Popular Science Monthly/Volume 52/February 1898/The United States Forest Reserves
|THE UNITED STATES FOREST RESERVES.|
By Hon. CHARLES D. WALCOTT,
DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.
HISTORICAL.—The movement in favor of Government forest reserves in the United States began soon after it became apparent that unless some restriction was placed upon the wasteful cutting and destruction of the forests of the continent the timber supply would soon be exhausted. The country would then become dependent upon other nations for its timber supply, and would suffer as do many European states, where great efforts have been made during the last thirty years to restore the forests which had been so wantonly destroyed. One of the most influential agencies in bringing about the establishment of the forest reserves was the agitation carried on by the American Forestry Association and the Division of Forestry of the Department of Agriculture, under the leadership of Dr. B. E. Fernow. The many reports and essays published and lectures delivered had a strong influence in creating a public sentiment that at last manifested itself in the passage, on March 3, 1891, of an act granting authority to the President to set aside as public reservations public lands bearing forests, wholly or in part covered with timber or undergrowth. (Statutes at Large., vol. xxvi, p. 1103, sec. 24.)
Under this act seventeen forest reservations were established prior to September 28, 1893, aggregating in area 17,564,800 acres. These are: The Pacific Reserve (967,680 acres) of Washington; the Cascade (4,492,800 acres), Bull Run (142,080 acres), and Ashland (18,560 acres) Reserves of Oregon; the Sierra (4,096,000 acres), San Gabriel (555,520 acres), San Bernardino (18,560 acres), and Trabuco Cañon (49,920 acres) Reserves of California; the Yellowstone Park Reserve (1,239,040 acres) of Wyoming; the South Platte (683,520 acres), Plum Creek (179,200 acres), White River (1,198,080 acres), Battlement Mesa (858,240 acres), and Pike's Peak (184,320 acres) Reserves of Colorado; the Grand Cañon (1,851,520 acres) Reserve of Arizona; the Pecos River (311,040 acres) Reserve of New Mexico, and the Afognak Reserve (area unknown) of Alaska.
The establishment of these reserves did not excite any special approval or disapproval of the policy, except as some local interest was affected favorably or unfavorably. In the latter case little attention was paid to it by the parties directly concerned, as there was no real protection of the reserves or public forests by patrol, and the cutting of timber and destruction by fires went on as before. It was not until the executive proclamations of February 22, 1897, were made that great opposition was developed in the Northwestern States, in which many of the reserves were situated. These proclamations, based upon the recommendation of the Forestry Commission of the National Academy of Sciences, established thirteen forest reservations, containing an aggregate area of 21,379,840 acres. Their names, locations, areas, etc., are given in the following table:
|Name of Forest
|Black Hills||The central portion of the Black Hills, of South Dakota.||967,680||To protect and make permanently productive this isolated forest, which is essential to adjacent mining and farming interests.|
|Big Horn||Slopes of the Big Horn Mountains in northern central Wyoming.||1,127,680||To protect the water supply of streams important to farming in adjacent regions.|
|Teton||Adjacent to and south of the Yellowstone Park timber reserve.||829,440||To protect the water supply of streams important to farming in adjacent regions.|
|Flathead||Slopes of the Rocky Mountains, Montana, from the Great Northern Railroad to the international boundary.||1,382,400||On the eastern slope to make the forests permanently productive for mining, and to protect the headwaters of tributaries of the Missouri. On the western slope, to protect cultivated valleys from floods.|
|Lewis and Clark||Both slopes of the continental divide in Montana, from near the line of the Great Northern Railroad southward nearly to the forty-seventh degree of latitude.||2,926,080||To protect the sources of the Missouri essential to irrigation, to prevent floods, and to preserve the forest for intelligent development of its values. |
|Priest Lake||Priest Lake and Priest River basin in Idaho and Washington, from the Great Northern Railroad to the international boundary.||645,120||To preserve the timber for future supply and for development of a productive timber reserve.|
|Bitter Root||The Bitter Root Mountains in Montana and Idaho.||4,147,200||To protect the sources of streams important to irrigation in Montana, Idaho, and Washington; to preserve valuable timber and to restore burned forests.|
|Washington||The Cascade Range from south of the forty-eighth parallel to the international boundary, excepting the settled Skagit Valley.||3,594,240||To prevent destruction by fire, to protect the sources of rivers flowing eastward for irrigation, and to render permanent the timber resources of the western slope.|
|Olympic||The Olympic Mountains.||2,188,800||To make a permanent and profitable reserve of the finest body of timber in the United States.|
|Mount Rainier||The former Pacific Forest Reserve and an extension southward nearly to the Columbia River along the Cascade Range.||2,234,880||To protect the tributaries of the Yakima requisite for irrigation, and to preserve the forest wealth of the State in this region.|
|Stanislaus||Sierra Nevada in California.||691,200||For protection of water supply for irrigation.|
|San Jacinto||San Jacinto Mountains south of the San Bernardino Reserve.||737,280||For protection of water supply for irrigation.|
