June 17, 1937 – JSA to W. G. Howard

  • June 17, 1937 – JSApperson to W. G. Howard –

My dear Mr. Howard:

As chief custodian of our State Forest Preserve Lands, including the State-owned islands in Lake George, and knowing personally that this famous scenery was being destroyed and having allowed these conditions to prevail year after year for many years, no one else but you could be responsible for the results.

Your file contains many letters similar to the one written by Commissioner Osborne to Dr. Stanton on May 28, 1936 and referred to in your letter to me of June 16th. It is typically weak for you to offer this year-old letter as proof that you are performing your duty when you and I know that the lake levels are again held above the island shores as recently as two months ago.

Islands throughout the entire length of the lake need protection from a few feet to several hundred feet along the shore, though it is now too late to save many trees that could have been preserved even last year. For instance, Arrow Island, though small, was very beautiful up to three years ago, and now only bare rock is visible above water. # The soil and vegetation have been washing away while you and I exchanged letters, and your annual report* claimed that the islands are fully protected.

Saving what is left of Ship Island is desirable, of course, but this is a small part of the work needed to be done, and I make this statement after a recent examination of many shores. The enclosed photographs taken on Fork and Phenita Islands are typical.

I am genuinely sorry you have made it necessary for me to write this kind of a letter but it is only too plain that both the written and unwritten history of this famous island scenery destruction must leave the responsibility with you as Director of our State Forest Preserve lands.

Very Truly yours,