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But, you may ask, why is it that the epidemic only appears at irregular intervals?
The logical answer to that is that a certain number of the caterpillars are always to be found in the forest. Also it may be safely asserted that an epidemic of a minute fungus has so preyed upon the ranks of the various icheneumon flies that are the natural enemies of all caterpillars that nature has been unable to maintain her balance. Consequently, freed from the molestation of the ichneumons, the caterpillars of the pine white have temporarily achieved a superiority of numbers.
But why the parasitic fungus preying upon the eenmies of the pine white? Because each year there has been an epidemic of the pine white, the atmospheric condtions have been more than usually favorable to the fungus, which, of course, is a microscopical vegetable growth seen by the naked eye as a fine grayish white powder upon the bodies of the flies.
The ichneumons, of which there are nearly 2,000 known varieties, attacked the caterpillars, and, boring a hole in their bodies, lay their eggs, which hatch out into small, white, footless grubs that prey upon the juice of their living host; and when the numbers of the ichneumons exceed the numbers of the pine white caterpillars there are few of the butterflies seen for years in that locality until once again nature has restored her balance. This year has been one exceptionally prolific in all forms of insect life, particularly butterflies and moths. The present infestation in southern Idaho is unusually severe not only in the degree of defoliation but in the percentage of the forested area covered by an epidemic infestation.
Practically all the mature timber on the south and west ridges is heavily defoliated, and a large percentage of the yellow-pine timber on the watersheds of the Payette, Weiser, and Little Salmon Rivers is infested to a greater or less degree. The infestation seems to be most severe in the Salmon Meadows and Long Valley Timber, and on some slopes the defoliation is complete in the mature trees. To make our problems more serious, we now have in this territory three small areas with an epidemic infestation of pine-bark beetle, one so severe that we deemed it advisable to begin to log the area this fall and to institute control measures under the direction of an official entomologist.
The present infestation seemed to have reached its crest about August 10, at that time both butterflies and caterpillars being present all over the woods in countless millions. At about that time we had two days of cold rain, followed by warm, sunny days. The rain seemed to kill a great number of the butterflies, but the following warm days hatched out or revived enough more of the chrysalids so that none were missed. At this time-September 10-the butterflies and caterpillars are practically all gone, and in the more heavily infested areas the ground is white with their dead bodies.
The "butterfly burn" of 1903 and 1904 was followed in 1905 and 1906 by an epidemic infestation of bark beetles at three points, namely, Smiths Ferry, Clear Creek, and Centerville. At these three points our timber loss was probably 15 to 30 per cent of the mature stand. An interesting coincidence in connection with these three "bug kills" is the fact that they all occurred on areas within the boundaries of main sheep trails, the Smiths Ferry and Clear Creek areas being on the Tripod and Clear Creek sheep trail, over which an average of probably 100.000 head of sheep passed twice each year for probably 40 years to and from their summer range, the Centerville "bug kill" being on the main Boise Basin. Sawtooth, and Bear Valley trail, over which an average of probably 60,000 head of sheep passed twice annually for some 40 years. These trails, which are about one-half mile wide, have become completely denuded of brush, grass, or weeds through the action of countless hoofs on the forest floor and in their steeper pitches are simply dust beds. The dust from the bands of sheep passing these places can be seen as far as smoke and are often reported as forest fires by inexperienced eyes. On their smoother stretches these trails are as hard and smooth as a pavement, and practically all snow and rain runs off too rapidly to be of any advantage to trees in the trailed area.
There can be no question but that the vitality of the trees on these trails is reduced, which would make them more susceptible to insect attack. The lateral roots of all trees near the center of these trails are exposed due to the severe trampling of the sheep and the severe erosion following the complete destruction of all floor cover. The bark on these exposed roots has been killed by sun scald and the base of most all of the mature trees are hosts
to the (Dendroctonus valens) turpentine beetle. I am of the opinion that the weakening of the trees on these sheep driveways resulted in a centralization of the beetle infestation. I wish most emphatically to warn all of you that the beetle infestation which is likely to follow this "butterfly burn" is the thing which you should prepare to fight. None of us can fight this alone. The State and Federal Government should be shown their duty in this matter and an insect-control law similar to that in Oregon should be on our statutes. As the control work now advised for the beetles is done in April and May and in September and October, we could use our present fire organization both before and after the usual fire season, and the knowledge and price each patrolman has of his district. could be utilized to advantage and the overhead costs reduced. The Federal work and appropriation in Oregon for insect control is a precedent in point, and it would be well for us to organize on this question and begin our educational work.
I know the chairman will pardon me for continually talking "beetles " when he gave me "butterflies" for a topic, but I think I have shown you what I wanted to.
