Marked progress has been made along the lines indicated, but few of the states have begun to measure up to their full responsibility in protecting their future timber supply.
THE PLAYGROUNDS OF THE NATION
The public forests are steadily increasing in popularity as the playgrounds of the Nation. The woodlands offer splendid opportunities for camping, hunting, fishing and outdoor life. Millions of motorists now spend their vacations in the government and state forests. Railroads and automobiles make the forests accessible to all. Thousands of miles of improved motor highways lead into the very heart of the hills. More than 5,500,000 people annually visit the National Forests. Of this number, some 2,500,000 are campers, fishermen and hunters.
[Illustration: A camping ground in A national forest]
The forests provide cheap health insurance to all who will enjoy what they offer in sport and recreation. For example, over 1,000,000 vacationists visit Colorado’s forests each year. If each person spent but five days in the forests, this would mean a total of 5,000,000 days or 50,000,000 hours of rest and enjoyment. Recreation at the beaches and amusement parks costs at least fifty cents an hour. Applying that rate to the free fun which the people get out of the forests, in Colorado in one year the tourists, campers and fishermen gained $25,000,000 worth of pleasure from the forests.
The National and State Forests furnish summer homes for thousands of people who live in the neighboring cities and towns. Regular summer home sites are laid off in many of the forests. Usually these individual sites cover about one-quarter acre or less. They rent for $5 to $25 a year, depending on the location. A man can rent one of these camp grounds for a term of years. He can build a summer cottage or bungalow on it. There are no special rules about the size or cost of the houses. Uncle Sam requires only that the cottages be sightly and the surroundings be kept clean and sanitary. Many of the cabins are built for $150 to $300. Some of them are more permanent and cost from $3,000 to $5,000 or $10,000. In the Angeles National Forest in southern California, over sixteen hundred of these cottages are now in use and many more are being built.
Where there are dead or mature trees in the forest, near summer home sites, timber can be purchased at low prices for use in building cottages. Even the people of small means can build cabins in the forests and enjoy living in the mountains during the heat of the summer. These camps provide fine surroundings for the rompings and summer games of the children and young people.