Page images
PDF
EPUB

Senator ODDIE. Do you know what the losses from forest fires amount to annually?

Mr. EVENDEN. No, sir; I haven't that information on my tongue. I have it available.

Senator Oddie. Do you know what the total appropriations are for combating forest fires !

Mr. EVENDEN. It is a variable appropriation, sir. I think they are given a fixed appropriation and are authorized to create a deficiency.

Senator ODDIE. Do you not think that the Bureau of Entomology should be given some leeway.

Mr. EVENDEN. Yes, sir; I do. That is our trouble. We are obliged to attempt the combating of insect infestations, which is a very variable problem, with a fixed sum, and an inadequate fixed sum.

Senator ODDIE. Have you any other questions, Senator?
Senator GOODING. No; I think you have covered it.
Senator ODDIE. The next witness is Mr. Shellworth.

.

STATEMENT OF MR. H. C. SHELLWORTH, SECRETARY-MANAGER

OF THE SOUTHERN IDAHO TIMBER PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION AND LAND AGENT OF THE BOISE-PAYETTE LUMBER CO., BOISE, IDAHO

Senator ODDIE. Mr. Shellworth, will you give your name and address and your position to the reporter?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. H. C. Shellworth. I am secretary-manager of the Southern Idaho Timber Protective Association and land agent of the Boise-Payette Lumber Co., Boise, Idaho.

Senator ODDIE. Mr. Shellworth, have you a statement that you wish to make ?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. Senator, if I may I will enter here in the record the testimony that I gave two years ago before the Reforestation Committee, because it gives what I would have to say here in detail, and a lot of questions were asked at that time which brought out a good deal of information, and then I would like to bring that up to date.

Senator ODDIE. Would you like to present that for the record ?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes; if I may.
Senator ODDIE. Without objection, that will be allowed.

Mr. SHELLWORTH. This includes my testimony, as well as two exhibits which I presented, Exhibit C and Exhibit D.

(The testimony of Mr. Shellworth, together with Exhibits C and D, previously given, are here printed in the record in full, as follows:)

[Before the Reforestation Committee of the United States Senate in 1923] STATEMENT OF MR. H. C. SHELLWORTH, SECRETARY AND TREASURER OF SOUTHERN

IDAHO TIMBER PROTECTIVE AssociATION AND LAND AGENT OF THE BOISEPAYETTE LUMBER Co., BOISE, IDAHO

Mr. SHELL WORTH. I will give you that statement for the record, Senator, and because so much of this has been covered, I will just touch a few spots that I would like to emphasize,

The CHAIRMAN. Then, Mr. Shellworth, we will have this statement of yours inserted in the record. And you may make such additional verbal statement as you desire.

(See Exhibit C, printed at the end of hearing this day.) Mr. SHELLWORTH. The thing that I want particularly to touch on is the duty of the Government to help in the reforestation of southern Idaho, where there is a large area of public domain that it is necessary for the State and the private owner to protect without any cash consideration from the Government. For instance, affecting the Southern Idaho Timber Protective Association, having a total area of about 873,000 acres inside their patrol districts, there is about 258,000 acres of vacant public domain. This land has a potential timber, and a commercial timber, value to a certain, and a water-conservation value which is vital to the irrigated districts of southern Idaho. Some of this land bas a timber value as evidenced by the fact that in applications to purchase it. which have not been carried through because of the high valuation placed on it by agents of the Department of the Interior-values of from $6, I think, as a minimum, to $32, which the applicant didn't feel he could afford to pay for it, and it therefore remains " public domain."

