« AnteriorContinuar »
in such a position to be of practical use and benefit to the people, as they should be; in other words, we do not believe they will be bottled up or pickled or preserved for future generations, but under wise and equitable laws and administration will be converted to the use of the people. The forest reserves are properly cared for in Utah, and their use and administration is equitable and fair. Mr Pinchot told us when he began his administration that while no doubt mistakes would be made and some inconvenience suffered by the people, yet he wanted it understood that the forests belonged to the people, and that the purpose of the Government was not to exploit them for revenue or for glory or for the fun there was in it, but rather to take care of them for the use and benefit of the people, especially for the people who had conquered and developed the adjoining country; to conserve the water supply, and to perpetuate and care for all the resources and homes of the people. He further told us that whenever we could suggest betterment of the Service in the interest of the people, such suggestions would be gladly welcomed. Such promises have been faithfully carried out, and we believe the Government has been a kind parent to the State of Utah. We see no reason for a quarrel as to the rights of the State and those of the Government. We think there is plenty for both to do. and that at least to us there is profit and benefit for us to go hand in hand in cooperation with the Federal Government in the development of our State. We believe that only by the General Government can the problem of waterpower sites, particularly on large or interstate streams, be handled. The history of Utah shows that some years ago the adjudication of water-rights was in the courts of the several Judicial Districts of the State, and that in the course of their procedure it was a common thing for all the water of the stream to be decreed to the several owners residing within that Judicial District, absolutely without regard to the rights of other citizens using water from the same stream, although residing in some other Judicial District. We changed our laws, placing the acquirement and adjudication of water-rights in the State Engineer. We found this a big improvement, but we still find ourselves in the matter of interstate streams entirely at the mercy of the fellow above us. Of course the fellow below can take care of himself. The lesson is obvious. We maintain that only the General Government can properly and rightly hand out justice and equity in the matter of power sites and water-rights as affecting interstate streams. We have found cooperation with the General Government immensely valuable to us in the matter of experiments in the drainage of water-logged or alkali lands, measurement and recording of the flow of our streams, the eradication of disease among our livestock. and in fact in every department where cooperation has been tried. We are suffering today in Utah, as in many other parts of the country, from mistakes and carelessness of the general Government in the handling of the public resources, but this is also true of ourselves in our own administration; and we are very glad to see an awakening on this subject. The people of Utah, in common with all of the people of the whole country, are deeply interested in the subject of Conservation in all its phases, and believe that the great mistakes of the past, both National and in our own State, will not be repeated.
REPORT FROM VERMONT
The Commission on the Conservation of the Natural Resources of Vermont has no statutory existence. but was originally appointed by Governor Fletcher D. Proctor in support of the general Conservation movement instituted by the Conference of Governors at Washington in May of 1908. The Commission has been continued by parole of Governor George H. Prouty.
It has recognized and been in absolute sympathy with the principles fundamental to Conservation work, namely, that conservative use and, where practicable, the intelligent maintenance and restoration of natural resources are indispensable to the continued prosperity of State and Nation and of inter-nations: that State boundaries or National boundaries do not confine and limit natural resources; that it has become the sacred duty of State and Nation to take measures for the preservation on the people's account of all the means of their life, welfare, and comfort, including soils, water, minerals, and forests: these to be safe~...~-42d as a blic utilities to he used and treated in the interests of foot. -2 as : as of existing generations, and to be stripped of every vestige of monopoly and trust. Apart from the conservation of these necessary and material things. we have been interested in the advancement also of what is nearly as, if not more, important, the conservation of health, the retention and improvement of our self-governing opportunities, the equalizing and qualification of educational opportunity, and of every phase of civic, moral and social advance. Vermont is mainly interested directly in the conservation and right use of public health, of its soil, of its forests and woodlots, of its water supplies, of its quarries of granite, marble, and slate, of its game and fish, and in its steadfast attention to educational opportunity and the administration of justice. For the greater part it possesses a very widespread individual ownership and control in all its natural resources and their development and use. It has for decades prior to the so-called Conservation movement supervised and fostered all these economies through legislation; so that it may be said that the State has gradually but definitely applied the principles of Conservation to its affairs and its resources for many years prior to the existing discussion of the subject. This is true in