January 8, 1931 – JSA to Mr. John B. Burnham
My dear Mr. Burnham:
Doc Sitterly called my attention to your article in Field and Stream, and also asked me to send you the enclosed for your comments. I agree heartily with your views that sportsmen should be qualified at least to the extent of not endangering unduly the lives of others. Even a moderate requirement as to qualification would have a good moral effect. I have in mind the possibility of encouraging the various activities, commercial and non-commercial where they can thrive without conflict with each other.
For instance, one of our largest lumber companies has been for several years girdling to kill, hardwoods from small trees to those which have grown for 150 to 200 years, to give more light and nourishment and space to the softwoods required by their mill. This is justified from their standpoint and is truly scientific forestry as defined by their Chief Forester, who has written an article on this practice. However, these trees are located in the midst of the game habitats nearby on state land, preventing the food trees from being killed, and encouraged this company to plant their tree-cutting forest on idle lands some three or four miles from their mill – the girdling is at least 40 miles – where such operations would not conflict with the game or park interests. I am enclosing a photograph of some of the trees that were girdled, and a quotation from the report of the Forester, without mentioning the company or the location, since I wish only to bring out the principle.
If we could encourage the number companies to utilize more of the land in the foothills of the Adirondacks and establish the State tree-cutting industry outside of the forest preserve counties and help them to grow towards the preservation or protected area, and thus allow the intermediate land to be utilized, in the future when each interest may grow to need such lands, it would avoid amending the Constitution under these stressed circumstance and lesson the possibility of cramping the full development of all of our interests.
It seems unfortunate that we have to have an unnecessary State-wide row at this time over the reforestation program which could be carried on for several years on other lands without such a disturbance. After the reforestation efforts have proved themselves a success, the present state-wide disturbance would be avoided by having proof of good administration and economic operation of the new commercial undertaking.
Wishing you a most enjoyable New Year, I remain