- February 14, 1945 – JSA to George Marshall (38 East 57th Street, NYC) –
Dear Mr. Marshall:
As you know, we have been expecting another serious attack on the Forest Preserve and of course our opponents always try to give it the appearance of respectability by having the proposal sponsored by some prominent and reputable individual; also some non-commercial and prominent organization. This is just a-b-c in the procedure.
Our old friend Arthur Hopkins has recently completed a very complete analysis of the situation as he sees it, giving both sides but of course ending up with a recommendation that lumbering Forest Preserve lands be authorized by the constitution below 2,500 feet with the exception of certain areas and a quarter of a mile back from lake fronts and highways, not mentioning of course that the fire slash would be within a quarter of a mile of these areas to finish the devastation. In my opinion they could not have chosen a better informed man than Hopkins, but of course we need more areas protected and better protection for all areas than we now have and not a 60% reduction in the areas. Still more serious is abandoning the Forest Preserve as it is now constituted and putting in jeopardy the constitutional protection by throwing it wide open for re-writing at the particular time.
I am very fearful that Hopkins will get approval for his plan from the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks. The name makes a popular appeal with the public not knowing that they are not very aggressive to say the least in leading fights against invasion of the Preserve. Houghton, Marshall Mclean, Frederick, and possibly Van Norden will all lean I believe towards Hopkins and none of them are very friendly towards me, as you probably know. It is extremely important in my opinion that we do something to discourage this Association from approving Hopkins’ plan. It is urged here by my associates that I make some attempt to discuss the subject with them after showing my film entitled “Man Made Erosion in the Adirondacks.” My own personal reaction to this is that they would consider it rather presumptions for me to try t tell them anything about the Adirondacks and it occurs to me there might be a possibility of a joint meeting being held for the purpose of discussing the subject, not necessarily Hopkin’s paper, the meeting to be sponsored by the Conservation Committee of several organizations, including the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and possibly the New York State Chamber of Commerce, but you will know best about this and if interested and think such a meeting is desirable, you might have a talk with Mr. Guy Du Val, 31 Nassau Street, New York. He is a most astute and admirable individual. He reversed the action of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in 1938 when the went on record for lumbering the Preserve. His handling of this situation was most skillful and anything that he recommends in this instance I think would be very desirable. Should you advance the idea of my coming down with the films, you would probably have to give them the fact that I am an extremely busy man and you are not at all sure that such a meeting could be held and if held, you are not confident that I would be willing to attend, Otherwise our old cronies will find themselves in opposition to your suggestion.
It might be well to keep in mind that Hopkins has restricted the circulation of his paper and so far I have only heard of it indirectly. He is, I understand, quite apologetic to some of the Adirondack Mountain Club members, but hopes to reconcile them to his plan because of some of the good features. My belief is that it is imperative that we move as fast as possible to discourage any approval of this and any other plan for opening up the Forest Preserve. At this time we are very short on contacts and also time. Hoping you have some of both, I remain
P.S. It is believed here that no amount of talk without the pictures will be convincing. Hence, the pictures are thought to be imperative for any meeting that is held.
Since dictating the above, I have learned that Mr. Herman Forster, 4618 Independence Ave., NYC, President of the New york State Conservation Council, has recently expressed a desire to see my film on the Adirondacks and also has talked to Frederick and you will of course want to include him and his group in the meeting if you decide it is possible to have one.