connection with quarrying, agriculture, forestry, and water supplies, though it should be added that Conservation subjects have been much more prominently considered in recent years with increasing advantage to the farmers of the State and also with an increase in manufactures. Our method of legislation and the machinery of our self-government represent an evolution and are the result of much and intimate public discussion, and they are working out good economic results. Perhaps this may best be indicated by a reference to the legislation passed in 1908. There was enacted a law which abolished the Board of Agriculture, and substituted in its place a Board of Agriculture and Forestry, consisting of the Governor, the director of the State Agricultural Experiment Station, and two citizens known to be interested in the advancement of agriculture and forestry. The disbursement of the appropriation under this Act was left discretionary between agriculture and forestry, and the results in the brief elapsing period since its passage have been very gratifying. In addition to this there were acts sustaining the work of the State Agricultural College, providing for increased support of agricultural fairs, for the acquisition of forest reserves, for the appointment and maintenance of a State Forester, for the more definite supervision of all agricultural interests, and for a more direct inspection of cattle and of dairies. The appropriations of 1908 included increased provision for the conservation of agricultural, forest, and dairy interests, for the care of game, for education and public health, and for the investigation of the water resources of the State. Special attention was given to amendments of the law which aim to safeguard forests from fire and game from extinction, and to prevent the loss or misuse of water for domestic, power, and transportation purposes. This, however, was not an accident of recent agitation, but more particularly an evolution; and it operates, so far as Vermont is concerned, in a true appreciation, use, and care-taking of its local resources. There has been special consideration given of late to public health, and laws were enacted governing the inspection of animals, supervising control of contagious and infectious diseases, suppressing adulterations of foods and drugs, advancing the working plans of the State laboratory of hygiene, more closely regulating the practice of medicine and surgery, forcing more specific duties on health officers everywhere, defining the practice of optometry—in short, all the means by which a State government may advance the well-being of its citizens through the application of what has been made known in science touching all these questions. The State also advanced the well-being of its people by conserving their natural resources, material or acquired, through the creation of a Public Utility Commission, whose work has since demonstrated the need and value of its existence by its influence in behalf of the public of their use and service. We hold here that one of the most effective Conservation measures is that which gives the people the best service at the lowest cost of all the applications of natural resources, as interpreted by science, which nature bestows in the way of power, water, light, and drainage. We wish to state positively, however, that these problems cannot be treated as accidents of public experience, but as subjects of legislation and public treatment which define themselves in their true relationship to property rights and individual rights and to public necessity by the process of evolution. This is illustrated by the way in which forestry conservation was instituted in Vermont many years back, when a few men of foresight took an interest in the subject, formed a society, and kept bringing attention to the subject until it was made a part of the law and in equal standing with agriculture in this State, and is now apparently an assured State subject of continued standing as much as other
subjects of legislation, like education, public health, the preservation of game, and the administration of justice. The expansion of the granite and marble industries of Vermont has been so great as to give it rank among the foremost producing States of the Union, and in the art and quality of its material and work it is foremost in all respects. .. In self-government, as affects all the things which make living conditions naturally satisfactory and profitable, there has been marked increase in the conservation of all the living opportunities afforded by the State; but it is again emphasized that this has been in due course of growth and not the incidental recognition of a possibility. Our people have been conservative, rational, and human in the development of their chance, their natural resources, and their duty in regard to these, and have not required either through neglect or by any lapse of their rights the service of the National Government in this regard, least of all through any material modification of the relationship defining State rights and State duties. There is a greater disposition here to accept direction as concerns the husbandry of our resources from science than from politics, and to insist that the care and supervision of such matters will best conserve our interests and our happiness if left to the judgment, regulation, and control of our own folks. There has been in the past few years a marked increase of income per acre from cultivated land in Vermont, and a relatively greater income per acre than in the leading agricultural States, due, no doubt, to more intense farming, and there has also been an increase in the output of dairy products, while quarrying and stone-cutting manufactures have multiplied and taken a strong grasp on market opportunity. At the same time the great glory and strong defense of our