It has not been the policy to expropriate them. Of course we propose to handle the timber question in these reservations when we get to it, and have the means, and we propose to handle the timber question in a more detailed manner than we have yet been able to do. But up to the present time, we have not interfered with the right of limit holders whose limits happen to be included in the various reserves. Of course they aie subject to more
stringent regulations in regard to preservation from fire than the general regulations governing reserves. So far as they have a proprietary right, we have not interfered and do not propose to interfere with that right.
I think I would be safe in saying that the area is the difference between the area of the existing reserve, and the total area of the proposed reserve; that is to say, roughly speaking, the area of the Rocky Mountain forest reserve, if my information is correct, will be about 13,000,000 acres.
I do not think I could give that just now. The area of this reservation is very large, it includes the whole of the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. Therefore, the area that could possibly be timbered under conditions suitable for commercial operations is very small as compared with the total area.
What the House ought to have, and what would be useful, is, in the first place, the area which is fairly well timbered, and the area which is not timbered but which is suitable for planting or forestation. These two figures put together would give us the area suitable for forest land. We might have 16,000,000 acres and a very small proportion, or a comparatively large proportion of it, might be land which might be useful for the purpose for which a forest reserve was set apart, namely, that timber may toe grown on it, and that all the atmospheric and climatic effects may be gained from it.
And will not be. We do not propose to hold the timber which is in these forest reserves from use, but we propose to inaugurate a policy which will look to the utilization of the timber and to the reforestation or continued forestation of the land. We have not arrived at that point yet but we hope to do so. In a great measure the public requirements are met by the holders of timber licenses inside and outside the forest reserves, but our purpose, in dealing with the timber in the reserves is, first, the economic utilization of the timber which is useful for commercial purposes and, next, the reproduction of timber so that there shall be a continuous supply.
That puts a little different face upon the question of these timber reserves and rather changes our ideas. What is the primary object that the minister has in mind in setting apart these timber reserves?
Mr. OLIVER, The primary object is to conserve the sources of water supply by the protection and production, or reproduction, of timber or wood around the sources of the water supply. It is to be supposed that the sources are elevated areas, otherwise hills, and, they being elevated areas, are not the most desirable areas for agricultural purposes. We propose to utilize that land which is, under ordinary conditions, either waste or of much lesser value in this work of conserving the water supply, and at the same time to reproduce the timber growth for the benefit of the dwellers on the prairies surrounding these areas.