much so. At that time, you see, the federal government had leased for oil and gas leasing much of this land down in here.

Interviewer:
So that's well south of the Prudhoe Bay area.

Chuck Herbert:
But there was pressure to lease up there. And while this ran into the problem of what are the navigable waters and what are not and where is the shoreline? And we realized that it had oil and gas potential. We were advised that it had pretty good gas potential by the USGS, informally, incidentally.

Interviewer:
The USGS informed you? Yeah.

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, not officially. The BLM was very happy to see our interest in it. It actually helped us push the thing through. You remember we had to get the Department of Defense to OK a selection north of the PYK Line. And they assisted greatly in getting that. The reason being that the arguments over whether we have state land or federal land, or whether a lease would be issued would be-- the state would come in and claim part of it or not was of paramount consideration in that selection.

Interviewer:
So the USGS told you that they thought there was oil there. Did the oil companies want you to select the land so they wouldn't have--

Chuck Herbert:
To the best of my knowledge-- well, no, I mean, yes. But they were already having problems with some of the leases that they had.

Interviewer:
The ones that already existed farther south?

Chuck Herbert:
Down in the Kenai, there wasn't a big problem, for instance. I don't recall them actually coming in and saying, please select that block of land. But they were very happy with where arguments could exist that it would been under one ownership.

Interviewer:
I see.

Chuck Herbert:
Because we had-- we really did have a serious problem down the Kenai, where the Kenai River was the navigable stream, and some of those gas leases across the Kenai river. And they were federal leases. And they then would say, between this part of your lease is ours, you see?

Interviewer:
And the state could have demanded--

Chuck Herbert:
Royalties. A different type of lease.

Interviewer:
I see. So the title was complicated on the Kenai, but were there ever actually any instances where the state came in after the lease existed and demanded royalties? The state was already going 90%, I guess.

Chuck Herbert:
Well, yeah, they're already getting 90%, so it doesn't matter too much. But that doesn't mean anything. It means somebody can come to court and challenge you if you don't do what you're supposed to do by the book.

Interviewer:
Yeah.

Chuck Herbert:
So in all of those cases, it was worked out where leases were issued. And I think they had to make some slight change in the law to cover that. I forget [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
To cover the leases that haven't got to Prudhoe?

Chuck Herbert:
No, not Prudhoe.

Interviewer:
Or it's still down in Kenai? Was the state selecting that there was oil development on the Kenai Peninsula dating from before statehood that the state had the right at that time to make selections that were on lands that were already under federal mineral leases? Was the state selecting any of those oils?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, but the amount of land that the state could select down there was very limited. None of the oil lands, up lands were selected by the state, because they were in Moose range. But in the Kenai gas field, there was some persuasion.

Interviewer:
So the Kenai gas field selections were made-- they were already under development, they were already under federal leases?

Chuck Herbert:
I think they were made before I was there. And then, of course, the state did select lands that had existing federal leases. The federal lease still held the terms of the lease.

Interviewer:
But the state just became a landlord? On the Prudhoe Bay selection, the first one, the first north slope selection, several people have told me, and I came across the memos just last week in an old file suggesting that the selection was almost filed before you were deputy commissioner. Treasury warrants were made after the application fee. All the applications were ready. Roscoe Bell wrote a cover letter. The whole thing was ready to go into the BLM sometime, I believe, in the spring of 1962.

Chuck Herbert:
Was that so? I don't recall it.

Interviewer:
There's a notation that Phil Holsworth had them hold it up. I don't know why. And the selections weren't actually filed until January of '64. Do you know anything about that?

Chuck Herbert:
No. Matter of fact, I didn't know that there had been such a move. Now, I wouldn't-- Roscoe very well have done that and Phil just wouldn't act on it.

Interviewer:
So you didn't know any of those circumstances? I didn't come across this notation until after I interviewed Phil about it. I'm thinking about giving him a call to ask him if he recalls anything about that.

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, I don't remember that at all.

Interviewer:
But do you remember any particular event about why the selections-- I mean, so obviously the selections sat for a year and a half in a drawer and collected dust. Why were they filed in January of '64? Did the BLM come to you or the USGS or-- at that particular time?

Chuck Herbert:
No, I don't remember, just I think Phil and I talked about it quite a bit. And we just went ahead with it. I think that the problem and the impetus came from the fact that there was a lot of pressure for the federal government to lease land up there.

Interviewer:
Yeah.

Chuck Herbert:
You see, they, Stewart Udall had really in spite of all of this talk about holding land, he was the latest offer of federal leases that we've ever seen.

Interviewer:
I didn't know that.

Chuck Herbert:
And he had leased, I think it was four or five blocks. And the Prudhoe Bay area was the 5th block that he was going to lease.

Interviewer:
He had leased 4 or 5 blocks within Alaska?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, most of them starting down in the-- let me see if I can get--

Interviewer:
That was for oil development?

Chuck Herbert:
Well, of course, the first ones were around Umiat in here on the foothills. Those--

Interviewer:
The foothill of the north slope of the Brooks Range?

[INAUDIBLE]

So all those blocks that you're talking about were being leased in that area, in the low slope area? And so he was preparing to make an additional lease right on the coast here at the Prudhoe Bay?

Chuck Herbert:
All that was non-competitive leasing-- all of it from the federal government.

Interviewer:
Well, if the state selected the land and then made the leases themselves, that would not only clear up the problems over navigable waters, but wouldn't that also give the state additional revenues?

Chuck Herbert:
Oh, certainly.

