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PROTECTION OF MIGRATORY BIRDS.
REPORT No. 1102.
FEBRUARY 20 (calendar day, FEBRUARY 21), 1917.-Ordered to be printed.
Mr. SMITH of South Carolina, from the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, submitted the following
[To accompany S. 7858.]
The Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, to whom was referred the bill (S. 7858) to give effect to the convention between the United States and Great Britain for the protection of migratory birds, having considered the same, report thereon with a recommendation that it do pass with certain amendments.
The object of the amendments is to restrict the operation of the bill to the terms of the above mentioned treaty and to such State laws as are now in force in relation to the protection of migratory birds and game.
CUTTING OF TIMBER ON THE COCONINO AND
FEBRUARY 20 (calendar day, FEBRUARY 22), 1917.-Ordered to be printed.
Mr. MYERS, from the Committee on Public Lands, submitted the
[To accompany S. 8126.]
The Committee on Public Lands, to which was referred the bill (S. 8126) to extend the time for the cutting of timber on the Coconino and Tusayan National Forests in Arizona, having had the same under consideration, begs leave to report it back to the Senate with the following amendments:
Page 1, line 12, at the beginning of the line, strike out the word "hundred."
Page 2, line 2, after the word "administration," strike out the colon and the balance of the section, and insert in lieu thereof a semicolon and the following: "but this act shall not be construed to confer upon said company any other rights in addition to those held by the company at the time of said reconveyance, and in the absence of the execution of such an agreement this act shall neither extend nor restrict the present rights of the company.'
As thus amended the committee recommend that the bill do pass. The bill was referred to the Departments of the Interior and of Agriculture, and the Secretaries of those departments furnished the committee with the following reports thereon:
Hon. HENRY L. MYERS,
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Chairman Committee on Public Lands, United States Senate.
MY DEAR SENATOR: I am in receipt of the request of your committee of February 6 for report upon S. 8126, a bill providing that the rights of the Saginaw Manistee Lumber Co. and its successors in interest to cut and remove the timber from such of the lands within the Coconino and Tusayan National Forests, Ariz., as were reconveyed to the United States, subject to outstanding timber-right contracts held by said company under the rules, regulations, and conditions imposed by the Secretary of the Interior at the time of said reconveyance, are hereby extended to and until the 31st day of December, 1950.
The Saginaw & Manistee Lumber Co. was one of the parties to an agreement entered into by the Secretary of the Interior April 2, 1902, and such agreement has been held to come within the purview of the provision of the act of March 3, 1905 (33 Stat., 1264), excepting from the effect of the repeal of the act of June 4, 1897 (30 Stat., 36), as amended, the contracts entered into by the Secretary of the Interior, etc. The agreement or contract above referred to has formed in part the subject of two reports submitted by my predecessors-that of March 10, 1906, by Secretary Hitchcock, on the facts and circumstances in connection with the formation and enlargement of the San Francisco Mountain Forest Reserve (H. Doc. No. 613, 59th Cong., 1st sess.); and that of May 21, 1910, by Secretary Ballinger, in compliance with Senate resolution of January 27, 1910 (S. Doc. No. 612, 61st Cong., 2d sess.).
The facts with respect to the agreement appear in brief to be as follows: August 17, 1898, forest reservations were established by proclamation of the President, embracing described even sections within the limits of the grant to the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad Co. in Arizona. Negotiations were entered into by the owners of the odd sections with the Secretary of the Interior looking to the consolidation of the reserves, by embracing in the reservation a compact body, including the odd sections. Some of such lands had been sold by the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad Co., or by its successor in interest, the Santa Fe & Pacific Railroad Co. Others were affected by outstanding timber contracts, and from considerable areas the timber had been cut and removed. The agreement contemplated the surrender of all the areas to the Government and the selection of other lands without the reservation, under the provisions of the act of June 4, 1897 (30 Stat., 36), as amended by the act of June 6, 1900 (31 Stat., 614). The timber-cutting rights or contracts affecting approximately 125,000 acres were to be respected by the Government; or, in other words, the lands were to be conveyed to the Government with the right reserved to cut and remove the timber. The public lands to be selected in lieu of those covered by timber-cutting contracts were to be nontimbered and located south of the Tehachapi range of mountains. The timber upon the lands to be acquired by the United States was to be cut and removed under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior within the time prescribed under such contracts and in the manner specifically set forth in the agreement with the Secretary of the Interior.
The agreement was followed by the proclamation of the President of April 12, 1902, consolidating into the San Francisco Mountain Forest Reserve (now the Coconino and Tusayan National Forests) the areas that had formerly been included within the San Francisco Mountain Forest Reserves, together with the alternating odd sections, and all such areas have since been administered as forest lands. The several parties to the contract have for the most part surrendered the lands owned by them within the reserve to the Government, and have selected lands elsewhere in lieu thereof.
