Open Collections

BC Sessional Papers

PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA DEPARTMENT OF LANDS REPORT ON THE SUBDIVISION OF CERTAIN LANDS FOR RETURNED… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1919

Item Metadata

Download

Media
bcsessional-1.0059844.pdf
Metadata
JSON: bcsessional-1.0059844.json
JSON-LD: bcsessional-1.0059844-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcsessional-1.0059844-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcsessional-1.0059844-rdf.json
Turtle: bcsessional-1.0059844-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcsessional-1.0059844-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcsessional-1.0059844-source.json
Full Text
bcsessional-1.0059844-fulltext.txt
Citation
bcsessional-1.0059844.ris

Full Text

 PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
DEPARTMENT OF LANDS
REPORT ON THE SUBDIVISION
OF CERTAIN
LANDS FOR RETURNED SOLDIER
SETTLEMENT
NEAR FORT ST. JAMES, STUART
LAKE, COAST DISTRICT
RANGE FIVE
By
J. H. GRAY, B.C. L.S.
PRINTED  BY
AUTHORITY OF THE  LEGISLATIVE  ASSEMBLY.
VICTORIA, B.C.:
Printed by William H. Cullix, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty,
1919.  FOREWORD.
By Order in Council dated August 9th, 1918, certain lands in the Stuart Lake
and Stuart River Valleys were reserved for soldier-settlement purposes. A large
amount of the land included in this reserve was formerly held under applications
lo purchase and surveyed as such into blocks of 640 acres each. During the summer
of 1918 Mr. J. H. Graj', B.C.L.S., was emploj^ed in charge of a party on the subdivision of these lots into areas of approximately 160 aci*es each.
The following is Mr. Gray's general report on the area covered by this work.
T. D. PATTULLO,
Minister of Lands.
Victoria, B.C.,
January, 1919.  Report on the Subdivision of certain Lands for Returned
Soldier Settlement near Fort St. James, Stuart
Lake, Range 5, Coast District.
■    Situation and Extent.
The tract subdivided this season and examined in detail consists  in all of 61,359 acres'
. situated upon either side of Stuart River, directly south and east of Fort St. James, at east
end of Stuart Lake.
Three Groups.
This entire area, on account of location aud physical variety has been divided into three
groups—viz., A, B, and C—to which reference shall be made.
Group A.—This group comprises forty-six originally surveyed lots or parcels of land,
aggregating 22,917 acres, situated on the west or right bank of the Stuart River, directly south
of Stuart Lake, having a river-frontage of nearly ten miles, with a general depth, southerly, of
five miles.
Group B.—Group B comprises fifty-two original lots, aggregating 28,539 acres, occupying
an 'area some seven miles square, north and east of Fort St. James, at the east end of Stuart
Lake.
Group C.—Group C includes fifteen original lots, containing 9,220 acres, lying to the southeast of Fort St. James, in the valley of Necoslie River, which flows north-westerly into Stuart
River, where the latter leaves that lake.
Total Area oe Subdivision, 61,389 Acres.
'Relative Situation and Sketch-plan (A, Yellow; B, Green: C, Red).—These three groups,
aggregating 61,389 acres, are,, distinctively coloured yellow, green, and red upon the small-scale
map accompanying this report, and through which their relative positions and separating causes
may be ascertained.
Group A.
Comparison with, other Groups.—Group A (22,917 acres) of the land so far subdivided
includes more generally and to a greater extent than the other two groups areas possessing the
requisite and attractive conditions inviting to settlement—viz., the best of soil, light clearing,
with a percentage of open land, regular surface, and, with the exceptions noted, good water-
supply ; moreover, a fairly good wagon-road connection already established with railway
communication.
Classification.—The total, 22,917 acres, contained on Group A has been divided as follows:—
Acres.
First-class land      19,377
Second-class  land        2,080
Third-class  land            900
Muskeg  land            500
The land on the area specified "first-class" consists of a light and dark chocolate-coloured
loam, extremely consistent as to grade, irrespective of tree-growth, throughout the whole tract.
