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REQUIRING SETTLERS ON PUBLIC LANDS IN ALASKA TO RECORD NOTICE OF THEIR SETTLEMENT CLAIMS IN THE LAND OFFICE FOR THE DISTRICT IN WHICH THE LANDS ARE SITUATED

MAY 9, 1949.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State o

the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. PETERSON, from the Committee on Public Lands, submitted the

following

REPORT

(To accompany H. R. 4289)

The Committee on Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 4289) to require settlers on public lands in Alaska to record notice of their settlement claims in the land office for the district in which the lands are situated, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

The amendments are as follows:
Page 2, line 1, strike out the comma following the word "years".
Page 2, line 2, strike out the comma following the word "commute”.

EXPLANATION OF THE BILL

The purpose of this bill is to require settlers on public lands in Alaska to record notice of their settlement claims in the land office for the district in which the lands are situated.

Under present procedure, land claims are registered with the United States commissioners but not in the Bureau of Land Management district offices. As a result, in many instances the Bureau of Land Management records do not show existing valid claims based on settlement. This has interfered with efficient administration by the Bureau, since the lack of adequate records may result in claims being allowed for which there is a preceding valid claim. The enactment of H. R. 4289 would assist applicants in learning which lands were available for settlement.

H. R. 4289 also would replace the existing recordation requirement with one which would apply to both surveyed and unsurveyed lands, and would apply to a broader range of claims.

Minor amendments have been made by the committee to correct typographical errors.

The bill is fully explained in the following executive communication from the Department of the Interior:

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

Washington, April 12, 1949. Hon. Sam RAYBURN,

Speaker of the House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. SPEAKER: Enclosed is a proposed hill “to require settlers on public lands in Alaska to record notice of their settlement claims in the land Office for the district in which the lands are situated, and for other purposes.

I respectfully request that the proposed bill be referred to the appropriate committee for consideration, and I recommend that it be enacted.

The act of March 3, 1903 (48 U. S. C. sec. 371) requires recordation of certain settlement claims on unsurveyed land in the recording district in which the land is located. The proposed bill would replace the existing recordation requirement with one which would apply to both surveyed and unsurveyed lands, would apply to a broader range of claims, and would require that the recordation be made in the district land office for the land district in which the land is located. Other changes would be made to conform the parts of the 1903 act affected by the pro posed amendment with the present homestead laws and with the present organization of the Bureau of Land Management. In addition settlers establishing homestead claims on unsurveyed lands would be required to reside on and cultivate their claims in the same manner that entrymen on surveyed lands are required to do so. Settlers under the trade, manufacturing and homesite law (48 U. S. C. sec. 461) would be required to apply to purchase their claims under that law within 5 years after filing the notice of their claims.

There is a definite need for this proposed legislation. Alaska is divided into three land districts with offices located at Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Nome. Persons seeking to acquire rights in the public lands in Alaska through settlement, entry or lease should be able, and frequently try, to obtain information as to the available lands from the proper district land office. At present these offices cannot supply such information because they have no record of the existing settlement claims. The records would also be very useful to the proper administration of the public lands, and should be helpful in supplying information requested by Congress and by the Territorial authorities.

I am advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the presentation of this proposed bill. Sincerely yours,

Oscar L. CHAPMAN,

Acting Secretary of the Interior. The Committee on Public Lands unanimously recommend the enactment of H. R. 4289.

Pursuant to the provisions of clause 2a, rule XIII, of the Rulas of the House of Representatives, proposed changes in existing law are set forth below in the right-hand column. The existing law is set forth in the left-hand column.

