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Mr. Bush. Oh, 30 years I have been in the forests of Idaho.
Senator ODDIE. Now, will you give the committee a statement, Mr. Bush?
Mr. Bush. I do not care to make much of a statement. I have been in very close touch with Mr. Humiston for the last 15 years, and Mr. Evenden and Mr. Wyckoff for the last several years, also Mr. Shellworth for the last 15 years, and they have covered the figures pretty well.
Now, I would like to elaborate on one or two things that especially Mr. Humiston neglected to state about our compulsory patrol law in the State of Idaho. All owners of forested land are required to furnish adequate protection, and the definition of forested land is quite important. The definition in the law is:
Sec. 30. For the purposes of this act, any land shall be considered “forest land” which has upon it sufficient brush, inflammable forest growth of any kind of size, living or dead, standing or down, including débris or growth following a fire or the removal of forest products, to constitute in the judgment of the State forester a fire menace to life and/or property.
That means that the timber owners have to pay on all cut-over lands that the commercial timber is all removed from. And the cut-over lands, especially Interior Department lands, the public domain especially in north Idaho, though they have not a real commercial value at this time, have a potential forest value, more so than south Idaho. In south Idaho there is a little more of the rough slide rock. In north Idaho we have comparatively little of that. And the lands to-day that are not occupied on the public domain are greatly that way, because they have been burned over years ago and largely are coming back to reforestation. It' is a matter of the area keeping a constant growth. If there were no cutting fires and timber maturing would naturally take their toll, and reforestation would naturally keep it about the same that it probably has for centuries.
Now, with the cutting going on, if we can keep the fires out of the areas that are still remaining, the regrowth will pretty near take care of the cutting and keep pretty near a constant supply of timber in the State of Idaho.
What I want to emphasize is that these lands in south Idaho largely, too, but especially in north Idaho, have a potential value and should be protected. At the present time we have to protect them through our timber protective associations. There are practically half a million acres, in round numbers, of those lands that are now included within our associations that any fire that starts in them we must take care of; if not, it will keep getting larger until it will become a conflagration that will go into the towns and settlements.
Senator GOODING. A half a million acres, Mr. Bush, are public domain?
Mr. Bush. Included in our association that are really forested lands.
Senator GOODING. On all of which you get no help to amount to anything from the Department of the Interior?
Mr. Bush. No; practically none. We get a little in south Idaho. We have had none in north Idaho at all.
Senator GOODING. Well, the fact that the Interior Department does not cooperate with you is the weakness of your fire-protective organization, is it not?
Mr. Bush. Yes; we would like to have the Interior Department cooperate in some way.
Senator GOODING. Well, the fact that they do not constitutes the weakness of your fire-protective organization, does it not? Do you : give the same attention to fires on the public domain?
Mr. Bush. We have to.
Mr. Bush. Yes; we have to. We would want to do it anyway if we could, but if a fire starts at any point it is going to keep on going through during the fire season until, if it is not checked, it will reach the towns.
Senator GOODING. Well, you do that in north Idaho, but I should judge from Mr. Shellworth's statement that that is not always the fact here.
Mr. Bush. Well, there are occasions when we let a fire go; if it is going up to the top of a mountain and we are not interested, we let it
go. But especially in the middle of the season if a fire starts and it is going to go through we would have to get after it to protect the acreage of our association membership. It is not entirely a matter of choice; it is a matter of compulsion. We have to do it. There are a few cases where we could let the fires go, but they are very few.
I would like if you would hear Mr. Chapler, who is here representing the Western Forestry and Conservation Association, Portland, which covers the five Western States of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. It is a kind of clearing house for the different timber protective associations and Forest Service, too. I would like to have Mr. Chapler say a word about the Oregon & California land grant that the Government itself appropriated money for. He is very familiar with that.
Senator ODDIE. If he is here, we would like to hear from him. Thank you, Mr. Bush.
STATEMENT OF MR. R. H. CHAPLER, FORESTER, PROTECTION DE
PARTMENT, WESTERN FORESTRY AND CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION, PORTLAND, OREG.
