National Geographic : 1909 Jan
NOTES ON OUR FOREST SERVICE Photo from U. S. Forest Service BUILDING FIRE LINE AROUND A BLAZE IN HELENA NATIONAL FOREST, MONTANA is worth $2 per thousand feet, was about as 4 cents to $I,ooo. The entire cost of national forest administration was equiv alent to a charge of one-third of I per cent on the value of the timber pro tected-surely a cheap "insurance rate. This immunity from fires must be as cribed chiefly to the results of the con sistent efforts made in the past to inform the public as to the danger of careless ness in the use of fires in the forest and to the recognized necessity of vigilance to put out small fires. With reasonable cooperation on the part of the public to prevent fires and reasonable provision for .discovering and fighting fires when they start, really heavy losses are entirely pre ventable. The widespread forest fires of - recent months are a case in point. Rela tively little damage was done to the national forests at a time when the air was thick with smoke almost from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast, and most of the national forest loss which was suf fered, amounting to perhaps $I,ooo,ooo, was due solely to the fact that the area to be protected is so vastly out of pro portion to the resources at the disposal of the Forest Service. Examinations of lands under the act of June II, 1906, led to the listing for settle ment of about 240,000 acres of national forest land. IMPROVING THE FORESTS AND RANGES .Reforesting of large areas of the national forests is called for primarily in the interest of the water supply of the West, but also, though less pressingly, for the sake of an enlarged timber supply. Broadcast sowings were made during the year in 27 forests, in 8 states, to test by experiment the extent to which reforesta tion may be hoped for through the use of this method. The national forest nur series, in which are being grown stock for transplanting, were enlarged and about 700,000 trees were planted. Over 2,000,000 trees will be ready for planting in 1909.