Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/571

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SKETCH OF CHARLES D. WALCOTT.

553

lic domain, and the danger of a timber famine in the future, have led to the institution of a number of forest reservations, and in the last year of his administration President Cleveland established, by proclamation, thirteen additional reservations. Under existing laws a vast body of land included in these reservations could not be utilized for agriculture or town sites, and the exclusion of settlers from so great a domain led to vigorous protest. The situation involved considerable strain, and there was danger that the attempt to protect the forests would fail; but a compromise was finally arranged, under the terms of which the Geological Survey was instructed to map the reservations, marking upon them the areas actually forested, and also the areas available for agriculture. One hundred and fifty thousand dollars were appropriated for this work, and another important duty was thus imposed on the survey.

The survey is also charged this year with the running of the northern part of the boundary line between Idaho and Montana.

Thus in four years three new functions have been given to the Geological Survey, and the sum of money intrusted to Mr. Walcott's administrative care has been enlarged from $484,640 to $967,840, an increase of more than one hundred per cent.

The individual who demonstrates high administrative quality by success in any one field is sure to find opportunity for its exercise in other fields, and Mr. Walcott has been no exception.

The death of Dr. G. Brown Goode, in the fall of 1896, had made vacant the office of assistant secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and director of the United States National Museum. The position is one that requires a rare combination of qualities. For this reason, and on account of the intrusion of outside issues into the matter, the secretary of the institution found the selection of a person to fill it difficult. It was offered to Mr. Walcott, but he declined to leave the Geological Survey. He finally consented to take the place temporarily, with the understanding that his duties should be confined exclusively to the charge of the museum; and this proposition being accepted by the Board of Regents, he now holds the position of acting assistant secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in charge of the National Museum.

Mr. Walcott is one of the younger members of the National Academy of Sciences, to which he was elected in 1895. In the same year the Bigsbee medal of the Geological Society of London was given him in recognition of his distinguished work as paleontologist and stratigraphical geologist. This medal is awarded biennially "as a recognition of eminent services in any department of geology, irrespective of the receiver's country," and Mr. Walcott was the fourth American to receive it.