Interviewer:
Because the state did competitive leasing. So that would be the major source of additional revenues.

Chuck Herbert:
We had to get the law changed so that we could classify that as competitive. Because under the existing law, when the selection was first considered, we would have had to offer those non-competitive.

Interviewer:
OK. The next large selection that I'm aware of that was made outside of the populated areas was up here at Icy Cape. Do you remember anything about that-- north of Cape Lisbon?

Chuck Herbert:
That was selected primarily for oil and gas and coal. I was definitely there.

Interviewer:
Now there was a policy, which I find interesting seeing how both you and Phil Holsworth were hard rock miner types that the state was not selecting hard rock mineral lands at that time. I guess the miners preferred to develop under a federal lease, because they could get patent that way. Is that correct?

Chuck Herbert:
Well, that was it, but it was also true that there was no income to the state from hard rock mining. And the federal laws were good. And generally speaking, it's best for the country to have one law regarding a particular type of land acquisition, as long as the federal government is acting the way they were at the time. But there wasn't any real point in selecting hard rock mining. And we didn't know enough anyway.

Interviewer:
When did that policy change?

Chuck Herbert:
It began to change under Nixon.

Interviewer:
So it was changes--

Chuck Herbert:
I mean, there were more and more restrictions, although the old mining law is still in effect on federal land.

Interviewer:
But when did the state change its policy of beginning to select some of those mineral lands?

Chuck Herbert:
Probably not until 1972.

Interviewer:
Until that 77 million acres selection? Do you recall-- now let's see, so you left at the end of Egan administration even though Phil Holsworth stayed on? So you weren't-- you weren't with the department, when the late '68, early '69 selections were made at the end of the period-- the federal mineral leases? That right?

And after that about 7 and 1/2 million acres that were selected in December '68, January '69, there was very little selection activity. I guess the Udall phrase had started in December of '68. And at the beginning of your tenure in December of '70, there still was very little selection activity going on. Was there any work going on in preparation for future selections or anything like that when you started as commissioner?

Chuck Herbert:
No.

Interviewer:
So there was--

Chuck Herbert:
Not much. There were still just about the same size selection division there as there was when I had been there as deputy.

Interviewer:
So was their expectation that selections was going to begin again sometime soon? I mean, by that time, the freeze had been on for two full years.

Chuck Herbert:
No. Of course, we kept-- I mean, there was an activity, but it was a low key-- a general mass of information, but not any great effort to evaluate the land.

Interviewer:
Did the people in the department get the sense that-- I mean, after two years of a freeze, I would think that people would start to wonder about what the future of the state's entitlements was going to be.

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah.

Interviewer:
Were people beginning to say that we would never get our entitlement-- that kind of thing?

Chuck Herbert:
Well, of course, it was all hinged on the settlement of the Alaska Native Claims plain. And logically, one of the first thing that Bill Egan wanted to do was to settle that. As you know, under Miller, there had been a complete hang up in the Congress, because some of the natives insisted that the state had preempted their selection rights by filing selections on land, coastal villages, and so on and so on-- Cook Inlet of course being an outstanding case, in that regard.

So the impasse was broken by Bill Egan. Whether he had the right to do it or not, he was never actually challenged in court, but there were certainly legal opinions that he was breaking the law or stretching it too thin when he stated that the lands that had been selected, but not tentatively approved to the state were selectable by the natives. And I was living in Washington when he made that statement before the Congress, and that is the thing that broke it.

Interviewer:
I didn't know that. So that was--

Chuck Herbert:
He was roundly criticized for it, because Governor Miller , prior to him, had insisted loudly that, that would never be done. And it was an iffy thing, because the state has always maintained that under the Alaskan Statehood Act, when the state filed a selection application, it effectively withdrew that land from any other use, including management by the BLM. And the argument-- it still goes on today.

Interviewer:
Do you remember when Governor Egan made that statement in Washington? How long was that before ANCSA was passed? ANCSA was passed in December of '71.

Chuck Herbert:
Well, it was in '71, of course. I don't remember.

Interviewer:
It's hard to remember dates--

Chuck Herbert:
Well, I would have remembered, because I got in a big fight in Washington. Jumped by a mugger about that time.

Interviewer:
Oh my goodness.

Chuck Herbert:
You want the exact date?

Interviewer:
Well, just a kind of idea. Governor Egan's statement that the natives could select lands that had been selected by the state--

Chuck Herbert:
He put a limit on it.

Interviewer:
A limitation other than that lands that had been--

DA'ed.

Chuck Herbert:
I forgot just what it was now. But whatever it is, it's embodied in the law.

Interviewer:
And it was that statement that allowed Congress to draft ANCSA in a way that satisfied people, that cleared up the logjam?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah.

Interviewer:
I'd never heard that before.

Chuck Herbert:
All right, I think it was on May the 4th, 1971. I don't have the exact-- I don't have that statement down, except for his testimony. He testified-- he was on the stand all day.

Interviewer:
In front of the-- Senate?

Chuck Herbert:
House interior.

Interviewer:
That's just before I came to the state, and I wasn't very familiar with the history of ANCSA before that.

Chuck Herbert:
I don't know whether Bill can confirm that date or not.

Interviewer:
He had been hoping to get together with him for a brief interview, but I guess he's real busy for the next few weeks. OK, then ANCSA passed in December of '71. And then in January of '72, the state decided to select the rest of its entitlements all in one block.