Lands of that class are an appreciable per cent of the lands that we protect in the area of the Southern Idaho Association, although we have never received one cent of help from the Department of the Interior. We have repeatedly put fires out on their lands as a matter of public policy, which I will touch on later, when there was very little, if any, chance of it being of direct danger to us. I recall one instance where our association spent something like $1,300 and another instance where we spent something less than a thousand dollars, and when we made application to the Department of the Interior for the payment of those bills the answer we got was that inasmuch as they didn't have a representative on the ground they would not pay them. [p until a few years ago there was another tract of a million and a half acres called the Thunder Mountain district in the public domain which was subject to a very heavy fire loss ; a big percentage of it was burned over ; the details of this are on record in Washington, and as a result of our previous experience, when the fire broke out there, I think in the year 1916 our association notified the Salt Lake office of the Department of the Interior that we would protect that and immediately start our organization against the fire if they would guarantee the payment of the bills, and they informed us quite distinctly that they would not except through their own agents. Well, by reason of their not being ready for such occasions and not having men who understood the business, I am informed, and I believe that they spent considerably orer $200,000 there in the summer of 1916, which I also feel sure could have been avoided by a patrol cost of somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000.

Senator MOSES. Is there no cooperation whatever between the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. I am not a competent witness as to that, but there is no cooperation between the Department of the Interior and our fire-fighting associations.

The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you regarding the public domain. There are scattered trees, Mr. Shellworth, here and there, but it is not really forest land, is it?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. No.
The CHAIRMAN. It is more suitable, presumably, for agriculture?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Or for grazing?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. Its greatest value is for timber, grazing, and watershed conservation.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you think then it should be transferred to the Department of Agriculture to be administered by the Bureau of Forestry?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes; I have rather extreme views on that problem, because I think there is a great deal of land in southern Idaho that should be placed under some governmental bureau for the growing of timber.

The CHAIRMAN. The reason I ask you that is I am going to introduce a bill transferring from the Secretary of the Department of the Interior to the De. partment of Agriculture the Oregon and California land grant in Oregon for better protection and administration; and if there are similar lands, as pointed out by you, I think there should be a bill covering all of those lands.

Mr. SHELL WORTH. Senator, from my little knowledge of these grants in eastern Oregon, I would say that they are very similar in character. They are rough mountain lands that are timbered to a certain extent. As I tola you before, I know of a great many entries that were made on the basis of timber, but the valuation which the agents of the Department of the Interior placed on that land in southern Idaho prohibited the applicant from going through with the purchase of it.

Senator Moses. Well, it must be evident that those lands are timbered, because you just told us there was a very destructive forest fire took place on them.

Mr. SHELL WORTH. Yes. Now there is another big factor in the situation in southern Idaho. I expect to see rapidly approach the time when the people of southern Idaho, especially the irrigation farmers and the stockmen, will bring about a local or political interest in forestry down there, based on the water-conservation value as against any other value, and especially as against and in comparison with the lumber-production value. And another point on this is that the public domains lie intermixed with private timberlands, in some cases adjacent to national forests, and they are a source of infection : they are a menace, both from the fire standpoint and as a source of infection for insect depredations. Now, our fire-protection costs in southern Idaho are very small, but I am satisfied that in our standing timber we have just as great a loss, and possibly a greater loss, from insect devastation than we do from fire.

The CHAIRMAN. What is it, the white-pine blister rust?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. No; the pine-bark beetle.
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, the beetle?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes. Our greatest fire expense is protecting the immature stands of cut-over lands. Now, there are two pictures taken in a cutting near Arling, Idaho, which we have cut clean under the advice of Government entomologist, Mr. James C. Evenden, of Coeur d'Alene. These pictures were taken after we had completely cleaned up our cutting and will show the trees left, all commercial, fine trees, which are a dead loss from a lumber standpoint.

(Mr. Shellworth exhibited photographs to the committee.)
Senator FLETCHER. A dead loss for what reason?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. For any use as lumber.
Senator FLETCHER. Why?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. They are dead and checked and will not make lumber, not even box lumber.

The CHAIRMAN. What did you say caused them to die?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. The western pine-bark beetle.

