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EFFECT OF REPEATED FOREST FIRES   207

charged in the form of rent for a certain number of years, at the conclusion of which the settlers could be given title under the usual homesteading conditions. Ten acres of such soil devoted to garden crops would support a family. There are about 15,000 acres that might be eventually used for this purpose in the township of Methuen alone.

The chief objection to such a plan is the present dis-Reaching   tance from markets, the average distance to a through

the Markets

railway being 20 miles. This could be met by a co-operative motor-truck service, and when the produce once reached the railway it could be brought to such a market as Toronto, for example, in two or three hours, so the distance from the field to the market would not be over six or seven hours. It may be argued that it is hopeless to offer inducements to utilize such soils, while better soils in other parts of the country remain yet to be occupied. It would be difficult, however, to find better soils from the standpoint of fertility. Only from the standpoint of mass and contiguous distribution are others superior. It is evident that the day of intensive and specialized farming has arrived, and the soils in question offer an opportunity for one line of development in that direction. It is to the advantage of the province to keep its farming population at home. Most of the depopulation of the rural districts has taken place in the regions of the poorer upland farms like this one. The opening up and successful utilization of the moist lowlands would undoubtedly induce most of the young men to stay at home, and would contribute to the up-building of their own communities.

Forest Policy The bulk of the land, however, was designed by nature

Should be   ,for wood crops; it is absolute forest soil, and the prin-

Devised   cipal effort should be to devise a proper forest policy for the area.

It seems obvious to one who has studied the problem of the cut-over and burned-over lands in the Trent watershed that they should at least be placed under some kind of control which would ensure adequate protection from repeated forest fires. From the calculations on the preceding pages of this report, it is equally obvious that such protection would prove a highly profitable investment for some long-lived institution. This protection, as has been shown, would involve a relatively small outlay of funds, compared with the potential value of the young growth, since mere protection is about all that is needed on at least one-half of the area covered by this report. It has been conclusively proven by the figures on the preceding pages that


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