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Chittenden, Alfred K. (Alfred Knight), 1879-1930 / The taxation of forest lands in Wisconsin

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Page 15

land, although they are not holding it for a second crop. Presumably
they are retaining title to it in order to continue in control of the
town government, thereby making it possible to keep the taxes on their
timbered land at a minimum. Not until they have completed opera-
tions will these cut-over lands be placed upon the market. While it
is not probable that any great amount of it can be sold to settlers, the
lumber companies will have little trouble in disposing of it at from
$2 to $4 per acre to land companies.
  The bringing into use of this great quantity of cut-over land, the
bulk of which is now in a state of idleness and likely to continue
so under present conditions, is a problem of first importance. Eventu-
ally much of it which is fit for agriculture will doubtless be placed
under cultivation. Its rapid appropriation for farming, however, is
not probable. Through unfortunate lack of information many of the
settlers purchase land which is so poor in soil that, even after valiant
efforts, they fail to develop it, and finally are compelled to let it go.
Not infrequently the land is sold to the poor but well-intentioned
non-resident without his having bad an opportunity to view it. Often,
in such cases, the land that he has purchased is not fit for farming
purposes, and the result is abandonment. These cases are cited merely
to show some of the elements which are tending to defer the early
development of that part of the cut-over area which is susceptible ot
  The most serious phase of the problem, however, is to bring about
a utilization of the non-agricultural land. It is not worthless land by
any means, for it can be successfully used for growing timber. It is
essentially a forest soil and should unquestionably be kept undei
forest growth. At present the greater part of it is nothing more than
waste, and what is worse, the owners can not profitably make it a
timber-producing property even if they were so inclined. This class
of land, as will be shown, is bearing the heaviest tax burden, and
more than any other is entitled to consideration in any plan for as
equitable adjustment of taxation. It is this land which should furnish
a good part of the future local timber supply, and in order that this
may be made possible through private initiative, one of the first steps
that should be taken is to provide a rational forest tax law.
Settlement and Agricultural Development.
  According to the latest census for which figures are available the
ten northern counties had a population of 141,763. About 93,500, or

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