The CHAIRMAN. Is that different from the pine beetle in the Klamath country?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. No; it is the same beetle.
Senator FLETCHER. Have you taken any steps to overcome them?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes; and all along, too, Senator.
Senator FLETCHER. What did you do?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. Neither the State north Federal Government has helped us any, except through the advice of their official “bug” man,

The CHAIRMAN. Hasn't the Federal Government assisted on the privately owned lands?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Or the national forests?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. Not here. That appropriation, Senator, you will recall, is available in Oregon and California. Then there was another appropriation of $25,000, and we were told that there were 25.000 people who wanted it.

The CHAIRMAN. Maybe you didn't make your wants known.
Mr. SHELLWORTH. Oh, yes; we did, Senator.
Senator FLETCHER. What is your process of combatting the beetle?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. To cut the infected area clean and burn up all of the bark.
Senator FLETCHER. You just cut it down and burn them in the bark?

Mr. SHELLWORTII. Yes. We have been told by Government officials that that was the only way, and I am satisfied that it is. Now, to show how far that goes and how insidious it is. I would like to tell you of this incident. We have a small block of timber in the middle fork of the Payette intermixed with and inside of the boundaries of the national forests. We are trying to effect an exchange of that land and timber with the Payette National Forest for timber only in the forest adjoining our present operation. When we bought that land

in 1904 and 1905 our book estimates showed a total stand on the 1,440 acres of something over 18,000,000 feet. This last summer we cruised that timber together with a representative of the national forest and agreed on less than 15,000,000 feet, so that in 20 years we have lost the growth, the increment, and more in that territory entirely from the ravages of this beetle.

Senator FLETCHER. So that the beetle does not appear only where the timber has been cut once?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. No.
Senator FLETCHER. It appears also in virgin timber?

Mr. SHELLWORTII. Yes; that was virgin timber, for there had been no cutting anywhere on that watershed. I will change that: There has been no cutting on that watershed within a distance of thirty-odd miles of this tract.

The CHAIRMAN. Are any of the pine beetle attacking the timber on the national forests?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes. Colonel Greeley has some right there on his forest in that same territory that is being lost right now. We have had a serious infestation of defoliators—the pine white butterfly caterpillar for three years in our territory, but it is abating this year, for its natural enemies are getting it. Nothing we did had any effect on it whatever.

The C'HAIRMAX. When did it first appear?
Mr. SHELL WORTH. In 1918, and quite noticeably in 1919.
The CHAIRMAN, What are its natural enemies?

Mr. SHELLWORTH, Spiders, three or four flies the names of which I can't remember, some sort of a parasite, and another fly that lays an egg in the caterpillar, the worm from which devours the host's juices, and this year it has finaly overcome it. In the Fayette Lakes region, near, to'and in our territory, we hare an infestation of the spruce-bug worm, and we are quite worried about it, for we don't really know what it means; and the thing that is remarkable is this: We can't get any real information on the subject until after it has gone through our timber and we have our own experience to go by.

Senator FLETCHER. What is the character of your timber there?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. Western yellow pine, about 80 per cent of the stand, the remaining being an inferior red fir, white fir, small spruce, and tamarack.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you any white-pine blister rust in western Idaho?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. We have no white pine south of the Salmon, except what is called white-bark pine way up on high altitudes.

The CHAIRMAX. I asked if you have any white-pine blister rust in western Idaho?

Mr. SHELL WORTII. No; I said for the reason that we have no white pine there, and it does not work in the yellow pine, as I understand.

The CHAIRMAX. Have you ever appealed to the Secretary of the Interior for aid in fighting these pests?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes. sir.
The CHAIRMAX. And fire?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. For fire; I have repeatedly done so.
The CHAIRMAX. What has been the answer?
Jr. SHELL WORTH. Some very fine letters.
Senator FLETCHER. Giving you encouragement, eh?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes, sir. They are almost as good at letter writing as the Forest Service.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you any notion of the quantity in board feet of yellow pine on the public domain in southern Idaho under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. No; but this is an idea that I have, and it is more or less. you might say, of a hunch. that there are probably six or eight hundred thousand acres of public domain adjoining the different national forests in the southern part of the State that have a stand on them of yellow pine and red fir that will probably, in different places, average three, four, and five thousand feet to the acre, while our commercial stands are 10,000 or 11,000 feet per acre. That is the best comparison that I can give you.

