New Brunswick. Commission to Investigate and Report on the Best Method of Administering the Crown Timber Lands of the Province.

Abstract: Commission to Investigate and Report on the Best Method of Administering the Crown Timber Lands, 1892

In 1890 the Executive Council of the New Brunswick struck a commission to investigate a range of issues connected with the administration of Crown Lands, including the relative merits of long and short leases, a discussion of the rate of stumpage to be charged with special reference to European markets, a discussion of the relative advantages and disadvantages of the lumber trade in northern and southern regions of the province, the question of advantageous changes to be made in respect to the scaling of logs and lumber, and, interestingly, a discussion of the "protection and conservation of the forest wealth of the province".

The Commissioners, A. F. Randolph, Frank Todd, and Allen Ritchie, began by distributing a questionnaire across the province to obtain pertinent information. A number of witnesses were subsequently interviewed. From these sources the Commissioners arrived at some unequivocally stated conclusions.

Regarding the question of the length of leases, the Commissioners reported that it would be in everyone's best interest, both for the Crown and lessees, to make tenure as long as possible. This, they argued, "would lead to more prudent and economical methods of operating", and it would ultimately prolong the life of the resource.

The Commission also reported that, because Baltic wood was produced more cheaply and France had one year prior instituted a restrictive tariff, New Brunswick lumber producers would be effectively barred from making much (if any) profit at a higher rate of stumpage for spruce and pine. However, the Commissioners also reported that because northeastern American producers were fast running out of spruce resources, the time would come in the not-to-distant future when New Brunswick's lumber industry would become increasingly profitable. As such, the Commissioners recommended careful husbanding of the resource. To advance this cause, they suggested strict and strident penalties be applied to those illegally cutting immature trees. They also stated that "no reasonable expenditure should be considered too great for the protection of timber lands from fire."

h.c.

Commissioners:A. F. Randolph
Frank Todd
Allen Ritchie
D. G. Smith

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