Chuck Herbert:
Well, there was an awful lot went on. It became apparent that Morton, under ANCSA, was withdrawing an awful, awful, awful lot of land, and planned big withdrawals for the parks and wildlife collection. The state had, in the meantime, worked like hell to try to also relieve Land Use Planning Commissions. And both the state and the Land Use Planning Commissions made very, very similar recommendations to the secretary as to what should be withdrawn.

And as always happens, fortunately, there are always in the Department of the Interior a few loyal spies that tell us what's going on. We were advised quietly that the selections that he actually planned-- the withdrawals he planned to make we're going to be most inimical to the state's interests. Consequently, stuff that should have been done over a period of years was done in a process of about 10 to 12 days as quiet as possible.

There wasn't anything to stop Morton from making his withdrawals in a day. So we tried to keep it as quiet as possible. There was no public participation, because we didn't dare. We'd love to have it, because we didn't think that we were all gods and knew everything about it. I called the Department of Fish and Game or the Division of Park, Division of Plans, Division of Geology.

Interviewer:
Let's see, that's Fish and Game, Division of Lands, Geology.

Chuck Herbert:
The Division of Parks.

Interviewer:
Division of Parks.

Chuck Herbert:
And we also had [INAUDIBLE] and Gas Division at that time. They were in it.

Interviewer:
Now the actual selections were filed, I believe, on January 22, '72. So was it already the new year when you called up these people and said, OK, we want recommendations [INAUDIBLE]?

Chuck Herbert:
Well, as a matter of fact, when I first heard about this, I felt so damn bad about it, I went over to Honolulu for a week or two holidays. And I was pretty well convinced that, at that time, the federal government could preempt our selection rights.

Interviewer:
So your first impression--

Chuck Herbert:
My impression was that we were whipped. This was say, late 1971. And--

Interviewer:
It must have been very frustrating, especially after Governor Egan had made that offer to clear up the--

Chuck Herbert:
Very much so. What the hell was his name? The lawyer there that--

Interviewer:
Jackman?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, yeah. He's the one that, when I got back to town, he phoned me that night and said, look, I've researched this thing. I think we can go ahead and make our selections. So that was when I got on the phone really and we met here in Anchorage.

Interviewer:
Now what was Jackman doing at that time?

Chuck Herbert:
He was an assistant DA.

Interviewer:
So it wasn't until sometime after New Year's, sometime like the first week in January or something that you started calling these people up?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, and I asked them first of all to work like hell and figure out what they needed in land. And we would have a meeting run right through until we've completed the state selections. Governor Egan was actually a little bit upset about it. We didn't tell him about it until after it was done.

Interviewer:
So you made the decision to make the rest of the selections?

Chuck Herbert:
Well, I informed him that we were making a large selection. But he didn't quite gulp down the entire selections. I said, oh no, we left a few million acres around. Because of course, he knew that we didn't have all the information we needed.

Interviewer:
So how did that go about? You informed these people that you were going to meet at the end of the week or something like that and make the selections? And they had a week to work on--

Chuck Herbert:
Well, something like that. I don't remember just how much time I gave them. I think it was maybe a week or 10 days-- it was possibly at any rate. But leading up to the actual date of the selection, why, we work continuously here in Anchorage in the divisional lands office where we had a big table and all the maps thrown out.

[INAUDIBLE]

Everybody marking like mad. And we had one-- we had two girls, I guess, counting in to see that we didn't go over and we'd have to trim here or there to balance out.

Interviewer:
Why don't we-- the reason that I brought this other map along is because this map that we've been looking at doesn't have the entire 77 million acres, because a lot of that was relinquished. So why don't we look at the one underneath it, which does show all 77 million acres, I believe.

Now, do you remember in particular who was interested in which blocks? I mean, for instance--

Chuck Herbert:
Now, at this particular time, for the scanty knowledge that we had, we were selecting lands that we figured had hard rock or medal possibility as well as oil and gas. And that was a protective measure. The direct reversal would have been the policy in the past. That was simply a protective move.

Interviewer:
I'm not sure what you mean by a protective move.

Chuck Herbert:
Protecting them from Morton's closing until--

Interviewer:
I see. So that the mineral could continue.

Chuck Herbert:
You know his wife is a very prominent member of the Sierra Club. She was, after all, a lot smarter than probably Morton was. She wasn't a bad person, except we disagreed. She took me out to lunch and tried to talk me out of this stuff.

Interviewer:
Do you recall-- now you probably, as a miner yourself, carried a certain amount of information in your head about which lands had--

Chuck Herbert:
Well--

Interviewer:
--hard rock mineral potentials.

Chuck Herbert:
This is a big state. We sure as hell didn't prevent it. And for many years, the state Division of Mines and Minerals actually didn't make any studies. They thought they were doing their job, but they sat in their office, and somebody walked in and wanted to know how the pan or something like that.

Interviewer:
Now on this map, do you, for instance, the large selections that were made right through the center of the Seward peninsula out here. Do you remember who in particular expressed an interest in those lands being selected? I mean, was it somebody from Fish and Game, or somebody-- a minerals person or--

Chuck Herbert:
Of course, we had the USGS studies that had been made on all these kind of things. There's mineralizations for that plan. And well, the other big consideration was that we did not want to tramp on native selections. So we had--

Interviewer:
I gather that there were people who disagreed with you on that policy? That was your choice to make that policy?

Chuck Herbert:
Yes, definitely mine. I had made a promise to the natives that that would be true, and we kept it. So what we-- we had the ANCSA bill, which of course outlined all the lands that are available for selection by villages. So we immediately black all of those lands out. They were not available to us. Then we had to guess a great deal as to what, actually, what would be the other selections from the regions. We had the best advice we could get. And of course, we deleted those lands that we thought would be-- of course we made mistakes. But a part of our selection was that we would yield to a native selection.

