« PreviousContinue »
of 1944 and 1945 to gold mine operators whose crews numbered 7 or less men.
Many requests for information regarding the mining industry of Alaska continue to be received and in order to meet the demand for authentic information a brief pamphlet on prospecting in Alaska was prepared and widely distributed. Also published and distributed during the year were the report of Commissioner of Mines for the two biennia ended December 31, 1944, and a booklet entitled "Industrial Minerals as a Field for Prospecting in Alaska including a Glossary of Elements and Minerals.”
UNITED STATES BUREAU OF MINES Throughout the year the Bureau of Mines continued its exploration of mineral deposits to stimulate the production of metals important to the war program. Reserves of chrome ore at Red Mountain, Kenai Peninsula, were increased by 120,000 tons of milling ore and approximately 4,000 tons of shipping ore. An additional 3,800,000 tons of low grade tin-tungsten ore were indicated on Seward Peninsula, and 1,800,000 tons of iron-copper ore on Prince of Wales Island. At the Buffalo Mine at Moose Creek an additional 1,800,000 tons of bituminous coal were proved. Asbestos exploration in the Kobuk River area has already resulted in production of this important material, and a substantial production of mercury is continuing at the Red Devil and DeCoursey Mountain Mines. As a result of the previous discovery by the Bureau of petroleum seepages on the Arctic Slope, the Navy sent two shiploads of drilling equipment and supplies to Point Barrow in the summer of 1944 and drilling was started in the spring of 1945. Much of the work of the Bureau conducted to further the war program will be of great value in effective utilization of our national mineral resources in the postwar period.
Considerable work to foster safer working conditions in the coal mines was done in cooperation with the Territorial Department of Mines and the Army Coal Procurement Commission.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
The National Park service is charged with the administration and protection of five areas in the Territory:
Mount McKinley National Park, in south-central Alaska, consists of 3,030 square miles in the finest part of the Alaska Range. Toward the western end of the park, Mount McKinley rises to an altitude of 20,300 feet above sea level-the highest mountain on the North American continent. The park also contains Mount Foraker, 17,000 feet; Mount Hunter, 14,960 feet; Mount Russell, 11,500 feet, many
other lofty peaks and 4 large glaciers. The park is accessible the year around via the Alaska Railroad, which also owns and operates the McKinley Park Hotel, accommodating 120 to 160 guests; and Camp Eilson, 66 miles in the park, which accommodates 50 guests. During the period April 1943, to March 1945, the hotel was operated by the Army as a recreation camp for troops stationed in Alaska. Sitka National Monument marks the site of historic battles with Indians at Sitka in 1802 and 1804. A replica of the Russian blockhouse has been built, and 18 of the finest totem poles in the world stand in the monument. Katmai National Monument, on the shore of Shelikoff Straits, Alaska Peninsula, is accessible by boat from Bristol Bay and Naknek River or by trail through Katmai River Valley. This highly scenic area of 2,697,590 acres contains the most spectacular portion of the glacier-clad Aleutian Range of extinct or quiescent volcanoes. One of the primary attractions of the monument is the “Walley of Ten Thousand Smokes,” once noted for its steaming miniature fumaroles. Few of these, however, are now active. The many beautiful lakes in the region teem with rainbow trout and salmon of great size. Glacier Bay National Monument, consisting of 2,297,456 acres of tidewater glaciers and imposing mountain peaks in southeastern Alaska, north of Icy Straits, may be reached only by boat or seaplane. The locality is valuable from a scientific standpoint to students of natural history because of excellent opportunities to study glacial phenomena and vegetation. The region is a reserve for brown bears and other wildlife. Old Kasaan National Monument, located on Prince of Wales Island in southeastern Alaska, includes the site of an abandoned and partially destroyed Haida Indian village. It is reached by launch from the city of Ketchikan, 30 miles distant. During the year, field work in connection with the Alaska Highway Land Planning Survey, initiated in the spring of 1943 with funds made available by the War Department, was completed, and a covering report entitled “Recreational Use of the Alaska Highway and Other Roads in Alaska” is now being printed. In this report the scenic, scientific, and recreational features of the lands adjacent to the highways are outlined, and recommendations are made for their protection and proper utilization for recreational purposes, including visitor accommodations. Cognizant that Alaska's park and monument areas lack development and improvements essential to proper administration, protection and public visitation, the National Park Service late this year transferred a landscape architect to Alaska to commence the basic field study and planning which must precede any such development in the postwar period.
OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION The Alaska Office of Price Administration, organized on May 16, 1942, is charged with the administration of the National Emergency Price Control Act in Alaska, and is under the direct supervision of the Ninth Region of the Office of Price Administration, which comprises all territories and possessions.
The work of the Office, handled through seven main divisions, includes compilation and analysis of cost data and historic margins upon which price regulations are based, the preparation of specific price schedules appropriate to the Alaskan economy, interpretation, analysis and administration of schedules and regulations applicable to the Territory, service of applications for adjustments in hardship cases, dissemination of information throughout the Territory, to both consumers and merchants, concerning price, rent and rationing regulations, administration of the rationing, rent and price control programs and the general enforcement program.
