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The other ones that I had just jotted here as I sat at the side were quicksilver, antimony, chromite, and then I wanted to say a word on limestone.
Senator Cordon. Go ahead and give us a short statement on that. Dr. REED. The quicksilver deposits of Alaska may be substantial. They are rather new. They have been found rather recently. They are down in the Kuskokwim region. The deposits around the DeCourcy Mountain and Sleetmute look as if they would have some real possibilities. I am hopeful about the quicksilver possibilities of that part of Alaska.
Senator CORDON. As a matter of fact, someone at some time put in a pretty sizable operation in quicksilver, did they not?
Dr. ŘEED. Yes; not too many years back. It was during the war. There is development going on there right now under the defense minerals exploration law.
Senator CORDON. Some gentleman in my office from Alaska advised me that he was interested,
with others, in taking over the quicksilver operation which had some large reduction furnaces.
Dr. REED. That is DeCourcy Mountain, that is right. Their problem there in putting those furnaces in was that they had to design the quicksilver furnace to burn wood instead of oil because of the isolation of the place.
Senator CORDON. He left me a little sample that came from there, and since I used to be the owner of a quicksilver mine, it was at least intriguing.
Dr. REED. They are extremely interesting. I feel from the occurrence of the cinnabar in placers in the whole general area, eventually the deposits will be found to be much more widespread that we are now certain of. I think that is likely.
Antimony is also an important mineral in Alaska, in the mineral stibnite. It occurs, among other places, with this quicksilver ore. It has raised hob with furnaces in recovery sometimes, but if there is enough quicksilver those things can be solved.
Antimony occurs elsewhere. It has been mined in times of high price and will continue to be mined in Alaska in times of high price.
Chromite, as we pointed out the other day, is best known in Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula where the deposits are small to moderate, but where the grade is reasonably good. I think that they will yield some chromite starting now and going on for some little time.
I think those are the important things, Senator.
We appreciate very much you gentlemen coming, and we regret that we had to detain you as long as we did.
Before the committee recesses, I would like to take up the matter of the next hearing. Until I can talk with the chairman, I do not know what he has in mind with respect to a full committee hearing tomorrow. If that hearing does take place, tentatively, at least, it leaves our hearing here set for 10 o'clock Wednesday morning. Governor Heintzleman is here now, and we will have him remain for the purpose of discussing the national forest matter. We will endeavor to get someone from the Defense Department who can at least officially say, "No," if that is what they decide.
(Whereupon, at 12:30 p. m., the hearing was recessed, subject to call.)
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 1954
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 11:30 a. m., pursuant to call, in the committee room, 224 Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C., Senator Guy Cordon (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Hugh Butler, Nebraska (chairman); Guy Cordon, Oregon (chairman of the subcommittee); Henry C. Dworshak, Idaho; Clinton P. Anderson, New Mexico; Earle C. Clements, Kentucky; Henry M. Jackson, Washington.
Present also: E. L. Bartlett, Delegate from Alaska House of Representatives.
Present also: Kirkley S. Coulter, chief clerk and staff director; N. D. McSherry, assistant chief clerk; and Stewart French, professional staff member.
Senator CORDON. The committee will come to order.
Gentlemen of the committee, we have with us this morning Governor Heintzleman of Alaska, who, for many years prior to his appointment to his present position, was chief forester of the National Forest Service in Alaska." I have no doubt Governor Heintzleman is the best informed man with respect to national forest problems, the facts concerning the forested areas of Alaska, and so forth, in the country today. I am certain that he will be helpful to the committee in getting a better understanding of the place that the national forest assets have in the economy of Alaska and the possibilities of making the area more useful as an economic asset to the State than it is under existing national-forest law.
Governor, we are particularly interested, here, in developing facts that will indicate how this committee can contrive to provide for a new State of Alaska as much of an economic backlog as possible out of the natural resources of the area. Of course, one of those that has some particularly immediate value and the one that is perhaps the best defined is the forest resources. Can you tell the committee first, the number of acres in the national forest reserves in Alaska?
STATEMENT OF B. FRANK HEINTZLEMAN, GOVERNOR OF ALASKA,
ACCOMPANIED BY GEORGE ROGERS, GOVERNOR'S STAFF; ELMER F. BENNETT, LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, AND ASSISTANT SOLICITOR; HERBERT J. SLAUGHTER, CHIEF, REFERENCE DIVISION, OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL; ANTHONY T. LAUSI, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF TERRITORIES; AND ROBERT COOTE, STAFF ASSISTANT, TECHNICAL REVIEW STAFF
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, the total national-forest acreage of Alaska is approximately 21 million acres. It consists of 2 forests, the Tongass National Forest, comprising about three-fourths of the area of southeastern Alaska, 16 million acres, and the Chugach National Forest of approximately 5 million acres, lying principally in the Prince William Sound region and on the east half of the Kenai Peninsular.
These national forests, as you say, lie in one of the best sections of the Territory for immediate development, both because of accessibility and the resources which they contain.
These national-forest units are not reserves, in the sense that I think of “reserves.” They are “land management units.” They are primarily valuable, I should say, for their timber, because the land is extremely mountainous, and this is in a good timber-growing region. The land has no value for agriculture because of its steepness, and because of the tremendous rainfall we have in that section.
Senator CORDON. Incidentally, what is the annual rainfall in the Tongass area?
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. It would average about 80 inches.
Senator ANDERSON. Governor, may I just ask you, there: Is it not true that in Ketchikan the rainfall goes up high as 180 or 200 inches?
