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The present generation has grown up under the general impression that our natural resources are practically inexhaustible. The present and coming generation should be taught that these resources are diminishing, and in some cases cannot be placed; else they may learn this lesson through bitter experience when it is too late.
In the opening up of a new country, it is frequently necessary that the valuable material should be wasted, and this has notably been the case with timber, which has either purposely or accidentally been burned to an enormous extent. The proper development of water power and the construction of ample storage reservoirs to regulate streamflow are within the province of the civil and hydraulic engineer, and the problem of distribution becomes the final factor in a single branch of this great movement for the conservation of natural resources, which is now one of the most important questions confronting the people of this continent.
In certain districts irrigation upon a large scale becomes possible only through the use of electricity, generated by waterpower, which may be then transmitted for pumping purposes at various points upstream where suitable tracts of land are available for agriculture. Many projects of this character are too costly for serious consideration at present, but increased population or unusually favorable locations may warrant large investments. In transmitting power for manufacturing purposes, other factors enter into the problem. The relative cost of steam power, and the market for the power delivered by electricity, must be taken into consideration.
During the last ten years ample data have been obtained to enable the electrical engineer to pass upon the feasibility of any project that may be submitted to him. He may not be able to tell you what electricity is, but he can tell you what it can do, what the cost will be, and what its limitations are.
If each delegate to this Congress returns to his home with renewed inspiration to attack the many problems with which the American people are today confronted, he will feel that his time has been profitably spent, and that unless he has in some measure contributed toward the welfare of posterity he will have lived in vain. This world was made for eternity, and not for a generation. (Applause.)
MR. GEORGE F. AUST, MEMBER OF THE WASHINGTON STATE GAME PROTECTIVE Association AND OF THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN SPORTSMEN.
It has been my misfortune to have heard so few of the able addresses which have been delivered here, that if some of them have touched upon or exhaustively treated the subject of conserving our game and fish, I trust you will pardon any repetition on my part. It is a testimonial to the comprehensiveness of the great conservation movement, that there has been separately set apart for discussion this subject. And let me here express the hope that it will not appear paradoxical to anyone that a representative of the American sportsmen, as a sportsman, shall speak in favor of the preservation of what is left of our once bountiful supply of game; for, let it be understood, the true sportsman is not a destroyer, but a protector of game. He recognizes its economic value as thoroughly as does the man of business, from whose ranks he may be recruited. He recognizes its value from a scientific standpoint as well, and being, as the true sportsman always is, a lover of nature and the beautiful, he looks upon our great game possessions from a sentimental view, which gives to game its greatest value.
Speaking from an economic standpoint, who has not noticed that in the original wilds, the uncultivated places, where man has least to subsist upon, game is the most plentiful? Truly the American continent, until shorn of its game by man, has been a “land flowing with milk and honey.” It is too early for us of this generation to forget the debt we owe to the game birds, beast and fishes which made it possible for the hardy pioneer to live in plenty even before he had time to wring from the soil by agriculture a means of subsistence. Mountain and stream, forest and prairie, seemed in the earlier days to vie with one another in an effort to bestow the most to the comfort of man and to make possible the peopling of our vast domain. And as the encroachments of man came first in the less rugged places, so the game of our country, apparently as much by the decree of a well-ordered Providence as by the timidity of the forest creatures, has taken itself gradually mountainward, there still to assist in the work of man as he delves deep into the rugged hills in quest of their hidden wealth. Let the great western railroads remember in declaring their very satisfactory stock dividends, that it was the fish, the bounding deer, the swift antelope, the majestic elk, and the now almost extinct buffalo, which assisted to furnish food for man in his labors as he laid out and constructed some of these highways of steel. Even at this day, the miner and mountaineer owes a debt of deep gratitude to the wild beasts and birds and the fish of the streams, without which, in many instances, his work could scarcely be accomplished. That golden stream pouring steadily southward from the frozen north, comes laden with the scent of the moose and the caribou, the ptarmigan and water fowl. Who can fully estimate in cold cash the great value yet remaining in our herds of wild fur-bearing and food-giving animals? The time allotted to this subject will not permit a review of the efforts heretofore made to preserve our game and fish. Suffice it to say that every State in the Union has passed laws upon the subject, and in most of the States these laws have been fully enforced, will be the means of conservi ing, if not increasing, all of the original varieties of fish and game found in the various localities of the several States. In many instances provision by appropriation and otherwise has been made for stocking lakes and rivers with fish, and liberating in places devoid of game the choicest game fowls and animals. Only to the uninformed can it appear strange that talk of preserving game should emanate from sportsmen. They see in game its greatest value. To them a day in the woods or by the stream is an opportunity to commune with nature. No true sportsman would commercialize the game he kills, the fishes he may catch; you could not buy his creel of fish or bag of game at any price. He makes game and fish the subject of his thoughtful care. As it is he who sees its greatest value and for whom it holds its greatest charm, so it is he who is most solicitous for its preservation. Caring for it, as does the shepherd for his flock, he feels he may justifiably take a tithe for his labors while striving to prevent such destruction as will produce a scarcity of the animals, birds and fishes which supply delicacies for his table and lend a charm to his hours of recreation. Let me impress upon you who have gathered here to discuss and agitate in a national way the question of conserving our natural resources, and as may be noted from a perusal of your official programme of passing on into the broader field and taking into consideration questions affecting, either through lack of health or improper environment, the quality of our citizenship, that to the mind of the sportsman it appears of great importance that our game birds, fishes and game animals should be carefully conserved. It
is as necessary to preserve the physical strength and vigor