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STOCK RAISING.

There is one crop that we can always rely upon-that is, grass. Different kinds of grass which are native to this country grow over a large area. They are luxuriant, and are found to be nutritious. The Russians introduced a small, hardy kind of cattle from Siberia, and some of this breed still exists in and around Kodiak and Afognak. In nearly all the settlements more or less cattle are kept for domestic use. Mr. Feeney, near Kodiak, has about 50 head, and he supplies the town with beef occasionally at 15 cents per pound by the quarter.

On two of the islands of the Shumagin group cattle have been left to run wild. They have wintered without being fed and have increased in numbers. Cattle and horses that went ashore from the wreck of the Laurada on St. George Island in the Bering Sea late in the fall of 1898 have managed to exist ever since. One of the steers was slaughtered in August. The meat was fat and very palatable. The two horses were fairly puffed with fat. They all hustle for themselves, and there is not a tree nor shrub of any kind upon the island.

Stockmen are beginning to make inquiries. One large dealer proposes to remain on the island near Unimak Pass during the winter and study the conditions for stock raising, and if he is satisfied he will begin the business in the spring. Another man proposes to take 1,000 sheep to Kodiak Island and see how they will get through the winter. All who have gone through the river valleys have been impressed with the favorable conditions for stock raising.

The Treadwell miners alone consume $8,000 worth of meat every month. This, together with Juneau and Skagway, will amount to $27,000 a month spent for meat. With the meat problem becoming serious throughout the States, it can be well understood how important it is for Alaska to furnish its own supplies of meat. It is an easy matter to raise healthy hogs in this climate. If they can be fattened on peas, the raising of them should be a profitable undertaking, for peas can be raised in abundance. Both white and red clover grow to perfection. The stock-raising industry will come to the front rapidly, for the grass never fails, and there is a good home market for the product.

Closely connected with this subject is that of butter and cheese. Milch cows do well around each settlement, and there is no reason why dairies can not be conducted on a large scale. We are large consumers and pay the best prices.

POULTRY RAISING.

Almost every settlement throughout the district has more or less poultry, but the markets are never well supplied. An ordinary, dressed chicken will bring a dollar in Sitka, and fresh eggs have a standing price of 50 cents per dozen the year through. There should be no trouble in breeding ducks in a country where all the wild ones come to perpetuate their kind. Everywhere on the coast we find that eggs and poultry bring high prices. The Reverend Shalamoff, of Kodiak, raises water fowl. He has succeeded in crossing the tame goose with the wild one, and this past season the mixed breeds have brought up broods. He thinks they are fine birds.

TIMBER.

The wild apple tree attains a growth at times 10 inches in diameter. When seasoned it makes excellent mauls, mallets, and all kinds of handles for small tools. Some of the marines at Sitka employ spare hours in manufacturing it into walking sticks. They are handsome and serviceable and sell well to tourists.

The alder grows in bottom lands and attains a growth in places to 2 feet in diameter. When cut into lumber it becomes quite hard and is of a dull reddish color. The small trees are cut at times for firewood, which sells readily, for it makes a good bed of coals.

The great growths are the hemlock, spruce, yellow cedar, and red cedar. In southeast Alaska the hemlock and spruce grow everywhere on the mainland and upon the islands. The red cedar is not met with much above the latitude of Fort Wrangell. The yellow cedar is not so abundant and is most plentiful perhaps upon Baranoff and Chicagoff islands. Both hemlock and spruce grow to a great size. While they have tremendous roots, they seem, nevertheless, to draw most of their nourishment from the atmosphere. Some hemlock has been manufactured into lumber, and those who have tried it like it well. It is not wind-shaken and splintery, like that which grows in the Alleghenies. It saws easily and dresses well on the planer. Loggers and mill men, however, do not like to handle it, on account of its great heft. The sawdust and slabs from it will fairly put out the fires. Hemlock piles, when cut in the winter, are considered the best. The bark will cling to them, and this prevents the ravages of the teredo for a time.

Spruce is the timber which is used most. It makes good building lumber, and when clear is excellent for rustic and all kinds of finishing. It seldom oozes out pitch. At Killisnoo it is manufactured into excellent barrels for fish and oil. Nearly all the salmon cases which are used in southeast Alaska are made from spruce lumber. However, only a small percentage of the lumber which is now used in Alaska is cut in the district.

The big mills upon Puget Sound furnish nearly all the lumber sent to the western parts and very much of what is consumed in southeast Alaska. The loggers are not outfitted with teams. They go along the margins, and where they can fell a tree on an incline they do so. It is trimmed well and started with logging jacks, and if everything is propitious it will shoot into the water. But the logger usually has hard work to get his timber into the water. For the most part he must cut his trees and work his logs into the water. There are now as many as three logging engines at work. Loggers get from $3.50 to $4 per thousand feet at the mills in the lower part of southeast Alaska and $6 at Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka. All the mills take out a license and pay 10 cents for each thousand feet cut.

