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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/342

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one spot most suitable for such a base."[1] Being in assured annual communication through the Scotch and Newfoundland whalers, a well-housed and well-provisioned party, with some Eskimo families, will be as safe there as anywhere on earth, and will have before it a field unequaled in richness and extent. To the north, the west coasts of Ellesmere Land and Grinnell Land are to be explored; to the northwest, the triangle between those coasts and the Parry Islands is to be rescued from the unknown; to the west, the interior of North Devon is an interesting problem; to the southwest. Prince Regent Inlet may present an avenue to the magnetic pole; to the south, Baffin Land—with its Eskimo settlements, its herds of reindeer, its wealth in fishes and birds, its fossils and minerals—offers a tempting field, larger than the British Isles. Even Greenland may not be beyond the sphere of that strategic point.

Such a system, once initiated, will cost very little. Lecturing tours and the sale of collections will defray a large part of the cost. Considering the enormous sums spent on arctic exploration in the past by governments and by individuals, it seems probable that when the system is once in running order it will not lack patrons. The cost of the initial expedition is estimated at five thousand dollars. Much smaller sums will probably suffice in subsequent years.



Mr. Stein's plan is to establish a permanent station at the entrance of Jones Sound, to be occupied by from four to six white men and several Eskimo families, and from there carry on systematic scientific explorations northward, northwestward, westward, and southward as far as can be done with safety.

This plan is justly called by Julius von Payer "the best imaginable," for the reason that—

1. It is one of the safest, because its base station is annually reached by the whaling steamers.

2. It promises extensive scientific results, because that base gives access to a wide and rich field.

3. It is the cheapest, because of the possibility of utilizing the whalers as means of transportation.

4. It avoids hurry, which is a great source of danger and of imperfect work.

5. It permits the utilization of experience, allowing the same force to remain in the field for several years and to train their successors.

The main object of the first season's work will be the installation of the party. From my experience I am convinced that this initial work is prac-

  1. The advantages of the Jones Sound route were pointed out by Dr. Boas in 1887, and by Elisée Reclus in 1890. A gradual and systematic advance has been advocated by many geographers.