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. I was just going to give you the range. It varies from 25 inches at Skagway to 154 at Ketchikan, with an average of 80.
Senator ANDERSON. And is there any other agricultural crop other than timber that will grow in that latitude with that much rainfall successfully?
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. A certain amount of successful gardening is done, especially for green vegetables, and also dairying in sections where there is some grassland.
However, you recall, Senator, that most of the land is timber. Where the land is grassland and not too steep, it grows very good hay crops, but the hay crops have to be put up in the form of ensilage.
Senator ANDERSON. Governor, I was just interested in your statement that this land is chiefly useful for timbering purposes and not for general agricultural purposes.
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. Shortly after I went to Alaska, back in the late teens, we made a classification of the lands of the national forests there from the standpoint of their agricultural possibilities. Less than 1 percent of the total area was considered to have any potential agricultural value, and most of that was thrown out of forest at the time and made available for homesteads, and I will have to say I doubt whether one-tenth of that is under cultivation today.
I was just trying to establish the fact that this is principally a timber growing area.
The south coast of Alaska is also a great fish-producing area, and salmon-spawning streams are numerous inside of the national forest, salmon is a major resource of that section.
Now, as I said, these national forests are primarily management units, and their resources, including their lands, are made available for what appears to be the best use; so that in addition to growing timber on a sustained-yield basis, land is also made available and has been made available for many years, under the National Forest Service policies, for townsites, of which I myself have laid out a number in the earlier days; for agriculture where there are any agricultural possibilities; for home sites; for industries sites; for resorts; for summer homes and for mining. Mining, of course, can be carried on, as you Senators know, on national forests just the same as on open public land, and this section of the Territory, in my opinion, has very fine potentials for mining.
Senator CORDON. May I ask you whether mining as carried on in the national forests of Alaska are under the general national forest laws, or whether they are special statutes?
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. Mostly under the general national forest laws. There are some special regulations in effect for Alaska. One of those you may be thinking about Senator is the provision that all timber that is cut from the national forests of Alaska has to be given at least primary manufacturing in the Territory. That I don't believe is required in any other section. It was done with the thought of making these national forests contribute in the greatest possible extent to the development of Alaska.
Another important resource in that section is waterpower. The south coast of Alaska has numerous power sites. I represented the Federal Power Commission in Alaska for many years and made or directed surveys of many of these power sites. To me waterpower is one of the greatest resources of Alaska. Anything that this committee can do, in a statehood bill, to encourage the development of waterpower for industrial use and for mining purposes, will be tremendously beneficial to the Territory.
Senator Cordon. What about the conflict between fish production in the streams and the use of the streams for waterpower?
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. May I discuss that just a minute later? Senator CORDON. You are going to cover that? All right. Governor HEINTZLEMAN. Most of the power sites in southeastern Alaska, as I say, have been surveyed, and efforts are being made to get them brought into use, those in the national forests particularly, because I had charge of that and was very much interested in seeing what they were good for and in promoting their development.
Senator ANDERSON. Governor, for many years you were associated with the Forest Service, but many people might not remember how many years that was or the circumstances of your going there,
For the record, in order that it may supply background to the testimony you are now giving us and to the validity of that testimony, will you tell us when you first went to Alaska, how long you remained in charge of the Alaskan forests, and something about the circumstances that would give you intimate knowledge of those forests?
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. I went to Alaska in 1918 to do logging engineering work for the Forest Service in connection with the getting out of airplane supplies for the First World War. You will recall that most airplanes at that time were made of wood. They were made primarily from Sitka spruce. Alaska had large stands of Sitka spruce. and I went up there to select the kinds of trees to be logged for airplanes. I liked the country, and stayed after the war. I transferred from the Forest Service in Portland, Oreg., to Alaska and have been there ever since.
For many years I was assistant regional forester for that area in charge of timber management and waterpower on the national forests.
I should say, I represented the Federal Power Commission as well as the Forest Service.
Senator JACKSON. When were you appointed regional forester?
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. In 1937, and I remained in charge of National Forests until I was made Governor, in April of this past year, 1953.
Senator ANDERSON. So that for 35 years you have known the forest situation of Alaska?
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. Yes. Also, in 1937 I was appointed representative of the Secretary of Agriculture for all of the Agriculture Department operations in Alaska. This appointment applied to the work of the other Department agencies, there, primarily Agricultural Research, Soil Conservation Service, and the Farmers Home Administration. That work took me, of course, outside of the national forests, up into interior Alaska, where we have large potential agricultural areas.
Senator ANDERSON. Then you continued as an adviser to the Department of Agriculture for a great many years, completely divorcing The Forest Service activities for a minute.
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. Yes.
Senator ANDERSON. I mean you had not only forests, but you had contact with the Federal Power Commission and also inside the Department of Agriculture, where the Forest Service is, you continued to have contact with the Department of Agriculture straight on through?
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. Yes, with all the functions of the Department of Agriculture in Alaska, regardless of who was handling them.
Senator CORDON. Did you represent the Secretary of Agriculture when Senator Anderson was Secretary of Agriculture?
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. I did.
Senator ANDERSON. To the great comfort and satisfaction of the then Secretary of Agriculture.
Governor HEINTZLEMAN. We have these very important waterpower resources in Alaska. Many of them are on the national forests. Some of them are just outside these forests. One of the most important of the latter, is Taiya. It is a project that is international in scope. The waters, consisting of the headwaters of the Yukon River, are 100 percent Canadian. But the drop to furnish the extensive and cheap power is 100 percent Alaskan.
Senator CORDON. That calls for a little cooperation.