Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/235

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
231
THE GREAT AMERICAN DESERT

the river-—and this is possible in a great many places. There are hundreds of acres on flats along the Loup River that could be made to yield high returns from truck crops. A small irrigation plant would cost but little, and the luxury of fresh vegetables would gladden the whole life of many a Sand Hill housewife who too often "digs" or "pulls" all of her garden truck from cans.

Much has been said and written about the possibility of covering the Sand Hills with trees. About ten years ago the U. S. Department of Agriculture, acting upon a suggestion from Professor Charles E. Bessey, made a preliminary examination of the region to determine if the conditions warranted an attempt at forestation. The examination resulted in the setting aside of about 80,000 acres in the worst portion of the hills between the Middle Loup and Dismal rivers as a national forest. The flats along the Loup afforded very favorable sites for the forest nursery, and, since it was thought best to raise the stock in the hills, a permanent station was established on the south side of the Loup about two miles west of Halsey in Thomas County.

In the spring of 1903 small jack pines were imported from Minnesota and these were set out on the hills. During this summer the forest nursery was started and from that time the Forest Service has continued to raise its own stock in its own nursery and every spring to plant

PSM V80 D235 Pine trees do better in open sands than in competition with grasses.png
Fig. 15. The Pine Trees do Better in the more open Sand than in Competition with the Grasses.