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And all before frequent flyer miles…Stephen T. Mather and the Pan Pacific Conference

In April 1927, the First Pan Pacific Conference on Education, Rehabilitation, Reclamation, and Recreation was held in Honolulu, Hawaii. Called by the President of the United States, invitations were issued to “all countries bordering upon the Pacific Ocean and having territorial interests in the Pacific, including colonial governments…”

On Thursday April 14, 1927, Stephen Mather gave a presentation on the “Administration of the National Parks of the United States.” In his presentation he proudly noted “…we would have no elk today had they not been preserved in our parks. In Yellowstone Park we have the greatest buffalo herd in the United States…” He went on to add, “…The greatest problem which the superintendents have to solve is whether the wild animals or the tourists deserve the most consideration…”

In a chest in the Mather Homestead attic is a SPECIAL PASSPORT of the United States of America, passport No. 1753, issued to Stephen Mather. The passport states: “The bearer, Director of the National Parks Service is proceeding to Mexico, Guatemala, and Salvador, in behalf of the proposed Pan-Pacific Conference on education, rehabi-litation, reclamation, and recreation.”

Stephen Mather made the trip in late 1926-early 1927. The pass-port has stamps from all three of the countries. Mexico was the only country of the three to send delegates to the Conference.

Among the final Conference resolutions was one that “another conference should be held during the next two years…” It does not appear that a Second Conference ever took place.

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