« PreviousContinue »
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
NATIONAL FOREST RESERVATION COMMISSION,
Washington, D. C., December 3, 1927. The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE.
Sir: In accordance with the provisions of section 5 of the act of Congress approved March 1, 1911 (36 Stat. 961), I have the honor to transmit herewith report of the National Forest Reservation Commission for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1927.
DWIGHT F. DAVIS,
Secretary of War, President National Forest Reservation Commission.
PERSONNEL OF THE NATIONAL FOREST RESERVATION COMMIS.
SION CREATED BY ACT OF MARCH 1, 1911
Hon. Dwight F. Davis, Secretary of War.
NATIONAL FOREST RESERVATION COMMISSION
REVIEW OF YEAR'S WORK
There was no deviation during the current year from the general policy which has guided the work of this commission in selecting lands primarily for consolidations of existing purchase units for national forests. Following this policy there were approved for purchase during the year a total of 135,088 acres, at an average price of $5.37 per acre. Of this area the purchase of 128,027 acres at an average price of $5.61 an acre was authorized in the White Mountains, Appalachian, and Ozark regions under the provisions of section 4 of the act of March 1, 1911 (36 Stat. 961), for the protection of stream flow; and the purchase in the Lake States of 7,061 acres, at $1.0575 an acre, was authorized for timber production under the provisions of section 6 of the act of June 7, 1924.
These lands consist of 137 tracts located in 12 States and embrace 34,594 acres which can be classed as forested or partly forested, supporting approximately 69,000,000 board feet of saw timber. The remaining land consists of 5,539 acres of abandoned farm land, arable land, and grassland; 57,500 acres recently cut over and not yet restocked to young stands but largely in process of restocking; 30,807 acres of cut-over woodland or farm land which has been restocked to young timber and upon which forest conditions have been or are rapidly being reestablished; 5,550 acres of barren or badly burned land, but only a small portion of the burned area is so badly burned that forest conditions can not be reestablished through natural agencies if the lands are given adequate protection. The land approved for purchase in the Lake States consists largely of cut-over white pine, Norway pine, and jack pine lands, but on a considerable proportion of this land there are young stands of jack pine and other species which have reestablished themselves, there being many groups of small trees and stands of varying ages and density. They can be classified as consisting of 60 acres which have been culled, 223 acres cut over, 1,818 acres restocking, 954 acres abandoned farm lands, and 5 acres of burn or barren.
During the past year title passed to the Government to 176,250 acres at an average price of $4.93. These lands consist very largely of tracts the purchase of which was authorized during the fiscal years 1925 and 1926. In addition to lands approved for purchase, the commission considered and recommended the addition under section 8 of the act of June 7, 1924 (43 Stat., 653), of 430,457 acres of public domain to western national forests. These lands were distributed as follows: 1,720 acres to the Colville National Forest, Washington; 64,000 acres to the Sawtooth and Challis National Forests of Idaho;
57,000 acres to the Idaho National Forest of Idaho; 67,000 acres to the Wyoming National Forest
in Wyoming; 224,257 acres to the Missoula and Helena National Forests in Montana.
The outstanding feature in connection with the year's work was the request that the Secretary of Agriculture should examine and report, with recommendations, upon a valuable and heavily timbered tract of 22,000 acres within the White Mountain purchase unit. This tract is in Grafton County, N. H., in the towns of Waterville and Livermore, and embraces the headwaters of Mad River. The Greeley Ponds, a chain of miniature lakes, and the Mad River notch between the headwaters of Mad River and Hancock Branch of the Pemigewasset, two highly scenic areas in the southern portion of the White Mountains, lie within this boundary. The mountains which flank it embrace on the east such famous peaks as the Tripyramid Mountains, rising to 4,189 feet, a portion of their slopes already being in Government ownership. Near the head of the river is Mount Kankamagus, 3,700 feet in height. On the northwestern part of the basin Mount Osceola, a corner of which is already within the National Forest, rises to 4,352 feet. On its western boundary is Mount Tecumseh, 4,008 feet, a portion of which is likewise already in Federal ownership, while a score of other peaks of less magnitude and not so well known are also included. The tract is largely in timber, only a portion of it having been cut over. If as a result of this action by the commission this land should be acquired as a part of the White Mountain National Forest a portion of the timber will not be cut, but areas will be kept in timber on high slopes for protective purposes, while for esthetic reasons the timber on certain other areas will not be cut. The virgin timber contributes in large part to the setting of such scenic gems as the "Notch” and the "Greeley Ponds." The remaining timber will be cut but in such a manner as to secure a restocking of the spruce and the lands will be protected with a view to minimizing the danger from fire after the timber has been cut. Stands of young timber, yet considered too immature to give the highest financial returns if now cut, will be reserved for later utilization when more mature, in connection with the general plans for developing the resources of this forest.
