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FORESTRY ON DOMINION LANDS   257

inspectors, one or more being attached to each agency. Here again, this work is in some cases combined with the duties of land inspection. Over all there is an inspector of agencies, who supervises the administration of each office.

From a comparatively early date the officials of the

Forestry   Department of the Interior were aware of the import-Branch

ance to the west of an adequate timber supply. As has been the case in other countries, tree planting engaged the minds of men before the question of protection from fire. Thus, as early as 1875, we find the Surveyor General urging " the expediency of encouraging tree planting in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories." Indeed, in 1884, a special commission was appointed " to examine into and make a report upon the subject of the protection of the forests of the Dominion and the planting of trees on an extensive scale." Annual reports were made for several years, but no action resulted. Fires were severe and widespread, and already in many localities fuel and building logs could not be procured. Finally, the fear of a timber famine in the west led the department in 1893 to embark on a policy of setting aside certain non-agricultural Crown lands adjacent to settlement as sources of future timber supply, and for the equalization of water flow as well. Before this, in 1885 and 1886, certain mountain park lands had been reserved to the Crown under the provisions of the Dominion Lands Act, the impetus having been given by the discovery of hot mineral springs near Banff, Alberta. The formal constitution as reserves, however, took place later. The parks, of course, were set aside on account of their scenic qualities. The timber reservation policy began with the creation of Moose Mountain reserve, by depart-mental order, in 1894, followed the next year by Riding Mountain, Turtle Mountain, and Spruce Woods reserves.

So far, in the administration of the Dominion forest land, attention had been given almost wholly to facilitating the cutting of timber and perfecting the system of revenue collection. There were some local fire guardians, appointed under territorial ordinance, to look after prairie fires, but disastrous fires swept the country every dry season. The reserved areas were virtually without any system of protection, beyond the cutting of a few fire guards through timber on two of the reserves. The seriousness of the fire damage was realized, however, by some of the officials. Thus, the chief clerk of the Timber Branch, in his report for 1887, speaks of " the necessity of providing some better means than at present exist to prevent the destruction annually by fires of millions of feet of timber throughout Manitoba and the North-west Territories." Periodically, for years, we find the field officials, in their reports, pointing out the necessity of greater fire protection,

17-c. c.


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