March 4, 1930 – Robert M. Wilson (Commander – Schenectady Post) to John J. Bennett (State Commander – American Legion) –
My dear Commander Bennett:
To assist you in visualizing the attached Paradise Bay land resolution, I am enclosing two maps and a number of photographs, with notations.
As you probably know, the central area of Lake George is all that is left of this famous scenery relatively free of artificial structures and commercial enterprises, and the eastern half, including the Paradise Bay land and the rugged shore north, is the part most admired and visited by the public.
There are two important economic reasons for immediate action; First, the State has recently established a price for land in this neighborhood by the purchase of other similar land on the opposite shore and; second, the Paradise Bay land is still undeveloped without structures, so-called improvements or a through highway that would make the price prohibitive. Some think the land is now too expensive, but the price recently paid for similar land does not support this claim.
It seems important to keep in mind that there is sufficient land to fully take care of both the pubic and the private owner if a natural division is made at this time. Virtually all of the owner’s improvements and activities are on the extreme south portion of this tract, whereas the north shore for several miles is close to the camping colony and is a counterpart of the land already acquired by the State. A natural division would therefore be for the State to acquire the land needed by the public, Lots 71 to 92 inclusive in the Lake George tract, and give it permanent protection. The owner to retain the remainder of this tract, about five thousand acres of land and two miles of shore, which extend away from the public camping grounds and the water thoroughfare. To further ensure the welfare of both the private owner and the public, the State should build a dock suitable for the big passenger boats, thus relieving the campers of the necessity of landing directly in front of the Owner’s private camp.
You may be told that the present owner is doing all that is necessary for the public, but the facts are that he does not allow camping which is the principal recreation, or fishing or hunting, and there is no guarantee that any privileges now granted, or even his protection to the shore will continue. To ensure permanent protection to the publics interest in the other half of this area, the State acquired by appropriation lands from owners who extend even more privilege to the public, and the reasonableness of having this land naturally divided while it is still possible, and without undue interference with the private owner is so obvious it is thought the owner might cooperate in achieving this magnificent undertaking in his own behalf and the public welfare.
Since the park people have projects of their own in which they are more interested, it seems necessary to have a bill put through appropriating a sum specifically for completing this program, and three hundred thousand should be ample for this purpose.
We here are very happy to help such a meritorious undertaking and trust that you will call on me if I can give you any further information.
- M. Wilson, Commander, post 21