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For these reasons we recommend as our very best judgment that this meeting correct us as far as may be necessary in stating its beliefs and desires and then leave working out the detail until we can offer the executive officials of the next Congress the courtesy of consulting with them, with the understanding, however, that there shall be no negligence or unnecessary delay and that long before the next Congress all these matters shall be arranged in detail and given the necessary publicity
Your committee consequently recommends further either that it be given instructions to act as suggested, or that it be discharged and the duties outlined be added to those of the committee of three already appointed to discuss similar questions. We believe that a faithful attempt to work the matter out in this way will be more satisfactory than trying to settle matters at this session. There is ample time if we do not waste it, and less danger of error.
The report was adopted, following the suggestion that the Committee on Permanent Organization be discharged and its duties imposed upon the permanent co-operative committee, including E. T. Allen, Prof. H. S. Graves and J. B. White.
Mr. Allen, being called out to assist in revising the resolutions of the general Congress, asked Mr. Sterling to take the chair, and suggested the reading of a paper sent by Chief Forester Graves, outlining the policy of the Forest Service.
Mr. Graves’ paper (appearing elsewhere in the proceedings of the Congress) was animatedly discussed, the meeting without dissenting voice approving the Forest Service policy and deploring any attempt to restrict its operation. Short talks urging its support by all forest interests, State and private, including the Conservation Congress, were made by Z. D. Scott, Minnesota; F. A. Elliott and II. D. Langille, Oregon, and W. H. Shippen, Georgia. A resolution was passed emphasizing the meeting's endorsement of the resolutions commending the Forest Service then before the general Congress (and adopted the following day).
Mr. Langille spoke particularly against the turning over of the National forests to State control and Mr. Shippen of the necessity of Federal control of interstate watersheds.
A discussion of State legislation followed. Mr. Scott described the effort of Minnesota under its new law. Leonard Bronson, Washington, outlined the trend of attempted tax reform, dwelling particularly upon the yield tax system proposed by Professor Fairchild of Yale University, and urged concerted, harmonious effort by all forest States. Dr. Drinker and Mr. Wheeler reviewed the proposed Pennsylvania law for a nominal land tax and a yield tax from which counties are to be reimbursed for taxes lost during growing period.
Upon motion of Mr. I. C. Williams, Pennsylvania, the meeting went on record as considering tax reform to promote reforestation and better forest management, the most important problem and the one most in need of study and legislation of any before the forest interests of the United States today.
The Forestry Section of the Fourth National Conservation Congress then adjourned, leaving plans for more effective work in 1913 in the hands of the committee of three previously mentioned.
REGISTER FORESTRY SECTION MEETING.
E. T. Allen, Western Forestry and Conservation Association, Portland, Oregon.
A review of the work of forestry in this country during the past year shows that in many directions there has been substantial progress and positive achievement. On the other hand, the continued organized attacks on the National Forest system, and the efforts to break it down or cripple it, present a situation of real danger which the country should realize and vigorously meet. We have before us a task of constructive activity in practical work, extending and building on foundations already laid: we have also the task of preventing a destructive attack upon National forestry.
During the past few years public interest in forestry has been rapidly changing from a mere inquiry in regard to its purpose to a vigorous demand for practical results. This more intelligent public sentiment is now finding its expression in a growing appreciation of the need of better forest laws, greater State appropriations for fire control, and increasing interest in forest protection by private timberland owners. It often happens that public attention is caught only by the most striking new departments and developments, such as a change in public policy or important legislation, while but little is known of the steady advance in applied forestry. The past year has been signalized not so much by new undertakings as by marked accomplishment in the effective carrying out of work previously inaugurated.
1'ROGRESS IN NATIONAL FORESTRY.
Every year shows increased efficiency in the administration of the national forests. The most conspicuous advance has been in organized fire protection. The disastrous year of 1910 taught many lessons. While that disaster could not have been avoided in the absence of better transportation and communication facilities and without a larger patrol force than the Forest Service could put into the field, it nevertheless showed how, even under the present conditions, the work of protection could be made more effective. Full use was made of the experience gained in that year, and during the past two seasons the loss by fire has been kept down to a comparatively small amount through the efficient system now in for e. The problem, however, of fire protection on the national forests is far from being solved. There still remain to be built some 80,000 miles of trails, 45,000 miles of telephone lines, many miles of roads, many lookout stations, and other improvements, before even the primary system of control will have been established. The funds at the disposal of the Forest Service are still inadequate to employ the patrolmen needed to meet more than ordinary emergency. There is even yet danger, therefore, that in the case of a great drought like that of 1910 some fires might gain the mastery and a similar disaster follow.
