FORESTS AND THE LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY.
Hon. JAMES WILSON,
The regulation of grazing upon the public forest lands is a forest question, and, like all other national forest questions, its settlement should always be for the best interests of the people most deeply interested. Forest reserves are essential to the permanent productiveness of that portion of the public range which they inclose. The question of grazing has from the beginning been the chief problem in the management of the forest reserves. The principles which control the conservative use of the public range are identical with those which control the conservative use of the public forests. The objects are a constant supply of wood and water on the one hand and of forage on the other. Just as the sawmills must eventually shut down unless forestry is applied to the forest from which the saw logs come, so the horses, the cattle, and the sheep of the West must decrease both in quality and number unless the range lands of the arid region are wisely used. Overgrazing is just as fatal to the livestock industry as destructive logging is to the lumber industry. The highest returns from the forest can be had only through recognizing it as invested capital, capable under wise management of a steady and increasing yield, and the permanent carrying power of the range can be maintained or increased only by the wise regulation of grazing.
E. S. GOSNEY,
* * * President Roosevelt, standing in the pine forest on the line of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado a few months ago, said of our Arizona forest reserves: "Use them for grazing, for farming, for lumber, for whatever they are best adapted, but so use them that you will not destroy their usefulness for future generations." And in his heart every man in that audience said "Amen."
* * * There must be closer relations between the stockmen and home builders and the forest officials. Their representations must be frank and open; they must know one another. If there are conflicting interests, the parties must be brought together and no contest settled on an ex parte hearing.
* * * There is no real conflict of interest between the home builder on the irrigated ranch and the home builder in the forest reserve, with his cattle or sheep grazing on the public lands. Whatever destroys the productiveness of the soil, whether too many stock, bad management, fire, or recklessness in any manner, damages all. The conflicts between cattle and sheep interests are the clashing of individual interests and not of the two industries. If the individuals can be brought together and calmly talk their differences over, 90 per cent of such evils will disappear.
* * * The public lands of the West are rapidly filling with real home builders, and the large ranges outside of the Mexican land grants and private holdings, must be given up to the use of the settlers. We whose stock feed in large pastures and cover large areas of public land must gradually give way to the smaller home builder.
A. F. POTTER,
The Government realizes the importance of the livestock industry to the prosperity of the Western Commonwealths, and the fact that a very large proportion of the people are directly dependent upon it for the support of their homes. The great economic value of the forage products of the forest reserves is also realized, and an effort has been made to use this resource in the way which appears to be best for the interests of all concerned. Care has been taken in the preparation and enforcement of grazing regulations to avoid, as far as possible, any unnecessary disturbance of business by sudden changes in the manner of using the grazing lands. An effort has also been made to fit the regulations to the actual needs of the reserves, and to allow every privilege consistent with their proper care and management.
In, the settlement of questions concerning the use of products of the reserves, all of the different interests must be recognized and considered. The stockmen must not expect to be allowed to use the grazing land in a way which would be seriously detrimental to the interests of the farmer depending upon the water supply from the reserve for irrigation, or in a way which would destroy the forest growth. The lumbermen must also consider these interests and the future welfare of the country, and be willing to cut and handle the timber in a way which will insure a continued growth of the forest, and the farmer must not expect the Government to entirely stop the grazing of live stock or the cutting of timber, but must be content to have these things done under a proper system of regulation.
* * * The stockman has learned from experience that forest reserve protection of the summer ranges means an improvement in the condition of his stock and an increase in the profits of his business. During the past season, when stock in many range sections suffered severely on account of lack of food and water, those who were fortunate enough to have pasturing privileges in the forest reserves were able to get their stock fat, while many of the outside stock on overcrowded ranges remained thin in flesh, the result being that the stock pastured on the forest reserves were in better demand and sold for more money than those from the outside ranges.
Last Updated: 01-Apr-2008