State, its forests and its woodlots, have been conserved, and planting and scientific cutting have more and more become the rule. The reports from the stone industries indicate a growing demand for the manufactures of the State in granite, marble, and slate. The reports from agriculture indicate an increasing tillage and a larger financial return, an advance in the price of land, and vastly improved living conditions of the farm. The report from all the State commissions charged with the supervision of public health and the real life interests of the people supply increasing evidence of improved water supplies, of municipal lighting and power ownership, of increased transportation facilities, of reduction on accident hazards, and of steady advances in the art of and provision for public instruction. In forestry, which is one of the greatest natural resources of Vermont apart from its vast contribution to the beauty of the State as a great natural park and game preserve, there has been the most marked advance. The office of State Forester was established in April of 1909, since which date its occupant, Mr A. F. Hawes, has made sixty-three addresses upon the subject in various parts of the State before numerous associations, agricultural societies, and forestry conventions. The State nursery under his direction has become one of the largest in the United States, today containing over 3,000,000 trees, and there have been sold within the past year—a remarkable exhibit for a State of our size—750,000 trees, distributed through every county in our State. Private timber holdings have been examined, detailed advices for handling many forests have been furnished, and in many instances trees have been marked for cutting by State advice on private lands. Besides this, there have been established two State forests of 800 acres which will be treated as subsidiary reservation nurseries to the one established at Burlington. Attention has been and is being given to all details relating to the promotion of agriculture, forestry, dairying, minerals, and water powers, so that it is possible to advise you that Vermont is wholly alive to all natural, moral, educational, industrial, civic, and political propositions as they stand related to the Conservation of everything that will best promote the well-being and happiness of its people.
REPORT FROM WASHINGTON
On behalf of the Washington delegation, of which I have the honor of being Chairman, I desire to congratulate this Congress and every delegate on the oppor . tunity afforded us in hearing that grand interpretation of Conservation so ably presented by President Taft. It will live as an epic, and should be translated throughout the land.
Since that opening day I have been thrilled and electrified by this theme of Conseryation, which is but another name for Patriotism—the husbanding of the
The country is stirred by that same feeling which I sometimes think aroused our Fathers before the Civil War. Let us profit by the great forward steps they made in the determination of State and Federal rights. To us it has fallen to solve these patriotic, philanthropic, and commercial questions of the day. I deplore the interjection of demagoguery and personal political advancement. I believe there is a sane, safe and sound Conservation that we can all practice. Above all things, let us eschew politics and throw a little more of that unseliish, self-sacrificing effort into this great fight for the Nation that characterizes our friend and collaborator, Gifford Pinchot. We should leave this Congress united in this one idea at least, that we will stop the Nation's waste and encourage its development, so far as it lies within Our power. Eighteen years ago I left the State of Minnesota and this delightful city which was my home, to do my share in the development of the Pacific Slope— “I love its rocks and rills, its woods and templed hills.” Wild horses could not drag me back to Minnesota, where fifty years ago my father pioneered, and is yet interested—not that I love Minnesota less, but only that I love Washington more. You have grown and developed great cities. Do not forget to let us do likewise. We no longer say, with Greely, “Go West;" we say, Come West. Under the classic shades of our noble forests and within easy access of the snow-capped peak of Mount Tacoma—that mother of water-powers and protector of forests– we are solving our pioneer problems, and we are not lagging behind in the race. Our citizenship is of the highest type and from all of your States, for it is composed of that progressive element that first made your own cities famous—and did not back out of big problems. We are no longer savages devastating the frontier and Uncle Sam's patrimony. He is no longer “rich enough to give us all a farm;” but we are citizens alive to the big problems of the day—and we are the virgin State in which Conservation and common sense can be practiced before it is too late. I predict for the State of Washington—with wise Federal and State legislation—a shining example of what horse-sense and Conservation will bring about. If we sell our common lumber at the mills on Puget Sound for $8 to $10 a thousand, which is two to three dollars less than we got 15 years ago, and have to pay $600 to $700 for a team of horses in Minnesota today that 15 years ago we could buy for $200 to $300, is it any wonder that we lumbermen of the West are interested in Conservation ? Rich beyond measure in timber, coal, fish, mines, and agricultural lands, the great State of Washington is with you and your commissions that must finally work out and crystallize wise and patriotic legislation. Let us Nationally inventory our stocks and resources, unify and codify our laws affecting taxation and irrigation, liability and responsibility-develop our interstate commerce, and promote the general welfare.
