- February 14, 1931 – Ellwood Rabenold to JSA –
My dear Apperson:
May I confirm the matters discussed between us over the telephone this morning:
- I addressed myself to the article in this morning’s Times under the title “Roosevelt Pleads for Reforestation,” and the article seems to set forth the entire text of the Governor’s speech at Cornell University’s Farm and Home week celebration, particularly that portion which said:
“We need to keep in mind, also, that reforestation may carry with it a balanced program of conservation, including the development of game, wild life and recreation.”
- The argument of the Governor is of course addressed to a general policy of reforestation, wherever there is land “best suited for this purpose.” He states that “lands best suited for this purpose are located I nearly all of the upstate counties.” And he declares the purpose of the so-called Hewitt Reforestation Amendment to be :to provide for extending that program (of reforestation) to all of the counties of the state where idle land is located.”
- Reforestation wherever idle land is located would seem to forbid the exclusion of nay area, whether the area be known as the Adirondack park, Catskill Park, or by any other name.
- The Governor is compelled to argue for the Hewitt Amendment in terms of production reforestation, specifically directed to the area that lies between the outside boundary of the Adirondack forest preserve counties and the proposed extension of the Adirondack blue line. He uses this language:
“if the Hewitt Amendment passes it will be possible to reforest this abandoned farm area with production forests in the same ay that many other abandoned farm areas all over the state may be reforested.”
He does not give any argument why the reforestation in this area should have to be production reforestation, and the question remains why, under a general policy of reforestation which the governor himself urges, should not this area which he estimates to be one million acres be reforested without regard to whether it is production reforestation, wild life reforestation, recreation reforestation, or reforestation for conservation of water supply, leaving it to the future to decide what particular character of reforestation this shall be, whether remaining under the existing constitutional limitations or released by subsequent amendment after demonstration shall be had of the management of state production forests outside the forest preserves.
- There are several statements which the Governor makes that ought to be tested. For example, he states that there is a fringe of abandoned farm land outside of the park area, in other words outside of the proposed extension of the blue line, but within the forest preserve counties estimated at one million acres, that should be reforested. What is the authority of those figures? Is there that much abandoned farm land “best suited for reforestation?”
- The next question that arises is whether it can now be declared and determined that in that entire one million acres there is no area which should be reforested for recreation and conservation of water supply rather than for production.
- The Governor further states that with respect to the one million five hindered thousand additional acres proposed to be taken into the Adirondack park by extension of the proposed blue line, “almost none of this additional area falls in the abandoned farm class. It is nearly all densely wooded land that ought to be in the park.”
- How may acres lying today within the present Adirondack park must be classed as abandoned farm land “best suited for reforestation?”
- What acreage is there within the present limits of Catskill Park that really constitute abandoned farm land “best suited for reforestation?”
- What areas lying within the Catskill forest preserve counties outside the present boundary of Catskill Park are best suited for recreational or wild life reforestation or reforestation for conservation of water supply, rather than for production reforestation?
We should have as much detailed information as may be possibly assembled in answer to the questions above set forth.
We should have also an enlarged map showing the entire state of New York with the boundaries set forth, first, of Adirondack Park, then of Adirondack Park as it is proposed to extend it, and then the Adirondack forest preserve counties; also showing likewise the present Catskill forest preserve counties, with a delineation of the New York City watersheds, including the proposed Delaware watersheds. This map should be large enough to be visible at a distance when stood up at an easel.
We should also have enlargements of the photographs showing girdling and a map showing exactly where such girdling is being done. We should also have photographs, enlarged as much as possible, showing fine stands of timber upon lands now privately owned within the territory inside the Adirondack forest preserve but outside the Adirondack blue line as extended, particularly stands of hardwood, as bearing upon the question whether the state should acquire such lands best suited for reforestation in terms of soft wood and then destroy the hardwoods by girdling, as is being done by private lumber companies. In this connection it is to be noted that the Hewitt Amendment would permit the cutting, selling and removing of trees, timber and forest products on any lands acquired with moneys appropriated by the Amendment, whether such trees were standing at the time the land was acquired or should be the result of reforestation.
I have a letter from Mrs. Dreier today expressing her appreciation at receiving the material I sent her.