William G. Howard had a long career as NY State Superintendent of Forests. He is recognized as a founder of the Adirondack Mountain Club and as a promoter of campsites and hiking trails throughout the forest preserve. He encountered opposition from several self-appointed watchdogs, including Apperson.
Apperson understood the importance of establishing relationships with state officials, and of seeking information from them about problems he encountered. He tried that approach with regard to people who were squatting on state owned islands, asking officials to find out who owned the island, and then offering to help the state remove them. Or, when he discovered that individuals were trying to run a commercial business, leasing (state-owned) campsites to the public, he alerted officials of the unlawful behavior. Often when state officials received such letters from Apperson, they felt obligated, however resentfully, to respond. William G. Howard, in his position as the Superintendent of Forests, had to respond to Apperson’s complaints on many occasions, most of them concerning the state’s handling of repairs to the shores of state islands or to the removal of squatters.
Howard started working for the Conservation Department around 1910, working under several commissioners over the years, including Clifford Pettis and Alexander MacDonald. He would have been in charge of various on-going projects at Lake George, including the preparations for holding a regatta for the American Canoe Association, in 1926, on Turtle Island. Among his responsibilities were the hiring of crews to clean up the islands to be used as public campgrounds, and as supervisor to Jay Taylor and the rangers who worked at Lake George, year round. So, whenever Apperson heard of situations where trees had been cut down, illegally, on state islands, or of people building boat houses extending way out into the lake, over state owned land, he held William Howard personally responsible. Although no correspondence has been uncovered, between Howard and Robert Moses, one can speculate about the amount of influence Moses had on the activities and decisions with regard to Lake George.
- April 3, 1929 – JSA to William G. Howard re: “…astonishment when you told me that you were waiting for the ice to go out of Lake George before taking action on the theft of trees…”
- August 30, 1929 – Howard to JSA re: acknowledging check for $1.00 – for Adirondack map…
- September 6, 1929 – JSA to William Howard re: map Mr. Williams sent was from 1927 – anxious to get a more up-to-date map…
- September 9, 1929 – Macdonald/Howard to JSA re: Adirondack maps
- September 10, 1929 – JSA to William Howard re: appreciate effort made by your secretary; Elk Lake Basin and Boreas Mountains – tentative lumber operation pending; enclosing the Mt. Marcy USGS Map, which is on a larger scale – Allen, Nipple Top, and Dix
- March 20, 1930 – JSA to William Howard, suggesting need to protect any recreation areas in the state in the wording of the Hewitt Amendment
- March 22, 1930 – William G. Howard to JSA re: I cannot see that any change in wording is necessary to protect any recreation areas in the state (from Alexander MacDonald, Commissioner)
- December 31, 1930 – JSA to William Howard re: point by point responses – Tree Cutting Amendment; Fund for Peabody Memorial
- April 17, 1931 – Irving Langmuir to William Howard re: failure to acquire Paradise Bay
- 1936 – Essay concerning French Point and the Memorial Fund. (No mention of William Howard)
- May 25, 1937 – William Howard (Director of Lands and Forests) to JSA re: trees on Ship Island, Lake George… “We are planning to do additional rip-rapping.”
- June 16, 1937 – William Howard to JSA re: “Your letter charges me with a personal responsibility for any destruction of scenery that may have been caused at Lake George by high water. I resent this.”