In the Appalachians the most signal action taken in connection with the current year's work was the authorization to acquire a tract of about 42,819 acres in northern Georgia. These lands are on the southern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains and upon the headwaters of the Etowah and Chattahoochee Rivers in White, Habersham, Lumpkin, Dawson, Fannin, Union, and Gilmer Counties. This tract, a large portion of which is in an uncut condition, embraces some of the steepest lands along this portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains and its acquisition will be a valuable addition to the Georgia purchase unit of the Cherokee National Forest. The desirability of bringing lands in this sector under beneficial influence of public ownership is well shown by the fact that the culmination of a long period of drought in this region immediately before these lands were taken over resulted in the death of large numbers of trees on upper slopes, dry ridges, and upon thin soils upon the edges of cliffs and bald rocks, the mortality being greatest where damage by fire in the destruction of soil cover was most excessive. Hereafter these lands will be protected and the mantle of moisture holding humus will be allowed to accumulate to a normal thickness.
The establishment of no new purchase unit was authorized during the year. The only change looking toward expansion was the authorization providing for the extension of the boundary of the Monongahela National Forest purchase unit eastward so
as to include an additional area of about 84,000 acres of land located upon the North Fork and South Branch of the Potomac River in Grant and Pendleton Counties, W. Va. This addition to the purchase unit, it is expected, will be largely offset by an adjustment of the boundary in another sector through which certain areas now within the unit will be eliminated. The authorized addition to the purchase unit comprises a rough and rugged section along the North Fork and Cave Mountains. It is separated from the Monongahela purchase unit as previously established by the narrow agricultural valley of the North Fork of the Potomac River. On account of the steep slopes of the mountains and the prevailingly shallow shaly soils, the forests exercise a high protective function upon stream flow. Due to its scenic attractions, there are likewise considerable recreational possibilities; while from the point of view of timber production the acquisition of these lands will result in a valuable addition to the forest and afford an opportunity of developing a demonstrational forest area within this portion of the Appalachian Mountains.
The largest tract, the purchase of which was authorized during the year, was the tract of 42,819 acres on the Cherokee National Forest unit. The lowest priced lands consisted of 440 acres in Ogemaw County, Mich., approved for purchase at $1 an acre; and 320 acres in Lake County, Minn., at the same price; while 109 acres in Shenandoah County, Va., were approved for purchase at $2 an acre, 31 acres in Bath County, the same State, at $2.25; and 680 acres in Newton and Searcy Counties, Ark., at $2.25. The highest priced lands, the purchase of which was authorized, are 13,859 acres in the Allegheny purchase unit, offered at a price of $12.25 an acre; while the purchase of 2,704 acres in the White Mountain unit was authorized at $12.10 an acre.
There have been acquired or are now in process of being acquired a total of 2,892,741 acres, at an average price of $4.86 an acre, of which 2,835,601 acres being acquired at a price of $4.94 are in the Eastern States (national forest district 7), while 57,140 acres at an average price of $1.01 an acre are located in the Lake States (national forest district 2). These lands situated in 13 States are located in 20 purchase units, but within one unit, the Yadkin, in the Eastern States no purchases have as yet been authorized. The commission during the year authorized the consolidation of the Potomac, Massanutten, and Shenandoah purchase units under the name of the Shenandoah unit, which is the designation of the national forest comprising these three units and with which their boundaries coincide. It is the policy of the commission to authorize purchases only within designated purchase units which are strategically located with reference to carrying out most effectively the provisions of the