April 9, 1914 – JSA to Mr. F. B. Sayre, Williams College

  • April 9, 1914 – JSA to Mr. F. B. Sayre (Williams College) –

My dear Mr. Sayre:

Teaching people how to enjoy the outdoors by showing them a good way to do things including the art of making themselves comfortable, is briefly my answer to your inquiry of March 27th.

The various kinds of engineering required to accomplish this under all conditions of weather, and successfully compete with the majority who always promote indoor life, is a bit problem and the answer in detail would be a long story.

We consider the solution consists largely in using a suitable equipment and obtaining the assistance of one who can actually show how essential things can be done with pleasure.

When a man is very tired it is often harmful for him to compete and lose; therefore, we try to encourage the kind of activity in which everyone wins. Some educating is required to maintain sufficient incentive without promoting injurious competition but this is being accomplished through cooperation of those who set the pace or make the standard.

Having something interesting to do at any time or season is obviously important and unlike College athletics, the outdoor is always available, the winter being disagreeable and unhealthy only to those who stay in the house.

Resting on the wind with a skate sail and seeing things fly by without dust, noise or vibration is even more fascinating than skiing, as it seems all down hill, and the Winter in this section offers at least one of these forms of enjoyment throughout the season.

Bringing together informally the officers of your outdoor club with those at Dartmouth and the University of Vermont recently organized, should result in the exchange of practical ideas and plans to show each other the mountains in their immediate vicinity. This form of activity at Dartmouth has been made a permanent benefit by endowments and establishing a chain of camps and a system of collecting interesting data on the surrounding country. Their new non-athletic building will also be helpful in this direction.

In this State we are approaching a great struggle over a new Constitution and the wording of that section pertaining to our Adirondack Park, is of vital importance to the outdoor movement. The temptation to exploit the Park privileges and resources commercially is so great, it will be extremely difficult to defeat several very objectionable changes which have been persistently agitated for some time. If you happen to know of someone free from politics who would be actively interested in this, I would like very much to get in touch with him.

Sincerely yours,