Senator Opdie. Will you please give your name, your address, and your position to the reporter.
Mr. CHAPLER. R. H. Chapler, forester, protection department, Western Forestry and Conservation Association, Portland Oreg.
Senator ODDIE. Now, if you will, give us a brief statement, Mr. Chapler.
Mr. CHAPLER. Yes; I have but a brief statement to make, Senator. There were just a few points that have come up in the protection of this Interior Department land that I wanted to bring out. You probably have enough in your record already, but I do not want the committee to get the impression that it was the fault anywhere of the local Interior Department officers. They have always shown a disposition to cooperate, but they have no appropriation for that purpose, and they are charged in their policy, if you please, with getting a wreckage value out of the lands for which they are responsible and are not charged with conserving or looking to the future as is the Forest Service. Naturally your Forest Service is the Federal protection and conservation department.
The other point I wanted to bring out was that the Interior Department has about 2,500,000 acres of land in Oregon which are the old Oregon & California land grant. I think the data on that is in your record. This land they are protecting. They are protecting it because they recognize a present timber value. There is an appropriation made for that purpose, and very naturally it is turned over to the Forest Service, the protection department of the Government, to handle that work. The machinery is all established for taking care of this unappropriated Government land. What is needed is a recognition on the part of the department of a responsibility for taking care of that land.
Now, the point that probably has not been brought out is that while in many instances there is no timber value, there is a large amount of this area that has fine reproduction on it that should be protected, and in this fire-protection game we get results through pooling our interests. In other words, instead of protecting them by ownerships they are protected by natural protective units regardless of who owns them, with the machinery established. If the Interior Department were given an appropriation to protect these lands, it would be a very simple proposition of tying these things together and spreading our protection everywhere regardless of ownership. That is all I wished to say, Senator.
Senator ODDIE. I think in behalf of the committee I should say that there is no intention of criticizing the local officials of the department here, because we realize that the trouble lies in lack of appropriations, and I hope that Congress will wake up to this very important point.
Senator Gooding. Well the fact is that we have not given much thought in this country to reforesting, to reproduction, have we?
Mr. CHAPLER. Oh, I would say that in the last five years we have probably given more thought to it than any locality in the United States.
Senator GOODING. Well, we are now doing it, but we have not done it heretofore.
Mr. CHAPLER. Yes; that is true.
Senator GOODING. And for that reason these lands that belong to the public domain, to the Government, have not been thought of any value at all, is that not the trouble?
Mr. CHAPLER. Yes.
Senator GOODING. That feature, the reproductive values of the country as a whole, has got to be presented to Congress if you are going to get an appropriation.
Mr. CHAPLER. I would say on two grounds. First, the State laws of these western States provide that lands of that character, if they are in State or private ownership, must be protected because fires on them menace the adjoining land. The second proposition would be that there either is or is bound to come some forest value on those lands, and that is the only thing they are good for. They are either idle or they are producing forests. Senator GOODING. Yes.
Senator Oddir. Have you any further statement, Mr. Chapler? Mr. CHAPLER. No.
Senator ODDIE. Now, that concludes this discussion on forest infestations and fires.
We will now get down to the question of grazing, and I will call Mr. T. C. Bacon, president of the Idaho Wool Growers' Association.
STATEMENT OF MR. T. C. BACON, PRESIDENT OF THE IDAHO
WOOL GROWERS' ASSOCIATION, TWIN FALLS, IDAHO
Mr. Bacon. Mr. Chairman, the Idaho Wool Growers' Association, the organization that I represent here this morning, has a membership of 793 men who are owners of sheep in various numbers. Of this membership, 700 have 500 head or less, of which a great majority are grazed on their own private lands or on their farms. The total number of sheep represented is approximately 1,250,000.
I make this statement at this time, Mr. Chairman, simply to show you this, that the Idaho Wool Growers' Association has more small men interested in this proposition one way or the other than they have large ones. The criticism has been made in the press several times that this was an attempt on the part of a few large owners to gobble up this range. This is absolutely untrue. And that is only vicious propaganda. What we want is a fair deal for every owner of sheep in the State of Idaho. We want the little man to have the same privilege as the big man. We do not want him to have any more privilege. Neither do we want the big man to have any more privilege than the small one. I make this statement at this time simply because of these press reports that have gone out in one or two instances. Who is responsible for them, we do not know.
