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The Senators from Oregon, Richard Neuberger and Wayne Morse, recently introduced a bill to honor the late conservationist, writer and editor Bernard DeVoto (OUTDOOR WEEK, March 12), by giving his name to what is now Idaho's Clearwater National Forest. The bill was a sincere tribute to a dedicated conservationist (and incidentally a Democrat) but immediate and strenuous reaction of Idaho Senators Dworshak and Welker, both of whom possess a built-in antipathy to Democrats dead or alive, was hardly unexpected.
Remarked Henry Dworshak: "Asinine." Remarked Herman Welker somewhat more volubly: "The antics of the two Senators from my neighboring state of Oregon never cease to amaze me. Particularly I am amused by the outstanding contributions of the junior Senator from that state, Neuberger...Having a few moments free from his staunch defense of White House squirrels, he now has the audacity to try to change the name of one of our historical landmarks in Idaho. I think," continued Welker, "that Senators Neuberger and Morse will find that they have bitten off a little more than they can chew when they attempt to tell the people of Idaho what to do with forests...in the state."
Retorted Neuberger: "I chose the Clearwater National Forest to bear Mr. DeVoto's name because it is associated in our history with the Lewis and Clark expedition which he describes in many of his notable books. I hope Senator Welker now does not try to erase Captain Meriwether Lewis' name from that part of Idaho because the immortal Captain Lewis was a Democrat from the distant state of Virginia."
THE GAME-SAVING 4004TH
The Armed Services, which often panic conservationists by repeated attempts to pre-empt large chunks of wildlife refuges in the name of national defense and by adopting at times a rather cavalier attitude toward game and game laws within the boundaries of military reservations, have recently given good cause for considered rejoicing. An outstanding example is the 4004th Air Base Squadron of the Strategic Air Command at Matagorda Island, Texas. The 4004th has just been presented with the Frank M. Wood Wildlife Conservation Award, donated by Wood himself, a conservation-minded oil man, and will receive the District Conservation Award for transforming Matagorda Island from a rather barren proposition into an area which supports a variety of game. Proposed by Brigadier General C. T. Edwinson, approved by SAC Commander in Chief Curtis LeMay, and led by Matagorda Island base commander Major Richard E. Freeman, the conservation project was started by men and officers of the 4004th in February of 1955.
With advice from state and federal wildlife experts, 300 volunteers frequently sacrificed their free time to conservation. So far they have created 34 new fresh-water areas for wildfowl use, fenced and seeded 220 acres of land to provide game food and habitat, planted 250 quail cover patches, built 35 wild-turkey roosts and increased deer browse potential. The result of little more than a year's effort shows game populations on the 35-by-2-mile island to be up significantly. Wild turkey have jumped from a few pairs to more than 40, and what was once a handful of deer has expanded to the point where 4004th sportsmen could safely harvest 200 during the past season. And those deer, like all game on Matagorda Island, were taken in full compliance, with state and federal game laws. Conservation, Major Freeman and the 4004th have convincingly demonstrated, pays handsome wildlife dividends.