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256   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

ADMINISTRATION OF DOMINION FORESTS

In 1869 Ruperts Land and the Northwest Territories became the property of the Dominion of Canada, on arrangements being made for the extinguishment of the rights of the Hudson's Bay Company. In the same year an act was passed making provision for the temporary government of this area, and in the following session the province of Manitoba was formed, with its own constitutional government, and withdrawn from the operation of the foregoing act. Later, the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta were organized, each with its local legislature.

The control and management of this vast territory in the north-west was confided, March 1, 1871, to the Secretary of State for Canada, a Dominion Lands Branch, in charge of a Surveyor General, being established for that work. On the erection of a Department of the Interior in 1873, the Dominion Lands Branch passed to that department, which has from that date administered these western lands. During the 40 years since, several secondary branches have been created to cope with the increasing volume of the business of administration. This, of course, relates only to unalienated lands.

To understand the present methods of administration, Timber   in so far as it relates to Dominion forests, it will be

Branch

convenient to briefly sketch its development. The western lumber industry began early to develop, and in 1880, a Timber, Mines and Grazing Branch was formed at the head office, to have charge of this field of administration. The business on the ground was in charge of a Crown timber agent, the work having to do with the collection of ground rent and dues, scaling of timber, inspection of sawmills as to capacity, control of trespass, etc. New timber agencies were established in quick succession, and by 1884 there were Crown timber agents at Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Prince Albert. Working under the direction of these agents were some seven forest rangers, whose duties consisted in seizing illegally cut timber, reporting on sawmills, and carrying out other departmental business in the field. During 1884 and 1885 an exploration of the resources of the railway belt was made, and in the following year a Crown timber office was opened in New Westminster.

At present there are six timber agencies, with offices at Winnipeg, Prince Albert, Edmonton, Calgary, Kamloops and New Westminster, in most of these the one official acting in the dual capacity of land agent and timber agent. In the smaller places the land agent performs minor timber agent duties in his district. The field inspection as to the carrying out of the timber regulations is done by Crown timber


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