Interviewer:
I see.

Chuck Herbert:
Well, for instance, here-- this area was selected primarily for gas potential.

Interviewer:
Out in the Kandik Basin area?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah. And then the natives wanted it. And so that was, for some time, was listed as a dual selection. I think it is on that map, isn't it?

Interviewer:
Let's see. No.

Chuck Herbert:
No, it doesn't. There's no such thing as dual selection. There was a map that used to show the Kandik as a dual selection.

Interviewer:
So that would have been Doyon that was interested in that area? Do you recall that there was any other interest besides by the oil and gas people in this area our here-- the Kandik Basin selection?

Chuck Herbert:
The oil and gas people didn't approach us at all on that. That was-- I had an excellent deputy commissioner. Well, actually, at that time was state geologist. Bill [? Fackler ?] And he had a good knowledge of oil and gas potential throughout the state. He recommended that.

Interviewer:
Is he still in the state?

Chuck Herbert:
No. Well, he is right now. He's in Juneau. But he'd be on his way back to San Juan Islands pretty quick. He comes up and spends every summer here.

Interviewer:
Do you know how-- I'm going to be leaving for Juneau this evening. Do you know how much longer he's going to be down there, or how to get in touch with him down there?

Chuck Herbert:
Well, I think he's-- he has a phone on his boat. He lives on-- he's going--

Interviewer:
He's down in the boat harbor?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, he's down in the boat harbor. It's a big 55 foot boat he has there.

Interviewer:
So this should be a marine telephone listed under his name?

Chuck Herbert:
No.

Interviewer:
Just regular telephone?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, I think he keeps it. Or you can call the harbormaster. He'll tell you what berth he has.

Interviewer:
Do you remember any other particular parcels of land that were recommended by specific people in the way that Bill [? Fackler ?] recommended the--

Chuck Herbert:
Well, as I said, this was a private affair. We didn't dare call for recommendations from outside of our own stake.

Interviewer:
At the actual conference in the MacKay building annex, where you actually divvied up the lands, and I guess Nick Islay was the cartographer there who was marking up the map at the time, were there people present from other departments other than--

Chuck Herbert:
Fish and Game.

Interviewer:
Just Fish and Game and the Department of Natural Resources? And were any of the selections exclusively an interest expressed by fish and game?

Chuck Herbert:
Yes. Oh, yes. There were some of them. They were looking for the protection of certain, what they call, first class hunting areas.

Interviewer:
And--

Chuck Herbert:
Excuse me.

Interviewer:
Sure. So now you said that the Fish and Game Department was interested in areas that they considered to be first class hunting areas. That was so that there wouldn't be a more restrictive federal--

Chuck Herbert:
They didn't want it closed into parks.

Interviewer:
Yeah. Do you recall which areas they expressed interest as being first class hunting areas.

Chuck Herbert:
Let me see. I think they were largely down on the--

Interviewer:
On the south side of the Alaska Peninsula there?

Chuck Herbert:
There were others too. They were relatively small. Let me see. Didn't they include the Wrangell's with-- well, yeah. Much of this area. And it was questionable whether we could select that anyway, because it had already been withdrawn some years for classification. And Dave Gecklin had originally said that he had found some way or other that we could select, and then he later changed his mind.

Interviewer:
So they had been talking even before that about making that area into the park that it is now?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah. Well, withdraw for classification wasn't necessarily making it a park. It was a study area. Generally, our relations with the local BLM directors and his staff were good. But beginning in about 1972 or 3, the Washington office, they were expanding and taking authority away from state directors, so that even minor items had to be approved from Washington. It made us very mad, because we were used to talking to a man who could make decisions, and then suddenly they find out that all he is is forwarding requests to Washington. And it would take a long time. And sometimes, the answers would be ludicrous.

Interviewer:
Yeah. You wonder how they figure they can make decisions like that from 3,000 or 4,000 miles away.

Chuck Herbert:
And incidentally, Guy Morton, I understand, was one of the worst when he was back there.

Interviewer:
Is that true? I'll have to ask him about that when I'm in--

Chuck Herbert:
Well, he had the staff of 50 people. And Watt has directed his successor to cut it to 15.

Interviewer:
So Fish & Game expressed interest in those areas. Do you remember any other particular areas that were-- one person in particular or one division of the department or something like that had expressed an interest in?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, Parks had their places. I remember correctly, this little selection here that's called--

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

Interviewer:
Below the Arctic Wildlife Range.

Chuck Herbert:
That was a Park nomination. And down along the coast here, near Yakutat, that selection in here. Those are the two that come to mind. There were others, partials. Generally, what we try to do would be, make a selection where everyone there had some interest in it. Between Fish & Game and Parks, minerals, oil and gas.

Interviewer:
You said that the selection down near Yakutat was expressed by?

Chuck Herbert:
Parks.

Interviewer:
By Parks. OK, so most of the interest-- was the problem that the people there had trouble-- a decision had already been made to select 77 million acres and finish the state's entitlement. Was the problem that people had trouble coming up with that much land to select, or that they had a pare down?

Chuck Herbert:
We had to pare down now that we didn't overrun.

Interviewer:
Were there any areas that you had particular knowledge of or that anybody would suggest and said, hey, there's a great lead deposit here or platinum or something like that, or I know that this area is just chock full of mineral deposits that should have good mining potential? Do you have any particular recollections of areas like that that were selected with that kind of reasoning?