|Uinta||Uinta Mountains, exclusive of the Indian reservation.||875,520||For protection of water supply for irrigation and development of the forest for local timber supply.|
In the letter recommending the establishment of the reserves, the Forestry Commission stated that it fully recognized the fact that the forest reserves previously established and now proposed can not be maintained unless a plan is adopted under which their boundaries shall be so modified as to take from them all land better suited for agriculture than for the production of forests, and under which their timber can be made available for domestic, mining, and commercial purposes, and valuable minerals can be freely sought and mined within their boundaries. The commission also stated that it believed that the solution of this difficult problem would be made easier if the reserve areas were increased, as the greater the number of people interested in drawing supplies from the reserved territories, or in mining in them, the greater would be the demand on Congress for the enactment of laws securing their proper administration. "For this reason," said the commission, "it is the unanimous opinion of the commission that the establishment by proclamation of the reserves described above is now a matter of the utmost importance to the development and welfare of the whole country."
The result of establishing the reserves more than met the anticipations of the commission that legislation would follow, owing to the pressure of the people on their representatives in Congress. The first storm of protest came mainly from South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Washington. Public meetings were held at which vigorous speeches were made in opposition to the forest-reserve policy, and soon a flood of petitions and letters reached the senators and representatives from the States mentioned, and those from adjoining States in which reserves are situated or which are dependent upon the reserves for their timber supply. Early in March an amendment was incorporated in the Sundry Civil Bill in the Senate revoking the forest-reserve proclamations of February 22, 1897. This, however, was modified in conference with the House so as to authorize the President to suspend or revoke the proclamations if he thought fit to do so. The bill failed, and when the new Congress assembled, on March 15, the agitation against the reserves was resumed.
A long debate in the Senate was followed by the final passage of an extended amendment providing for the suspension of the reserves established by the proclamations of February 22, 1897, until March 1, 1898, and providing further for the survey of the forest reserves, under the supervision of the Director of the Geological Survey, and appropriating one hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the purpose. Provision was made that "a copy of every topographic map and other maps showing the distribution of the forests, together with such field notes as may be taken relating thereto, shall be certified thereto by the Director of the Geological Survey, and filed in the General Land Office"; the object of this being to place before the department the data upon which to recommend the location of the boundaries of the forest reserves, authority being given to the President in the amendment "to revoke, modify, or suspend any or all of such executive orders and proclamations, or any part thereof, from time to time as he shall deem best for the public interests."
In addition to the provisions for the survey and modification of the reserves, most important legislation for their future preservation, control, and administration was embodied in the act. It is provided that "the Secretary of the Interior shall make provision for protection against destruction by fire and depredations upon the public forests and forest reservations, and that he may make such rules and regulations, and establish such service as will insure the objects of such reservations, namely, to regulate their occupancy and use, and to preserve the forests thereon from destruction."
Provision is also made for the cutting and sale of the timber and the carrying on of mining and irrigation enterprises within the reserves, under permits to be granted and regulations to be established by the Secretary of the Interior. Essentially all the authority recommended in the final report of the Forestry Commission of the National Academy of Sciences is given by this legislation, with the exception of authority to employ troops in policing the reserves. The wording of the amendment is broad, and leaves the manner of establishing the administration and protection of the reserves in the control of the Secretary of the Interior. As soon as the surveys are completed, and the boundaries of the reserves determined, the final establishment of a rational forestry policy can be entered upon. Meantime, a beginning has been made through the authority granted by the act appropriating money for the protection of timber on public lands.
Surveys.—The forest-reserve legislation was enacted June 4, 1897, and arrangements were at once made for the topographic and subdivisional surveys of those portions of the suspended reserves in which there are large interests that may be injuriously affected if those areas are included within the reserves; for instance, the agricultural and mining interests of portions of the Black Hills Reserve of South Dakota, the mining interests of the southwestern portion of the Washington Reserve of Washington, and the timber interests of the eastern portion of the Bitter Root Reserve in Montana.
