Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Patenting an Arid Frontier: Use and Abuse of the Public Land Laws in Owens Valley, California

Robert A. Sauder
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Vol. 79, No. 4 (Dec., 1989), pp. 544-569
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2563647
Page Count: 26
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Patenting an Arid Frontier: Use and Abuse of the Public Land Laws in Owens Valley, California
Preview not available

Abstract

Five nineteenth-century policies for alienating the federal public domain only partially fulfilled their objectives when applied in the arid setting of Owens Valley, California. The Homestead Law was most successful in advancing the family farm ideal, to judge by the persistence of small holdings several decades after land entry. Preemption claims, coincident in time and space with homesteading, were more often consolidated into larger farm units. The Desert Land Act, though designed to encourage irrigated farming in the arid West, tended to attract nonresident speculative entries on marginal lands, most of which were eventually consolidated into large grazing units. State Land Grants also contributed to large-scale holdings, whereas the Timber Culture Act, though used for entry in the 1880s, had little relevance to final settlement. Public land policies were generally adequate for settling the well-watered north end of Owens Valley, but they were unsuccessful in reclaiming most of the irrigable lands of the vast arid stretches of the valley's southern townships. Federal land measures failed to account for the environmental diversity which prevails in the arid West and made no provision for the cooperative reclamation of desert lands. Unsound land alienation policies for the arid public domain resulted in the urban use of Owens Valley's water resources.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[544]
    [544]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
545
    545
  • Thumbnail: Page 
546
    546
  • Thumbnail: Page 
547
    547
  • Thumbnail: Page 
548
    548
  • Thumbnail: Page 
549
    549
  • Thumbnail: Page 
550
    550
  • Thumbnail: Page 
551
    551
  • Thumbnail: Page 
552
    552
  • Thumbnail: Page 
553
    553
  • Thumbnail: Page 
554
    554
  • Thumbnail: Page 
555
    555
  • Thumbnail: Page 
556
    556
  • Thumbnail: Page 
557
    557
  • Thumbnail: Page 
558
    558
  • Thumbnail: Page 
559
    559
  • Thumbnail: Page 
560
    560
  • Thumbnail: Page 
561
    561
  • Thumbnail: Page 
562
    562
  • Thumbnail: Page 
563
    563
  • Thumbnail: Page 
564
    564
  • Thumbnail: Page 
565
    565
  • Thumbnail: Page 
566
    566
  • Thumbnail: Page 
567
    567
  • Thumbnail: Page 
568
    568
  • Thumbnail: Page 
569
    569