- March 20, 1930 – JSA to Mr. A. N. Liecty, Schenectady Gazette) –
My dear Mr. Liecty:
As stated to you over the ‘phone, your editorial last Monday morning was a great help in our effort to make clear the possible effects on our state playground, technically known as the Forest Preserve, under the proposed amendment to the Constitution as contained in the attached bill, S-595, 1621m Int. 568-A-798, 2014, Int. 760.
The reforestation movement is of course, brim full of merit, and should be backed by the people, but the Constitutional protecting given to a large number of our most popular recreation areas is being removed. As you will note, after the bill cites the protection, it then states that “Nothing contained in this section nor in the prohibitions of section seven of this article shall prevent the state from cutting, selling or removing the trees, timber, forest products and other materials on any lands hereafter acquired with the moneys herein authorized within the forest preserve counties but outside of the Adirondack and Catskill parks as now fixed by law.”
A close scrutiny of this bill by some very excellent authorities shows that there would be no prohibition against the Conservation Commission acquiring a piece of property, even so famous as the Paradise Bay land at Lake George, and turning the trees over to the lumber companies. Of course, we do not claim that the present Commission would, but it would be a great temptation and is possible under the provisions of this amendment, whereas under the present Constitution, should the state but this land they would be compelled to keep it in its natural state, and many of us think that to abandon such a long fought out and state wide policy of increasing our recreation areas and contracting the Adirondack area some 60% by removing the protection now afforded by the Constitution, should at least be made entirely clear to all the people in the State.
It so happens that according to the Conservation Commission’s own reports there is outside of this protected area, land which they, in their reports, show as suitable for reforestation, and it not only seems fair, but very wise to encourage them to carry on their activities in these areas which do not interfere with recreation and demonstrate their fairness for going into the commercial lumbering before endangering the recreation areas now inside of the forest preserve by removing the constitutional protection as called for in the attached bill.
This afternoon we had a very friendly talk with both the proponents and at least one man who helped to draw the bill, and they have tentatively agreed on a revision. It will, of course, take some very able talent to draw the revision in such a way as to protect our recreation areas and at the same time meet the wishes of the proponents of this movement. We are, however, glad to do our utmost to help the reforestation movement and will immediately endeavor to reconcile the various thoughts on this feature of the bill.
Very truly yours,