February 25, 1931 – Hearing transcript – Senate Judiciary Committee

  • February 25, 1931 – Hearing – Senate Judiciary Committee;

Subject – Senate Bills Nos. 33 – by Mr. Hewitt; #267 by Mr. Brereton; and #855 by Mr. Braxton; Rabenold; R. Moot; Mrs. “Dryer”, Women’s City Club of the City of New York, its legislative and conservation committees:

“Our city dwellers who go in such great numbers to the forest preserve for rest and recreation are naturally among the first to become interested in any proposition which has to do with preservation of protection of that great playground. They cherish that amendment which has been mentioned here as the great bulwark of protection for that area and playground which they love. When the question of changing our fundamental law has come up they have also showed their interest at the polls. The members of the Women’s City Club of New York through their committed on recreation and legislation are interested in the use and conservation of the State’s resources for health and recreation, and they are acquainted because of their great interest in the subject with the history of the conflict between the commercial and the non-commercial interests in the Adirondack region. Last year we opposed the Hewitt bill because we were convinced that any genuine program of reforestation could be carried out under existing laws. We saw no reason why the public interest would be served by any amendment to the law at that time. This year we have given greater study to this subject and this particular bill, and we are opposing it with a greater realization of its significance and a growing conviction that it is not a reforestation or a conservation measure at all. Our forest preserve as it now stands and as the blue line provides for, will not benefit in any way from the appropriations provided for in the Hewitt amendment. The bill is only concerned with production forests in the various preserve counties, with the raising of trees in the protected areas for the purpose of cutting and selling. Such a policy as proposed by the Hewitt amendment would put the State into the business of raising and marketing trees, timber, and various products and other materials, in competition with private companies. This might be a profitable arrangement for the manufacturers of wood pulp to have the State supply the capital investment but we do not believe that the tax payers of the State will want to authorize such a radical change of public policy, to the extent of amending the constitution. True conservation as we understand it would mean the development of fine forest growth, wild life and recreation as well as conserving the water supply. This would be possible under the Baxter bill, which is supported by the Women’s City Club because it embraces a comprehensive policy of reforestation throughout the state without nullifying Section 7 in this resolution to the forest preserve counties. We believe that the state’s legitimate commercial undertakings in forestry should be tried out in other areas, for according to the reports of our Conservation Department a million and a half aces, suitable for reforestation, are available out side the forest preserve counties. Why not use this idle land for commercial purposes, and so promote cooperation instead of conflict between all the groups interested in reforestation? Thank you. (Applause) “