- June 1, 1944 – JSA to Paul Schaefer –
(Re: Reconnaissance of Black Mountain, west of Sacandaga River near Oregon)
Responding to your May letter with map. I an returning this map with the following suggestions which may not be very helpful since I have no memory of being on this mountain.
Unless this mountain is very care, photographs from a distance will not prove very effective since it takes only a few scattered trees with leaves on to hide the ground. I also observe that the slopes you refer to are on the north exposure which indicates that the lighting suitable for distance photographs may bot be very good.
I am assuming that you will make more than one trip to the mountain, the first trip being a reconnaissance in preparation for more detailed observations later. You may therefore consider a distant view with glasses from a spur located 5/8 of an inch on the U.S.G.S. Map directly north from B. M. 1430. The elevation of this spur as shown on the map is about 1850’. Unless trees interfered, you should obtain a grandstand view of the northeast slopes of Black Mountain. You may save time by observing the mountain from this promontory which will enable you to locate more accurately the exact spot on the mountain that you wish to inspect.
No doubt you will note whether the mountain is in the class of the sliding surface characteristics, that is, where the smooth surface lays parallel with the surface of the mountain, or whether the mountain belongs to the class of mountains where the strata is broken up in ledges which accumulate quantities of soil in various pockets, making the recovery of vegetation relatively rapid as contrasted with the former type where the soil not only falls off, but erosion from freezing at night and thawing in the day causes sand scouring of the surface which delays or prevents the first growth of vegetation from taking hold such as lichen and moss.
You of course realize that the northern exposure as a rule recovers soil and vegetation more rapidly than the sun baked and the wind exposed east and south and west sides. If these latter slopes were also burned, it would appear that you could get a very good distant view from a spur of the Blue Hills with an elevation of 2633’ directly west of Shanty Brook. If your party consists of four, you might well divide and one party explore in the northern slopes and the other explore the southeast, south and west slopes, marking as accurately as you can on the map where there is no soil, the kind of forest in both diameter and specie that has grown since the fire.
After you have satisfied yourself that your data are correct in respect to the physical features, the data of the fire and other recorded information should be obtained formally from the Conservation Department to lessen the possibility of some rebuttal from them when your work on this mountain is complete.
I wish I could climb the mountain with you, but my Lake George “Love Affair” is scheduled to break in the court at Elizabethtown next week, though it is not certain yet that we will have the opportunity of telling our story to the jury.