October 20, 1919 – JSA to George O. Knapp


  • October 20, 1919 – JSA to George O. Knapp (NYC)

Dear Mr. Knapp:

The major part of my original undertaking at Lake George is near completion, and I wish to express my sincere appreciation of your assistance.

Forty-three islands have been repaired, and the Conservation Commission has now agreed to protect the remaining twenty-two that need attention. A large portion of the stone was moved over the ice for less than half the estimated cost, but your barge, recently returned, was necessary to our success. The disputed titles to seventeen islands have been decided, making this public land available to the public and greatly improving the human relations in the neighborhood. These islands have also been cleaned up: the unsightly buildings removed, and the debris used for filling low spots and back of protection walls. The sanitary and camping conditions have been greatly improved by closets and fireplaces, and more such structures are needed. A survey and map of each island has been completed, and several hundred trees planted. The ugly hole that was growing larger each year in Dome Island, ruining the symmetry, has been repaired, and the spot is growing back to the original shape.

I thought it wise not to raise the most vital question – the artificial raising of water, above a reasonable height, until sufficient work had been done to commit the State to saving the islands. The wisdom of this procedure was fully confirmed by the unbelievable effort found necessary this spring to get action started on this question. After exhausting all reasonable and friendly efforts, the case finally reached the Attorney General through the Conservation Commission with a request to determine the legal rights. The Commission finally entered into a temporary and unbinding agreement with the I.P. Company which defeats the hope of a permanent solution of this problem at least for the present unless action is brought by private property owners. The readings of your gauge taken by Mr. Russell, proved very helpful in our negotiations.

One other unaccomplished object I planned for was to bring into this locality some permanent organization of enthusiastic outdoor men who would always be keenly and actively interested in using the place properly and preserving the natural beauty. I still hope this may be brought about.

Your dock at Pearl Point was utilized by an increasing number of campers this summer and was greatly appreciated. Very few campers have motorboats and Northwest Bay makes Bolton a long way off in rough weather. The fresh milk and vegetables from your farm made camp life highly beneficial to several hundred tired people.

I often feel that a great calamity may some day overtake us should you lose your personal interest in Lake George. I am particularly concerned about the mountain slopes, which you rescued from the lumber company and have protected for several years. The vegetation noticeably increases each year and aside from the aesthetic and recreation value the soil protection materially retards the run-off, which helps to save the islands from destruction by high water in the lake.

Hoping you are enjoying good health and that I may again have the pleasure of seeing you at the lake, I remain, with best regards

Sincerely yours,

(signature – J. S. Apperson)