February 19, 1931 – Ellwood Rabenold to JSA

February 19, 1931 – Ellwood Rabenold (Committee on Forest Policy for NY State) to JSA

My dear Apperson:

I spent some time yesterday afternoon and all of last evening going over the material sent down by Bill Howard, being,

  • The 1930 Annual Report of the Department of Conservation
  • The preliminary report of the New York State Reforestation Commission submitted to the 1930 Legislature
  • A printed analysis of the conservation amendment, sometimes called the Hewitt Reforestation Amendment
  • A pamphlet on Municipal and Community Forests prepared by Mr. Prescott
  • An explanation by Mr. Howard of the extended Adirondack blue line, with map

In an accompanying letter Howard gave sundry figures, with references to the Official records.

Upon these papers and documents the issue can be very narrowly drawn between the Hewitt and Baxter amendments:

  1. In the 1930 report of the Conservation Department the definition of “forest preserve” is set forth, on page 28, s including all lands owned by the state in the forest preserve counties; and “forest preserve lands” are likewise defined as embracing such state-owned areas.
  2. The statement appears in many places that the Hewitt amendment does not permit cutting on forest preserve lands.
  3. This statement is of course incorrect upon the definition of forest preserve lands which is part of the Conservation Law today.
  4. The Conservation Department supports the statement by saying that what they really mean by forest preserve lands are lands within the forest preserve counties purchased by the state out of moneys in the forest preserve fund created by the so-called Park Bond Issue of 1924.
  5. The department distinguishes these lands from lands purchased or to be purchased out of the appropriations to be mandated by the Hewitt amendment, although of course these lands are also forest preserve lands in the sense that they are lands owned by the state within the forest preserve counties.
  6. Howard concedes that this would mean a change in the definition of forest preserve lands or would mean setting up two different kinds of forest preserve lands; he confesses that he had not thought of this aspect of the matter.
  7. Assuming that such differentiation is made, we then have the narrow issue presented between the Hewitt and Baxter amendments, that under the Hewitt amendment as a condition of reforesting so much of the million acres included in the program as lies inside the forest preserve counties but outside the Adirondack blue line, authority shall now be given to sell and cut trees to be panted; as against the Baxter amendment which would simply leave that question open.
  8. To picture exactly this narrow issue we should know the particular tracts of land, within the forest preserve counties, which were included in the one million acres in earnest of presenting the State Reforestation Act and the County Reforestation Act to the Legislature of 1929. These Reforestation Acts are now Chapters 195 and 194 respectively of the Laws of 1929.


While dictating this letter I spoke with Howard on the telephone and he said that he had the original survey in his office, showing exactly the location of all the tracts which made up the million acres. He said there was only one copy. He added that I might of course go over it myself and he will try to draw up a schedule showing acreage outside the forest preserve counties, making up such total.

Howard will likewise make certain as to whether there was a report to the Legislature in 1929 by the NY State Reforestation Commission.

Also while dictating this letter Merwin Hart, President of the New York Economic Congress and a leading proponent of the Hewitt amendment, telephoned me stating that Harvey Ferris, who had asked me to introduce the Water Power amendment in 1922, desired assistance of the Democratic Senators to put through the appropriation of $375,000 in aid of the Olympic Games. I spoke to Howard about this and it appears that he is a member of the Olympic Commission, earnestly supporting the appropriation.

This morning I had a note from Dapping and I have written him a second letter reporting on our activities.

I also have a letter this morning from Senator Fearon stating that he is placing the Baxter amendment on the calendar for Wednesday, as well as the Hewitt and Brereton amendments.

I enclose two printed copies of the Baxter amendment, Senate Int. 814, Pr. No. 855, although you probably have copies yourself.

Upon our telephone conversation, you are authorized to make such use of my letter to Lieutenant Governor Lehman as you see fit, and I shall expect to see you Saturday morning of this week in my office at 61 Broadway at 9 A. M.

Very sincerely,


Ellwood Rabenold