Private Wild Forests.
Mr. James P. Tolman, speaking before the cotton manufacturers at Saratoga Springs, N. Y., a short time ago upon the importance of safeguarding the sources of water power streams, declared that they might urge legislation controling the methods of cutting timber, particularly for the prevention of such methods as shall lead to denudation of the rock—this under the general principle that one man is not permitted so to use his property as to menace the welfare of others.” The highest courts in Maine and New Jersey have recently affirmed this principle, and it was sustained last April by the Federal Supreme Court. The Maine decision declares that, inasmuch as wild timber land was derived originally from the State, it may not be wasted so as to impoverish the State and its people. By virtue of its police power, the State may restrict the cutting or destruction of wild forests so as “to preserve or enhance the value of such lands and trees thereon and protect and promote the interests of such owners and the common welfare of the people.” Justice Holmes, of th_c Supreme Court of the United States, thus defines the broad application of the principle: “The State as quasi-sovereign and representative of the interests of the public has a standing in court to protect the atmosphere. the water, and the forests within its territory, irrespective of the assent or dissent of the private owners of the land most immediately concerned.” The States may exercise this power without compensation to private owners. It is with reference to the Supreme Court’s ruling in April that the President’s Conservation Commission is taking its census of lands, waters, forests, and minerals throughout the country for the information and action of State governors and of legislatures.