December 31, 1936 – Letter to the Board of Governors (by Bob Marshall)


December 31, 1936 – Letter to the Board of Governors, by Bob Marshall:


The undersigned members of the Adirondack Mountain Club have noted with concern recent press reports which indicate that the president of our organization has spoken in favor of relaxing the restrictions of Article VII, Section VII of the New York State Constitution.

It is a recognized principle among organizations similar to the Adirondack Mountain Club that questions of major policy should be decided at least by the executive committee if not by a plebiscite among the entire membership. Neither the Board of Governors, which acts as the executive committee of the Adirondack Mountain Club, nor the membership of the Club, has approved any relaxation of the present constitutional restrictions. The last official action taken by the Club in this regard was to oppose vigorously the Recreational Amendment of 1932. Because the statement by our president will be construed by many as indicating Adirondack Mountain Club endorsement of a change in Article VII, Section 7, we feel that a clear-cut statement in support of this bulwark of Adirondack conservation is imperative.

A vigorous statement of this nature is especially important at the present time with a constitutional convention to be held in the near future. All those who believe in preserving the integrity of the Forest Preserve against commercial and motorized invasion must unite behind the unique law which over a 42-year period has preserved in the midst of the nation’s most populous state a haven where hundreds of thousands have enjoyed annually the priceless values of the primitive.

In stating our emphatic support of Article VII, Section 7, we want to make it clear that we are delighted with the growth of skiing in the Adirondacks, even though it has given rise to the latest assault on Article VII Section 7. May of us are enthusiastic skiers and have enjoyed that splendid sport long before its recent phenomenal growth. We do not believe there is anything in Article VII, Section 7 to block a sound growth of skiing in the Adirondacks. In fact, we are certain that only through the retention of the present constitutional restrictions can the delights of skiing find their finest expression. There is ample room in that half of the Adirondacks which remains in private ownership to construct all the resorts, ski-jumps, downhill racing courses, and mechanical conveyance to the top of hills which the public can possibly utilize. There are also great numbers of skiers who delight in those other features of skiing which are found in the quiet of the un-invaded forest with its widening trails and its freedom from all traces of mechanization. It is urgent that these recreation seekers should be left some portion of the Adirondacks which will be free from the fatal damage of tawdry commercial developments and jarring artificiality.

Because of these considerations we urge the Board of Governors to arrange at the forthcoming meeting of the Adirondack Mountain Club for a free discussion of and a vote on the following resolution:

RESOLVED: that the Adirondack Mountain Club uncompromisingly endorses the original Article VII, Section 7 of the New York State Constitution, holding that: “The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constitution the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.”

Be it further resolved that the Adirondack Mountain Club will exert every     further effort to have those provisions of Article VII,, Section 7 retained in the       new Constitution of New York State.