An account of the progress of the work of the Forest Service in the administration of the national forests would be an enumeration of the different activities in which the work is going on with constantly growing effectiveness. Many of the local difficulties of administration are rapidly disappearing. This is due to the steadily closer co-ordination of the interests of the Government with those of the people living in and using the forests. More and more these people are coming to appreciate that their interests and those of the national forests are one. With a better understanding of the aims and methods of the Forest Service, local difficulties are disappearing and local support of the service is largely replacing opposition. Those who are aiming to destroy the national forest system are not the settlers and others who use the forests, but rather men who seek for their own advantage special privileges to which they are not entitled, and who wish to acquire for little or nothing valuable resources for speculation and personal gain.
During the past year the Weeks law, authorizing the purchase of lands on navigable streams, has been put into effect, and the Government has already entered into contracts for the purchase of 230,000 acres in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, and about 72,000 acres in the White Mountains. These lands are being secured on the most desirable areas, and it has been possible to obtain them for reasonable prices. A special feature of the Weeks law is the co-operation between the Government and the States in fire protection on watersheds of navigable streams. The law provides $200,000, until expended, for such co-operation; but this money can be used only in States which have already inaugurated a system of fire protection under public direction. During the year 1911 there were eleven States which qualified under this law, receiving in the aggregate about $40,000. During the current year sums varying from $1,500 to $10,000 have been allotted to the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington. There is still sufficient money left from the original appropriation for substantial cooperation during another year. It has been the aim of the Forest Service to spread the money over three years in order that there may be a full demonstration of what can be accomplished, and at what cost. It will then he possible to present to Congress a satisfactory basis upon which to consider whether Federal aid to the States should be continued.
The most urgent need of the national forest work is more ample provision of the funds necessary for adequate protection of the forests against fire. It is especially urgent that the work of constructing roads, trails, telephone lines, and other improvements needed for fire protection be extended much more rapidly than at present.
PROGRESS IN STATE FORESTRY.
A very great obligation rests upon the State governments in working out the problem of forestry. Organized fire protection under State direction, the establishment of a reasonable system of taxation of growing timber, honest and conservative management of State forest laws, education of woodland owners to better methods of forestry, and such practical regulation of handling private forests as may be required for the protection of the public, are problems which require the immediate action of all States. While no State is as yet accomplishing all that it should, a number of them are making very rapid progress, and are giving as liberal money support as perhaps could be expected under the present conditions. The feature of State forestry which stands out most strongly is that a number of States have gone beyond merely passing forest laws, and have begun to provide the funds necessary to achieve practical results. At last it is beginning to be recognized that the prevention of fire is the fundamental necessity, and that this can be accomplished only through an organized public service. In order to make laws effective there must be adequate machinery to carry them out. The fundamental principle of fire protection is preparation. A forest region must be watched for fires, both to prevent their being started and to reach quickly and put out such as from one cause or another may get under way. The new State legislation recognizes this need, and already there has been inaugurated a measure of watchfulness in the season of greatest danger, through patrol or lookouts under State direction. During 1911, which was a banner year in the enactment of State legislation, laws related chiefly to fire protection were passed by Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin; while Colorado created the office of State Forester. Since the beginning of 1912 Maryland and New York have amended their forest laws, and Kentucky has passed its first complete law. It is exceedingly gratifying that substantial progress is now being made in the South. Unfortunately, however, none of the Southern States except Maryland has hitherto been able to qualify to receive Federal aid and fire protection under the Weeks law. It is hoped that during the coming year progress will be made in those Southern States in which practically nothing has yet been done. One of the matters to which the Conservation Congress and all other educational agencies should devote their efforts is to bring about the protection of private lands from fire and the extension to them of forestry methods. While some may say that this is a matter for which the owner is personally responsible, the fact remains that private owners will ordinarily not work out the forestry problem on their lands without the participation of the public in the form of public regulations, co