ACT OF MARCH 3, 1903 (32 Stat. 1028, 48 U. S. C., SEC. 371)

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"hat the record of said location shall, “that within ninety days from the date within ninety days from the date of of settlement on surveyed or unsurveyed settlement, be filed for record in the lands a notice shall be filed by or on recording district in which the land is behalf of the settler for record in the situated. Said record shall contain the United States land office for the district name of the settler, the date of the in which the land is situated. Said nosettlement, and such a description of tice shall contain the name of the settler the land settled upon, by reference to and the date of the settlement, and such

natural object permanent a description of the land settled upon, if monument, as will identify the same; surveyed, by legal subdivisions, section, and, if after the expiration of the said township, and range, or, if unsurveyed, period of five years or at such date as by reference to some natural object or

some

or

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the settler may desire to commute the permanent monument and by a statepublic surveys of the United States have ment, if desired, of the approximate not been extended over the land located, latitude and longitude determined from a patent shall nevertheless issue for the a map of Alaska, as will identify the land included within the boundaries of land; and, if after the expiration of the said location as thus recorded, upon period of three years, or at such date as proof to be submitted to the register the settler may desire to commute, the and receiver of the proper land office, public surveys of the United States have upon proof that he is a citizen of the not been extended over the land located, United States, and upon the further a patent shall nevertheless issue for the proof required by section twenty-two land included within the boundaries of hundred and ninety-one of the Revised said location as thus recorded, upon Statutes of the United States as hereto- proof to be submitted to the manager fore and herein amended and under the of the proper land office that the settler procedure in the obtaining of patents is a citizen of the United States, and to the unsurveyed lands of the United upon the further proof required by secStates, as provided for by section ten tion twenty-two hundred and ninety-one of the Act hereby amended, and under of the Revised Statutes of the United such rules and regulations as shall be States as heretofore and herein amended, prescribed by the Secretary of the and under the procedure in the obtainInterior as hereinbefore provided, with- ing of patents to the unsurveyed lands out the payment of any purchase price of the United States, as provided for by or other charges, except the ordinary section ten of the Act hereby amended, office fees and commissions of the reg- and under such rules and regulations as ister and recciver except one dollar and shall be prescribed by the Secretary of twenty-five cents per acre on land com- the Interior as hereinbefore provided muted:"

without the payment of any purchase price or other charges, except the ordinary office fees and commission, and except one dollar and twenty-fivo cents per acre on the land commuted:".

Sec. 2. Any person who at the effective date of this Act is maintaining a settlement claim on surveyed or unsurveyed public land in Alaska shall file notice of the location of his settlement claim in the United States land office for the district in which the land is situated, (a) within ninety days from the effective date of this Act, if notice of the location has not heretofore been filed in the recording district in which the land is situated, or (b) within two years from the effective date of this Act, if notice of the location has heretofore been filed in such recording district.

Sec. 3. Unless notice of a settlement claim is filed in the proper district land office withing the time prescribed by sections 1 and 2 of this Act, the claimant, in making homestead proof or submitting a showing of residence, cultivation and improvements as a basis for a free survey, shall not be given credit for such residence and cultivation as may have taken place prior to the filing of (a) a notice of the claim in the proper district land ofiice, (b) a petition for surv", or (c) an application for homestead entry. whichever is the earlier.

Sec. 4. A homestead settler on unsurveyed public lands shall make proof of residence, cultivation, and improvements within five years from the date of the filing of notice of the setilement

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claim in the district land office, es & basis for a free survey under section 2 of the Act of July 8, 1916 (39 Stat. 352, 48 U. 8. C., 375), and thereafter shall submit final or commutation proof in accordance with regulations of the Secretary of the Interior.

Sec, 5. All qualified persons, associations, or corporations now holding or hereafter initiating claims subject to the provisions of section 10, Act of May 14, 1898 (30 Stat. 413, 48 U. S. C., sec. 461), as amended, shall file a notice describing such claim in the manner specified by section 1 of this Act in the United States land office for the district in which the land is situated within ninety days from the effective date of this act or within ninety days from the date of the initiation of the claim, whichever is later. Unless such notice is filed in the proper district land office within the time prescribed the claimant shall not be given credit for the occupancy maintained in the claim prior to the filing of (1) a notice of the claim in the proper district land office, or (2) an application to purchase, whichever is earlier. Application to purchase claims, along with the required proof or showing, must be filed within five years after the filing of the notice of claim under this section.

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Mar 9, 1949.-— Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed

Mr. LYLE, from the Committee on Rules, submitted the following

REPORT

(To accompany H. Res. 208]

The Committee on Rules, having had under consideration House Resolution 208, reports the same to the House with the recommendar tion that the resolution do pass.

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