Chuck Herbert:
Well, there were quite a few all right that we felt, at that particular time, there were some maps available or people had used their imagination to show mineral trends and so forth. We had all those maps. And we followed them pretty well. Not entirely. We missed a few things.

Interviewer:
Like what areas did you miss?

Chuck Herbert:
There was criticism of boundaries up there in the Brooks Range. We didn't go far enough west and far enough to the Northwest.

Interviewer:
That's on the south flank of the Brooks Range there. I should have-- yeah. Actually, there were some later selections, I think, in this area over here.

Chuck Herbert:
They were. Later, they picked up some. In the northern part of the Wrangells [INAUDIBLE]. I wouldn't say that anybody of us were too proud of our selections, but it was about the best we could do in that period of time.

Interviewer:
Were there areas that you can recall now that you did select that you later decided you wished you hadn't or that were criticized a lot?

Chuck Herbert:
Well, no. Not too seriously. I suppose this large selection in here was open to criticisms.

Interviewer:
So that's south of the Kuskokwim River there and North of the [INAUDIBLE] selection. Why was that criticized?

Chuck Herbert:
Well, what my unit had-- we didn't know much about it.

Interviewer:
Well, who is most interested in having it selected [INAUDIBLE]?

Chuck Herbert:
I was the mineral [INAUDIBLE] selection. We'll get all that stuff together. We looked in the budget, and we didn't have enough money to pay the filing fees.

Interviewer:
What is the filing fee on 77 million acres?

Chuck Herbert:
Oh, I'd forgotten. It was a fairly heavy.

Interviewer:
Like $100,000?

Chuck Herbert:
No, no. Well, no, it was under $100,000, but it was up in the 10's of thousands. Maybe 50 or 60. Perhaps Joe Keenan remembers. He ought to, because he's the one that came waltzing in at the last minute and says, I ain't got the money. So we looked around and fortunately one of the perhaps extra legal things that Roscoe Bell had done-- he had managed in the land disposal program to segregate application fees from the general fund. And he kept an account. With one time, its over a quarter of a million, I believe.

And the legislature had demanded that that be put into the general fund which was proper, of course. But fortunately, there was some money left in that account. We used that for the filing fees.

Interviewer:
And that was a fund that Roscoe Bell had said to segregate it specifically for selections or?

Chuck Herbert:
No. The reason he had done it was that when he had land sales, because he was operating with a skeleton crew perhaps, he had to put on extra people-- temporary help for maybe a few days at a time. And since there's been no appropriations for that and no positions established, he could use this money to generate more of the same kind of money for a land sale. Which I mean, is a good sensible thing to do. But under the Constitution, a little doubtful.

Interviewer:
So these were revenues from land sales.

Chuck Herbert:
I think they were only filing fees. My gosh, I think they were only filing fees for oil and gas lease applications. But if you talk to Roscoe, you can ask him, because that was his baby at the time. He had started that in the early days and stayed with it.

Interviewer:
And this was already probably something like five years after Roscoe Bell had resigned, and the account was still there?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah.

Interviewer:
He did a couple of forward looking things while he was there.

Chuck Herbert:
And there was enough money in there to charter an airplane. So we had to file both in Anchorage and in Fairbanks with the BLM. To charter an airplane to slip up to Fairbanks, 'cause both filings were made late in the afternoon after the wires to Washington would be down so that Morton couldn't be there.

Interviewer:
Well, you people thought of everything.

Chuck Herbert:
We thought we had everything just as quiet as all could be, but the man that went into Fairbanks with the papers is the man that the BLM counter says, yeah, we've been expecting you.

Interviewer:
Now, I was wondering what you remember-- I guess it was after that that Morton started withdrawing large amounts of land and disregarding the state's selections, and when the first court case was filed in the US district court. Do you have any big particular recollection of that process, how the state decided to file?

Chuck Herbert:
Much so. Let me think. A lot of these memories [INAUDIBLE] always have. Who in the hell was the assistant secretary for lands at the time? Oh Pretty good old egg. He was later the minority counsel for the Senate.

Interviewer:
That would have been still during the Nixon administration.

Chuck Herbert:
He was fired by Nixon.

Interviewer:
I don't know who that would have been. I can probably look it up though.

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah.

Interviewer:
The assistant secretary for lands.

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah. Come in here. It was in '71 when ... it was in July.

Interviewer:
When you talked about the BLM person who was expecting you to come in-- that was in the Fairbanks BLM office?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah. Let's see, what was the date for that agreement?

Interviewer:
Now the agreement wasn't signed until September of '72. I guess the negotiations for it took place during that summer.

Chuck Herbert:
Any rate, he came up to Anchorage-- I mean, to Juneau.

Who knows what I did with all thous damn diaries, they were in the way.

Interviewer:
So this assistant secretary for lands he came to Juneau to carry on the negotiations?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, he came up to-- and I asked him to go fishing. We went out fishing for a couple of days. And during the fishing trip, we discussed our land problem and we thought, the state file suit. And Morton didn't like that suit at all. So he suggested then that we can work out a compromise. Because I knew that our lands selection had been made properly. In the long run and the way they were operating at that time, the lands that were classified as D-1 under the classifications they had at that time we're all right. I mean, they were still available for use under somewhat more strict rules than had been in effect before, but not bad. I mean, we could live with that. It wasn't a matter of our state just wanting to gobble up a bunch of land. We just didn't like the whole country closed off to any possibility of expansion.