The topographic surveying parties were organized and left Washington the latter part of June. The purposes of the topographic surveys are (a) the preparation of topographic maps, on a scale of two miles to the inch, with contour intervals of one hundred feet, as base maps for the representation of forestry details, agricultural and mineral lands, and future geologic surveys; (b) the establishment of bench marks indicating elevation above sea level, for vertical control in topographic mapping, and for all mining, engineering, and geologic work; (c) the subdivision of reserves, where necessary, by running township lines for the purpose of designating tracts of land; (d) the demarcation by means of section lines of tracts which are more valuable as agricultural and mineral lands than for timber; and (e) the mapping by the topographer in charge of each party of the outlines of all wooded and forest areas.
Early in July the forestry survey was organized, and soon thereafter the special forest experts began the study of the distribution of the forests and woodlands, the size and density of the timber, the distribution of the leading economic species, the effect of the ravages of forest fires and the amount of damage inflicted by them, the amount of dead timber, the extent to which the forests are pastured, and the extent of the timber already cut and the effects of the deforesting; also the relation of the timber supply to transportation, local demands of miners and settlers, and the supply needed for more distant markets.
The examinations of the surveyors and forestry experts are not limited to the present lines of the forest reserves, but, as provided for in the statute authorizing the survey, they include public lands adjacent to the reserves.
It is anticipated that the sixty thousand square miles of forests now included within the reserves can be thoroughly and economically surveyed within five years, provided adequate appropriations are made for the purpose. Nearly enough if not sufficient data for the construction of topographic and forestry maps have been secured during the past field season to permit of an intelligent rectification of the boundaries of most of the reserves containing areas where apparent injury or injustice is being inflicted by the establishment of the reserves.
The progress of the surveys during the short field season was slow, as the reserves comprise some of the most rugged mountain country in the West, much of which is covered with forests. No maps existed of the larger portion of the reserves. The surveys for the topographic and forestry maps of the Black Hills Reserve were completed, and for a considerable portion of the Big Horn Reserve. The forests were examined and the data platted, on Land Office and sketch maps, for the unsurveyed areas of the other suspended reserves, and a large body of information was secured in relation to the extent and character of the forests except on the Olympic Reserve.
The examination of the Priest River and Teton Reserves has been quite thorough, as well as that portion of the Bitter Root Reserve lying in Montana. The Washington Reserve has received the most careful examination in relation to its forest condition, although the topographic mapping and triangulation have been limited to the eastern and western sides of the divide of the Cascade Range. Triangulation has been initiated and extended over most of the Lewis and Clark and Flathead Reserves in Montana, and in the Uinta Reserve triangulation has been carried forward upon the small area mapped.
Late in October and November the surveying parties were withdrawn from the Northern States, owing to the severe weather, and several of them were transferred to southern California, where they are working in the San Gabriel and San Jacinto Reserves.
Cost and Profit of Forest Reserves—Will it pay to maintain Government forest reserves? This question is best answered by referring to what has been done in other countries. The published statements show that the annual receipts of the forest administration of Prussia are about $14,000,000, and the expenses about $8,000,000, leaving a net revenue to the Government of about $6,000,000. The annual revenue from the Government forests of France and Algiers exceeds $6,000,000, and the expenses for 1896 were estimated at $3,300,000. The net revenue of the great forest areas of British India for 1894-'95 was 7,415,590 rupees, or about $3,000,000. In British India the varied climate and the difficult sylvicultural conditions are similar to those found within the forest reserves and public forested lands of the United States. The total area of forest land under the control of the forest service of India in 1894–'95 was 112,952 square miles, of which 74,271 square miles were reserved forests, 7,090 protected forests, and 31,591 unclassed state forests. The total length of boundaries demarcated to June 30, 1895, in provinces under the Government of India alone was upward of 60,000 miles, and an area of 33,420 square miles is covered by topographic surveys. In a territory of 30,963 square miles, fires are kept in check, and 28,913 square miles are fully protected at a cost of about $2.60 per square mile, or less than one half cent per acre per annum.
