- January 4, 1930 – JSA to the Hon. Edward J. Flynn –
Dear Mr. Flynn:
In 1923 I enlisted the sympathies of a great many people and several organizations in a movement to encourage the State to preserve some of the wild land in the central areas of Lake George. After much effort a bill was passed appropriating a small sum and later this was added to and the Tongue Mountain peninsula was finally acquired by the State, with the exception of some small camps which were at that time so inconspicuous that they were not regarded as a menace to the State’s purpose.
However, to prevent these private owners developing their properties or their land going into the hands of other people who were not in sympathy with the State’s action, I proposed an agreement, and nine of the owners very willingly signed and expressed their desire to keep faith with the State. Four, however, held out and no action was taken by the State to encourage them to keep faith with the State’s purpose.
Two years ago, the wild features of one of these four small lots was largely replaced by extensive improvements including the erection of a large building on land owned by the State, under water, the building operations being supervised by the State Custodian’ son, with the full knowledge of the Conservation Commission, although at variance with the State’s action in acquiring the wild shore to keep such structures from being built.
About a year ago another one of these small land holders, who had not signed the agreement, had a new dock and boat house built, and a number of trees were taken from State Islands for making a cribbing for foundation. As you probably know, both dead and live trees are badly needed on the State Islands.
Yesterday I attended a meeting of the Land Commissioners, of which you are the Chairman, and listened to the discussions on a similar encroachment of one of the owners of a small parcel of land further north on the same shore, who has not signed the agreement. It developed in the discussion that the owner had talked over the building operations with some member of the Conservation Commission and apparently felt that they were entirely justified in going ahead and building on State land under water.
It therefore seems plain that private occupancy of these small lots inside of this area that the State has attempted to keep wild, is a menace and will probably prove more so in the future. I have labored diligently to get the State to protect this area and since the State has spent a large sum in an attempt to preserve its natural features, it seems duly fair to the public that their efforts should not be jeopardized in this manner. While I am confident that none of these violations would have taken place had the Conservation Commission cooperated in our effort to get all these owners to appreciate the privilege which the State has allowed them in staying in this area, and while it seems a breach of good faith to those who have signed this agreement for the State to allow these structures to be built on the State land nearby, I feel personally responsible for having encouraged the State to undertake the protection of this area, and I hereby offer my camp and land in Turtle Bay as a present to the State, should the State now decide to acquire and remove all the other private structures on the Tongue Mountain peninsula to insure full protection to the State’s interest. My camp is to me a most cherished spot, and it will be a great sacrifice for me to make, but I am desirous that the central area of Lake George be forever kept as wild forest land under the protection of the Constitution, and I hope my offer will be accepted and the State will acquire all the structures on this peninsula and do such other things as will insure better preservation of the islands and the rest of the mainland shore which is so essential to the public’s enjoyment.