The writer desires to express his thanks for photographs and information used in this article to Dr. J.A. Allen, of the American Museum of Natural History, New York City; Dr. Daniel Giraud Elliot, of the Field Columbian Museum, Chicago; and to Mr. Andrew J. Stone, the explorer.
It was my pleasant task, during the past summer, to visit a portion of the Forest Reserves of the United States for the purpose of studying tracts which might be set aside as Game Refuges. To this end I was commissioned by the Division of Biological Survey of the United States Department of Agriculture as “Game Preserve Expert,” a new title and a new function.
The general idea of the proposed plan for the creation of Game Refuges is that the President shall be empowered to designate certain tracts, wherein there may be no hunting at all, to be set aside as refuges and breeding grounds, and the Biological Survey is accumulating information to be of service in selecting such areas, when the time for creating them shall arrive. The Forest Reserves of the United States are under the care of the Department of the Interior, and not under the Agricultural Department, where one would naturally expect them to be. Their transfer to the Department of Agriculture has been agitated more than once, and is still a result much to be desired. Although acting in this mission as a representative of the Biological Survey under the latter Department, I bore a circular letter from the Secretary of the Interior, requesting the aid of the superintendents and supervisors of the Forest Reserves. Through them I could always rely upon the services of a competent ranger, who acted as guide.
Arriving in California in March, I was somewhat more than six months engaged in the work; in that time visiting seven reserves in California and one in the State of Washington, involving a cruise of 1,220 miles in the saddle and on foot, within the boundaries of the forest, besides 500 miles by wagon and stage. Since the addition of an extra member to the party is ever an added risk of impaired harmony, and since the practice of any art involving skill is always a pleasure, I employed no packer during the entire time of my absence, but did this work myself, assisted on the off-side by Mr. Thurston, who accompanied me, and who helped in every way within his power. May I take this opportunity to thank him for aid of many sorts, and on all occasions, and for unflagging interest in the problem which we had before us. California has long since ceased to be a country where the use of the pack train is a customary means of travel. It is now an old and long settled region where the frontier lies neither to the east nor to the west, but has escaped to the vicinity of timber line, nearly two miles straight up in the air. Comparatively few people outside of the Sierra Club, that admirable open-air organization of “the Coast,” have occasion to visit it, and such trips as they make are of brief duration.