The area administered by the forest service yielded, during the year 1894–'95, 46,000,000 cubic feet of timber, 100,000,000 cubic feet of fuel, 134,000,000 bamboos, and minor products to the value or 3,000,000 rupees or more. In this connection it should be borne in mind that systematic Government forestry in India is of recent growth. The first act was passed in 1865, although the management of the teak forests of Pegu was inaugurated some ten years before.
In Canada, where the physical and topographic conditions greatly resemble our own, the management of the Government forests devolves upon the department of Crown Lands, with an administrative bureau which is charged with public instruction in forestry as well as the supervision of the forested districts. The administration is under the charge of officers denominated Crown Lands and Timber Agents, having under them experienced woodmen called forest rangers, fire rangers, etc.
The total revenue from lumbering operations in the province of Quebec for the year ending June 30, 1896, amounted to $951,098.92. In Ontario the forested territory is divided into timber "berths" of different sizes, which are sold at auction to the highest bidder. At the last sale, in 1892, an average price was paid of $3,657.18 per square mile, subject to stumpage dues. The land is not sold, but is reserved for settlers, the person who has bought the right to cut the timber retaining the control of the land until it is required for settlement.
The cost of a permanent forest organization for the protection and utilization of the forests on the reserves is estimated by the National Forestry Commission at $250,000 per annum for the first live years. With a greater demand for forest supplies the annual expense will increase, but under any businesslike management the revenue from the sale of forest products will largely exceed the expense, yielding a handsome surplus to the Government. "When it is remembered that several million dollars' worth of timber are taken every year from the public domain without any rcompense to the Government, it would appear to be a wise and economical policy to spend annually a few hundred thousand dollars on an organization which would prevent such unnecessary drains on the wealth of the nation; it must be remembered also that an efficient forest administration would be able to prevent many forest fires on the public domain, and that it is not an unusual occurrence for a single fire to destroy in a few days material worth more in actual money than this forest administration would cost in years, while the indirect loss to the country in impaired water flow is incalculable. The expenditure, therefore, of $250,000 a year in furnishing the means for protecting the forests on the public domain would appear to be justified by every consideration of common sense and economy." (Report of National Forestry Commission, p. 26.)
The experience of British India and Canada proves conclusively that Government control of the forests can be made profitable both to the Government and to the people using the forest products.
Protection against Fire.—The Ontario system provides for fire rangers, who are authorized to employ assistants to help suppress fires, and they are directed to notify the department if the fires are dangerous. The expense incurred in maintaining the forest staff and suppressing fires is shared between the Crown Lands Department and the owners of the licenses to cut timber. During the summer of 1895, ninety-three fires were reported, most of which were put out, the total loss by fire being only $41,600. This was effected by the employment of one hundred and fourteen men for a few months, at a total cost of $26,253.
The districts of upper and lower Ottawa during the summer of 1895, when it was unusually dry, experienced no serious conflagrations. No fewer than fifty-six incipient fires, however, were extinguished by the fire rangers, any one of which might have assumed serious proportions and caused heavy loss. The total loss in the district amounted to between five hundred and one thousand dollars.
In other districts in Quebec numerous small fires are extinguished every year by the forest rangers, which action prevents the destruction of thousands of acres of forests
The forests of the western provinces of the Dominion are under the control of the Minister of the Interior, who follows the system adopted in the older provinces.
Within the forested areas of the United States the most destructive agent at present is fire. In comparison with it the damage done by pasturage in the Pacific coast States and by illegal timber cutting is insignificant. In a number of the Western States laws have been passed providing for the punishment of those who, by accident or design, set fire to the forests. There are so many agencies, however, by which fires may be started, such as sparks from locomotives, camp fires, lightning, as well as incendiarism, that it seems futile to attempt to prevent the burning of the forests unless there are competent forest guards to patrol them during the dry season.
There are no statistics showing the area of forests destroyed annually by fires in the United States, but during every summer smoke obscures for months the view of the sun over thousands of square miles. Once fully under way, a fire in a forest of coniferous trees will spread until it is extinguished by rain, or encounters some natural barrier like a river, or is driven back over its own course by a change in the direction of the wind. The only hope of averting the enormous losses which the country suffers every year from this cause lies in preventing the fires from starting, or in extinguishing them promptly. There is no doubt that they will always occur, but the experience gained in the Yellowstone National Park, and in Canada shows conclusively that with the aid of a disciplined forest patrol, intelligently directed, forestfires can be greatly reduced, and that it is frequently possible to extinguish small fires if properly handled when first discovered.
