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Mr. LAUGHLIN. That is correct.
you very much, Mr. Laughlin. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Merryman.
STATEMENT OF SOMERS G. MERRYMAN, NORTHERN PACIFIC
Mr. MERRYMAN. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I have a statement here which will run about 8 minutes. I have taken the liberty of briefing it in accordance with your instructions. I will guarantee it will be done in 5 minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Mr. MERRYMAN. My name is Somers G. Merryman, manager, Timber and Western Lands, of the Northern Pacific Railway Co., 1008 Smith Tower, Seattle, Wash.
The Northern Pacific, first of the northern transcontinental railroads, has had a great deal of firsthand experience with wilderness in the North west. Today, its lines serve hundreds of dependent communities where a perpetual flow of forest products is the source of raw material that sustains their economy. Forest products alone produced 28 percent of the rail revenue of the Northern Pacific in 1960; therefore it is easy to understand that management of timber, minerals, water, grazing, recreation, wilderness, and other resources of Federal lands, is of vital concern to the Northern Pacific. I would like to make clear the railway company is not opposed to wilderness providing the amount set aside is consistent with other needs.
The withdrawal of resources from the economy of the Northwest will be felt not only by the transportation industry but by numerous other supporting services, including common labor and skilled pro fessional people, whose occupations are indirectly dependent upon industries using resources from Federal lands.
It will be necessary to develop all natural resources to their fullest extent to sustain the present standard of living as the population expands. Renewable resources can be most efficiently managed under one agency, with the authority to adjust the ratio of uses from time to time to realize maximum social and economic benefits. Failure to do so will result in lost recreational opportunities as well as lost economic values.
The uses to which the resources of our national forests are put, directly or indirectly affect every citizen. Withdrawal of lands from multiple-use management by legislation for limited use before sound, careful studies have been completed, will result in poorly conceived boundaries and will not produce the maximum possible benefits.
The railway company manages its 214 million acres of land under the principle of multiple use, with a technically trained staff of foresters, geologists, engineers, grazing, recreation, and other land-management specialists. The various possible uses of its property are integrated to yield the highest and best combined use. The relative values of the resources on its lands are constantly changing. The railway company cannot, in good conscience, dedicate portions of its properties to limited use in the future based upon today's knowledge.
Changing need and demand for the resources of our Federal lands also cannot be accurately predicted for the future. Sound land management policy requires that land managing agencies be provided with freedom to continually alter the balance of resources utilized in order to fullfill society's requirements. To arbitrarily establish boundaries today which cannot be readily revised to fit the needs as foreseen tomorrow, is wasteful, shortsighted, unnecessary and not in the best interest of future generations.
As each of these areas approaches development, the wilderness needs and boundaries can be better determined in view of more reliable information. The existing procedure of wilderness preservation has resulted in bountiful wilderness availablity far beyond the present requirements.
There is no proven need to establish an additional system to manage wilderness; in fact, such a system will create many difficulties as it will be dependent entirely upon appropriations, whereas much of the current cost of recreation is indirectly borne by other resources which are providing access and protection.
Little has been said about the vast acreage of nondedicated national forest and private land which is available for recreation and which is suitable for providing wilderness-type experience. Wilderness and timber are renewable resources. Cropping of timber does not fully destroy the wilderness value but only reduces its quality for a period.
Proper establishment of wilderness requirements and boundaries can only be made after careful studies of each individual case. The areas now set aside in primitive classification were purposely created larger than necessary to be sure of including all possible wilderness values. A wilderness bill to protect primitive areas is unnecessary as they are now assured adequate protection under their primitive status until studied and reclassified for their best use under the multiple-use principle.
Hearings are scheduled early in March by the regional forester, northern region, to review the Forest Service proposal to reclassify the Selway-Bitterroot Primitive Area to wilderness status. As a case in point, this area of 1,833,039 acres contains nearly 7 billion board feet of timber and over 900,000 acres of commercial timberland. The center of the primitive area is within 375 miles (1 day's travel by car) of 33 separate areas containing 12,275,231 acres of principally wilderness-type country dedicated to limited use in the national forest and national parks.
