January 22, 1930 – JSA to Ellwood Rabenold


  • January 22, 1930 – JSA to Ellwood Rabenold-

Dear Rabenold:

I am interested in finding your name recorded as Vice President in the January issue of the New York Conservationist, on the same page with recommendations for amending the fundamental law which protects the Adirondacks, Article 7, Section 7. I quote in part: A Senseless Waste. Obviously there is no use planting trees, the main object of which is to relieve our timber shortage, if the timber never gets harvested.”

Why amend our Constitution thirty years before the trees are ready to cut? Surely we do not wish to harvest the trees before they are planted.

We who frequent the Adirondacks would feel more friendly to such efforts if the lumber people would first treat their own land properly, practice scientific forestry, utilize their land to its fullest extent and then come to the sportsmen and say that you would like to have the State land treated as we have treated our land, then we would like to carry on our operations throughout your playground. But they do not approach the sportsmen or the people in the State in any such frank and straightforward manner. There is always misleading propaganda. They refer to the “wilderness” which has not existed for a century or more, and the difficulties that do not exist in using the Adirondack. We only have 4% virgin forests, 90% of the State’s land having been lumbered at least once, and much of it two or three times.

The Adirondack is full of towns, villages, manufacturing plants, airports, and large areas devastated by lumbering operations, followed by fire. The problem each year becomes more difficult to find a place out of hearing of artificial noises, unsightly structures, devastated areas, and virtually every part of the Adirondacks can now be visited without spending a single night out of doors.

No doubt a large number of the people sympathetic with this movement to amend the Constitution are very sincere in their belief that it is necessary to rehabilitate our forest products, whereas the State’s ownership is probably less than 20% of the area suitable for the propagation of trees, and it would seem very wise to urge the lumber people to utilize properly and fully the 80% or a reasonable portion thereof, before they deprive the people of any part of the smaller area. During the Constitutional Convention of 1915 every phase of this question was thrashed out and I learned much by attending those meetings, in addition to my weekly contact with the lands in question.

It seems a long time ago since our last chat, and I am writing to you in this friendly manner feeling that your sympathies are on the right side of this question which means so much to the sportsmen and general public.

Hoping you are enjoying good health, I am