Mining Interests.—The mining interests of the Western States should be the most urgent in the demand for care and protection of the forests under Government direction. Upon the abundance or scarcity of timber will depend the development of many mining enterprises, and through them the advance or retardation of the growth of the State in which they are situated. That scarcity of timber will limit mining is without question, unless the mines are sufficiently rich to pay the added cost that transportation from a distant source of supply will entail. This will apply particularly to the small mine owner, and to the miner with little capital who wishes to develop promising prospects.
There is no doubt that the abundant timber supply of the Black Hills of South Dakota has given great impetus to the development of the mineral wealth of the region. It is equally true that if that timber supply is removed by being wasted, or is destroyed by forest fires, the future mining of the region will be limited to the working of a few rich mines that can afford to pay high prices. Scarcity of timber all over the West is not a remote contingency if the present waste and destruction are permitted to continue; it is already in sight. Indeed, it will not be long before the magnificent forests of the Pacific coast will be so greatly injured by fire and wasteful cutting that the mining communities will have to draw their best timber from Canada and Alaska.
The opponents of the forest reserves have frequently stated that the reservation policy would cripple the mining industry. It is believed, however, that there would be much more truth in the statement that the destruction of the forests would seriously injure and in many instances ruin the mining industry. This industry demands a permanent source of supply of timber, and it hardly needs to be said that, without some such policy as that of forest reservation, no such source of supply can be maintained. If mining men can be brought to understand that their industry will be protected by the proper administration of the reserves, the future of both the mining and the lumber interests of the West will be provided for.
Irrigation Interests.—A great industry like that of agriculture demands that in all regions where irrigation is carried on the source of the water supply be protected. The future existence of the farms, and to a large extent of the States themselves, depends upon the conservation of the water supply. The forest areas are largely the reservoirs in which the waters are controlled and given out to the adjacent irrigable districts. The experience of Europe and eastern Asia has shown that if the mountains are stripped of their forests, populous districts will become flood-swept deserts of rock and sand.
To illustrate the views of the leaders of the great irrigation development that is taking place in the arid and semiarid regions of the West, I will quote the resolution passed by the Irrigation Congress held in Lincoln, Nebraska, September 27 to 30, 1897:
"Whereas, The perpetuation of the forests of the arid region is essential to the maintenance of the water supply for irrigation, as well as the supply of timber; therefore
"Resolved, That the President of the United States be memorialized, as soon as adequate provision be made for the protection of the forests and the regulation of the cutting of timber therefrom, to withdraw from entry or sale, under the act of Congress of March 3, 1891, all lands now in its [the Government's] possession which are of more value for their timber than for agriculture or for minerals."
Reforesting and Pasturage.—There is little doubt that the present forests in the arid and semiarid regions are but the remnants of large forested areas that were developed during a period of greater rainfall than exists at present. Such being the case, although it is possible under existing conditions to continue the present forests by judicious cutting and care of the young growth, it will be impossible to reforest the lands if the present method of lumbering and pasturing and the annual forest fires are continued. Where the rainfall is limited to a few weeks or months, the only water available for forest growth during the remaining portion of the year is that held in the soil by the presence of the forest cover. The experience of all who have attempted to start young trees in the open, semiarid country has been that, unless artificially watered during the dry season, the young trees die under the influence of the scorching sun and hot, dry winds.
As the result of a personal inspection of a considerable portion of the Sierra forest reserve of California, I am fully convinced that the preservation and development of the agricultural interests of the great wheat and fruit districts west of the range depend largely upon the preservation and increase of the forest covering of the region whose drainage is tributary to the agricultural areas. The same is true of the Los Angeles and San Bernardino areas of the southwestern portion of the State. Where the forest and brush have been removed, either by fire, cutting, or pasturage, the slopes are dry and dusty, the water flows off almost as rapidly as it falls, and carries along with it a load of sand and gravel to be deposited in the irrigation ditches and over the fields of the lowlands.
A comparison of such a denuded area with an adjoining forested or brush-covered district shows at once that the forest covering must be preserved if the water supply is to be stored by natural means for irrigation.