First-class Lands, 19,377 Acres.—This soil is very fine in textfire, thereby containing capillary
moisture to a maximum extent.    In August last it was necessary to only kick up an inch or so
of soil to find dampness.
It would appear that the soil deepens in colour and possibly becomes more " clayey " upon
the Stuart bank, but at no point we're found churnings or lumps, resulting from vehicular
traffic that might not be easily pulverized in one hand.
This land is entirely free from stones or rock, and excepting the steep sides of the trough
of Todd Creek, about 60 feet deep, and a few lateral gullies, there is nothing to prevent, but
the standing timber, the whole area from being ploughed. M 6 Lands for Returned Soldier Settlement 1919
The overlying leaf-mould or humus varies from 2 inches to y2 inch in depth, dependent
upon tree-growth. Poplar creates the greatest thickness, decreasing to but a thin- covering
where solely evergreen timber prevails. In the same way the natural covering of wild grasses,
vetches, and berry-bushes, for the most part luxuriant amongst poplar, diminishes in extent in
proportion to the greater or sole evergreen growth, but, as before stated, the excellent charactei
of the land or soil remains unchanged.
Second-class Land, 2,080 Acres.—Under the heading of " Second-class Land" is soil
generally a lighter quality of loam, intermixed with a varying percentage of gravel and boulders,
the latter on the higher elevations or tops of local ridges. These areas, although cultivable,
would not at the present time be sought, nor attract attention, except as possible cattle-runs,
whenever the more attractive areas become " fenced in."
This indifferent land is found on the westerly boundary of group, from Lot 1646 south to
Lot 1605.
Third-class Land.—The third-class area (960 acres) may be eliminated entirely from any
sphere of utility, beyond a possible supply of building-timber. Otherwise this is an. area of
useless land, occupying practically the whole of Lot 1648 and. centre of Lot 1649.
Merchantable timber comprising fir, spruce, and pine is found here; the whole aggregating
a supply of some 7,000,000 feet, which, although possibly a useful adjunct to near-by settlement,
could not compare with other sources of similar supply, approximate generally to the settlement
area.
Muskegs are scattered.—An area of 500 acres of this class of land is to be found in Group A,
about 70 per cent, of which is open. Pending more data as to the feasibility and cost of drainage,
these have been classed as " lost lands " at the present time.
Unlike, other classifications, muskeg is by no means isolated, but occurs at various intervals
ranging in extent from 2 to 40 acres. Their position and extent in relation to each quarter-
section may be learned from the detail reports.
Clearing, Group A—First-classv Land, $21 per Acre  (Average Cost).
The following remarks in respect to clearing relates to the area of first-class land only,
some 19,377 acres.
An attempt has been made to estimate the cost of preparing the surface for rough-ploughing
in the various degrees of tree-growth. This cost ranges from the minimum in open poplar
through changing percentages of this timber with spruce and pine and willow, to a maximum
in sole evergreen growth.
Useful Timber eliminated.—In the figures of estimated clearing cost of the first-class land
area there has been eliminated some groves of "building" spruce and pine, having a diameter
of from 12 to 14 inches and aggregating about 500 acres in extent.
This has been done in the belief that the .value of such timber is greater than the cost of
removal, which removal under ordinary circumstances would be brought about only
by degrees, as requisitioned for useful purposes. The enclosure of this class of timber under
the head of ordinary clearing, where the material to be removed is valueless except possibly
for fencing, would tend to mislead.
Clearing Cost under $21 per Acre.—It has been adjudged that with this elimination the
maximum cost of ordinary clearing would not exceed $30 per acre, nor again cost less than $10,
and hence is estimated the following:—
1,000  acres  costing  $30 00
6,641  acres costing        25 00    -
6,368  acres  costing     20 00
4,151  acres  costing     15 00
717  acres  costing        10 00
18,887   acres   averaging ■  $20 81 per ac.
Relating to the above figures, I beg to repeat here what was written in my sub-report of
August 18th last:—
" Before concluding, a word on the subject of clearing cost. In body of report are quoted
figures of cost in relation to various localities.
