February 27, 1931 – Ethel Dreier to JSA

  • February 27, 1931 – Ethel Dreier to JSA

Dear Mr. Apperson,

Mrs. Greene was approached the very evening of the hearing by the Conservation Commissioner and agreed to an appointment with the Secretary and Mr. Prescott to which she took Miss Kirkbride. The enclosed letter followed which she gave me herself today at the City Club with a 1930 Conservation report. She was asked to pass them to to me – I therefore made a copy which we would be interested to hear your comments upon.

Mrs. Greene was told that land in 500 acre plots could not be acquired outside the forest preserve counties in sufficient numbers to make up the million acres to be reforested and so they had to go into these counties for that reason. They wanted to know if we really wanted to know or if we really wanted to have nothing but wild forest inside the forest preserve counties.


Ethel E. Dreier

Mrs. Greene also talked with Gov. Lehman who said he did not agree at all with Mr. Rabenold’s point of view.


Memorandum on Mr. Herbert F. Prescott’s letter of February 26, 1931, to Mrs. Frederick Stuart Greene.

For clarity and such brevity as may be possible, only the paragraphs questioned are commented upon.

Paragraph #3

“For a state reforestation area the state must acquire not less than 500 contiguous acres, that having been decided upon as the minimum practicable for a state forest project. Because of this minimum limit on the size of state forest areas, there will remain many thousand acres requiring reforestation by other agencies than the State. and the Hewitt law giving state aid toward the establishment of county forests (Chap. 194, Laws of 1929) was enacted to assist in taking care of that situation as it is practicable for grow county forests on areas much smaller that the State limit.


Part of Paragraph #6

‘_______ under the Hewitt amendment it would be possible to acquire abandoned farm lands in lots of not less than 500 contiguous acres for the establishment of state reforestation law, the trees can be cut at maturity if the Hewitt amendment is approved by the people.”

The inference is that the land could not be bought and panted without the amendment, whereas it is an indisputable fact that the amendment to Section 7 is only required 30 or 40 years hence to cut trees o less than 1/3 of the land in the program proposed. The people 40 years hence have the same right to amend their Constitution as the people have at this time and no doubt would be in a better position to decide what use they may want to make of their trees.

Paragraph #7

“It is estimated that the Adirondack Forest Preserve Counties, outside the boundaries of the Park, contain about 1/3 of the acreage of abandoned farm lands and other idle non-agricultural land, in sufficiently large blacks to be acquired for state reforestation areas, that is needed to make up the 1,000,000 acres embraced in the program of the Reforestation Commission.”

The acreage in the program affected by the amendment is more nearly ¼ of the total, but assuming that 1/3 is correct, all the land can be bought and planted without the amendment. It is also significant to know that it would require 12 years to plant the other 2/3 of the land not affected by the amendment in question, even if such work could be done in accordance with the schedule of the Reforestation Commission, which is doubtful. The panting last year was slightly less than half the yearly program, and cheap land will be more difficult to purchase as time goes on, particularly after the state-wide fight that is now pending over the Hewitt amendment.

Paragraph #11

“ I want to make it clear that no Forest Preserve funds can be used to purchase reforestation areas, and that no trees can be cut in the territory in question, except those grown on reforestation areas with funds appointed for that specific purpose.”


This paragraph is difficult to analyze since “Forest Preserve funds” may or may not be the same as the park Bond issue funds now available and the “reforestation areas” may or may not be the production reforestation areas provided for by the Hewitt amendment. However, the Hewitt Amendment states that:

“Nothing in this section nor in the prohibitions of section seven of the article shall prevent the state from cutting, selling or removing the trees, timber, forest products and other materials on any lands hereafter acquired with the moneys herein authorized within the forest preserve counties but outside of the Adirondack and Catskill parks as now fixed or hereafter extended by law.”

It, therefore, must be conceded that any trees now growing or otherwise planted can be cut on lands so acquired. It is sometimes claimed that lands with forests on the land cannot be acquired, but the Annual Report of 19930, Page 892, states:

“_____, not more than one-third is covered at present with forest or brush growth, and this percentage of cleared land will obtain for most of those sections of the State where this program will operate.”

It will thus be seen that the amendment is not needed to carry on reforestation of any on the lands in question, and should the amendment be passed, land in the forest preserve can be bought and lumbered as soon as the land is purchased.