Angus’s Napkin Notes.

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The reason Grazing is not mentioned in the Forest Reserve Act (1891) or Forest Organic Act (1897) is because Congress validated grazing on all land open under the Homestead, Preemption and Mining Laws in 1875, and confirmed all state/territorial titles to range rights in 1885 by the Enclosure or Occupancy Act. The Validating Act of 1890 settled all question of ranchers rights west of the 100th meridian. The Forest Reserve Act and Forest Organic Act required the survey of all land “occupied by actual settlers” and that the Survey maps produced would have the same legal force and affect as all previous such surveys confirming grants of Congress. Congress required the original survey maps were to be kept at the Surveyor General’s Office in Washington DC. FYI local bureaucrats were to continue making copy’s of worn maps for replacements, for which they could charge administrative “fees”. The bureaucrats could also sell commercial timber and regulate mineral disposal. However the authority to sell “commercial timber” did not affect the rights of local settlers, miners, and residents to have free-use timber, fire-wood, etc. Did you ever wonder where grazing “fees” came from? Doing surveys and making maps,25% (Forest Organic Act 1897); taxes on ranchers’ surface estate for state-county property tax, 25% (Twentyfive Percent Fund Act 1909); voluntary cooperative range improvements contributions 50%, (Cooperative Improvement Fund Act 1914). By the way “contributions” to the Cooperative Improvement Fund (or now called Range Betterment Fund -RBF) are refundable if the bureaucrats don’t use them surveys, etc.

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