Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/614

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trol of all the forest reservations and timbered lands, subject to supervision of the Secretary of Agriculture, who shall appoint inspectors as assistants.

Each reservation to have one superintendent, who shall have full charge and control of the reservation for which he is appointed, and be responsible to the central bureau, and have such assistants as may be needed.

Rangers to be appointed by the Commissioner of Forestry to act as police, against trespass and fires, and to supervise the timber operations.

Full details of forest management are specified, into which I shall not here enter.

To create as quickly as possible an efficient protective service, the army may be employed for this purpose, as has already been done in the Yellowstone and California Parks. The system proposes a separate and complete administration, conducted by competent men under expert instruction, and, while the protecting of watersheds is of sufficient importance to warrant expenditure out of Government funds, the service should be made to pay for itself by the sale of surplus forest material.

The suggestion that the army be employed for policing the public forests is an admirable one. It has already done good service in this direction, and it will prove to be a constabulary force in which the country has full confidence. Military training has given the army a thorough organization and an esprit de corps, and it is free from political influence. Officers of the army made the best commissioners in Indian affairs which the country has ever had, and gained for themselves a just reputation for faithfulness, honesty, and courage. They will be equally good custodians of our forest domain. Were our army twice as large as it now is, it would be too small for war, but would find too little employment in time of peace, unless its services are used in civil channels. To supply qualities that are wanting for this particular service a chair of Forestry should be established at West Point, to give such instruction in forestry science as the case requires.

If the reforms here outlined, whether embodied in the Paddock bill or the McRae bill, or commended to our situation by foreign experience, shall be persistently urged by forestry and other associations, and the United States Government, heedful of the danger of neglect or delay, shall respond with promptness and energy and a proper regard for the future of the nation, a forestry policy will be inaugurated which will meet present requirements, and which may be extended and improved to serve all future needs.

Then the lesson of the forest fires will not have been learned in vain.