February 28, 1930 – JSA to Wm. B. Greeley –
Dear Mr. Greeley:
It would be helpful to know what you think of the effort to amend Article &, Section 7 as proposed in the Hewitt Resolution, S, 595, A.798.
The Conservation Commission’s Annual Reports show that there is available more than enough land, both inside and outside of the forest preserve for reforestation and lumbering operations, without the proposed amendment. As you know, half the land inside the forest preserve is privately owned and a large part of it belongs to lumber companies. Also, page 124 of the 1928, and page 126 of the 1929 Conservation’s Annual Report indicates at least two million acres of land outside of the forest preserve in large blocks, suitable for reforestation purposes. A rough calculation of the rate at which they propose to reforest, indicates that this land now available, would keep the various interests busy for at least thirty years before there would be any possible excuse for weakening the Constitution by such a revision. The trees to be planted would not, of course, be large enough to cut for thirty-five or forty years.
This effort to get into our playhouse by temporarily occupying the vestibule as it were, that is, the land outside of the blue line but inside of the forest preserve, so soon after giving the impression that this new reforestation movement was to apply to lands entirely outside, does not inspire confidence. You probably know that many of our most popular recreation areas in the Adirondacks are outside of the blue line, such as Lake George, and while the Lake George watershed has been severely lumbered many times, there still are some private stands of timber that the owners will not sell, but under the proposed amendment these trees could be taken away from the owners and turned over to the lumber companies. Under the present Constitutional provision, these lands would have to be kept wild for park purposes if acquired by the state. The Lake George water shed presents unusual commercial possibilities, there being several paper mills on the north end, and a number of very large mills a short haul from the south end. Improved highways run around both sides of this area, with a water thoroughfare through the center for floating logs.
Other recreation areas outside of the blue line present similar temptations, and while everyone interested in outdoor activities is anxious to encourage reforestation and so-called scientific forestry, it would seem only fair that the proponents of this resolution carry on their operations successfully and fully on lands now available, before making this attempt to break into the state’s playground.
I did not intend to write you such a long letter, but this will convey to you my thoughts on the subject, and if you care to give me the benefit of your opinion, and tell me the attitude of the campfire club, I will be glad to her from you.