The growth of this timber in southeast Alaska is peculiar. The rainfall is great, and the ground for the most part is covered with fallen trees and thick growths of bushes. A dense growth of moss covers the ground and the fallen timber. This moss retains moisture like a sponge. It is seldom that fire will run through such growths. The young trees take hold and grow rapidly. This is proved by new timber which now covers the places which were once occupied as native

settlements and long since abandoned and by the new trees where landslides have occurred.

The amount of land which is level or comparatively so—or, in other words, the amount which is fit for agriculture in the southeast is small when compared with the mountain area. On the islands there are no large streams, and only patches of a few hundred acres which can be cleared by much labor and brought under cultivation. The most of this timber has attained its growth, and in consequence there is an enormous waste year by year. The overgrown trees die and in a few years they fall. The forests are like a tropical jungle in many places-trunks of trees upon which are growing younger trees, young alder, salmon, and blueberry bushes, and a plentiful supply of devil clubs, which always seem to be at hand for a support when one slips and is falling. Their needles will pierce the skin through a buckskin glove. When not immediately removed they fester and cause much annoyance. The timber along the rivers in the interior of Alaska is not subject to the same conditions as in the southeast section. For the most part it is spruce, and does not grow large, rarely attaining a diameter of 2 feet. It is found often in compact masses. The summer season is usually dry, and the greatest danger to this timber, therefore, is from fire running through it. This has occurred in many places where campers have been careless, and at times, no doubt, from a spirit of malicious mischief.

While this timber is not large, it is very useful to the prospector, the miner, and the settler. They all would be very much handicapped without it. In railway construction it can be used for ties and telegraph poles and for other purposes. The young timber does not take hold and grow like it does in the Alexander Archipelago. The Interior Department has posted printed notices cautioning persons about fires. There is a healthy public sentiment on this subject, and anyone proved guilty of this crime would surely suffer the penalty at the hands of a jury. This is a difficult matter to control, even in States like Oregon and Washington, as we know from their fearful experiences recently.

THE ALEXANDER ARCHIPELAGO FOREST RESERVE.

The President, on August 20, by proclamation (see Appendix H) reserved from settlement, entry, or sale and set apart as a public reservation five large and many small islands in southeast Alaska in what is known as the Alexander Archipelago. The reason assigned for this Executive action is "that the public good would be promoted by setting apart and reserving said lands as a public reservation."

The President, unfortunately, has never had the opportunity to see Alaska like he has the arid region of the West. He has been guided by the arguments and advice of those who apparently knew all about the matter. In this instance the question may be asked, What is the public good? The reservations are surely not made to protect the valleys from freshets by the too sudden melting of snow at the sources of the streams. Anyone who knows the topography of the islands would not talk that way. While this is a valid argument for forest reserves elsewhere, it is not at all applicable to these islands. Is it then, to preserve this timber, that the Government may derive much income from it? One of the fundamental principles of true forestry

is that when a tree is full grown it should be removed and utilized. The fact is that the great bulk of the timber on these reserved islands has gotten its growth, and every year there is an incalculable waste in what falls and goes to decay. If this grown timber could be removed and converted into dwellings, mills, canneries, wharves, cross-ties, furniture, packing cases, etc., would the public good be jeopardized? On the contrary, would not all these things stand as a great sum in the asset of the wealth of the country? Would it not be the part of sound public policy to encourage the people to use this timber that is now going to destruction?

Prince of Wales Island will be largely devoted to mining, and all engaged in it will need timber. Every level patch that can be cleared and devoted to agriculture and stock raising will be a help to the miner and cannery man. The mountains are nature's reservations for timber on these islands. With no danger from fire, the young trees will spring up where the standing timber has been cut off and be ready for posterity. This proclamation disturbs very many interests upon these islands, and especially upon Prince of Wales.

The natives have lived upon these islands for ages. They are turning from their old ways, but to-day they can not tell what they are before the law. Of late some of them have been contemplating erecting sawmills, being encouraged to do so by the success of the Tsimsheans at Port Gravina and Saxman. It is hoped that those in the Agricultural Department who have been intrusted with this matter of forest reserves will consider these island reservations in all their bearings to see if the public good will be promoted by their maintenance.

FURS.

Bear, grizzly, brown, and black; otter, sea and land; mink, marten, fisher; fox, black, silver, cross, blue, white, and red; lynx, beaver, wolf, all from Alaska, are quoted in the price lists of the fur dealers. We have no statistics which are at all accurate. We are sure that the number of sea-otter taken grows less each year. The total value of the furs sold each year foot up a large sum, but as the country settles up the fur industry will decrease in value. The smaller animals, like the fox and the mink, should from the nature of the country subsist for many years.

FOX FARMING.

This is being tried at many places. Most of those who are trying it confine their efforts to the blue fox. Those who are trying the black and silver have not met with much success. The habits of this animal seem to defy domesticity. The blue fox is more easily dealt with. They do fairly well upon the Pribilof Islands. This last season 232 were taken upon St. George. Mr. Applegate, of Unalaska, has succeeded better than anyone else. The skins which he sent to London were the best and brought the highest price. His ranch is west of Dutch Harbor, near Umnak Island. Some of those who are experimenting in this business feed the foxes and ship in tons of meal and other food. It is quite certain that the same care and energy given to stock raising would bring in surer and richer returns to most of those who are engaged in it.

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