March 19, 1931 – JSA to Henry Morgenthau


  • March 19, 1931 – JSA to Hon. Henry Morgenthau, Jr. (NY Conservation Commissioner)

My dear Mr. Morganthau:

Last night I was pleasantly surprised to find myself dining with Mr. George Foster Peabody who has just returned from a protracted illness of several months. During our conversation I mentioned having met you, and the subject we discussed, and he rather censured me for not leaving a memorandum with you for your convenience. I hope the following will serve the purpose.

The task of reforesting four or more million acres of land mentioned in several reports as needing attention, requires tree planting by all the various agencies in the State to get the job done. If the State directs its tree planting to preserve drinking water sources and various water sheds against erosion, and protect wild life and safeguard the various park interests, in addition to planting demonstration forests throughout the State to encourage the private planting by farmers, mill owners, municipalities and other agencies, this would fully tax the State’s capacity for many years in the field of reforestation, as shown by various tabulated data which I will not burden you with.

It, therefore, seems unfortunate that the State should undertake as proposed by the Hewitt amendment, to do, the extensive planting proposed just outside the extended Blue Line near the various mills, These areas seem logically ones that should be planted by the mill owners and should the State attempt to do this planting they would not only discourage the planting of such areas by the mill owners, but the State could not by any calculation of the tree nursery capacity and land buying facilities, do the other planting for preservation and protection work as mentioned above.

Therefore, to insure cooperation and get the job done, it would appear in line with the Governor’s state-wide survey to first determine what lands are best suited for various purposes and by the time this survey is completed the Sportsmen’s Reforestation Bill, introduced by Senator Baxter and Assemblyman Wemple, would be nearing its realization and would provide the same financial set-up, plant the same number of trees, and leave to the administrative branch to decide where the planting is to be done and for what purpose, as determined by the Governor’s survey. As you know, the planting under the Baxter Bill can be done inside the park areas on the drinking water sources or other places that may be needed for park and preservation purposes, also anywhere else in the State that may be determined by the survey, whereas the Hewitt amendment definitely excludes the drinking water source in the Catskill and Adirondack parks, and to this extent prejudges where reforestation should take place in advance of the Governor’s survey.

The difference I tie between the two bills becoming effective apparently can be fully taken care of by unspent current appropriations that may be made.

The Sportsmen’s Reforestation Bill, introduced by Senator Baxter and Assemblyman Wemple, will have the enthusiastic support of apparently a great majority of proponent of both measures, thus assuring the kind of cooperation that is needed to encourage all the various agencies to do the reforestation that is in question.

This is from the viewpoint of wanting to get the job done, and is in substance the major points raised during our discussion.

I shall indeed be happy to have you call on me for any confirmation of these thoughts, or assistance in any other way that you may think helpful in the situation.

Cordially yours,