Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 59.djvu/125

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JUNE, 1901.

By Professor J. W. TOUMEY,


IT is highly probable that the future will chronicle the act of March 3, 1891, under which the Chief Executive of the United States is given power to segregate forest reservations from the public domain, as a law most fruitful in results of vast import to the future welfare of the country. Armed with the power conferred by this act, the successive Presidents have in the past ten years established no less than thirty-nine national forest reservations.

As the act provides that the reservations are to be segregated from the public domain, they are for the most part in the Rocky Mountain region and in the Pacific Coast States where large areas of public forest lands were available.

The thirty-nine reservations in the aggregate contain more than 46,800,000 acres, an area more than fifteen times as large as the State of Connecticut, or about one-fortieth of the total area of the country exclusive of Alaska.

Much controversy has arisen as to the wisdom of withdrawing such large areas of the public lands from sale or from other disposition under the laws of the land office. Much of the opposition has disappeared during the past few years, and public sentiment in favor of forest reservations is rapidly increasing. In fact, so rapid has been this change in public sentiment that a movement is now on foot, with prospect of success, to establish a national forest reservation in the southern Appalachian Mountains, where it will be necessary for the Government to purchase the land at an expense of several million dollars. There is also an effort being made on the part of a good many public--