But again I want to bring out the point that our reforestation questions down there are going to be complicated by the attitude of the people in the irrigated valleys, and the sheepmen who graze that land, and the influence that they will bring about politically in this State in the assessment of the properties. For instance, our cut-over lands are assessed at from $1 to $6 per acre, an average in our own properties of about $2.93 an acre. I haven't the anthority to say so, but I am satisfied that our people would be willing at any

time to exchange all of our cut-over lands for a great deal less than that. In fact, there have been propositions made on a basis of $2.50, and I know they will be glad to go through with it.

The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you, are private timber owners or operators buying this timberland from the Department of the Interior?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. There is no way that they can at a reasonable price.
The CHAIRMAN. Is any of it being entered for agricultural purposes?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. The only way to secure the title to any of that land is to have the State of Idaho select that which you want; or to have someone go out and apply to buy an isolated tract or take it up under the timber and stone act; and then they place a valuation on it which makes it prohibitive. The only avenue left is to have the State of Idaho select lands for their timber or for their grazing value or for their control of springs or watersheds.

Senator FLETCHER, And then what will the State sell them at?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. They can not sell them for less than $10. They can retain the land and sell you the timber for the going price in that territory, which is the most general way that it is handled.

The CHAIRMAN. What can the National Government do, in your opinion, to aid in this program of reforestation?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. I don't feel that any lumberman in southern Idaho can tell you what he can do as a business proposition. Now, he can tell you what he is willing to try to do with the Federal Government or the State through these association propositions.

The CHAIRMAN. What are those propositions?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. The lumberman will continue to hold his cut-over land with assistance from the Government in the fire and insect control and relief from excessive taxes for a period of years, so that he will be able to figure on a definite and reasonable outcome; but unless some changes are made, which we don't foresee now, in the way of increased timber values, or increased help from the Government comes about, he must eventually drop them and throw up his hands; and if that happens, then in southern Idaho I feel that the sheepmen and the farmer and the citizens at large will be clamoring for Congress to do the very things which we are now asking you to help us do, and if you do it then you will do it alone, at a greater cost and more of a silvicultural job, because you won't have had it taken care of in the interval. I feel that for a time there must be certain help given to the holder of cut-over lands. Congress, the law-making power of the Government, should make up its mind what and how far the Government can go. The people at large will be willing in a few years, when they understand the situation better, that you should go further in this matter than they are now,

The CHAIRMAN. Of course, the Government can only assist in fire protection, insect control, and encourage uniform taxation which will be satisfactory to all concerned and interested in reforestation.

Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes; that is exactly what I have in mind.

The CHAIRMAN. But eventually the citizens of Idaho must meet the tax problem. Do you think their attitude now is offensive to a modification of existing laws?

Mr. SHELLWORTH. They have started on that road in the last few years, but you can realize what poor position à corporation owning cut-over timberlands occupies under the conditions that exist here now. As to “propagandizing” this matter, it must come from other sources.

The CHAIRMAN. You speak about an unfriendly attitude of the irrigationist and the farmer.

Mr. SHELLWORTH. I don't mean to use the word or infer unfriendly attitude.

The CHAIRMAN. Perhaps you didn't use that word; I won't ask it in that way. But what will be the attitude of the farmer and the irrigationist? I didn't here you refer to their attitude.

Mr. SHELLWORTH. They are beginning already to figure that the value of the forests of southern Idaho to them as a watershed and their conservation value are greater than their entire value from a lumber-production standpoint, and they are inclined to want them administered and taken care of from that standpoint, without regard to the other. Then there is a recreation sentiment that is picking up very fast. We very often have people come in and say, “Now, can't you leave a fringe of timber along this highway or that highway, so it will still be beautiful when you get through ?”

Senator FLETCHER. Do you believe the people of Idaho would be willing to have the national forests extended and include this great area ?

« PreviousContinue »