October 27, 1931 – JSA to Prof. Ralph S. Hosmer (Cornell, Foresty)

  • October 27, 1931 – JSA to Professor Ralph S. Hosmer (Department of Forestry – Cornell University)

My dear Professor Hosmer:

Your letter of the 24th and the enclosed pamphlet by the Reforestation Commission confirm the impression that tree-cutting is the privilege sought by the amendment, and not reforestation, since reforestation can be carried on under the present Constitution.

Your letter and pamphlet also give the impression that the cutting is to apply only to the trees that are yet to be planted, and since such trees will not grow to merchantable size for thirty or forty years, the question naturally arise, why amend so far in advance of any need of such an amendment? This question is emphasized by the fact that the people can modify their Constitution at any time the conditions may warrant.

Among the various reports and letter reference is made to idle, denuded and waste lands as being the lands to be reforested. No such reference, however,, appears in the amendment. The amendment permits the legislative and the administrative branches of the government to decide what lands are “best suited for reforestation purposes.” Since any future administration may interpret a Constitutional privilege differently from their predecessors, our history shows that the Constitutional provisions must be analyzed on the extreme privileges that may be taken, and not alone on the express purpose of any well meaning proponents of such provision.

The full meaning or consequences of “other materials” added to the tree-cutting and forest products provision is also obscure and not commented on in the pamphlet, but these questions are rather judicial in character and I will not ask you to help me by attempting an answer, but again assure you of my gratitude for your assistance in trying to answer the question about “the approximate acreage of suitable land inside and outside of the forest preserve counties”. I remain,

Cordially yours,