National Geographic : 1894 Jan 31
170 F. H. Newell-Arid Regions of the United States. cattle men, had long been practiced by the Pueblo Indians and neighboring Mexicans, and to a certain extent adopted by Mor mons when driven into the wilderness by their fellow-Christians. This depended upon the cultivation of the soil by artificial application of water, obtained usually from a small river or creek, and conducted to the field by laboriously-made ditches, often miles in length. The expense and trouble of applying water necessitated the tillage of relatively small farms, this disadvantage being compensated in part by a larger average production. Nothing could be in greater contrast to the broad corn fields'of the Mississippi valley, extending on all sides to the horizon, than the miniature gardens, from which, however, come luscious fruits and extraordinary vegetables. As mines were opened and towns established it soon became evident that in the long run the furnishing of food-stuffs and forage would be equally profitable with laboring in the mines and mills, if not more so. The methods of the Mormons and Mex icans were copied, new sources of water-supply sought, ditches dug, and land brought under cultivation wherever it could be irrigated. Thus it has resulted that within a few years towns have sprung up in every direction, most of them dependent to a large extent upon mining, but having, through practice of agri culture by irrigation, capabilities of self-support and of future extension. These areas are so vast that the land irrigated or occupied by towns and mines or other industries forms but a very small percentage of the total area, most of which still be longs to the United States and is open to entry and settlement under the homestead laws. The total land area west of the 100th meridian and exclud ing certain of the more humid portions of Oregon and Washing ton is 1,371,960 square miles,* or, in round numbers, 878,000,000 acres. Of this, about 7 per cent, or 64,000,000 acres, may be con sidered as desert, having no known value, even in its minerals. A somewhat larger area-about 9 per cent, or 83,200,000 acres is timbered, this heavily wooded land consisting mainly of moun tain slopes and plateaus. Fringing this and scattered on the hill slopes and along the streams are clumps of trees capable of yielding firewood, fence posts, etc. The aggregate area of these scantily wooded lands is estimated to be 115,200,000 acres, or a * Thirteenth annual report of the United States Geological Survey, part 3, p. 8.
1894 Feb 14
1893 Jul 10