Of the influence of sheep pasturage on reforesting there is a difference of opinion among men acquainted with the forest reserves. In the semiarid region the struggle for existence is so great that all vegetation needs and must have the advantage of every condition at all favorable to its growth, if it is to grow at all. If the herbage and seedlings are destroyed by pasturage and the tramping of the sharp hoofs of sheep, the fate of the future forest growth and storage of water is settled, and its destruction foreordained. In the well-watered sections of Oregon, Washington, north Idaho, north Montana, and perhaps the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, the effect of pasturage of sheep would be very slight, as the growth of vegetation is rapid and luxuriant; but in the Sierra and southern reserves of California and similarly conditioned areas the damage is great, and even the pasturage of cattle in many localities will be detrimental. As soon as the reserves are carefully and intelligently studied by practical foresters, I think it will be found that each reserve has peculiar conditions that must be considered before complete regulations for the administration of each can be determined upon.
State and Private Ownership of Forest Lands.—The proposition to dispose of the public lands of the Government by giving them to the States in which they are situated has often been under discussion, and in this connection it has been suggested that if the Government will give the forested lands to the States they will be better taken care of than by the General Government. This may be true, but as long as the forestry question is an interstate problem there will be great difficulty in adjusting conditions within a State so as to do full justice to the interests of the adjoining States. This applies more largely to fire protection and the water for irrigation than to timber supplies. If the General Government, however, should not establish a permanent and successful forest policy, I believe that it would be much better to give the forested lands to the States than to continue the system of waste and destruction that has existed in the past. There is no doubt that under State adminstration something would be done, but the chances are that it would come too late to be of avail in the permanent protection of the forests.
Private ownership of forest lands within or adjoining the forest reserves can not but be detrimental to the interests of the forests and to the people to whom they are tributary. Both individuals and corporations purchase the forested lands for the purpose of profit, and when this is secured, either by the cutting of the timber or by sale to other parties, their interest ceases. It is very rarely, except in the case of very large holdings, that any attempt at protection against destruction by fire is made, but any one who has traversed the forests of the West in the vicinity of settlements has seen the results of the cutting of the timber. If it happens that firewood is marketable, the land is swept clean of every tree upon it, and great piles of brush are left scattered over the ground, ready to carry the first fire that may reach them to the adjoining forest, and destroy every vestige of vegetation that may have escaped the axe in the area cut over.
Conclusions.—The question of the forest reserves has both a practical and a sentimental interest. Its practical bearings are felt by the people of the States in which the reserves are situated, and by those interests in adjoining States which are dependent upon the reserves for their timber supply and, in the arid and semiarid States, for water for irrigation, without which it would be impossible for the population of large areas to exist. The sentimental interest is largely among the people who, without any direct values at stake, feel that the element of the population that would waste the forest must be restrained in its tendency to destroy what is the common heritage of the people at large in all areas to which the forests are tributary. There is also a large class who believe that it is worth while to protect the animal life of the forests, and to set aside areas where in the future the crowded population of the nation may have great public parks open to all for health and sport.
There is a strong tendency among thoughtful citizens of the States in which the reserves are situated, and in adjoining States, to favor the protection and wise administration of the forests on the public domain, and as soon as it is made manifest that this will be accomplished by the reservation policy the sentiment in favor of the reserves will be as great among the people directly affected as among those who now advocate the existence of the reserves from sentiment. In opposition to this is the relatively small but very active and influential class composed of those whose personal interests are directly affected by the reservation policy. Their opposition is based on expectation of immediate gain, regardless of the future of mining or agriculture, of property rights of the Government, or of the rights of the future generations which may occupy the region affected by the presence or absence of forests. From their point of view, opposition to any forest policy is reasonable, as it affects their capital and income, but it can not be sustained as against the welfare of the masses of the people of this and future generations. The policy of forest reserves has evidently come to remain, provided the attempt is not made to accomplish too much at once without regard to the rights of those having homes or property within the limits of the reserves. It is also essential that the reserves should not be kept as idle parks a day longer than is absolutely necessary to establish a system of administration that will provide for the use of the timber, protect the immature trees and undergrowth, and permit of the development of the mineral resources.
If the reserves are judiciously selected and honestly administered, and thus made to commend the policy to the American people, the difficulties to be met will be of little moment. That the reserves will be of great benefit to the communities to which they are tributary is absolutely certain, and it is also certain that in time the policy of forest reserves will develop into one of the most popular, beneficial, and valuable institutions of the Government. It is based on the experience and mature judgment of the most intelligent and progressive nations of the world, and if properly planned and administered its future in the United States will be all that its strongest supporters hope for.