" I recognize the risk in stating a price, especially in the absence of any practical
experience.    It might be explained, however, that what has been quoted is an endeavour to 9 Geo. 5 Near Fort St. James, Stuart Lake. M 7
obtain an average rate over the whole parcel dealt with, unless otherwise specified. This would
greatly vary in accordance with the manner hi which the work was executed. I have tried
to base my estimate of cost upon operations as usually followed by the ordinary settler—viz.,
of cleaning up the open and easier patches of land at his disposal and permit time to work
upon his heavier woods (supposedly already slashed or killed).
" Should it be determined to clean up, say* 50 square acres forthwith, the cost would
certainly exceed my figures. Again, if ' straight-ahead ' clearing were to be organized and
prosecuted upon a community and large scale, I am of the opinion that they would be largely
reduced."
There shall be found many quarter-sections: in which, by following the stretches of more or
less expansive open land or light tree-growth, it would be possible to clean up acreage under the
minimum cost stated, and in many cases practically without.
Natural Water-supply.
Owing to the low altitude of the flanking ridge on the south (the watershed between this
and the Nechako Valley), streams are infrequent, the water-supply here being confined practically to Todd Creek, which, after receiving Rabbit Creek, its principal feeder, some two miles
within the tract, flows northerly, parallel to the Stuart River, but in the opposite direction, in a
trough some 60 feet deep.
Numerous small lakes or ponds are scattered about; these, however, could not be counted
upon to contribute potable water-supply during the summer months.
The Stuart River bounds the tract on the east, providing a bountiful water-supply of
excellent quality (although not always convenient) to the areas adjacent.
Percentage oe Dry Quarter-sections.
The distribution of the natural water-supply, as is usually the case, is inadequate to meet
the general demands of the entire settlement area.
The first-class land as at present subdivided is composed of quarter-sections or parcels of
land to the number of 128. Of this number, seventy-two are without a natural supply of good
water, or about 56 per cent., while on fifty-six subdivisions, or 44 per cent., a good water-supply
was found.
Wells.
What difficulties may be encountered in the sinking of wells is not known, since, owing to
the absence of any settlement on this the west side of Stuart River, no undertaking of this
description has been attempted. On the east or Fort St. James side wells have been sunk and
water found at varying depths, from 20 to 40 feet
An amelioration of this situation could, of course, be effected by varying the subdivision
so as to distribute the existing supply to the greatest extent possible, since where found, principally Stuart River and Todd Creek, this essential is good and abundant. The lakes and ponds
referred to would answer for stock.
Transportation, Group A—30 Miles from Railway.
The Government wagon-road from the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway at Vanderhoof to Fort
St. James traverses the length of Group A, being practically twenty-five aud thirty-five miles
respectively from the former place and railway at its south and northerly boundaries. This
road is used by automobiles in the summer and is a fairly good means of communication, subject
to the usual disabilities attending country roads during change in seasons. Connection with the
railway could be much reduced and still pass through a good line of country at its southerly
end.
The crossing of the Stuart River to Fort St. James is at the present time by cable-ferry.
A bridge just below the present ferry-site would be a simple affair.
Settlement should be inaugurated in Group A.
Group A, just described, constitutes the most favourable field in which to start settlement.
The place within it at which a community point or headquarters should be established is on the
present wagon-road at the point ou west boundary of Lot 1551, where a bend in Todd Creek
crosses  and  recrosses that  line.    This  combines  good  water-supply  with  established  line  of communication, besides being approximate to several sleigh-roads and' trails which traverse
this tract in various directions. It is central and some of the most attractive subdivisions in
the group surround it.
Cattle and Winter Feed.—Since a small herd of cattle shall be an essential adjunct to the
settlers' undertaking, the question of available winter feed, in the beginning at least, is of first
importance. Wild hay meadows of any extent in Group A are held under Indian reserve,
excepting that in Lot 1650, which lot is already Crown-granted.