The Saginaw and Manistee Lumber Co. under its contract is entitled to cut and remove the timber until January 12, 1926. One of the conditions under which the timber was to be removed was that at the time of cutting no tree less than 11 inches in diameter 18 inches above the ground should be cut.
The lands are now within the boundaries of national forests and are administered by the Secretary of Agriculture. The wisdom of or the administrative necessity for the extension proposed in the bill are matters particularly within the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Agriculture and it is accordingly suggested that the bill be referred to him for report.
FRANKLIN K. LANE, Secretary.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
Washington, February 20, 1917.
Hon. HENRY L. MYERS,
Chairman Committee on Public Lands,
United States Senate.
DEAR SENATOR MYERS: Receipt is acknowledged of your request of February 6 for a report upon the bill (S. 8126) to extend the time for cutting of timber on the Coconino and Tusayan National Forests in Arizona, with the request that your committee be sent such suggestions as this department may desire to make.
The Saginaw & Manistee Lumber Co. now holds the right to cut the timber on about 75,000 acres of land within the Tusayan and Coconino National Forests, Ariz. The lands covered by these timber rights lie wholly in odd-numbered sections which were originally part of the land grant to the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad. This right was obtained under an agreement with the Secretary of the Interior, made prior to the passage of the act of February 1, 1905, which transferred the administration of the
national forest to this department. On about 45,000 acres of this land the right of the company to cut timber will expire on January 12, 1926, but there is no definite date for the expiration of their rights on the remainder of the area. The company operates a sawmill, which is the chief industry in the town of Williams, Ariz., and now supplying this mill with logs from its timber-right holdings which are not subject to expiration in 1926.
In the past this company has purchased considerable amounts of national-forest timber from the even-numbered sections intermingled with the odd-numbered sections on which it holds timber rights. It now states, however, that it is unable to continue to buy national-forest timber if it is obliged to cut prior to 1926 the timber to which its right will expire in that year. It is probable that by logging exclusively in its own timber the company can complete the cutting of these holdings prior to the date of the expiration of its rights. Logging odd-numbered sections exclusively, however, would increase the cost to the company and would leave the national-forest timber on the adjoining even-numbered sections somewhat less valuable than if it were sold for logging at the time the odd-numbered sections were cut. If the Government timber and the company's timber are logged at the same time the same logging railroads could be used and the expense of their construction per thousand feet logged would be reduced. This has been the result of the sales of national-forest timber which have previously been made to this company.
The timber-right holdings of the company are now subject to local taxation. The early completion of cutting by the company would remove this source of revenue to the county and State. If the company is in a position to purchase the national-forest stumpage intermingled with its own, the State and county will also benefit as a result of the higher stumpage prices which will be received than if the Government timber is sold by itself, since the State receives 25 per cent of the receipts from the national forests for the benefit of the schools and roads, and in addition Arizona receives approximately 11 per cent of the receipts on account of the retention by the Government of title to school sections within the national forests. It is also probable that the cutting of the timber on both even-numbered sections and odd-numbered sections together would result in a longer life of the local lumber manufacturing industry than would otherwise be the case.
Title to the land on which the company now holds its timber rights is vested in the United States. These lands, when cleared of the right of the company to cut the present crop of timber thereon, constitute a part of the timber growing area of the national forests. The terms under which the company now holds its timber rights result in the leaving of these lands in poor condition, on the average, for future timber production and for fire protection. This applies equally to the lands which would be affected by the extension of time which this bill proposes and to the lands not subject to the expiration of cutting rights in 1926. It is my understanding that the Saginaw & Manistee Lumber Co. is prepared to accept, as part of the conditions under which the extension of time may be granted, provisions for leaving all these lands in much better condition in regard to reforestation and fire protection. Furthermore, it is my understanding that the company is prepared to agree that their timber-cutting rights which are not definitely limited as to time shall expire at a date to be fixed in consideration of the logical order of their logging operations in the region.
In view of the economic advantages to the Government and to the local community and in view of the willingness of the company to accept conditions which will result in better fire protection and better growth on these national forest lands in the future, this department has no objection to the passage of the bill and believes that the aetion which it contemplates would be of advantage to the United States.
As the bill is now written it might possibly be contended that the failure to execute an agreement would still have the effect of extending the time within which the company may continue cutting under its present contract with the Interior Department. In order; therefore, to clear away any possible ambiguity it is believed that the last proviso should be amended by striking out of line 4, page 2, the colon and what follows and substituting in lieu thereof a semicolon and the following: "but this act shall not be construed to confer upon said company any other rights in addition to those held by the company at the time of said reconveyance, and in the absence of the execution of such an agreement this act shall neither extend nor restrict the present rights of the company.'
The word "hundred," which begins line 12, page 1, should be stricken out, since it duplicates the same word at the end of line 11.
As thus amended this department would have no objection to the passage of the bill.