January 12, 1931 – Article from the New York Times

  • January 12, 1931 – New York Times Article-

Plan Adds Big Area to Adirondack Park

Bill Being Prepared at Albany Would Take in 1,550,000 Acres in 11 Counties

All Lake George in Scope

Proposed Extension of Boundaries Will Include Lands Set Off for Forest Preserve

12 Counties Are Affected

Measure, now in Hands of Reforestation Board, is Backed by the Conservation Chief

Special to the New York Times

Albany, Jan. 11 – An area of 1,550,000 acres will be added to the Adirondack park, already comprising 3.054,000 acres of which a large proportion, owned by the State, under the terms of the organic law must remain forever wild forest and, if a bill which is now being prepared, for early introduction in the Senate and Assembly with the sanction of the Conservation Commissioner, Henry Morganthau, Jr. becomes law. It will be the first extension of the Adirondack Park area since the so’-called ‘Blue line’ which forms the boundary was established through legislation in 1802. The new boundary will traverse all of the so-called forest preserve counties with the exception of Delaware, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster, comprised within the Catskill Park region.

The added park area will preserve for recreational and conservation purposes the State’s holdings within about 2,420 square miles of land in twelve Adirondack forest preserve counties, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, Saratoga, St. Lawrence, Warren and Washington. More than one-sixth of the entire area of these counties, aggregating 15,149 square miles, would be incorporated with the park under the terms of the proposed bill.

All of Lake George and its environment, a region of vast scenic beauty, will, in response to pronounced public demand, become part of the Adirondack Park.

Based on Reforestation Policy..

Aside from the fact that the Adirondack Park has outgrown its original boundary, the State’s new reforestation policy is immediately responsible for the present project to change the blue line with a view to enlargement of the huge recreation…?

Under the terms of a constitutional amendment designed to promote reforestation projects throughout the State, which was sponsored by Senator Charles J. Hewitt of Cayuga, head of the State Reforestation Commission, provision has been made for the creation of so-called production forests under state management within the forest preserve counties and on the margin of the Adirondack Park. By moving out the park boundary line, much land that in the course of time the State might wish to acquire as suitable for incorporation with the Forest Preserve will be saved from lumbering operations and reserved for the recreational and conservation purpose, the protection of the State’s extensive watershed, for which the forest preserve was established.

The bill at the present time is in the hands of Clayton R. Lusk, former Senate leader and at present counsel for the Reforestation Commission. He is whipping it into shape for presentation to the Legislature. The measure has been approved by the State Department of Conservation as well as by the Reforestation Commission.

William G. Howard, chief of the Division of Lands and Forests in the Conservation Department, who has been closely identified with the preparation of the drafting of the bill, said that the measure would define the new boundary line as it appears on the map, and that the extension of the Adirondack Park area would not involve directly any expenditure to the State. “It is a fact,” Mr. Howard said, “that the Adirondack Park has outgrown the boundary established by legislation in 1892, and should be extended. The purpose of the proposed extension is to include all Adirondack lands which might be desirable for park or forest purposes.

To Extend Land Holdings

“The proposed extension of the park boundary line is of interest in connection with the proposed Hewitt reforestation amendment to the Constitution, the purpose of which is to provide funds for the enlarged Statewide reforestation program in all counties of the state and also to provide for the creation of production forests on the outlying abandoned farm ands of the forest preserve counties, outside of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. The proposed constitutional amendment provides that such production forests shall be located outside the parks ‘as now fixed or hereafter extended by law.’

“Therefore, the extension of the Adirondack Park boundary would prevent the establishments of such production forests within the areas best suited for park or forest preserve purposes, but at the same time would not interfere with desirable reforestation and forest management on abandoned farm lands outside the park.”

Mr. Howard explained that the production forests must be established on lands which are not being used for farm purposes and which do not already bear forest growth to a considerable extent. When the reforestation amendment to the Constitution receives favorable sanction from the Legislature and the sanction of a majority of the voters at the election this year, the Reforestation Commission will be in a position to spend $600,000 appropriation fro the present Legislature for reforestation work, in addition to $400,000 which was provided for in last year’s budget.

The State already owns 350,000 acres in the land it is proposed to annex to the Adirondack Park, and if the annexation is gone through with, will have in the aggregate 1,968,000 acres within the park blue line, to 2,636,000 acres privately owned. At the present, the State land holdings within the Adirondack Park region aggregate 1,619,000 acres while an area of 1,435,000 acres in the park is privately owned.

[Map – Proposed Addition to Adirondack Forest – Map of Twelve Counties in Park Area Showing Suggested Extension of Park Boundary for State Preserve]