National Geographic : 1905 Aug
388 THE NATIONAL GE 4, 1897, gave the Secretary of the In terior authority to protect the reserves and make them useful. The passage of this law was the first step toward a na tional forest service. The second step was the act of Congress, approved Feb ruary i, 1905, which transferred the control of the national forest reserves from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Agriculture. This act consolidated the government's forest work, which had been divided between the General Land Office and the Bureau of Forestry, and secured for the reserves the supervision of trained foresters. President McKinley, and after him President Roosevelt, continued to make forest reserves. The latter introduced a system of examining the proposed forest reserves, so that now their boundaries are better located than ever before. Under him great progress has been made by the government in bringing about the practice of forestry by forest owners and in awakening the great lumber interests, as well as the people in general, to the dangers of forest destruction. USE OF FOREST RESERVES The forest reserves lie chiefly in high mountain regions. They are 62 in num ber, and cover an area (January I, 1905) of 63,308,319 acres. They are useful, first of all, to protect the drainage basins of streams used for irrigation, and espe cially the watersheds of the great irriga tion works which the government is con structing under the reclamation law, which was passed in 1902. This is their most important use. Secondly, they supply grass and other forage for many OGRAPHIC MAGAZINE thousands of grazing animals during the summer, when the lower ranges on the plains and deserts are barren and dry. Lastly, they furnish a permanent supply of wood for the use of settlers, miners, lumbermen, and other citizens. This is at present the least important use of the reserves, but it will be of greater conse quence hereafter. The best way for the government to promote each of these three great uses is to protect the forest reserves from fire. The forest service plans to add a trained forester to the executive force of each forest reserve to introduce practical forestry on all re serves. STATE FORESTRY Many of the states have taken great and effective interest in forestry. Among those which have made most progress are New York and Pennsylvania. New York has a state forest preserve of 1,436,686 acres, and Pennsylvania one of 700,000. Michigan, Minnesota, and other states are following their example. In 1892 the first example of system atic forestry in the United States was begun at Biltmore, in North Carolina. It is still in successful operation. The first professional foresters in the United States were obliged to go abroad for their training, but in 1898 profes sional forest schools were established at Cornell University, in New York,and at Biltmore, in North Carolina, and they were followed by the Yale Forest School in 1900. Others have sprung up since. At present thorough and efficient train ing in professional forestry can be had in the United States.