The lack of hay meadows here could bo effectually met by utilizing temporarily, upon a
community basis, the areas of this description in Group B; also the acquisition of Lots 1654
and 1656 may be considered advisable on general grounds.
Lumber—Local Price $35 per 1,000 Feet B.M.
Mill now operating.—A small mill is now established on the north shore of Stuart Lake,
about six miles from Fort St. James.    This turns out much more material than present needs
require, and possibly there may be found cured lumber in stock.    The present rate is $35 per
- 1,000 feet B.M.
Mill-site.—Should it be determined to augment this institution, there is a convenient and
reverted Timber Limit 638P, Lot 4932, three miles from river-mouth on north shore of Stuart
Lake, which would be available for a mill-site if water and a sheltered nook .exists in which
to place the plant.    This shelter is requisite since this shore of the lake is exposed and shallow.
Stuart Lake Main Timber-supply.
Access to Stuart Lake.—The main timber-supply for not only Group A, but the entire
settlement area as proposed, shall come from Stuart Lake, and there is no finer timber in the
north than found oil its shores. It would therefore seem desirable that access to the lake from
within Group A should be secured.
Mouth of Stuart River Best Shelter.—Attention is directed to the alienated area lying to
the north and' east of Lot 1665, whereby this access would be effected, and what perhaps is
of more importance, control over the sheltered waters within the mouth of Stuart River. This
question, however, requires more research and expert decision.
Group B, 28,539 Acres.
This group occupies a shallow valley stretching north-easterly from the south end of Stuart
Lake for a long distance.
General Description.—The area subdivided includes not only all the good land which lies
in a strip some eight miles in length, averaging three miles wide, but extends north and south
from this strip up the slopes of the flanking ridges in second- and third-class areas.
Tree-growth.—Evergreen growth in spruce and pine is in greater percentage and heavier
than in the lands hitherto described, resulting in greater clearing cost. Open or hay meadows
are found to a greater extent, as are also drainablc muskegs. The general altitude is also
greater than in Group A.
Group B suitable for Stock-raising.—In a general way Group B is better adapted for stock-
raising than any other of the lands reserved, and beyond the few choice locations in the neighbourhood of Stuart Lake it is likely to be sought for this purpose, combined wit.h a minimum
of mixed farming. The whole district lends itself to the production of fine stock, in which,
besides the luxuriant natural feed, the presence of a maximum of lime in the water may have
something to do.
It is a good horse country, in many instances these run out all winter, but this is not
advantageous treatment. A safe estimate would be three and a half months feed for horses
and five months for horned stock.
The limited experience so far as practised seems to demonstrate the breeding of local
animals with imported bulls to be more successful than the importation of uuacclimated beasts
—the same with horses.
Classification.—The 28,539 acres contained in Group B have been divided as follows:—
Acres.
First-class land   13,465
Second-class  land   11,752
Third-class land      1,940
Muskeg land     1,382 9 Geo. 5 Near Fort St. James, Stuart Lake. M 9
First-class Land, 13,465 Acres.—The first-class or really good areas of Group B are composed of the same chocolate-coloured silt met with in Group A. There is by no means, however, the same depth of this soil, nor its widespread and consistent excellence. These remarks
would not occur only in comparison with such an exceptionally good tract of land as is found
in Group A. .
In the matter of open land or hay meadows and water-distribution it is better served than
either of the other two groups, while the eight sections nearest to Fort St. James offer to
immediate settlement inducements quite as attractive.
Hay Meadows.—In the acreage stated for first-class land is included 400 acres of what
may be termed wild hay meadow, from a proportion of which hay is now being taken.
It is to this area reference was made in speaking of " winter feed " for settlers in Group
A. Where it occurs the covering, growth is willow, the removal of which is not costly, so that
preparation for even only the wild grasses and their (meadow's) enlargement would guarantee
the economical wintering of so much more stock.
Second-class Land, 11,752 Acres.—Second-class land, 11,752 acres, of same character as
already described, occurs as the slopes of the adjacent ridges lying north and south are
ascended. Owing to the large percentage of evergreen growth, summer feed in places is scant,
but at least one-half of this area would be excellent cattle-run.