So with that in view, we had a very nice visit. And I went back to Washington. Dave Jackman came back with a couple of things. We worked out what we thought was a compromise. And it was a difficult, very, very difficult thing, because when we got back there, our man-- can't think of his name anyway.

Interviewer:
This assistant secretary of lands?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah. We ran into Reed, the assistant secretary for Parks and Wildlife, who was certainly the strongest member of the Department of Interior, or so the cabinet, if you could call it that, a [INAUDIBLE]. And we had one hell of a battle with that guy. But we relied a great deal on his verbal promises as to what management systems he would install if we released our planes to certain lands.

Interviewer:
The verbal promises by the assistant secretary of lands or--

Chuck Herbert:
No, by the assistant secretary for Parks and Wildlife, 'cause he was-- there's no question about it, Morton did what he was told to do by Reed. There was one time that Morton called me in privately, 'cause Reed and I had just come to a complete impasse. As far as I was concerned, we were going to pack up and go home and push that suit as hard as we could. And Morton asked if I was coming, and I said, we weren't going to work with that damn, or I couldn't do a damn thing with this boy Reed or anything. So we met that night up there with Reed. That was when he made all these promises. And we came away with what we thought was an agreement.

Interviewer:
So there were a lot of things that were discussed that weren't included in the memorandum--

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, that's unfortunately true. The memorandum of understanding was drawn up later after I left Washington. And it did not state those promises.

Interviewer:
It was drawn up by Jackman?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah. Yeah, I don't know what happened to Dave. He sort of fell down on that, because he was a hell of a good man and he wouldn't take nothing. Or maybe he trusted Reed as much as I did.

Interviewer:
Well, do you remember specific promises that Reed made that were later not kept? I mean, did it--

Chuck Herbert:
Oh, yeah. I mean, specifically, we talked at great length around this boot here in the upper part of the Kobuk River. And he wanted it so damn bad, you see.

Interviewer:
Reed did.

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah. And he finally said, well, it would only be a recreation area with only the mildest restrictions, that we would still have rights of way through there, and the natives would be able-- that was a place where the natives get all their timber for their cabins and stuff like that-- so on and so on. A very valuable piece of property. He wanted this damn thing tied in that way. And unfortunately, I gave way on that. Then there were these, along the pipeline, there's group selections in here.

Interviewer:
Yeah, I see that's also in the south.

Chuck Herbert:
I remember those particularly. But generally speaking, there were so many other things, well, I would be-- oh, yeah. The Noatak, the vast Noatak preserve now. That was to be a recreation area only. He kept talking about the beautiful Noatak Valley, and I said, for God's sakes, have you ever been there? Of course he hadn't. And I'd tramped over the damn thing.

Interviewer:
So he promised that the Noatak area wouldn't be a highly restrictive, and that it would just be a recreation area?

Chuck Herbert:
And none of it would be out. And the D-1, of course, in our understanding, was-- well, the D-1 classifications as it stands in the logs. But when it did come out, a great many of the D-1 lands are restricted. Almost the same as D-2. There was also our understanding with the lands that the natives did not select, because they over selected like mad. They would be returned as D-1 lands without restrictions. They were returned as D-1, but with all the heavy restrictions.

Interviewer:
So you agreed that the D-1 lands that weren't selected would be nonrestrictive, but they didn't carry that out?

Chuck Herbert:
No. Not entirely. There were some of them of course. And it's very confusing, because the maps that they published then showing D-1 and D-2 lands, they did not differentiate on the types of D-1 lands. So that a great many people were badly misinformed, including myself.

Interviewer:
There were different categories of D-1 or D-2 or both?

Chuck Herbert:
There are two different categories in D-1. You had to read the exact land owner.

Interviewer:
When you were negotiating with Reed and this other, this assistant secretary for lands also participated in the negotiations in Washington.

Chuck Herbert:
It's awful to see a strong man just dominate. They also had an assistant secretary of state of the Interior For Minerals. And he started off the first day there saying, well, we have to protect the future use of minerals from Alaska and so forth. And Reed shouted him down. And he just never showed up again. He was supposed to be there [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
And who took part besides you and David Jackman for the state?

Chuck Herbert:
I think, well, there was several. The Land Use Planning Commission sent people back there. Harry Carter, for instance, represented the natives. Well, I haven't seen Harry around for a long time. Esther Waticky was a member of the Land Use Planning Commissions-- there quite often, although really not in on these-- see there were actually, as far as the state goes it was largely just Jackman.

Interviewer:
Wasn't Jim Brooks back there for part of that time in DC?

Chuck Herbert:
Oh, yes. Yeah, Jim Brooks came in there. Yes, indeed. He wasn't there for all the time, but he came in at the tail end of the discussions.

Interviewer:
Now is it-- you give the impression that like, for instance, Esther Waticky was there, but she didn't--

Chuck Herbert:
Well, she was there for the Land Use Planning Commission. And their recommendations had been very similar to the states, you see? She's not a pusher anyway, she's an authority, she's a person you can always get an answer from-- an accurate answer. She's not-- anybody pound a table, you got that, well, we want this.

Interviewer:
So in the actual negotiations, was Jim Brooks particularly acted after he got--

Chuck Herbert:
After he got there, yes.

Interviewer:
All right.

Chuck Herbert:
Because she was trying to protect those selections that Fish and Game had made.

Interviewer:
There was nobody else from the Department of Natural Resources who took part?

Chuck Herbert:
No.

Interviewer:
And nobody else from Fish and Game, like Joe Blum or something like that?