The CHAIRMAN. Did I understand you that this has 900,000 acres of commercial timber?
Mr. MERRYMAN. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. This could be cut at any time now, could it? Could it have been for the last 30 years?
Mr. MERRYMAN. It awaits growth development, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand. There was not enough demand for us to put access roads in it. We have an access road program. None of it has been cut for 30 years.
Mr. MERRYMAN. That is correct. I agree. I am not concerned, however, with what has happened in the past. I am concerned with the future.
This timber will all be needed for the economy of the United States in the decades ahead and also the State of Idaho as has been well brought out here in previous discussion.
In the opinion of many who have visited it, the area is too large even for proper use as a wilderness due to restricted access. It can only be entered a few months out of the year and cannot be adequately protected from devasting fires, because of its inaccessibility.
Furthermore, it includes private lands, some of which are owned by the Northern Pacific, roads, landing fields, and hunting lodges, all of which are not consistent with true wilderness. Elimination of most of the above conflicts will still leave an area of over 1,000 square miles containing practically all of the true wilderness.
The Selway-Bitterroot example shows how important it is that each area be carefully studied before classification to limited use.
For the Congress to enact S. 174 before the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission report is available, is tantamount to a doctor operating before he completely diagnoses the illness. This study promises to be far more complete than any to date, and the urgency of the problem just does not warrant such hasty action.
It is respectfully recommended that consideration of s. 174 by the Congress be set aside, pending completion of the above study.
I should point out that the railway company is a substantial owner of land in the Selway-Bitterroot Primitive Area, the Mission Mountain Primitive Area, and it owns approximately 8,000 acres inside Yellowstone National Park.
The CHAIRMAN. Any questions.
Senator METCALF. Mr. Chairman, I can't let this witness go without commenting on his testimony about the Selway-Bitterroot area, because that is an area with which I am familiar. I grew up in the Selway-Bitterroot area and know it and I also know the Montana área he is talking about.
There are only 83 million board feet of timber in the whole Montana national forest area that is in wilderness and there are 524 million board feet of allowable cut not being harvested right now in Montana. Now we have 14 percent unemployment in the logging areas of Montana. Mr. Merryman knows that as well as I do, because he operates in the Northern Pacific; his Northern Pacific areas are up near Libby and Kalispell, down near Bitterroot.
You know we are not even beginning to cut annually the amount of timber that is allowable to cut right now. Last year Senator Murray and Senator Mansfield and I asked for a survey of the timber resources in Montana. Mr. Tebbe, the regional forester, said that we could have a development of eight times the present level without going into the wilderness areas.
We could have three times as many jobs in primary employment as we have at the present time. So we are not even beginning to use the present timber resources we have outside, without even touching, the Selway or the Bob Marshall or any of the other wilderness areas.
Mr. MERRYMAN. Senator, I would respectfully have to disagree with your figures. I don't know the source, but I do know what the Northern Pacific is cutting in western Montana. It is, roughly, 100 million board feet per year. This includes the area east of the Continental Divide in the Gallatin Forest area. This is coming from lands largely intermingled with those of the U.S. Government Forest Service.
This cut is considerable in excess of the average growing capacity of the land. We do not believe that we can continue to keep up this cut and fulfill the requirements of the local mills. I have also had it told to me by members in the Missoula area--and I am sorry I can't remember the exact figure—that the average head capacity in the Bitterroot Valley, northern, and including Flathead Valley, is approximately 150 million to 200 million greater than the annual cut capacity that may be sustained. .
Senator Metcalf. I will give you the figures. I put into the record a while ago a statement of the allowable cut in the national forest for 1960 in the State of Montana. It is 1,000 million board feet. The actual cut was 478 million board feet. This means an additional 524 million board feet could have been cut. In the State of Idaho the allowable cut was 1,025 million board feet. The actual cut was 790 million. There, 235 million board feet more could have been cut. Now, all the cut in the wilderness in Montana would be 83 million board feet, and it would only be added to 524 million board feet of allowable cut outside the wilderness areas which was not cut last year.
