1892 the General Government had made several extensive reservations, as parks, for preserving and opening to pleasure-seekers some of the natural wonders of our land, besides others for military purposes—viz.:
|Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, containing||2,888,000||acres.|
|Yosemite National Park, California, containing||960,000||"|
|Sequoia National Park, California, containing||100,000||"|
|General Grant National Park, California, containing||8,000||"|
|Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, containing||2,529||"|
During the administration of President Harrison several other and large reserves were added to these, so that we now have in all over seventeen million acres.
In the memorial presented to the President by the American Forestry Congress it is declared that the object of such reservations is to increase the sum total of the productiveness of our territory, the lands reserved being those that are unfit for agriculture, but capable, under wise management, of producing a greatly increased amount of forest products annually. Neither bona fide settlement of agricultural land, nor the right of prospecting for and opening mines, are to be interfered with. Demands for wood material are to be satisfied in a large and equitable manner; while it is sought to minimize the destruction by forest fires and wasteful and erroneous methods. The association further declared that such reservations wouldthe needs of forest protection unless the number is sufficiently large to embrace practically all the remaining public woodlands.
Several of the States have also recognized the importance of setting apart reserves of woodlands. In the great State of New York this sentiment had become so strong by 1872 that a commission was appointed to inquire into the expediency of legislation for vesting in the State the title to the timbered Adirondack region, and converting it into a public park. But public opinion was not sufficiently ripe, and the destruction of timber and absorption by corporations and individuals went on as before. It was not until 1893 that a bill was passed which provides for the acquisition by the State of the control of large districts, in addition to the half million already owned by the State, to be held in forest for the preservation of the sources of the chief rivers; for its future timber supply; for game preservation, and for the free use by the people for health and pleasure. Nearly one million acres have thus far been set aside. How far this legislation if perfected will prove valuable depends upon the wisdom of the management. In its inception there is the highest wisdom.
Notwithstanding the public interest awakened and the laws