National Geographic : 1894 Jan 31
172 F. H. Newell-Arid Regions of the United States. The tillable lands to be benefited by water conservation or by the utilization of the larger streams not now diverted by canals are almost wholly owned or claimed by individuals or corpora tions, so that future developments must rest most largely with these. Wise legislation will do much to aid in making feasible many great undertakings, but as a rule it may be said that de velopments in this line must depend largely upon individual efforts and upon the ordinary laws of supply and demand. It has been estimated that by a complete utilization of the water supply of the arid regions about 40,000,000 acres can be irrigated; but, allowing even that 100,000,000 acres of the fer tile grazing land can be thus redeemed, there still remain over 500,000,000 acres, most of which, as well as the desert and timber acres, are still in the hands of the general Government. The question as to the best utilization of the great body of unoccupied lands is one of immediate concern to the country at large, as well as to the inhabitants of this area. In a general way it may be said that the more easily available resources have already been taken possession of by individuals or by associa tions of men, and there remain only such as were rejected or not available. Much of the best mineral land is owned by private parties, but even on the explored Government land there are probably many mines yet to be discovered. The herds of cattle have increased to such an extent that the lands, whether owned by the Government or by corporations, are thoroughly grazed over, and in many localities the herds must be fed with hay, during part of the year at least. All of the water supply of the country which can be readily diverted is claimed or appropriated by irrigation or land companies, and almost without excep tion the irrigable lands along perennial streams has passed out of the hands of the Government. Still the demand for homes continues, and settlers are from necessity forced to attempt to make a living where conditions seem to be against them. There are thousands or perhaps millions of farms which can be pur chased from individuals or corporations, but the possibilities of obtaining agricultural land from the Government seem to be almost exhausted.
1894 Feb 14
1893 Jul 10