Chuck Herbert:
No. Not there. Now these people all get in touch with him here of course. Did Joe Blum come in there? I'm not absolutely certain [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
So it seems like your general impression is that the state was kind of double crossed. That there were a lot of agreements that weren't carried out.

Chuck Herbert:
We didn't realize that until the following February though, when the assistant secretary of the Interior for Administration-- oh God, but what a memory I've got. He was a hell of a nice guy.

Interviewer:
Assistant secretary--

Chuck Herbert:
He's one that quit. Something like Hickel with a big blast from the newspapers after Nixon started to get into trouble.

Interviewer:
This was an assistant secretary of the interior? The lands--

Chuck Herbert:
For Administration.

Interviewer:
Oh, for Administration.

Chuck Herbert:
It's too bad he wasn't there when we made the original agreement, because he was as strong a man as Reed. But he was sent up here to tell the state, first of all, what the secretary was going to do. He recommended to Congress. And we were given a preview of it before the press. I'll never forget Egan, he was furious. He just sat there stony faced listening to the presentations. And he said, "Woah, we were double crossed. He was madder than all hell. Of course, the poor assistant secretary was-- he was just carrying the message.

And that was then when I went back to Washington again. And this time, I couldn't get anybody. I was just told the federal government could do what it wished. And the agreement that we had was wide open to be interpreted as they chose.

Interviewer:
So the second time that you went to Washington was?

Chuck Herbert:
That was in April I think.

Interviewer:
That was April of '73.

Chuck Herbert:
And I couldn't even get in to see Morton after that. He wouldn't see me, that stupid lug. So I came back and urged Egan to reopen the suit, because it had been dismissed without prejudice. And unfortunately then, the United States Senator Ted Stevens got into the act. And he talked Egan out of reopening that suit. Well, this would have been in '74?

Interviewer:
So it was like early in '74?

Chuck Herbert:
He talked him out of it. And I kept trying to talk the other way. And it wasn't until late-- final year of Bill Egan's term, he ordered his attorney general to reopen suit. But then, he was out of office shortly after, and it killed him.

I wish they had continued that suit. Although, it should have been amended. It wasn't as strong as it should. It might have settled once and for all the question of who manages state selected lands, who has authority, 'cause I think that was the basic issue.

Interviewer:
When you were actually negotiating in the summer of '72, when you were in Washington, you were actually negotiating on the provisions that went into the memorandum of understanding. Do you remember any areas in particular that you tried like hell not to relinquish and lost on or won on for that matter? I mean, areas that you were particularly interested in preserving out of the 77 million acres that--

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, they weren't very big areas. There was the Kantishna, for instance, that Reid wanted to throw in the park and that we push him away from. Although they later got it.

Interviewer:
But that was included in the D-2 bill this last December?

Chuck Herbert:
I don't remember all of those. No. There were quite a few. But generally, I was under the impression that we made a decent agreement. As I say, we were not particularly afraid of the federal government.

Interviewer:
Do you have-- so let's see, for the rest of your tenure as commissioner, there weren't any more selections. That was the end of it. Well, now wait a minute. There were selections-- there were a group of selections in like March of '74. Now were those on D-1 lands?

Chuck Herbert:
There were some reshuffling, yeah. But they weren't very big though were they?

Interviewer:
I don't think so. I think [INAUDIBLE].

Chuck Herbert:
We relinquished some. And we relinquished quite a bit of course.

Interviewer:
Yeah.

Chuck Herbert:
And we get selected too.

Interviewer:
As far as you were concerned, did the state carry out its end of the bargain on that, or did you stop trying to after you felt like you've been double crossed by--

Chuck Herbert:
Well, yeah, I think we carried it out, and we carried it out too well. We didn't go reopen the suit the way we should have.

Interviewer:
So you don't remember those 74 selections? And I guess March of '74 being particularly important. They were just, let's say, it's the areas that are, like this area in here that has the red dots around it. And this area over here. I think there was also--

Chuck Herbert:
Well, those were--

Interviewer:
Small selection over here on the Kuskokwim. So it's on the Seward Peninsula in the south link of the Brooks Range. And was that-- it looks like over here, this small selection here might have withstanded up to the Kuskokwim River. Those were areas that the natives hadn't selected, is that what that was?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah. There were things that-- well, we had missed, we had misjudged where some of the natives selections were going to fall.

Interviewer:
I think we've pretty much exhausted most of the questions that I had for you.

Chuck Herbert:
Good. And you got a lot of notes.

Interviewer:
Do you have any other particular recollections of events surrounding land selection by the state that-- any anecdotes or anything else that you think that I want to know for my study?

Chuck Herbert:
Well, assistant secretary for Administration. Yeah, there was one thing that was interesting to me. And that was to come back to the survey problem, because it always bothered everybody, because of the extreme length of time that the survey lands before they could be patented.

Interviewer:
This was while you were in Washington?

Chuck Herbert:
Well, this came up-- well, there were actually special trips on that. And Dave Jackman was on one of those trips. I talked to the USGS back there to find out how accurate their surveys-- plant surveys are, their monuments and position, because of course, they use them for their mapping. And they were very good until we brought in his top surveyor, top system core surveying. And let all over how they meet the requirements are pretty much the same as the BLM. Their methods he said were the same. They were checking, they were improving. And there have been some bum maps in the past, but they were this and that.

We proposed them locally first that the state would accept surveys that were based on protraction diagrams, where the distance to a protracted corner was not more than 6 miles from an established monument. The BLM here was very enthusiastic about it. And their surveyors, Jones, was the name I guess thought it was a great idea. And everybody was happy with it.

