stefansson-wrangel-09-25-005-003

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Samara Cary at May 13, 2024 07:51 PM

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-005-003

- 3 -

civilization in Alaska, Canada and Siberia.

While the Wrangell Island expedition was based upon the
north and south roundness of the earth from the transportation point of
view, upon the smallness of the Arctic, its crossability by airship and air-
plane, and its central location with regard to the land masses, there were
also subsidiary considerations based upon my study of the northward trend of
civilization through historic time and upon my observation as to the mildness
of arctic climate when compared with ancient beliefs, the abundance of arctic
vegetation as compared with its postulated absence, and the richness of the
land and sea in animals, minerals and fish.

The polar ocean, so far as we know it, is studded with
islands. There is also an area of about a million square miles not as yet
explored and this may or may not contain other islands. These islands, both
discovered and undiscovered, have an intrinsic value dependent on their vege-
table and animal life and their resources in minerals. The seas between
will also confer value on the lands, for they have productive fisheries. But
beyond their intrinsic value the islands have positional value to the trans-
portation engineer. Some of them are small but others are larger than Great
Britain
. On the headlands of the smaller and on the wide, grassy plains of
the larger islands will stand supply stations for airships, providing not
only what routine equipment the air navigator may need if he gets there, but
also the airships and airplanes that will respond like our present coast
guard vessels to SOS signals from distant aircraft in distress.

On the basis of these considerations I began in 1918 to
urge upon the Canadian government the importance of continuous and extensive
exploratory work in the Arctic. Hitherto the northern islands have been
considered worthless and have, therefore, remained the undisputed property

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-005-003

- 3 -

civilization in Alaska, Canada and Siberia.

While the Wrangell Island expedition was based upon the
north and south roundness of the earth from the transportation point of
view, upon the smallness of the Arctic, its crossability by airship and air-
plane, and its central location with regard to the land masses, there were
also subsidiary considerations based upon my study of the northward trend of
civilization through historic time and upon my observation as to the mildness
of arctic climate when compared with ancient beliefs, the abundance of arctic
vegetation as compared with its postulated absence, and the richness of the
land and sea in animals, minerals and fish.

The polar ocean, so far as we know it, is studded with
islands. There is also an area of about a million square miles not as yet
explored and this may or may not contain other islands. These islands, both
discovered and undiscovered, have an intrinsic value dependent on their vege-
table and animal life and their resources in minerals. The seas between
will also confer value on the lands, for they have productive fisheries. But
beyond their intrinsic value the islands have positional value to the trans-
portation engineer. Some of them are small but others are larger than Great
Britain
. On the headlands of the smaller and on the wide, grassy plains of
the larger islands will stand supply stations for airships, providing not
only what routine equipment the air navigator may need if he gets there, but
also the airships and airplanes that will respond like our present coast
guard vessels to SOS signals from distant aircraft in distress.

On the basis of these considerations I began in 1918 to
urge upon the Canadian government the importance of continuous and extensive
exploratory work in the Arctic. Hitherto the northern islands have been
considered worthless and have, therefore, remained the undisputed property