REPORT FROM WEST VIRGINIA
Near the close of 1908 Honorable W. M. O. Dawson, then Governor of West Virginia, appointed a commission of three members, Neil Robinson. James Stewart, and Hu Maxwell, to prepare a report for the guidance of the Legislature in framing laws for the Conservation of the State's resources. The report was ready for the Legislature when it convened in January, 1909. It recommended a number of changes in existing laws, and the enactment of several rew ones. Its principal recommendations were as follows: 1—A forest law providing for the prevention and suppression of fire, and for the care of woodlands and watercourses. A draft of the proposed law was included in the report. 2-A law to lessen the waste of natural gas, by requiring the plugging of wells when not in use, and saving the gas from others instead of permitting it to blow into the air. It was urged that effort be made to check the leak from gaS lil all lS. 3–For the purpose of checking the tremendous loss of by-products in coke making a law was recommended, to take effect five years from its passage, prohibiting the erection of any other than by-product ovens, but placing no restrictions on any ovens then in use, so long as they might last.
4—The State was urged to cooperate with the Federal Government in all reasonable ways for the improvement of navigable rivers in the State, and in the protection of mountain forests and the building of storage reservoirs to check the rush of floods and improve low-water conditions. 5–The establishment of an engineering school was recommended for the special purpose of educating men to develop and conserve the State's resources. It was pointed out that much of the practical work of Conservation does not depend so much on the enactment of laws as on the training of men to do the work. In this connection it was shown that vast quantities of low grade coal, which is now unmarketable, is thrown away or left in the mines, though it wou'd be sufficient, if manufactured into producer gas, to furnish power to drive much of the machinery in the State and in surrounding regions. If the State's water-power were fully developed it would be sufficient to turn every wheel in the State, but this development cannot be brought about by laws alone—it must depend largely on trained men. 0–-Better game and fish laws were recommended to take the place of the old laws which had failed to produce the desired results. 7–It was urged that prompt investigation be made of the question of municipal water supply in the State with the view to the prevention of pollution of the running streams. 8–It appearing probable that certain valleys in West Virginia would respond in a satisfactory way to irrigation, it was recommended that experiments be carried out to test the matter. 9—The State's natural scenery is such that it might be made a valuable asset, in connection with the protection of forests and streams, and the Commission recommended that the fact be borne in mind in laying out new roads, so that full advantage be taken of all scenic possibilities. 10—An immigration agency was recommended for the purpose of bringing into the State desirable immigrants who will cultivate the farms which suffer from neglect in many parts of the State. 11—Changes in road laws were urged which would make possible the building of permanent, durable, desirable highways in place of the gullies and precipitous paths which in many parts have been tolerated as roads from the earliest settlement of the region down to the present. 12—The purchase of land by the State in each of the congressional districts was recommended for farms to serve as models and object lessons for the surrounding farmers; their management to be in the hands of trained agriculturists.
The Legislature which convened in January, 1909, considered one or two of the recommendations of the Commission. A forest and game law was enacted, though it was not the measure which the Commission recommended. The law, however, is a good one so far as it goes, and if its provisions shall be carried out, much good may be expected.
No steps were taken by the Legislature to lessen the waste of natural gas or to save the by-products in coke making. A new highway law was enacted, and a State commission was appointed to study the road problem.
REPORT FROM WISCONSIN
Governor James O. Davison appointed the Wisconsin . State Conservation Commission July 24, 1908. The seven members appointed were men whose positions gave them a considerable knowledge as to the natural resources of the State, and the Governor gave the Commission full authority to call upon any State department for detailed information. During the summer of 1908 the Commission held several meetings in the Capitol, and reports were prepared on the three most important and pressing Conservation problems in Wisconsin, viz: water-powers, forests, and soils. A full report covering these three subjects was then made to the Governor, and this the Governor transmitted to the Legislature in February, 1909. The Commission made the following recommendations: WATER-Powers. 1–That franchises for water-powers be granted under a general statute. 2—That the issuing of such franchises be placed in the hands of the railroad rate commission, or similar board, under conditions to be provided by a general