National Geographic : 1898 Apr
THE CIVIL GOVERNMENT OF ALASKA Yukon. The policy of the Government is to lease for a nominal sum sufficient area and water frontage for commercial, manu facturing, and shipbuilding purposes. The Government has also a military station near Circle City and another on the Copper river. Special legislation relating to Alaska has, up to the present time, had reference simply to the narrow strip along the south ern coast, known, as stated above, as the Panhandle, and to the Pribilof and Aleutian islands. Its provisions are not sufficiently flexible to permit of its extension to the interior by executive action. There is, however, one exception, wherein the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to extend the customs laws through out the Territory. The laws of the United States relating to mining claims and the rights incident thereto were put in force in Alaska by the act of 1884 and the act of March 3, 1891. The laws relating to lands and titles are as follows: The mineral land laws of the United States. Townsite laws which provide for the incorporation of townsites and acquirement of title thereto from the United States government to the townsite trustees. The law providing for trade and manufactures, giving each qualified person 160 acres of land in a square and compact form. Applica tions for townsites and for trade and manufacturing purposes are to be made to the marshal and clerk at Sitka. The coal-land reg ulations are distinct from the mineral regulations or laws, and the jurisdiction of neither coal laws nor public-land laws extends to Alaska, the territory being expressly excluded by the laws them selves from their operations. The act approved May 17, 1884, pro viding for civil government in Alaska, has this language as to mines and mining privileges: "The laws of the United States relating to mining claims and rights incidental thereto shall, on and after the passage of this act, be in full force and effect in said district of Alaska, subject to such regulations as may be made by the Secretary of the Interior and approved by the President, and parties who have located mines or mining privileges there, under the United States laws applicable to the public domain, or have occupied or improved or exercised acts of ownership over such claims, shall not be disturbed therein, but shall be allowed to perfect title by payments provided for." There is still more general authority. The act of July 4, 1866, says : "All valuable mineral deposits in lands belonging to the United States, both surveyed and unsurveyed, are hereby declared to be free and open to exploration and purchase, and lands in which they are found to occupation and purchase by citizens of the United States, and by those who have declared an intention to become such, under the rules prescribed by law and according to local cus toms or rules of miners in the several mining districts, so far as the same are applicable and not inconsistent with the laws of the United States."