In Idaho it would be 156 million board feet added to 235 million board feet of allowable cut which was not used last year. Until you begin to cut the amount of timber that is available in western Montana and in eastern Idaho, begin to even come halfway to cutting that timber, I don't see that there is any argument about the shortage of timber.
Mr. MERRYMAN. Senator, I will respectfully have to again disagree with you. I will have to know exactly what areas this volume of cut is short in. I know that there are substantial volumes of timber in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, which I have heard previous reference to and which was stated as not being acceptable timber value.
My recollection, not from personal experience because I have not been in there, but discussing it with timber operators in the general area, that the fir lodge in the Bob Marshall is some of the best fir lodge timber in the State of Montana.
The CHAIRMAN. The point is, if you can't cut the allowable cut outside the wilderness-type areas, why do you want to go into the wilderness?
Mr. MERRYMAN. Senator, I think perhaps I should repeat the statement I made a little earlier. I am not worried about what we are doing today. The cut in the Montana area or Idaho is sufficient to serve the capacity of the existing mills. I recently made trip through parts of Idaho. I think that it is very obvious when you look at some of the existing plants where they are only operating 25 or 50 percent of capacity, a lot of people are out of work, but there are plenty of logs around to supply their needs. They don't have the markets available.
I was going to say it is not due to shortage of timber, but to shortage of market, I know why some mills in New Mexico closed. They closed because they could not sell their lumber. We are looking at this thing through different pairs of glasses, I am using telescopes, looking 20, 30, 50 years ahead of the timber in a perpetual basis.
You cannot look at it in terms of the next decade or two. I maintain we are going to need the timber to supply the needs of the American people to build homes in within the next 75 and 100 years.
Timber and wilderness both are renewable resources. What I mean by that is that if you cut over a wilderness area it will replenish itself where timber grows.
The CHAIRMAN. If you are so worried about having enough timber to cut 25 or 50 years from now why don't some of you pitch in and help me on my reforestation bill?
Mr. MERRYMAN. I will be glad to do that.
Senator METCALF. Mr. Chairman, I made a trip with Mr. Merryman and the Northern Pacific people. We looked over the timber operations in western Montana. I want to say that the tree farms and the conservation policies of the Northern Pacific are splendid. I know that he is familiar with Senate Document No. 9 of the 86th Congress, entitled "Full Use and Development of Montana's Timber Resources,” because we discussed that.
That is the timber survey from which I was quoting that showed that we have a very inadequate development, that we have less than 50 percent of development of our timber resources and we could increase some areas in western Montana eight times.
We also talked about your bill, Mr. Chairman, Senate Joint Resolution 95, and the need for reforestation. We can increase many times the amount of timber in western Montana by adequate reforestation.
It will take several hundred years to reforest denuded timberlands in Montana at the present rate if we don't accelerate the reforestation. There are plenty of ways to look through this telescope at 90 years from now, or at the year 2,000, or whatever Mr. Merryman has his telescope spotted on and develop the timber needs we have in that area without invading these wilderness and primitive areas.
The CHAIRMAN. I have my telescope on the clock. Are there additional questions? You have been a good witness.
Mr. Barnard is an attorney and son of a very distinguished lawyer who is also a great natural resources lawyer, as is Mr. Barnard.
He represents the Colorado Water Congress and I believe is as capable as anyone in the State to testify on the general view in my own State concerning the present bill. STATEMENT OF JOHN B. BARNARD, FIRST ASSISTANT ATTORNEY
GENERAL OF THE STATE OF COLORADO Mr. BARNARD. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I revised slightly my prepared statement, some typographical errors and some unfortunate language I saw on rereading it, so the original will be different from the copies I present.
I will also brief this and in doing so make one or two flat statements that will be further qualified if one reads the entire statement.
Colorado first expressed itself in connection with wilderness legislation about 2 years ago by a memorial of its legislature.
Later on the Colorado Legislature drafted some amendments based on the objections to the legislation then pending.