February 23, 1961 – Robert Mose to the Editor of the New York Times


  • February 23, 1961 – Robert Moses (Chairman of the State Council of Parks) to the Editor of the New York Times

Robert Moses Replies to New York Times on Conservation

Dear Sir:

Your forest preserve editorial could hardly be more inaccurate and intemperate. I never proposed a mass invasion of the preserve nor hasty, undebated amendment to the State constitution, nor is it true that we have, outside of the preserve, sufficient shelter to provide for vacations for a rapidly increasing and largely urban population.

Let’s look at the record. I proposed the first passage of three alternative amendments of varying scope and, after more than a year’s consideration, second passage of one of them or substitution of a fourth alternative, and then the vote of the people in the Fall of 1963. To call this hasty or to say the subject would not be fully debated before action is just plain silly. Among the biggest lumbering interests today are the metropolitan papers who need pulp and paper. I don’t on that account blackguard them and charge them with indifference to the public welfare.

I have spent the greater part of my official life in the recreation field, and in fighting lumbering, private power, billboard advertising and other depredations and affirmatively in establishing a State, suburban and city recreation system adequate for future generations. I guess that makes me what you call a “professional mass recreationist.”

All of my experience, including the recent park proposition to save open lands, shows that we shall have to open the restricted part of the forest preserve for recreation, that it must be made more accessible, that there is no substitute, and that buying sufficient private land for this purpose is impossible.

Very truly yours,

Robert Moses, Chairman