Third-class Land, 1,940 Acres.—Third-class hand, 1,940 acres. This area consists for the
most part of rocky tops of the flanking hills, and beyond the (in many cases) good growth of
milling-timber are of no value.
Muskeg, 1,382 Acres.—This area is practically contained in one locality, known as the
" Grand Muskeg," occupying portions of Tots 4752-4751 aud 4725, on the imperceptible height
of land between the waters flowing westerly into the east end of Stuart Lake and those into
Ocock River on the east, the waters of which, after first flowing into Pinchi Bake, also reach
Stuart Lake farther to the north and west. This muskeg is considered " drainable" at
reasonable cost, but estimating this cost would require such examination as has not been given.
Lime.—It might here be remarked that, relative to the reclamation and " sweetening " of
any such land, the district abounds in limestone, from which an excellent article of lime has
been produced, and should be economically procurable.
Clearing, Group B—First-class Land, ,$25 per, Acre.
The clearing cost relates only to the area included under head of first-class lands—viz.,
13,465 acres.    This has been determined at the average rate of $25 per acre.
Areas near Fort St. James.—The area referred to as " nearest Fort St. James offering inducement to immediate settlement" might be placed somewhat lower, since quite open land is to be
found at intervals.
Clearing Second-class Land.—Clearing second-class land is placed at $30 to $35 per acre,
and would include a large percentage of good building spruce and pine.
Natural Water-supply, Group B.
A glance at the map indicates that many small streams, all providing a perennial supply
of excellent water, flow down from the northerly ridge and meander through the length of the
better lands.
Subdivision.—The first-class area, 13,465 acres, consists of eighty-seven quarter-sections or
parcels of land.
Percentage of Wet and Dry Parcels.—Ol these, fifty-one, or practically 60 per cent, have
access to a natural water-supply, while thirty-six or 40 per cent, are without water.
Lakes.—The two lakes that occur in Group B both contain good water.
Wells.—No wells have been sunk in this locality; it is, however, thought that no difficulty
will be found in getting water at reasonable depth.
Transportation—Principally Hay-roads.
As stated, a Government wagon-road connects Fort St. James with the Grand Trunk
Pacific Railway at Vanderhoof, a distance of about thirty-eight miles. This same road extends
another mile to the Roman Catholic Mission on Stuart Lake. From the " Mission " the Manson
Creek (Government) Road is roughly constructed and runs northerly, as shown on accompanying sketch map, to the northern boundary of tract. M 10 Lands for Returned Soldier Settlement 1919
Another road (the old McLeod Lake Trail) starts at Fort St. James and traverses the
southerly tier of good sections to the east boundary, and a branch road from this crosses
north-easterly and traverses easterly to the same boundary the northerly tier of good lands, so
that Group B is already fairly well equipped with lines of communication, such as they are.
These roads have been constructed partly by settlers and to a large degree by the Indians,
their principal use being for haying operations (teams and wagons) in the late summer and
hauling of hay from the stacks in the winter months, for both of which duties they answer
fairly well; during change in seasons, however, they are impassable for wagons.
Group C, 9,220 Acres.
That portion of Group C which was subdivided this season consists of a small portion at
its north end of the reserved area lying in the valley of Necoslie Creek, and which may be
said to be the inferior portion of this large and excellent tract of land. This inferiority relates
particularly to those parcels lying on the southern slopes of the dividing ridge between this
and Group B and to the north of the strip of pre-empted lands. It is in this locality that the
second-class land noted below occurs. To the south of the pre-empted areas are excellent lands,
quite ready for immediate further settlement.
A report will follow, made upon the subject of pre-emption improvements in this locality, in
which it will be shown that these have been carried on to a considerable extent.
Classification.—Group C has been divided into two classes only, first- and second-class lands.
^IZ' • Acres.