In conclusion I wish to make due acknowledgment of my indebtedness to Mr. James C. Evendon, Government entomologist, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; Mr. Guy B. Mains, supervisor of the Payette National Forest, of Emmett, Idaho: Prof. A. D. Hopkins, of the Bureau of Entomology, Washington, D. C.; and to Mr. Reginald Barker, entomologist, of Boise, Idaho, for all of the biological data and much of the historical information included in this paper. Thank you.
Mr. SHELLWORTH. The duties of our association are principally fire protection of the watershed adjacent to Boise. The principal subscribers to this association are the State of Idaho and the BoisePayette Lumber Co., who subscribe about 70 per cent of the total funds, the other 30 per cent from small holders, and a small amount from the Federal Government; none from the Department of the Interior.
Our association since 1913 is holding the sack for about $15,000 spent in protecting the public domain from fires until last year, and we received no help or even courteous thanks from the Department of the Interior for our work. While it was largely done to protect our own interests, there were times when we protected the public domain when our own interests were not involved, because the people living in these valleys, seeing these fires, raised such a hubbub that the governor would practically force the association to protect it in order to protect him from comment.
Last year we received our first money from the Department of the Interior, $860. A fire had burned on the head of Shaefer and Harris Creek for something near a week. As the manager of that association I refused, because of my past experience, to pay any attention to it. We had no interest involved, and it would have to go over the divide in order to touch any timber of any subscribers of this association. The cowmen in the valley here got so insistent and embarrassing that the State officials, the governor and Mr. Nash asked us to go after it, and promised to see if help could not be brought from the Department of the Interior. A Department of the Interior man came on that ground after the fire had been running for several days and after we had taken charge of it, and I saw his confidential telegram to his superior in which he said it would take ten to twelve thousand dollars to put that fire out. Our association, because it was equipped, put it out for less than $3,000. Then the Department of the Interior gave us $860. Prior to that time we had held the sack for over $13,000.
Senator ODDIE. How much standing timber was involved under the control of the Department of the Interior? Can you give us approximately the value?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. Its timber value was probably around $25,000. Its potential value and watershed value of course I am not competent to pass on at all.
Senator GOODING. What about reforesting that class of land? Mr. SHELLWORTH. A beautiful class of reforested land. You know that land, Senator, well, at the head of Shaefer and Harris Creek up here, and we would not have gone up and taken chargeof that fire if it had not been that the comment in this valley became so caustic that the governor and Mr. Nash compelled us to go and take charge of it. I would not spend another cent except to protect my own. We have held the sack long enough.
In 1919, I believe the date was, fires started in the Thunder Mountain and Sheep Creek. We notified the Department of the Interior that we could take care of them if they would guarantee the payment, and that we presumed that it would cost $5,000 to take care of the situation. They said no, that they would take care of it themselves. Senator Gooding will remember that was the year we had a lot of I. W. W. trouble here. They came in with 3-ton Army trucks by way of Haley to reach Thunder Mountain-Senator Gooding knows how sarcastic that is-and they spent $256,000 in that territory to put out fires that I am satisfied we could have put out for less than $10,000, and the patrol cost in that territory probably never would have exceeded $5,000.
The Harris Creek fire situation that I am telling you about is an example of their attitude.
Now, our association is compelled to protect some of their property by reason of the danger to our own, and again we are compelled to protect some of their property because people who are not informed in these valleys begin to howl when the smoke goes up, and the officials in the statehouse stand it for two or three days, and they will say, "Well, go ahead and we will see if we can not get money from the department."
Last year we spent $2,960 and got back $860 and no thanks, and we are holding the sack for the rest. This association has 873,000 acres in the district, of which 258.000 is public domain, and has some sort of protection. I will admit we do not give it complete protection, because we protect it only enough to protect our own property and protect ourselves from public comment. The Department of the Interior allows us to be patrolmen of that land.
My experience along this line, as you will notice, has given me some little feeling about it.
The rest of what I would have to say is covered in the statement I have placed in the record, both in the statement and the questions. The questions asked at that time bringing out additional information. Therefore that is all that I have to say, sir.
Senator ODDIE. Do you know anything about the amount of property destroyed by fires other than forest fires in the country?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. No; I do not. I saw the statement to which you referred a while ago, but I do not remember it.
Senator ODDIE. The statement appeared in The Manufacturers' Record.
Mr. SHELLWORTH. $535,000,000.
Senator ODDIE. Yes. And it stated that $500,000,000 was expended in maintaining fire departments, waterworks, etc.
Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes. Senator, I would like to add that this same situation, as far as the Department of the Interior is concerned, also applies to insect infestation. In the Boise Basin there is now an area of probably a section of public domain timber that has a stand of probably 5,000 or better to the acre that is a complete loss from beetle infestation. We have land in there adjoining it on which we have a loss. We expect to take that timber out next year; in fact, we are preparing for it right now. And their attitude on the insect work is practically the same as it is on the fire.
Senator ODDIE. Do you believe that the Bureau of Entomology of the Department of Agriculture should have more appropriation?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. I certainly do. The only official help we have received in fighting insects in this territory is through Mr. Evenden. We lost 16,000,000 feet in one small area in two years, and if it had not been for the operation of cutting of the timber that we did under the advice and supervision of Mr. Evenden our loss would have been much greater and would still be going on. But through his advice we have saved ourselves that situation, and got out with a loss of 16.000.000 feet when it might have been ten times that. And he had no appropriation. His appropriations were so small that we had to furnish the cars and haul him around at that time. Since then I believe they have given him a car. But we had to take care of him and haul him around. He had no appropriations to cover anything except his subsistence.
Senator ODDIE. Do you think that this is a fair statement, then, from what we have learned, that the owners of private property in this country expend, say, approximately $500,000,000 a year to prevent and control fires which cost $500,000,000 a year, and on that same basis the Government should expend, from the figures we have gotten this morning, from $135,000,000 to $150,000,000 a year, and instead of that it is expending $50,000 a year for this work?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. The territory is too large for me to answer that question for you, but that appropriation is ridiculous to cover the situation. This work that we did near Arling and Long Valley protected the public domain and the national forest both, and we stood it 100 cents on the dollar alone. While the national forest was some distance away and they could not spend their money outside of their forest there was public domain between them and their forest, and our work protected the public domain and the national forest both. Mr. BOWDEN. Do you have supervision of the grazing of livestock on the privately owned timber acreage?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes.
Mr. BOWDEN. What is the relation between the stockman and the owner of the land? A lease relation?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes, sir; a lease relation.
Mr. BOWDEN. What is the length of your leasing?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. Why, it is from year to year, because we do not know when we will operate a certain piece of ground, but the tenure is very seldom disturbed. We try to have a reputation established by a policy of never taking a lease away from a man unless his employees were careless in the matter of fires, etc. In other words, I
will say that most of the men that started in with me are still in the business with me, and they will be as long as we pursue the present policy, which we always expect to.
Mr. BOWDEN. Do you consider that grazing is of benefit in the keeping down of fire loss?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes; from our standpoint particularly, because under the system of taxes we are not interested at all in reforestation. We can not be. We are interested in that present crop, and anything which tends to protect that or help us reduce the protection cost is of interest to us. I really think that control of grazing would be very beneficial.
Senator GOODING. Well, do you think that it would be possible to protect your forest from fires in this semiarid country of ours if you permit the vegetation to grow up there and accumulate without livestock to keep grazing it down?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. I am willing to admit that if I could not get the money out of the sheepmen I would invite them to use the grass. Senator GOODING. You think, then, that the livestock are essential to the preservation of the forest?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. They at least do not hurt it and they help to keep the grass down.
Senator GOODING. Well, they protect the timber from fire?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. Yes.
Senator GOODING. It is a fact, is it not, that if you permit this vegetation to grow up and accumulate and a dry season comes along and a fire starts with a wind such as we have here occasionally that there are not enough men in the United States Army to put it out?
Mr. SHELLWORTH. As I said, I am perfectly willing to admit that from my standpoint as a private owner, if the sheepmen get together as a close corporation and refuse to pay me anything I would go and beg them to use the ground. But I am not interested in reforestation for the reason that I can not afford it under the present tax system. We pay in this territory on barren lands a valuation of $3 per acre. And rates seldom less than $1.60. Our revenue from grazing will not average 6 cents net. So you can readily see why I am not interested in reforestation.
Senator ODDIE. That is all, Mr. Shellworth; thank you. We will call Mr. Ben E. Bush.
STATEMENT OF MR. BEN E. BUSH, STATE FORESTER, MOSCOW, IDAHO
Senator ODDIE. Will you state your name and residence to the reporter.
Mr. BUSH. Ben E. Bush, Moscow, Idaho.
Senator ODDIE. Will you tell the committee your present position? Mr. BUSH. State forester, State of Idaho.
Senator ODDIE. How many years have you occupied this position? Mr. BUSH. Only this year as State forester. I have been with the Land Department, however, for 14 years. This is the first year as State forester.
Senator ODDIE. Are you familiar with forest problems?
Mr. BUSH. Fairly familiar; yes.
Senator ODDIE. From how many years of experience?