And we tried it on. They had to get permission from Washington. By that time, the local state director had lost a great deal of the story. So we journeyed back there and we had meetings. We had meetings with them on that. And we had meetings on the other question, of course, navigable waters, which was so damned important to the native land selection.

Interviewer:
That's still a thorny problem.

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah, and it should have been settled. I'll cover that later. That was a different question. So after trying for some time with the chief cadastral engineer, the BLM back there, he would not agree under any circumstances. No, they did their own surveying, they'd only accept their own surveys, and this kind of stuff, even if it meant putting a monument alongside an existing monument.

And that was when I ran into this assistant secretary whose name I forget now, Professor Tyree. I told him my problem. I said, look, it's so simple. We will save the government money. We're happy with it. And we'll further say that we will allow 100 feet off of any boundaries that we won't dispose of or put, if we dispose of it... it will be at the buyers will have to have warring.

Interviewer:
Now this fellow who you think is a professor at Harvard, he's the assistant secretary of Lands or Administration?

Chuck Herbert:
Administration. By that time, I mean, he was a strong character that everybody could talk to. And he immediately agreed. Now I agree, but to everyone huge surprise for anything happening fast in Washington, within about a week or 10 days, we got a letter of understanding, which is still in effect. That permitted the transfer of land, speeded up to be banned. All we had to do then was to prepare it. The applications are our priorities.

Lay out the survey monuments that are existing, describe then, and so forth and so on, present them in detail. The BLM would review them in this office and let them go. That was the way it was done. Now that fell apart after Hammond came in too. And there is little mystery as to exactly what did happen there. And I got in pretty bad with Earl Mike Smith, because the assistant state director phoned me and said, did you know that we were told by the Hammond administration that we are not to make any more applications after that provision. And I was madder than hell about it.

And I made a statement to that effect, which was repeated unfortunately in an advertisement, which somebody in Fairbanks put out that Mike Smith terribly upset, because he was in the division of land and denied that any such statement was ever, ever made. And I named the man who ran him down in Colorado, I guess it was. And so help me God, he denied me.

And I sat back and I didn't imagine that I can remember myself sitting at my desk up at the BP building and he phoned me.

Interviewer:
And this was somebody in the--

Chuck Herbert:
BLM. He was the assistant state director at that time , that's ahh. So we just let her die there. I think the question now of navigable waters. Dave Jackman, primarily, we and my incidents, of course, drew up a memorandum-- guidance for establishing navigable waters. Now we well know that the courts are the only ones that can decide it. But the courts consistently, but so very, very frequently take an administrative decision. And we were quite sure that if we could get the natives from the surrounding land, the state, and the BLM to agree on what was or what was not navigable under that met certain guidelines, that that would stand up. That we could in effect segregate those state lands that are under navigable waters so they wouldn't be charged against native selection.

And we hired three extra people under Provisional Lands Cartography to work on that. And the method was that we would prepare the plans. They would then be given to BLM who would review them. And unless they found something very wrong, they would put them on as official plats.

And they work like hell. And of course, imediatley, we called in the natives. And jeez, we ran into a stumbling block there, because first of all, they were extremely suspicious of us. Had a hell of a time trying to convince them. You know Nelson Angapak?

Interviewer:
Just the name.

Chuck Herbert:
Well, he's a damn smart Eskimo down the Bristol Bay Area, Lower Kuskokwim.

Interviewer:
His last name is Anga?

Chuck Herbert:
Angapak

Interviewer:
Angapak

Chuck Herbert:
I'll never forget, I was trying to explain him. But he was very suspicious that all these goddamn white men were going to take their land away from them as soon as they get it.

Interviewer:
He said he's from Bristol Bay?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah. Well, no, he's from Calista, I think. And then, their very unfortunate [INAUDIBLE]. He wandered in there, down in the basement there, in Clyde's office, where these people were working. And he overheard some guy-- I don't know who the hell it was-- say, all these goddamn natives are never satisfied. They want everything. And Jesus, he stormed out of there. That confirmed his suspicions.

Interviewer:
And this was somebody in the McKay building annex?

Chuck Herbert:
Yes. Yes.

Interviewer:
When you said Clyde's office-- Clyde? Who's that?

Chuck Herbert:
He was a cadastral engineer. He still is.

Interviewer:
Hoffman?

Chuck Herbert:
Yeah.

Interviewer:
He just retired the last couple of months. Yeah. Unfortunately, I missed him. He left town in July sometime and I didn't get a chance.

Chuck Herbert:
Well, I heard about that afterwards. Somebody told me that Nelson just stormed out of there. I think it was one of my native friends. So I got a hold of him and finally convinced him. And then, everything was all right. They were really-- we thought we were really settling that problem.

And these guidelines, Dave Jackman and I had met in Washington with a whole suite of their surveyors and land people and lawyers and everything else. And we'd took a long morning and most of an afternoon, and they had agreed. So that was when we started all this work. And then about six or eight months after this work had been going on, and we have maps that deep. Without writing to us, the chief cadastral engineer for the BLM wrote to the district or the state director saying these guidelines were ridiculous and we were to ignore it. The whole goddamn [INAUDIBLE] now the problem still exist.

Interviewer:
Recollections of things about selection that you think I ought to know about that happened while you were there?

Chuck Herbert:
Not that I can think of offhand, Doug.

Interviewer:
Well, I sure appreciate you're spending so much time with me. I've really gotten a lot of good information. I think it'll be really useful.

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