First-class land   7,140
Second-class  land      2,680
First-class Land.—The first-class land is of same composition as in Group A, and similar
conditions as to depth and consistent grade prevail; generally speaking, however, the clearing
is somewhat heavier.
Necoslie Water-flow.—The Necoslie River is a stream of dimension in flood, being from
75 to 100 feet wide aud probably reaching a depth of 3 feet, which conditions are changed,
however, in autumn to a small run of water formiug pools between shallow ripples; abundant
water, however, for all needs.
Necoslie Trough.—The stream itself is tortuous, winding across the intervening flats from
foot to foot. These flats are open to a large extent, or except where covered with a light
growth of poplar and willow. These locations offer opportunities for a small start with little
preparation.
The foregoing remarks relate to the first ten miles of the stream, practically to the point
where it traverses the north-east corner of the " allotted areas," beyond' or to the south of
which, through the reserved- lands, the river flows closer to the surface of the adjacent ground.
Second-class Land, 2,680 Acres.—As stated, the second-class land, 2,680 acres, occupies
almost entirely the northerly end of Group C, and not more than 60 per cent, of this area
could be counted of much use for grazing purposes. The fine growth of timber found here,
however, will be valuable.
Meadows and Muskegs.—The extent of this class of lands is negligible; that is to say, no
extent of either is found in one place.
Clearing, Group C—First-class Land, $24 per Acre.
The tree-growth over Group C may be termed patchy, in so far that, although the mixed
timber—poplar, spruce, and pine—prevails, all three are found in distinctly separate and unified
groves, but, as in Group A, without change in the supporting soil. The cost of clearing the
first-class land, 7,140 acres, has been estimated at $24 per acre, and this rate may be considered
on the high side.
Natural AVater-supply, Group C.
Outside the Necoslie itself the water-supply is poor. Group C as subdivided consists of
forty-five subdivisions, of which twenty-seven, or 60 per cent., are supplied with water, while
on eighteen, or 40 per cent, no water was found. 9 Geo. 5 Near Fort St. James, Stuart Lake. M 11
Transportation, Group C—Poor.
An ill-made or simply " swamped-out" road over which teams may be taken in summer
extends through the length of the pre-empted lands as shown. This road starts at Fort St.
James and dwindles into a trail ten miles out
Climate.
Judging from the experience of people who have lived in this locality, the Climate is healthful
and invigorating. The summers are "not excessively hot and showers are frequent up to the
middle of August; the autumn is usually dry. Extreme winters last five months; sometimes
only four, November to March. Low thermometer is never accompanied with wind. Blizzards,
as also floods and droughts, are unknown.
Very cold snaps (—30° to —40°) occur each winter; these vary, but are usually of short
duration, or three days.    The average winter thermometer is around zero.
Precipitation.—The Dominion Meteorological Department has a station at Fort St. James
under the direction of Mr. O. W. Murrey. From this source the average rain and snow fall for
the past twenty years has been determined as 15.35 water-inches per annum.
Elevation—Stuart Lake, 2,200 Feet above Sea.
The elevations relative to each other and to Stuart Lake were determined throughout the
three groups. Obtaining this information was incorporated with other survey-work, so that
contours could be available for a topographical plan. These results have not yet been deduced,
but it may be stated that, taking Stuart Lake to be 2,200 feet above the sea-level, the first-class
land will te found to lie approximately as follows:—
Group A   2,200 to 2.430 feet above sea-level.
Group B  2,250 to 2,500 feet above sea-level.
Group C  '  2,175 to 2,300 feet above sea-level.
Work of Survey.
It is not proposed to more than touch upon this subject at the present time, since the data
obtained has not been fully made up, but to delay that report until such time as full returns
shall have been completed.
Employees.—Two surveying parties were engaged; two surveyors and one assistant with
eight returned soldiers and a cook left from Victoria in July last. This force was augmented
on the ground, as the purposes of the work demanded, by engaging Indians and later another
returned man.
