Page:U.S. Department of the Interior Annual Report 1880.djvu/81
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF RHE INTERIOR.
their improvements and removed, or stipulation should be made with the Indians by which that portion of the reservation settled by the whites may be ceded to the government. There is ample room on the reservation to admit of the latter course, and he thinks the Indians would readily consent, upon reasonable terms, to such a plan. He also believes that many of the Indians, especially of the Nez Percys, many of whom are now thrifty farmers, could be prevailed upon without difficulty to select lands in severalty. Could this be accomplished a large portion of the Xez Perce Reservation, which embraces an extended area of valuable agricultural land, might be restored to the public domain.
The greater portion of the timber in the Territory is in the mountains, and consists principally of pine, fir, and cedar, though it is found to some extent along the rivers and smaller streams.
To prevent the destruction of timber in violation of law, the governor recommends the amending of the act of Congress of June 3, 1878, so as to provide for the survey and sale of the timber on the public lands, say every alternate section, with a heavy penalty for cutting or destroying the timber on the sections reserved by the government. This would supply the people and create an interest which it is thought would prevent the wanton destruction of timber.
The population has increased from 20,588, in 1870, to about 40,000, including Indians, in 1880, a gain of nearly 100 per cent.
With the opening up of railroads, it is reasonable to expect a much larger gain in the next decade. There is at present but one railroad into the Territory—the Utah and Northern, a narrow guage, running through the eastern part, though other lines have been projected, the most important of which is one to run from Ogden, Utah, to some point on the Pacific coast in the State of Oregon. Though lacking in railroad facilities, the Territory is well provided with first-class stage routes to all the important points. As before suggested, much of the land in Idaho, suitable for agriculture, cannot be made available except by irrigation, and development in this way will be very slow so long as individuals are so restricted in the amount of land which they can enter. Under existing laws individual interests cannot be large enough to warrant irrigation on auy very large scale. The propriety of so amending the desert land laws as to permit the disposal of this class of lands in large quantities to persons or corporations pledging themselves to the building of canals for their reclamation, and restricting them as to withdrawal of the lands from the market and as to the maximun price at which they should be sold, is suggested.
The number of children between the ages of five and twenty-one is about 6,000, and the annual revenues raised for school purposes is about $25,000. The necessity for making some provision in the interest of public schools in the Territories is urged upon Congress.
It may be said in general of the Territory that its affairs are in a highly satisfactory condition. Good health has prevailed during the