Senator Gooding. How general have these press reports been, do you know about that?
Mr. Bacon. Well, I think most of them have been in the Idaho Daily Statesman. I have not seen them anywhere else.
The Idaho Wool Growers' Association, together with the Idaho Cattle and Horse Growers' Association, held 14 meetings all over the State during the spring and early summer. At these meetings we invited farmers, bankers, homesteaders, and anyone else who might be interested in grazing on either the public domain or on the national forests. There was an average attendance at these meetings of about 75 people. We had an accurate transcript made of all this testimony and have it in our records, and any or all of it is available for this committee if they desire it. After we had held these meetings our public land committee of the associations which conducted the meetings went over this transcript very carefully and evolved a platform, and in this platform we have tried to set forth the ideas of the majority of the stockmen in the State of Idaho.
Senator ODDIE. Gentlemen, Senator Stanfield, the chairman of the committee, has just arrived.
Mr. Bacon. Mr. Chairman, as you came in I was just telling the committee that we had held in the State of Idaho 14 meetings, together with the stock growers and bankers and farmers and anyone else who was interested in the public domain or forest reserve, and when we held these meetings we had a stenographer take down the testimony, and we have an accurate transcript of all the testimony that was offered; and this testimony the association has in its files, and we will be glad to present any or all of it to your committee. We have it all, and we will give it to you for your information if you so desire.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, the minutes of the 14 meetings referred to by Mr. Bacon shall be printed in the record immediately following the conclusion of this day's hearing.
Mr. Bacon. I will have the secretary give you the entire transcript, Mr. Chairman. Out of these transcripts our public land committee evolved a platform which we thought covered the wishes pretty largely of the stockmen of the State of Idaho. And if you will permit me at this time I will read this platform which the Idaho stockmen have worked out [reading]:
THE IDAHO PLATFORM
A. Reorganization of the Forest Service as follows:
1. Rights to be legalized, or a long-term lease be issued would give the permittee an assurance of indefinite use.
2. Hoover's general suggestions for reorganization of bureaus be put into effect specifically in the Forest Bureau as follows:
(a) Administrative. Grazing on the forests shall be administered by the Forest Service, which shall contain a larger personnel of practical stockmen than it does at present.
(0) Legislatire.-Grazing rules and regulations shall be made by a board which shall include largely practical stockmen. The fees shall be nominal and but little more than necessary to cover the actual cost of administration. The rules and regulations shall be simplified as far as possible and reduced to such fundamentals that Congress can pass most of them into law.
(C) Judicial.—We want the right of appeal, as impartial and as legal as through any court of equity. We do not care by what method the appeal is granted as long as we get this right of appeal. The method most generally suggested at our hearings has been as follows: That a board of appeals shall be created by Congress, Members of which shall be appointed by the governor of each of the 11 western range and forest States, upon the recommendation of the State livestock associations. To this board all disputes between the Forest Service and the permittee may be referred.
3. We would like to see the administrative officers of this bureau established in the West.
4. We prefer that the Forest Service be put under the Department of Interior.
B. After these reforms have been satisfactorily accomplished (and not until then) we want : 1. The public domain surveyed and classified.
2. All of the domain that then comes under “grazing land " be administered by the same bureau or department of the Government as the grazing department of the Forest Service and under the same rules and regulations, and the rights be legalized.
3. That the allotments or privileges on the public domain be adjudicated by a court just as the water rights were.
4. That under no circumstances do we want the public domain controlled or leased by the individual States.
C. If we can not get these reforms substantially as above we prefer to have the public domain left as it is.
Mr. Bacon, Mr. Chairman, I hold in my hand here a map of the State of Idaho which shows the amount of grazing land and the amount of farming land. It shows 16 per cent farming land, which includes not only the dry farms but the irrigated lands; and 83 per cent of grazing land. I call your attention to this fact simply to show you the importance of the livestock industry to our particular State.