Standard of Old Surveying-ivork.—The standard of the previous surveying applied to the
original sectional subdivision was found to be excellent. The limit of error established for the
subdivision survey having in no case been approached—in fact, excepting in the case of a few
intersections, the joining error or difference, both in the cross-chaining and distance off old post,
was negligible. The markings on old posts were scrutinized. In one case only was a correction
made.
A detail report upon this and other matters pertaining to and resulting from the conduct of
the work will be submitted.
Soil Samples.
Some twenty-four samples of soil were obtained from different points over the three groups.
These samples were boxed to be forwarded the week after my departure from Fort St. James,
but this has not been done. Word was received some ten days ago that they had been traced
and were on their way.    These with diagrams will be submitted whenever received.
Total Lands reserved, One-half subdivided.
Area of Reserved Lands not subdivided.—The area subdivided is about one-half that covered
by the instructions, which governed the work last season. The remaining area contains all the
lands on east side of Stuart River, back to and across the Necoslie River, practically to its head.
Speaking from a knowledge of this tract, it may be said it will be found to compare favourably,
for the most part, with Group A. M 12 Lands for Returned Soldier Settlement 1919
In this connection it might be remarked at the present time that in the matter of transportation it should not be overlooked that the Stuart River offers an excellent and alternative
line of communication direct with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, not only passing through
these unsubdivided areas to the south-east, but as a probably more economical means of handling
freight in the summer months to Groups A, B, and C.
Distance by Stuart River to G.T.P. Rly.—The distance by river from the present Stuart
River ferry to the railway is sixty-seven miles, forty-two of which is good water. The lower
river is swift, one rapid, and has been improved for navigation by the Dominion Government
There is no impediment that boats up to 25 tons, properly equipped, could not successfully and
regularly negotiate during six months in the year.
Cross-road from Lot 2785 to RaiLcay.—An excellent " cross-country " line for wagon-road
connection with the railway (G.T.P.) exists from a point on west bank of Stuart River in Lots
2785 or 2786. Such a road would reach the railway at Vanderhoof in thirteen or fourteen miles,
and strike the lower reserved lands at a half-way point on Stuart River, with an excellent slow-
flowing stream on either side (up and down river), besides tapping to the east a natural ascending
grade to the back lands.
Expert Report on Stuart River Valley.
The following synopsis, in part, of a report based upon screenings and analyses of soil
samples, made a few years ago by a land expert, Mr. Woods, as emphasizing the merits of this
tract of country as a favourable field for settlement, may be interesting. He says in his
report:—
" Area.—102,000 acres.
" Location.—In Central British Columbia, near the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, at the
foot, of Stuart Lake and along the Stuart River for about forty miles.
" Stuart Lake Basin.—An old glacial lake, probably 200 miles long, with numerous arms and
variable width—probably 100 to 200 feet deeper than the present lake and containing numerous
islands which are now hills.
" Note partly drained down to the present lake, the ' pot-holes ' of the old glacial lake.
" The Silt Area.—All the space between the present lake-rim and the old basin-rim.
" The Lake-bed Soils.—The humus:   1 to 3 inches of black vegetable mould.
" The ' white silt':   1 to 3 inches of volcanic (lust.
" The ' chocolate loam ': 4 to 12 feet of volcanic dust, formed as lake sediment in successive
layers from 2 to 12 inches thick, with marine grass-roots and a large content of organic matter
in each layer.
" The ' deep silt':   A great deposit of flue volcanic dust underlying the chocolate loam to an
unknown.depth, but observed in the cut-banks of the river to a depth of 60 and SO feet.
" ' The finer the richer ' :   The rule for all soils.     (Fletcher on ' Soils,' page 25.)
" Silt and clay particles:   These constitute the richness and durability of all soils.
"Percentages of Silt and Clay in Different Soils.— (8.G71 samples analysed by United States
Department of Agriculture from United States soils.)    Of the many given, three highest are
quoted:— Per Cent
Clay soils     78
Silt loams       SO
Silty clay loams -.     86
" Stuart Lake Soils analysed—
Stuart Lake and River ' white silt'      86.3
Stuart Lake and River ' chocolate loam '     86.8
" They are easy to work, are mellow when ploughed, and can be ploughed at any time.