The headquarters office located at Juneau operates as a central policy-making body and is responsible for the formulation of all price regulations and enforcement procedure. District offices are located in Ketchikan, Anchorage, and Fairbanks and 15 War Price and Rationing Boards have been established in the larger towns of the Territory.
Although the general food rationing program in continental United States was not made applicable in Alaska, tires, tubes, automobiles, typewriters, and bicycles were rationed. Tires and passenger cars are the only articles which are now rationed. While the rationing phase of the program is essential to the conservation of scarce commodties, the main function of the Alaska Office of Price Administration continues to be control of the cost of living. Price and Rent Control is its most important work and the Enforcement Division finds its chief activity in these fields.
ALASKAN FIRE CONTROL SERVICE The Alaskan Fire Control Service, under jurisdiction of the General Land Office, is responsible for the prevention and suppression of fires on the public domain lands of Alaska. The Service was reorganized in 1942 and a district system established. There are now six Ranger districts, each subdivided into fireguard districts. This decentralized system has enabled the Service to give more efficient and effective protection to the natural resources of Alaska. This year the loss by fire on public domain lands was 112,739 acres, the lowest on record.
The Service is continuing to carry on an ever-broadening campaign of fire prevention through education.
PUBLIC SURVEY OFFICE The Cadastral Engineering Service of the General Land Office is the congressionally constituted agency having jurisdiction over the survey and resurvey of the public lands of the United States, mineral surveys in the same area and the preparation and perpetuation of the technical and legal records thereof.
Wartime conditions and limited personnel have restricted field activities in Alaska, and for the coming year there appears to be no reason to expect a change, and surveys in combat zones are postponed indefinitely. Precedence was given to surveys deemed essential to the war program and to surveys involving settlement claims. The boundaries of 4 air navigation sites were completed, and in addition some 3,000 acres of land embraced in homesteads and homesites were surveyed. Fifty-two plats of official surveys were constructed and transmitted to the General Land Office. One field party was assigned to work with a land classification group in the Fairbanks and Kenai Peninsula regions.
The townsite of Kodiak was patented, and the trustee is receiving applications for deeds to the lots.
Subdivision of lands into 5-acre tracts, in anticipation of demands by settlers, is under way in the Copper River Valley and in the vicinity of some of the larger lakes, and under a recently enacted law these tracts may be purchased or leased by qualified applicants.
ALASKA ROAD COMMISSION The Alaska Road Commission is administered by the Governor of Alaska in his capacity as ex officio commissioner for Alaska, with a chief engineer in direct charge of the work under the direction of the Governor. The commission is charged with the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, and trails in Alaska. Construction and maintenance of airfields, telephone lines, and shelter cabins are also undertaken for the Territory.
Funds are made available for this work by annual congressional appropriations, from the "Alaska Fund," and from contributions by the Territory of Alaska and others.
Total costs to the end of the fiscal year are $37,524,848.18; $18,996,309.49 was for new work and $18,528,538.69 was for maintenance and improvement. The total expended to June 30, 1945, was $39,298,489.83. Of this amount $30,409,332.20 was appropriated by acts of Congress, $5,765,678.17 was allotted from the Alaska Fund, and $3,123,479.36 was received from Territorial appropriations and contributions by others.
The work accomplished during the fiscal year is summarized as follows:
New construction.—Twenty-seven and one-fourth miles of road (of which 15 miles were surfaced), one-half mile of sled road, and 1,076 linear feet of timber trestle bridges.
Improvement.-Fourteen and one-fourth miles of road regraded and widened, 6834 miles of road surfaced, and 7,966 linear feet of metal culverts of various sizes installed.
Maintenance.-Two thousand five hundred and fifty-eight miles of road, 139/4 miles of tramway, 3034 miles of sled road, 191 miles of permanent trail, and 143 miles of temporary flagged trail.
The cost during the year was $2,483,225.26, of which $1,189,029.38 was for new work and $1,294,195.88 was for maintenance and improvement. Total expenditures during the fiscal year were $2,519,793.73.
New construction was confined to continuation of surfacing on the Glenn Highway and reconstruction of portions of the Richardson Highway, including the Keystone Canyon section. Extraordinary maintenance was required on a part of the road system carrying a large volume of essential military traffic. The Richardson Highway was seriously damaged by extreme flood conditions, requiring in one section the reconstruction of 544 miles of this highway on a new location to by-pass washouts. Permanent repairs have now been made to all damaged sections. Winter maintenance was performed on the section from Fairbanks to the junction with the Alaska Highway, 100 miles. The Glenn Highway was open for through traffic during the entire year, winter maintenance being performed at the request of the Army.
On July 1, 1944, maintenance of that portion of the Alaska Highway from Big Delta to the Alaska-Yukon Boundary, together with the Northway branch, a total of 209 miles, was taken over at the request of the Alaskan Department. All costs were reimbursed from military funds. The agreement covered both winter and summer maintenance.
The Gulkana-Slana-Tok road was not kept open during the winter. Under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service the Alaska Road Commission has undertaken the construction and maintenance of roads and trails in Mount McKinley National Park with funds allotted by the National Park Service. At the close of the fiscal year the road had been opened for traffic from the entrance on the railroad to the western boundary, a distance of 88.3 miles.