" Organic Matter in Various Soils.—Of the many percentages given in Mr. Woods's report,
a few of the higher and the highest are quoted here :— Per Cent
Average soils, the average of many -.    2.30
North-eastern States (highest for average soils)       3.73
Average for rich silt soils     5.30
Yasoo bottom silt (Miss.)     7.37
Putah Valley dark loam (Cal.)    :     7.12
Arroyo Grande Valley dark loam  (Cal.)    '.. - . 6.23 9 Geo. 5 Near Fort St. James, Stuart Lake. M 13
" The Yasoo bottom and the Arroyo Grande soils, mentioned above, are considered to be
among the ' richest known soils.'
" Organic Matter in Stuart Lake and River Soils— Percent
Stuart Lake and River ' white silt'      6.59
Stuart Lake and River ' chocolate loam '  ' :     6.72
" Note.—All of the above samples for organic matter undoubtedly include a portion of the
top humus soil, except the samples of the Stuart Lake and River soils, which do not include any
of the humus."
Speaking at length in respect to plant-foods and nitrogen especially, the report sums up:—
"With a top humus and over 6 per cent of organic matter in its main soiltand subsoil
bodies, the Stuart Lake and River sediments are sure of surplus nitrogen-supply for an indefinite
period."
On the question of moisture Mr. Woods has to say:—
" When at any time the amount of rainfall entering a soil becomes greater than the water-
holding capacity of the soil, losses by percolation will result. The bad effects of excessive
percolation are twofold: (1) The actual loss of water; and (2) the leaching-out of salts that
may function as plant-food. The quantity of nutrient elements lost annually from the average
soil in a humid region more than equals that withdrawn by the crops.
"Unsurpassed Qualities of the Stuart Lake and River Sediment, Soils.—First: The finest
texture couples with easy tillage.
"Second:   A large excess in mineral plant-foods, as shown by all the analyses of silt soils.
"Third: An organic content in excess of the richest silt soils and far in excess of average
soils. No other soils known to the writer or mentioned in the many soil authorities consulted
so fully combines richness, durability, and mellowness for easy working and for the conservation
of moisture.
" This could only occur, as in this case, where a wind-carried volcanic dust has been deposited
in water and remained undisturbed under water until it accumulated a large organic content.
Water-carried soils (alluvial soils) cannot preserve all of these qualities.
" In a word, these lake-bed sediments take the highest rank for fineness and durability, for
ease of working, and for range of crop and capacity.
"Conservation of Moisture and Soil Strength.—The smallness of the rainfall at Stuart Lake
and River (15.35 inches) is more apparent than real. The snow melts'in March and April, about
13 inches enter the ground from March 1st to September 1st, during the period of growth and
maturity, and it is all utilized. There is practically no ' run-off' and no sinking beyond the reach
of crops. The soil is porous enough to let it soak in, but fine enough to hold it by capillary force,
without its sinking away as in sandy soils. Further, there is no leaching or flooding away of
plant-food elements. Heavy rainfall hinders agriculture and wears out the soil by washing out
its values.
" ' Enough but not much ' describes the Stuart Lake and River precipitation.
" In ' Soils,' by Lyon Pippin & Buckman. page 271, it is stated that of a 28-inch rainfall,
one-half runs off, one-fourth evaporates, and One-fourth is used by the crop.
"Clearing Land.—Timber of fence-pole size; slashing and burning (by hand), $5 to $12
per acre; grubbing, $5 to $10 per acre. Eighty per cent, of the land could be cleared, grubbed,
and ploughed in a single operation by a simple machine of proper size at. less than $5 per acre."
All of which is respectfully submitted.
J. H. Gray, M.E.I.C, B.C.L.S.
(Note.—Further detailed reports and maps will be available later.)
victoria, b.o. :
Printed by William H.  Cullin, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty,
1919.

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
https://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/cdm.bcsessional.1-0059844/manifest

Comment

Related Items